Writing Mongol in Uighur Script
Letters that involve a Shin can be scripted in such a way that the pen need not lift off the paper but rather retrace the along Shin to the Back, as does the Tooth, only if it is a straight Shin. If the Shin turns at the tip, as with the letter ' V ', or the second stroke does not start touching the Shin as with the letter ' R ', then the two strokes are required.
The pen strokes for each component are demonstrated in Table 2 below. All pen stroke diagrams have the pen start at the open circle, then continue along the line in the direction of the arrow. Letters that require a second pen stroke have the first one terminate where the arrow stops at a perpendicular line, and the second one starts at the closed circle. Only letters that are not easily constructed from these components alone will be elaborated upon with pen strokes demonstrated. Vowel Harmony Before going on to the alphabet itself, there is an important aspect of Mongol grammar to keep in mind as one learns the letters.
That is the concept of Vowel Harmony. There are two mutually exclusive groupings of vowels that belong together in a given word. These two groups are often referred to with names of gender but their use has no relation to the gender of the object referred to.
This is NOT gender in the sense of Latin languages, merely a convenient way to name the groups of letters. The "masculine" letters are ' A ', ' O ', and ' U '. The vowel ' I ' is neutral and can be used with either group of vowels. In addition to the vowels, the letters ' Kh ' and ' G ' also use different variations that must coincide with the group of vowels used for the word.
There are exceptions to this rule of Vowel Harmony. An exception naturally occurring in Mongol involving the letter ' I ' will be discussed in the Combinations section. Vowels The way vowels are written are in Table 3 that follows. The letters ' O ' and ' U ' are written exactly the same as each other in Uighur Script. The upper one shown is used when this letter is in the first syllable of a word, while the lower one shown is used for any subsequent occurrences of this vowel in a word.
There are two variations shown for the final form of both ' A ' and ' E ' as well. Which version is used depends on several factors and will be covered later in the Combinations section. Consonants The first group of consonants to be covered are the letters ' Kh ' and ' G ', shown in Table 4, which are both written similar to one another and have distinct forms based on Vowel Harmony. There are no final forms of the letters ' Kh ' and ' H ' because neither is supposed to appear in the final position of a Mongol word.
In cases where the letters ' Kh ' and ' Gh ' are followed by an ' A ' at the end of a word, the Leash form of the ' A ' is added after the bottom version of the medial forms shown with a brief space in between. An example will be provided later. There are three medial forms of the letter ' Gh ' shown.
Which one is used, aside from the form used with a final ' A ' in Leash form, depends on if the letter is followed by a vowel or consonant as indicated. The lack of a standard for using Latin letters to write Mongol is most prevalent in these letters. All common alternates for displaying the letters are shown including the Greek Gamma often used in scholarly texts.
The remaining consonants are not subject to Vowel Harmony. This first group in Table 5 is of letters that need the pen strokes demonstrated as they are more complicated than just combining basic components. For the letters ' J ' and ' Z ' the same letter is used and is often transcribed in scholarly texts as a ' J ' with an accent over it. There are different letters for both, provided later, for when used in words of foreign origin. The letters ' Ch ' and ' Ts ' use the same letter. There is an alternate form of ' Ts ', shown below, which is used for words of foreign origin.
There are no final forms of the letters ' J ', ' Z ', ' P ', ' Ch ' and ' Ts ' as these do not appear at the end of a word in Mongol. The next group, in Table 6, is of consonants that are easily transcribed in Latin letters. Note that the Cyrillic letter used for the letter ' Y ' is also used for the letter ' I ' when it is the second letter of a double vowel.
For the letter ' N ', there are two forms of both the medial and final form. In the medial position, where the letter is followed by a vowel, the upper one shown is used; otherwise when it is followed by a consonant the lower one shown is to be used as indicated. The remaining regular consonants are shown in Table 7 below. For the letter ' Ng ', it is important to note that it is a single and distinct letter in the Mongol tongue. Both Latin and Cyrillic alphabets typically use the letter for ' N ' to represent it, with the exception of some linguistic texts which use the second alternate Latin form shown.
This letter can also be represented by ' N ' and ' G ' combined but is not subject to Vowel Harmony as the separate ' G ' would be. When this letter is used in the middle of a word, it is often followed by either a ' Gh ' or ' G ' depending on Vowel Harmony but this combination is represented in both Latin and Cyrillic letters as ' N ' - ' G ' rather than the proper ' Ng ' - ' G '.
The letter ' Lkh ' is a borrowing from Tibetan and is used for words that are borrowed from Tibetan but as these words have been included in the regular Mongol vernacular, it is placed in this section rather than the later one for foreign letters. The letters ' Sh ' and ' Lkh ' do not have final forms and the letter ' Ng ' does not have an initial form as these letters do not appear in Mongol words in these respective places.
There are four Cyrillic letters that in Uighur Script are instances of the letter ' Y ' combined with a vowel. They are as follows in Table 8. The soft sign and the hard sign in Cyrillic as well as an alternate Cyrillic vowel for ' I ' are all transcribed as the letter ' I ' in Old Script. These are shown in Table 9. The remaining Cyrillic letter ' Shch ' is not used in Mongol. The following group in Table 10 is for consonants that are used in foreign words only. These letters are most important for words and names that have sounds that do not exist in the Mongol language such as "Frank" which would need both the letters ' F ' and ' K '.
For the letter ' J ', the Bow is added as an accent after the word is completed. This last group in Table 11 is of Mongol letters already covered that have distinct forms when used in words of foreign origin. Only the forms that differ from previously shown forms are presented in this section.
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The letter ' E ' is distinguished from the letter ' A ' in foreign words where Vowel Harmony is not used by representing it in a different form that is similar, but smaller than, the letter ' V '. The letter ' T ' is distinguished from the letter ' D ' as well.
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The various sources disagree on which of these alternate letters are used when. However, if a word that is not in the Mongol vernacular is being written in Uighur Script, then these versions of letters should always be used to reduce ambiguity. Combinations As this is a script alphabet, all letters in a word are connected by a continuous pen stroke. The end of the first letter flows into the beginning of the second letter and so forth. In most cases, this is accomplished simply with one letter ending on the Back and the next letter beginning on the Back as can be seen in these examples in Table Note that in both the examples in Table 12, the letters used are from the masculine group even though the subjects they refer to are both masculine and feminine.
When letters ending in a Bow are followed by another letter, they must be combined in a special way. For the letters ' H ' and ' G ', Table 13 shows combinations with each vowel in each position of a word.
The letters ' Ng ' and ' K ' are combined in a similar fashion. A curious exception to Vowel Harmony occurs when the letter ' Kh ' or ' Gh ' is immediately followed by the letter ' I '.
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In such a letter combination, the preceding consonant uses the feminine form of ' H ' or ' G ', as shown in Table 13, despite the rest of the letters in the word using the masculine form. For the letter ' B ', Table 14 shows combinations with each vowel in each position of a word. The letters ' P ' and ' F ' are combined in a similar fashion. The following two examples in Table 15 show how Vowel Harmony can distinguish two words of similar letters.
Note the different versions of the letter ' G ' used and how they are combined with the vowel. These examples in Table 16 show the letter ' I ' following a ' G ' and ' H ' changing the Vowel Harmony of that syllable to feminine. Both these words use masculine letters otherwise. The next two examples in Table 17 show how the letter ' Ng ' combines with both versions of the letter ' G '.
The following two examples in Table 18 show the Leash form of the letter ' A ' at the end of a word when not following a Bow. Note the different versions of the letters ' N ' and ' Kh ' used when followed by this version of the letter ' A '. The two examples in Table 19 show both forms of the letter ' A ' at the end of a word.
Note how these words are otherwise spelled the same. There is no general rule for knowing which version of the letter ' A ' or ' E ' to use in a final position but there are some guidelines to help.
The observations I want to describe cannot be seen as Chinese loanwords within the Mongolian language. My understanding of loanwords is that such terms have been transferred within the respective linguistic usage such a long time ago that they have become part of the lexicon and can be found in common dictionaries. Diglossia in Inner Mongolia Even though Chinese and Mongolian both are official languages their functional use differs significantly. Tabulation on Nationalities of Population Census of China.
Beijing, The H-V is used in all official, political and educational domains, while the L-V is only used in informal situations at home or among friends. My own observations at Huhhot have proven the correctness of this proposition. In all public institutions and facilities Chinese is the language spoken without exceptions.