Old Turkic language
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|Region||Central Asia and Mongolia|
|Era||evolved into other Turkic languages|
|Old Turkic, Uyghur alphabet|
Old Turkic (also East Old Turkic, Orkhon Turkic, Old Uyghur) is the earliest attested form of Turkic, found in Göktürk and Uyghur inscriptions dating from about the 7th century AD to the 13th century. It is the oldest attested member of the Orkhon branch of Turkic, which is extant in the modern Western Yugur language. However, it is not the ancestor of the language now called Uighur; the contemporaneous ancestor of Uighur to the west is called Middle Turkic, later Chagatai or Turki.
Old Turkic is attested in a number of scripts, including the Orkhon-Yenisei runiform script, the Old Uyghur alphabet (a form of the Sogdian alphabet), the Brāhmī script, the Manichean alphabet, and the Perso-Arabic script.
Old Turkic often refers not to a single language, but collectively to the closely related and mutually intelligible stages of various Common Turkic branches that were spoken during the late 1st millennium AD.
The sources of Old Turkic are divided into two corpora:
- the 7th to 10th century Orkhon inscriptions in Mongolia and the Yenisey basin (Orkhon Turkic, or Old Turkic proper).
- 9th to 13th century Uyghur manuscripts from Xinjiang (Old Uyghur), in various scripts including Brahmi, the Manichaean, Syriac and Uyghur alphabets, treating religious (Buddhist, Manichaean and Nestorian), legal, literary, folkloric and astrologic material as well as personal correspondence.
The Old Turkic script (also known variously as Göktürk script, Orkhon script, Orkhon-Yenisey script) is the alphabet used by the Göktürks and other early Turkic khanates during the 8th to 10th centuries to record the Old Turkic language.
This writing system was later used within the Uyghur Khaganate. Additionally, a Yenisei variant is known from 9th-century Yenisei Kirghiz inscriptions, and it has likely cousins in the Talas Valley of Turkestan and the Old Hungarian alphabet of the 10th century. Words were usually written from right to left. Variants of the script were found from Mongolia and Xinjiang in the east to the Balkans in the west. The preserved inscriptions were dated to between the 8th and 10th centuries.
Rounded vowels may only occur in the initial syllable. This vowel inventory is the same as in contemporary Turkish.
Old Turkic is highly restrictive in which consonants words can begin with: /p/, /d/, /g/, /ɢ/, /l/, /ɾ/, /n/, /ɲ/, /ŋ/, /m/, /ʃ/, and /z/ are not allowed in a word-initial position. The only exceptions are 𐰤𐰀 (ne, “what, which”) and its derivatives, and some early assimilations of word-initial /b/ to /m/ following a nasal in a word such as 𐰢𐰤 (men, “I”).
This is a partial list of nominal suffixes attested to in Old Turkic and known usages.
The following have been classified by Gerard Clauson as denominal noun suffixes.
|-ça||ança||at least one|
|thus, like that)|
yesterday, night, north)
on or above
in the house
|tranquil, at peace|
food given to a traveller as a gift
inside human body
|-layu:/-leyü||börileyü||like a wolf|
|-çak/-çek and -çuk/-çük||ğırçak||spindle-whorl|
|-k/ (after vowels and -r) -ak/-ek (the normal forms)/-ik/-ik/-uk/-ük(rare forms)||ortuk||middle partner|
|-dak/-dek and(?) -duk/-dük||bağırdak
|-nak||bakanak||"frog in a horse's hoof" (from baka frog)|
The following have been classified by Gerard Clauson as deverbal suffixes.
straight, upright, lawful
|be in the know|
be moving violently
|-maç/-meç||tutmaç||"saved" noodle dish|
- Ö.D. Baatar, Old Turkic Script, Ulan-Baator (2008), ISBN 0-415-08200-5
- M. Erdal, A Grammar of Old Turkic, Handbook of Oriental Studies, Section 8 Uralic & Central Asia, Brill, Leiden (2004), ISBN 90-04-10294-9.
- M. Erdal, Old Turkic word formation: A functional approach to the lexicon, Turcologica, Harassowitz (1991), ISBN 3-447-03084-4.
- Talat Tekin, A Grammar of Orkhon Turkic, Uralic and Altaic Series Vol. 69, Indiana University Publications, Mouton and Co. (1968). (review: Gerard Clauson, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1969); Routledge Curzon (1997), ISBN 0-7007-0869-3.
- L. Johanson, A History of Turkic, in: The Turkic Languages, eds. L. Johanson & E.A. Csato, Routledge, London (1998), ISBN 0-415-08200-5
- M. Erdal, Old Turkic, in: The Turkic Languages, eds. L. Johanson & E.A. Csato, Routledge, London (1998), ISBN 978-99929-944-0-5
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Old Turkic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Scharlipp, Wolfgang (2000). An Introduction to the Old Turkish Runic Inscriptions. Verlag auf dem Ruffel, Engelschoff. ISBN 978-3-933847-00-3.
- Sinor, Denis (2002). "Old Turkic". History of Civilizations of Central Asia. 4. Paris: UNESCO. pp. 331–333.
- Noten zu den alttürkischen Inschriften der Mongolei und Sibiriens (1898)
- Marcel Erdal (1 January 2004). A Grammar Of Old Turkic. BRILL. ISBN 90-04-10294-9.
|Old Turkic language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|
- Old Turkic inscriptions (with translations into English), reading lessons and tutorials
- Turkic Inscriptions of Orkhon Valley (with translations into Turkish)
- VATEC, pre-Islamic Old Turkic electronic corpus at uni-frankfurt.de.
- A Grammar of Old Turkic by Marcel Erdal
- Old Turkic (8th century) funerary inscription (W. Schulze)