Indiana University Bloomington
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Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center (IAUNRC) Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies (SRIFIAS) Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region (CeLCAR) Summer Language Workshop (SWSEEL)
Central Eurasian Studies >> Courses >> Course List
Mongolic Writing Systems
CEUS-R 467/667
György Kara

Evaluation is based on oral examination including the identification of samples of the various scripts discussed in the course and questions about the type of the writing systems used in the samples (30%) and attendance (70%). The same evaluation applies in case of undergraduate enrollment, but the oral exam will focus on the history of the writing systems discussed.

The course discusses the writing systems used by medieval and modern Mongolic peoples, the origins, functions and classifications of scripts, their relation to religion and statehood. Introduction is given to the Kitan, Uygur, ‘Phags-pa, Galik, Oirat, etc. scripts, and to Mongolic in Manchu, Tibetan, Latin, Cyrillic and Arabic alphabets.

I. The origins, functions, and classifications of writing systems.
Their relation to religion, ethnic identity, and political power. Written vs. spoken language.
Graphemes and allographs. Free and bound graphemes. Diacritics. Punctuation. Orthography.
Allography: positional, historical, territorial, social, professional, individual.
Graphical style (calligraphy, cursive, shorthand, ornamental forms).
Parallel usage of more than one systems (digraphy. multigraphy).
Transliteration and transcription.

Recommended Readings: Ts. Shagdarsüren, Mongolchuudiin üseg bichigiin towchoon (Ulaanbaatar, 2001); W. Bright & P. T. Daniels, eds., The World’s Writing Systems (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996); J. Bosson, “Scripts and Literacy in the Mongol World” in P. Berger & T. Tse Bartholomew, eds., Mongolia. The Legacy of Chinggis Khan (The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995), pp. 88-95; G. Kara, The Books of the Mongolian Nomads (Bloomington, IN: IU, 2005); N. Poppe, Introduction to Altaic Linguistics (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1965).