Old Turkic (also East Old Turkic, Orkhon Turkic language, Old Uyghur) is the earliest attested form of the Turkic languages, found in Göktürk and Uyghur Khaganate inscriptions dating from about the seventh to the 13th century. It is the oldest attested member of the Siberian Turkic branch of Turkic, which is extant in the modern Western Yugur language. It is not the ancestor of the Uyghur language; the contemporaneous ancestor of Uyghur is called Middle Turkic, later Chagatai or Turki.

Old Turkic
East Old Turkic
RegionEast Asia, Central Asia and parts of Eastern Europe
Era7th–13th centuries
Dialects
Old Turkic script, Old Uyghur alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
otk – Old Turkish
oui – Old Uyghur
otk Old Turkish
 oui Old Uyghur
Glottologoldu1238

Old Turkic is attested in a number of scripts, including the Old Turkic script, the Old Uyghur alphabet (a form of the Sogdian alphabet), the Brahmi script, and the Manichaean script.

Old Turkic often refers not to a single language, but collectively to the closely related and mutually intelligible stages of various Common Turkic languages spoken during the late first millennium.

Sources

The sources of Old Turkic are divided into two corpora:

Writing systems

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 7th to 10th centuries to record the Old Turkic language.[1]

The script is named after the Orkhon Valley in Mongolia where early 8th-century inscriptions were discovered in an 1889 expedition by Nikolai Yadrintsev.[2]

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.

Phonology

Vowels
Front Back
Unr. Rnd. Unr. Rnd.
Close i y ɯ u
Mid e ø o
Open ɑ

Vowel roundness are assimilated thorough the word through Vowel harmony. Some vowels were considered to occur only in the initial syllable, but they were later found to be in suffixes.[3] Length is distinctive for all vowels; while most of its daughter languages have lost the distinction, many of these preserve it in the case of /e/ with a height distinction, where the long phoneme developed into a more closed vowel than the short counterpart.

Consonants
Labial Dental Post-
alveolar
Velar Uvular
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Stop p b t d k g q ɢ
Fricative s z ʃ
Tap/Flap ɾ
Approximant ɫ l j

Old Turkic is highly restrictive in which consonants words can begin with: words can begin with /b/, /t/, /tʃ/, /k/, /q/, /s/, /ɫ/ and /j/, but they do not usually begin with /p/, /d/, /g/, /ɢ/, /l/, /ɾ/, /n/, /ɲ/, /ŋ/, /m/, /ʃ/, or /z/. The only exceptions are 𐰤𐰀 (ne, “what, which”) and its derivatives, and some early assimilations of word-initial /b/ to /m/ preceding a nasal in a word such as 𐰢𐰤 (men, “I”).

Nominal suffixes

This is a partial list of nominal suffixes attested to in Old Turkic and known usages.

Denominal

The following have been classified by Gerard Clauson as denominal noun suffixes.

Suffix Usages Translation
-ča anča at least one
-ke sigirke
yipke
sinew
string/thread
-la/-le ayla
tünle
körkle
thus, like that)
yesterday, night, north)
beautiful
-suq/-sük bağïrsuq liver, entrails
-ra/-re içre inside, within
-ya/-ye bérye
yırya
here
north
-čïl/-čil igčil sickly
-ğïl/-gil üçgil
qïrğïl
triangular
grey haired
-nti ékkinti second
-dam/-dem tegridem god-like
tïrtï:/-türti ičtirti
inside, within
-qı:/-ki ašnuki
üzeki
ebdeki
former
on or above
in the house
-an/-en/-un oğlan
eren
children
men, gentlemen
-ğu:/-gü enčgü
tuzğu
buğrağu
tranquil, at peace
food given to a traveller as a gift
woodwork
-a:ğu:/-e:gü: üčegü
ičegü
three together
inside human body
-dan/-dun otun
izden
firewood
track, trace
-ar/-er birer
azar
one each
a few
-layu:/-leyü börileyü like a wolf
-daš/-deš qarïndaš
yerdeš
kinsman
compatriot
-mïš/-miš altmïš
yetmiš
sixty
seventy
-gey küçgey violent
-çaq/-çek and -çuq/-çük ïğïrčaq spindle-whorl
-q/-k (after vowels and -r) -aq/-ek (the normal forms)/-ïq/-ik/-uq/-ük(rare forms) ortuq middle partner
-daq/-dek and(?) -duq/-dük bağırdaq
beligdek
burunduq
wrap
terrifying
nose ring
-ğuq/-gük çamğuq objectionable
-maq/-mek kögüzmek breastplate
-muq/-a:muq solamuk left-handed (pejorative?)
-naq baqanaq "frog in a horse's hoof" (from baqa frog)
-duruq/-dürük boyunduruq yoke

Deverbal

The following have been classified by Gerard Clauson as deverbal suffixes.

Suffix Usages Translation
-a/-e/-ı:/-i/-u/-ü oprı
adrı
keçe
egri
köni
ötrü
hollow,valley
branched,forked
evening, night
crooked
straight, upright, lawful
then, so
-ğa/-ge kısğa
öge
bilge
kölige
tilge
short
wise
wise
shadow
slice
-ğma/-gme tanığma riddle
-çı/-çi otaçı:
okıçı
healer
priest
-ğuçı/-güçi ayğuçı
bitigüçi
councilor
scribe
-dı/-di üdründi
ögdi
alkadı
sökti
chosen,parted,separated,scattered
customs
praised
bran
-tı/-ti arıtı
uzatı
tüketi
completely, clean
lengthily
completely
-du eğdu
umdul
süktü
curved knife
desire, covetousness
campaigning
-ğu:/-gü bilegü
kedgü
oğlağü
whetstone
clothing
gently nurtured
-ingü bilingü
etingü
yeringü
salingü
be in the know
be prepared
disgusted
be moving violently
-ğa:ç/-geç kışgaç pincers
-ğuç/-güç bıçgüç scissors
-maç/-meç tutmaç "saved" noodle dish
-ğut/-güt alpağut
bayağut
warrior
merchant

Literary works

See also

References

  • 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
  1. ^ Scharlipp, Wolfgang (2000). An Introduction to the Old Turkish Runic Inscriptions. Verlag auf dem Ruffel, Engelschoff. ISBN 978-3-933847-00-3.
  2. ^ Sinor, Denis (2002). "Old Turkic". History of Civilizations of Central Asia. 4. Paris: UNESCO. pp. 331–333.
  3. ^ Erdal, Marcel (2004). A grammar of Old Turkic. Boston: Brill. p. 88. ISBN 1-4294-0826-X. OCLC 73959547.

Further reading

External links