Mark Liberman at the Log reports on the legalization of the letters Q, W, and X as part of Tayyip Erdoğan’s “Democratization Package”:

The Turkish Alphabet Law of 11/1/1928 was aimed at shifting Turkish from Arabic-based to Latin-based orthography, and it was quite effective in suppressing the use of the Ottoman script. But it has also been used to suppress Kurdish, historically spoken by 10-25% of the country’s population.

But the post is especially worth reading for the passage from Gravity’s Rainbow Mark cites (“ƣ seems to be a kind of G, a voiced uvular plosive. The distinction between it and your ordinary G is one Tchitcherine will never learn to appreciate…”); if you enjoy that as much as I do, you will want to read the much more extensive series of quotes from Pynchon’s masterpiece in this nine-year-old Log post (and a quote from a different section at this eight-year-old LH post)—and, hopefully, the book itself.


  1. I guess they were fed up with always losing at Scrabble.

  2. Great tales there, in Baku and in Seven Rivers too, wow. One of my relatives was a real-life Azerbaijani linguist posted to Kyrgyzstan (and newly married to my aunt, a native Francophone Jewish poet who learned to ride on horseback in those road-less highlands). But he spent most of his life rather unproductively, behind the barbed wire of various labor camps and concentration camps…

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