In Russian
Codex of Inscriptions - Index
Alphabet - Index
Hunnic Writing
Turanian Writing
Paleography of 8 Türkic Alphabets
Türkic and Kharosthi Table
(Kharosthi) Script
Karosthi-Aramaic Script
Alan Dateline
Avar Dateline
Besenyo Dateline
Bulgar Dateline
Huns Dateline
Karluk Dateline
Khazar Dateline
Kimak Dateline
Kipchak Dateline
Kyrgyz Dateline
Sabir Dateline
Seyanto Dateline


Almaty, "Mektep", 2003 ISBN 9965-16-204-2


Kyzlasov Alphabet Table Amanjolov Alphabet Table Amanjolov Book Contents Proceed to Conclusions


Dr. Altai Amanjolov explores initial development of the Türkic alphabet, with a detailed examination of the common ontogenetic elements that bind it with other oldest alphabetic scripts, and of the peculiarities that evolved historically to give it a distinct form and type. Dr. A. Amanjolov exposes a lightweight nature of the engrafted axioms that rested on early and uncertain judgments, but tended to fossilize quickly into preordained scientific schemes.

Translation may have inadvertent errors, especially related to professional terminology.


Chapter 10


The origin of the Türkic runiform alphabet, despite the efforts of several generations of Türkologists, still remains problematic.

Guesses about the origin of the Yenisei script suggested before their decoding were only based on visual, external resemblances of the Türkic runes with the Gothic runes (O.G.Tichzen, G.Rommel, N.Popov) or with Greek, Etruscan and Anatolian (G.Spassky, J.Klaprot, O.Donner) letters 1. When N.M.Yadrintsev discovered the Orkhon runic inscriptions, he also saw in them "an Indo-European alphabet, reminding for a long time the Phoenician, Gothic, Greek, etc. letters " 2.

However in the 19th century science had not yet accumulated significant proofs for the problem. Therefore, W.Thomsen had a reason to state the following: "It should be firmly remembered that all likewise resemblances, thus, are like an optical illusion. Only when other means allow to determine the meaning of the letters, such comparisons to other alphabets would be of value for the origin of this script" 3.

And the suggestion by A.Shifner 4 about independent origin of the enigmatic Yenisei script from the tamgas was, in essence, an equation with two unknowns.

The decipherer of the Türkic runiform alphabet W.Thomsen 5 tentatively linked the Orkhon alphabet to the Aramaic, or more precisely to its version, Pehlevi (Perso-Aramaic) alphabet. The hypothesis of W.Thomsen about Aramaic (Aramaic-Pehlevi and Aramaic-Sogdian) as a basis for the Türkic runiform alphabet was construed on a rather remote analogies of some (about half) letters of the Orkhon alphabet. We should note that Türkic runes have much more likeness with the ancient Phoenician-Aramaic letters, instead of the Pehlevi and Sogdian. Unfortunately, an uncritical attitude toward W.Thomsen's hypothesis is observed until present. As example can serve by not confirmed any facts yet S.G.Klyashtorny's 6 suggestion that Türkic runiform script was adopted in the 5th century from the Sogdians of the Gansu and Gaochan (Turfan).

After the W.Thomsen decoding, O.Donner 7 fairly considered the distinctions between Yenisei and Orkhon characters as a sign of a long period development of the Türkic runiform alphabet, but at the same time he asserted without substantiation that the Orkhon-Yenisean script has arisen, at Uigurs, Türks and Kyrgyzes in the 4th century on the basis of the Indo-Bactrian (also called Indo-Scythian, Aryan, Bactrian) "Karoshti" letters, then known from the inscriptions on the rocks and coins (3 century BC - 2 century AD). After investigation it becomes obvious that between Türkic runes and "Karoshti" signs no close resemblance exist 8.

At last, the F.Altheim's 9 guess that the Ancient Türkic (and "proto-Bulgarian") runes descend from the Armazian Aramaic script that the Türkic-speaking Huns ostensibly adopted in the Caucasus at the turn of the 3 - 4 centuries is also not supported by any concrete facts 10 and observable match of written signs.

In a opposition with the hypothesis of W.Thomsen, a Russian orientalist N.A.Aristov " has anew substantiated the hypothesis of A.Shifner about a local tamga-derived source of the Türkic runes. N.A.Aristov found outward similarity with the Türkic tamgas in 29 out of 38 signs of the Orkhon alphabet. Later this hypothesis found support by N.Mallitsky 12 and A.Sokolov 13. To the opinion of the origin of the Orkhon-Yenisean script from the "local tamgas and others ideograms" in our time was leaning I.A.Batmanov 14.

As a rule, every clan and tribal tamga between the Türkic-speaking peoples had a name corresponding to the graphic form of a sign (frequently connected with specific objects). For example,
tamga of the Kazakh clan Baltal or is called balta "axe",
tamga of a clan Baganaly or is called bashan "rod with split end",
tamga of the tribe Kongrat is called bosaga "threshold",
tamga of the tribe Kangly is called köseu "fire iron", etc. If it would be possible to establish sometime the initial names, verbal epithets of the ancient tamga signs (graphic logograms), the hypothesis of A.Shifner - N.A.Aristov can receive a better plausibility. The random outward comparisons of Türkic runes with the tamgas and other ancient signs are insufficiently convincing.

W.Thomsen 15 and E.D.Polivanov 16 suggested a possibility of ideographic origin of some of the Türkic runiform characters which are not deduced from the Aramaic alphabet. Suggesting Türkic etymologies for runic characters j, aj (aj "moon, crescent") (here author's "j" has a phonetic value of "y" in "york"), oq, uq (oq "arrow") and b, üb (eb "dwelling, yurt"), W.Thomsen simultaneously doubted similar etymologies for the runic characters 1, ä1 (el "palm of a hand"), r, är (er "man, husband"), n, än (en -"descend, go down", compare en "bottom, descent"), γ, äγ (γ "trap, snare, fishing tackle"), t, at (at "horse") and ş, aş (eşik "door"). So far it is difficult to tell to what degree the Türkic runes in their origin are due to ideograms (or better, to graphic logograms), because their paleography is still investigated insufficiently. Nevertheless, exist sufficient reasons to suggest that some specific runic characters lt, rt and nt directly go back to a pre-alphabetic script.

Türkish scientist A.J, Emre 17 embarked to study Türkic runiform alphabet as a development of ideographic writing, related to the Sumerian linear writing:
oq, oq "arrow" - Sumer. ARROW,
k ü, köz "eye" - Sumer. EYE,
d, adaq "leg" - Sumer. LEG,
j, ja(j) "bow" - Sumer. BOW,
ş, eşik "door" (Turk. eşik "threshold") - Sumer. CORRAL,
lt ~ ld, alt "bottom" - Sumer. LOWER PART of the BODY (man),
The outward similarity of some signs belonging to different ideographic (logographic) scripts is usually explained by a similarity of the respective objects, therefore such comparisons are deemed to be insufficiently convincing.

According to a hypothesis of an English researcher J. Closon 18, the Türkic runiform alphabet was ostensibly invented in the third quarter of the 6th century under an order of Istemi-Kagan, and was composed as a some kind of secret code from arbitrarily changed Aramaic (Pehlevi, Sogdian) and Greek (Byzantian, Ephtalite) letters. A citation of a fictitious "inventor" testifies to a non-serious attitude of J. Closon to the unresolved problem. In effect, it is an attempt to avoid studying the historical development and natural genetic links of the Türkic runiform alphabet, which itself is non-uniform in its local versions.

The genetic links of the Türkic runes still have not received a scientific illumination. W.Thomsen has given precisely a decoding, not an interpretation of the Türkic runiform (Orkhon-Yenisean) alphabet, the true origin of which remained unknown. The science has not yet established neither the real age of the Türkic runiform script, nor its direct source.

The hypotheses about the origin of the Orkhon-Yenisean script were not supported with really close correspondences of the compared written signs 19.

It only transpired that exist supporters of exogenic origin of the Türkic runiform alphabet (W.Thomsen, O.Donner, F.Altheim, J. Closon) and the supporters of endogenic origin of this script (N.A.Aristov, A.J. Emre).

As an interpreter of the W.Thomsen hypothesis recently rose a known Iranist V.A.Livshits 20, in whose opinion the main source ("raw material for working pra-forms") for the Orkhon alphabet was a relatively late version of the Sogdian cursive writing, corresponding to the ancient Uigur alphabet. V.A.Livshits dedices the Türkic (Orkhon) runes from the letters of new Sogdian letters by means of "reconstruction of graphical prototypes in the process of creation of the runic alphabet" 21. So, a Sogdian letters δ (δ, υ, L) by means of three "transformations"

turns into Türkic runiform letters d, l, l'. Arming with this method would make it difficult to avoid subjectivity in resolving the question. Anyway, a version about Sogdian base of the Türkic runiform characters requires weightier proofs.

A deeper study of the epigraphic finds in the territory of Kazakhstan allows to uncover most ancient monuments of written culture belonging to the remote ancestors of the Türkic-speaking peoples. The existence of alphabetic writing in the culture of early nomadic tribes in the Southern Siberia and Kazakhstan is evidenced, at least, by two runic or rune-like inscriptions from the burials of the 5th - 4th centuries BC 22. They are: an inscription on a bone buckle from r. Irtysh valley, and an inscription on a silver cup from r. Ili valley. These inscriptions are apparently made in the Ancient Türkic language, and belong to a fairly early version of the Türkic runes, closely connected to the Mediterranean alphabetic writings of the middle of the 1st millennium BC.
Bone buckle inscription
r. Irtysh valley kurgan, ca. 400-500 BC
Silver cup inscription
Issyk kurgan, 500 BC (C14 dating here)

In a valley of r. Ili were found two rock inscriptions in ancient Greek alphabet 23. The language attribution of one of them is under doubt, and another is in Türkic. Both inscriptions have been made in the 1st millennium AD (judging by archaic letters, direction from right to left). There is analogy with the Türkic runiform alphabet of Talas, Yenisei and Orkhon inscriptions. Paleographically these inscriptions can also be attributed to the middle of the 1st millennium BC, which points to a relative stability of the Türkic runiform script. The fascinating historical fate of the ancient Greek alphabet in the Jeti-Su also indirectly testifies to the most ancient tradition of writing in the Türkic-speaking tribes.
Greek rock inscription "ISAG 1080"
r. Ili valley ca. 770 AD
Greek-Türkic rock inscription "AG BAPAM"-"MY NOBLE ANSESTOR"
Almaty valley, 1st millennium AD

Based on systematic study of the graphics of the Ancient Türkic runiform inscriptions, and new results of the Türkic epygraphical studies, now is appearing an opportunity to approach closely to the solution of the problem about the Türkic runes origin (genetic links). From the correct resolution of this key problem in many respects depend the prospects for the development of Türkology 24.

The areas of distribution and chronological frameworks of the Türkic runes basically correspond with the Ancient Türkic statehood of the 6th - 10th centuries, though some inscriptions are occasionally found in the kurgans belonging to the epoch of early nomads (rivers Irtysh, Ili, Yaik). In the Central Asia by now were found about three hundred ancient Türkic runiform inscriptions. The dynastic Orkhon epitaphs belong to the 8th century, and the Yenisei and Talas inscriptions, as a rule, have no reliable dating. By tradition it is thought that some Yenisei and Talas inscriptions are much older than the Orkhon inscriptions. S.E.Malov believed that Yenisei inscriptions belong to the 5th - 10th (11th) centuries, and Talas inscriptions belong to the 5th - 8th centuries. 25 The Talas inscriptions - epitaphs on the boulders, as showed archeological al excavations, already appeared in the 5th century, 26 and in any case, long before the10th century. 27

The viewes of some researchers that the Türkic runiform script in Yenisei and Talas appeared late, than in Orkhon, seem to be insufficiently justified 28. For example, in the I.V.Kormushin's opinion, without exception all Yenisei monuments are written not earlier than the middle of the 10th - 11th centuries. 29 But because the dating graphical features selected by I.V.Kormushin do not correspond to the evolution of the Türkic runiform alphabet, and are very vulnerable from purely paleographic side (the monumental script is deduced from the cursive script, even though even in the manuscripts the Türkic runes did not change to the really cursive forms), he had to recognize that these "markers sometimes conflict with each other" 30. Some of the Yenisei inscriptions - epitaphs, like the expressions türk qan balbalı "balbal of the Türkic khan" testify (E 3210), ben öltim türgäş el ičintä " I died in Türgesh state" (E 373), etc., are made not later then the middle of the 8th century, before the overthrow of the Türkic and Türgesh dynasties. Incidentally, in these monuments is repeatedly used the runic character t, which is I.V.Kormushin's main dating marker of the monuments not older than the middle of the 9th century.

The graphics of the Talas, Yenisei and Orkhon inscriptions testifies that the Türkic runiform alphabet, non-uniform in its local versions, has a long history of development, and generally reflects the sound system of the ancient Türkic language 31.

* * *

Historical perspective

The genesis question of the Türkic runiform alphabet, its creation place and time, to be resolved objectively requires a complex analysis of the alphabet paleography, together with history of cultural contacts of the ancient world, together with history of formation of the Türkic ethnic type. S.E.Malov's noted the following: "In questions of chronology we in Türkology still have many established cliches, some of them quite fair for the known time and for the known geographical space. [...] In my classification of the Türkic languages I, as a result of the my studies, set back the emergence of the Türkic languages in the same form as we have them now, two thousand years deeper" 32.

In the beginning of the 1st millennium BC, according to archeology, pastoral-agricultural tribes of the Bronze Epoch of the Southern Siberia and Kazakhstan steppes (so-called "Andronov Culture tribes") passed to a more progressive, nomadic cattle tribal. In the 5th - 4th centuries BC the early Asian nomads almost completed a transition to the use of iron. These nomad tribes belonged to the so-called Andronov anthropological type 33, that made a basis for the anthropological type of Kazakhs, Karakalpaks, Kirghizes, Altaians, partly Uzbeks, etc. The increase in economical connections and a need to protect their herds and pastures forced a unification of the nomad tribes in military-tribal unions, where developed a process of leveling the tribal distinctions and merging of tribal languages.

In the territory of Kazakhstan and Central Asia in the 7th - 4th centuries BC, as testify the ancient Greek historians (Herodotus and others) and Persian cuneiform inscriptions of Darius I, were associations of Scythian- Sakan tribes which had their specific names, territory, ways of life (nomadic, hunting and settled tribes), ethnicity and, probably, languages. "The ethnic problem of Scythians, - posited A.N.Bernshtam, - is not beyond the hypotheses. The dispute about Türkism or Iranism of the Scythians is as old as the Orientalistics itself. The solution for these problems lies in the archeological al materials" 34. The application of the term "Scythians" in relation to the autochthons of the Altai and Jeti-Su is in problematic itself (this is not a region of Herodotus "Scythia"), and does not serve at all as a proof of their Irano-linguality. Sometimes the Türkic ethnogenesis is directly linked with nomadic cattle breeding, the Mongolian ethnogenesis is directly linked with the hunting economy, the Iranian ethnogenesis is directly linked with agricultural economy 35. Such a simplistic approach is poorly justified, "All eastern tribes, - wrote K.Marx, - can be traced from the very beginning of history a general relationship between the settled part of population and continued nomadism of another part " 36.

The Chinese historical chronicles tell that in the 3rd - 1st centuries BC in the territories of the Saka's tribal federations formed nomadic tribal unions of Usuns, Kangüys and Uechjis. In the Central Asia from the end of the 3rd century BC till the 1st century AD was an association of 24 nomadic tribes of Huns (Hunnu, Sünnu). The Türkic-speaking Huns displaced the Uechji and Usun tribes from the east to the west. In the 1st century BC Usuns occupied Tian-Shan and Jeti-Su area. Uechjis, whom L.N.Gumilev 37 identifies with the carriers Pazyryk Cultures in Altai, established in the 1st century AD along Cheyhun (Amu Darya) a Kushan (Ku-Sün - Türk. White Hun) state . Kangüy tribes, according to the Chinese sources, in the 2nd century BC - 7th century AD lived in the valleys of the Middle and Lower Seyhun (Syr-Darya).

The Türkic-linguality of the dynastic tribe of the Usun (As-Sün - Türk. As' Hun) union was stated by F.Hirt 38, K.Siratori 39, N.A.Aristov 40 and other researchers after analysis of the Chinese transcriptions of the Usun words (kün beg, uluγ, tarqan, etc.). "The presence of Türkic words in the language of ancient Usuns in the 3rd - 1st cc. BC, - noted Yu.A.Zuev, - makes questionable the standard in the Soviet historical literature point of view about so-called "Türkifation" of the local population in Kazakhstan and Central Asia by the Huns (Chinese: Sünnu), beguning in the 1st century BC" 41 (Sünnu is a Türkic dialectal name for Huns, used by Chinese in the 3rd c. BC).

archeological al research allowed to establish that between carriers of the local cultures of Southern Siberia and the Near East in 1st millennium BC existed diverse and deep cultural links 42. Most evidently it is visible in the applied fine arts of Scythian or Saka tribes.

* * *

Paleographic analysis

The paleographic analysis leads to a conclusion about very early date of appearance of the Türkic runiform alphabet in Southern Siberia and Jeti-Su, not later then the middle of the 1st millennium BC. This alphabet display a close genetic proximity, firstly with early types of the ancient Greek alphabet (especially with Anatolian and Italic), and secondly with Northern Semitic-Phoenician (including with early Aramaic) and S.Semitic alphabets 43. In some measure it agrees with the archeological data about deep cultural ties of the Southern Siberia and Jeti-Su early nomads with the Near East population in the 1st millennium BC.

The Aramaic alphabet as a branch of the Phoenician alphabet has also some similarity with the Türkic runiform alphabet, though apparently they both are only in an indirect relationship. The graphic affinity of the Gothic (Common German) and Türkic runiform characters, in some instances also supported by coincidence of the sound values, can be explained by their link with the writing system of the ancient Greek or even earlier alphabetic writing.

The rich arsenal of graphic characters of the Türkic runes could be produced only during a long period of development. These alphabetical characters, certainly, were not individually assembled from early Mediterranean alphabets. It is hardly possible to view the early Semitic, ancient Greek, Italic, and Anatolian analogies in this alphabet to be direct loans, because apparently existed an older common source of the alphabetical writing. The Türkic runiform alphabet as a whole does not ascend to anyone of the early Mediterranean alphabets known to us, despite the genetic links of some letters.

The Türkic runiform alphabet presents a very rich and quite independently developed graphic system. It would be totally erroneous to depict it as a product of a personal creation. The close genetic links of the Türkic runiform characters with the early Semitic, ancient Greek, Italic (Etruscan, Picenian, Messapian, Venetian, Retian) and Anatolian (Karian, Lician, Lidian, Sidetian) letters exist because the Türkic runiform alphabet underwent a very long period of development, and it apparently ascends directly to the most ancient common source of alphabetic writing. Such a source could be an early logographic or alphabetic script of the 3rd - 2nd millennia BC.

It should be noted that a language, being a main social factor and a major ethnic attribute (the language of the autochthonous population), has to be invariably considered in the studies of the ethnic, historical and cultural communities in the Central Asia. A convinced proponent of the autochthony of the Türkic-speaking population in the Central Asia (based on clearly traced continuity of archeological cultures of the Neolith epoch, Bronze and Early Iron epochs in the territory of Southern Siberia and Kazakhstan) was . Kh. Margulan 44. The language contacts in this region are very deep and diverse. The Türks for millennia communicated not only with rest of the Altai language world, but also with the carriers of various Indo-European languages.

It can't be excluded that the problem of the Türkic alphabet in one way or another is linked with the hypothesis about a most ancient genetic commonality of Türkic languages with the Indo-European languages, which is receiving an increasing linguistic evidence 45, and has atendency to develop into a general question about the origin of the alphabet.

Table 3. Genetic links of Türkic runes.


Note 46.

Abbreviations in Table 3 "Genetic links of Türkic runes":

Aram. - Aramaic alphabet (branch of Phoenician Semitic),
Greek - eastern branch of ancient Greek alphabet,
Ven. - Venet alphabet (version of Etruscan),
Greek. - ancient Greek alphabet,
W.Greek - western branch of the ancient Greek alphabet,
Kar. - Karian alphabet,
Lid. - Lidian alphabet,
Lic. - Lician alphabet,
Mes. - Messap alphabet,
Pit. - Picen alphabet,
Ret. - Retian alphabet (a version of Etruscan),
Sid. - Sidian alphabet,
Phoen. - Phoenician (N.Semitic) alphabet,
Etr. - Etruscan alphabet,
S.Sem. - S.Semitic alphabets.

A comparison of the Ancient Türkic runes with related alphabetical characters of the early Mediterranean alphabetical scripts is shown in Table 3, which can be viewed as a working plan for future studies 46. In the table the Türkic runiform characters (graphemes) are grouped in accordance with the transpiring paleographical and phonological links, which allows to track down the evolution of the Türkic runiform alphabet from original few initial signs to the extremely rich and complete graphic system, which reflects a long developmental history of the Ancient Türkic language phonetic system, and at the same time displaying a genetic (material) affinity with the early Mediterranean alphabets.

The characters for vowels in the Türkic runiform alphabet, as is known, were polyphonic. The identical signs designated non-labial broad vowel phonemes a and ä, non-labial narrow vowel phonemes ï and i, firm labial phonemes o and u, soft labial phonemes ö and ü. In the most ancient inscription on the Ili vessel discussed above, the labial vowel phonemes were transmitted by the same character i. Hence, initially the characters for firm and soft labial vowels were not differentiated.

The comparative analysis suggests that Türkic runiform characters for the vowels ascend to the common prototype , which once was designating an initial slotted consonant of the *h type (probably, a variation of a phoneme *k) in front of different vowels. This initial sound (apparently, it ascends to a common Altaic *p-) (Translator assumes that the author is using Latin letter symbology, and not Greek/Cyrillic, thus *p and not *r) was not found in the language of the ancient Türkic runiform inscriptions, but its traces are found in some Türkic languages 47. A gradual loss of a consonant *h- in the language of tribes that inherited the ancient written tradition, caused emergence and subsequent separation of the sounds for the vowel archephonems A (a, ä), I (ï, i) and U (o, u, ö, ü), possibly under an influence of close characters for consonants k, j, and b. At the same time, Türkic runiform characters , ä, ï, i, ö, ü (from ö, ü comes , u) reveal a close genetic link with the characters for consonants '(a), j, w in the Semitic alphabets.

The letter designations for the firm and soft variations of consonant phonemes in the Türkic runiform alphabet, as was already noted, frequently underwent neutralization (except for q and k'). Moreover, the letter designations for firm and soft variations of consonant phonemes are usually also connected genetically. For example, the runic character b developed from b', runic j developed from j', runic n developed n'. Therefore in a historical perspective makes sense to examine the Türkic runiform characters for the consonants as graphic symbols for phonemes, irrespective of their sound implementation in a word.

The Türkic runiform characters for consonant phonemes can be broken into three internally connected paleographic groups:
1) signs for bilabial plosive consonant phonemes b, p, m;
2) signs for alveolar plosive consonant phonemes d, t, z, s, ş. č, n, l, r, and palatal approximant consonant phoneme j;
3) signs for velar plosive consonant phonemes g, k, η.
The signs on the first group go back to their prototypes b' (~ *') and m. The affinity of tracings of these prototypes, apparently, is caused by ancient phonetic conformity b (p)~m. The prospective primary source - a graphic logogram bel "fish", compare Tuva bel " taymen (fish)", Khakass. pil "taymen (fish)".

It can't be missed that the Phoenician b represents a later graphic development in comparison with the Yenisei b', Orkhon b' and Talas b'.

Characters of the second group include prototypes d ' (~ *t ') d(~*t), z(~*s), ş, č (compare with signs for ş), n', and also rather archaic signs for l', r', and j'.

Among these characters show up sometimes ancient graphic logograms täηri ( Sumer. diηir) "Sky; God, deity", compare Kazakh. täηir, täηiri "God" or zeηgir "great, high, highest", Karakalpak. diη aspanda "very high, up in the sky" (phonetic transition t~d~z in the beginning of a word); adaq "leg (legs); azuq "food, provisions, nutrient" (image of pasture, foliage), as-aş "meal, food " (image of a grain ear), compare Altaic. aş (ash) "food; wheat (in ears) ", Kirgiz. ash "food; fruits (of wild plants)"; čip, čïbïq "twig, thin flexible branch"; en "bottom, descent"; el "hand, palm of a hand"; er "drill", compare Khakas. ires "screw".

The characters of the third group include prototypes g' (~*k'), γ (~ *q) and q (comp. Phoenician h, kh), fairly archaic in form characters for k' (with ö, ü), q (with o, u), q (with ï), and also separate signs for velar nasal phoneme η.

Look like initial the graphic logograms *egeg "file, abrader", compare Tuva egee (ägää), Kazakh. egeu "file, abrader", ege- "to grind with a file"; ""trap, snare, fishing tackle, net"; "face, cheeks".

It is important to note that the phonological differentiation in sonority-aphonity of voiced consonants (b~p, d~t, z~s, g~k) in the Türkic runiform alphabet is reflected very unusually. As the comparative analysis shows, almost all runic characters for voiceless consonants (p, t, s, k', q) ultimately are derivatives from the runic characters for corresponding sonorous consonants.

For example, the Türkic runiform characters p, p ', t ', t (compare t in the fifth rock inscription of Hoyto-Tamir), s', k ' and q have developed respectively from signs for b' (~ *p'), d' (~ *t'), d (~ *t), z (~ *s), g' (~ *k') and γ (~ *q). However, the Orkhon runic characters t appear to be primordial, probably ascending to a graphic logogram taη "dawn".

Thus, some prototypes of the Ancient Türkic runes appear to be indigenous and, most likely, developed from initial Türkic pictorial logograms, sympbols for words. The Türkic runiform characters for phonetic combinations lt, rt and nt have no direct analogies in any of the ancient alphabets. Their prospective prototypes are graphic logograms alt "bottom, lower part", art "upland, mountain; mountain pass", ant~and "swear, oath" (image of skull) or andïγ "rim of a sieve, a strainer". The genetic link of Orkhon sign for ñ (nj) with the Orkhon-Yenisean symbol for is confirmed by ancient phonetic correspondence of ñ (nj)~nč.

And finally, the symbols for word separation in Türkic runiform inscriptions ( diverse notation for the breaks between words) display greater variety than the corresponding Phoenician, Ancient Greek, Karian and Etruscan scripts.

The paleographic and phonologic links of the Türkic runiform characters (graphemes) attest a long evolution of the Türkic runiform script in a development process of the Ancient Türkic language, which was generally completed not later than the 4th - 1st millennia BC. Consequently, the Türkic runiform alphabet, which history and genetic links are receiving principally new interpretation, can become an extremely important source for historical phonetics of the Türkic languages.


References for Chapter 10


1. Tychsen O.N. Schreiben an Pallas 19 Febr. 1786 über alte unbekannte Steinschrift in Sibirien, " Neue nordliche Beitrage ", vol. V, SPb., 1793, pp. 237-245;
Spassky G.I. Notes about Siberian antiquities. Ancient Siberian inscriptions, "Siberian bulletin ", SPb., 1818, p. 13-14;
Vostokov A. About similarity of the tracings found in Siberia on stones, to those found in Germany. " The Siberian bulletin ", SPb., 1824, ch. I, p. 1-8 (translation and comment of the review by G.Rommel from " Gottingische gelehrte Anzeigen ", 204, 1823 - " De antiquis quisbusdam sculpturis et inscriptionibus in Sibiria repertis ", Petropoli, 1822);
Klaproth J. Memoires relatifs a V Asie. (Sur quelques antiquites de la Siberie). Paris, 1824, p. 159;
Priests N. About runic letters in Minusinsk territory. " News of Siberian department of Russian geographical society ", vol. 5, 2, Irkutsk, 1874, p. 53-55; Donner . Inscriptions en caracteres de Flenissei. Systeme d'ecriture. Langue. - " Inscriptions de Orkhon recueillies par fexpedition Finnoise, 1890 et publiees par la Societe Finno-Ougrienne ", Helsingfors, 1892, pp. XL-XLIV (XXXIX-XLIX).

2. Yadrintsev H.M. Report of expedition to Orkhon in 1889 on behalf of the Eastern - Siberian Department of the Imperial Geographical society (a geographical diary). - Collection of works of Orkhon expedition, I, SPB., 1892, p. 106.

3 Thomsen W. Deciphering of Orkhon and Yenisei inscriptions. "Notes of Eastern branch of Russian Archeological Society " (ZVO Russian Archeological Society), vol. VIII, issue III - IV, SPb., 1894, p. 332 (V.R.Rozen translation from French, Thomsen W. Dechiffrement des inscriptions de Orkhon et de Yenissei. Notice preliminaire, Extrai du "Bulletin de Akademie R. des Sciences et des Lettres de Danemark, 1893, N 3, Copenhague, 1894).

4 Schifner A. Über verschiedene sibirische Eigentums-Zeichen, "Melanges russe ", vol.. IV, 1858, p. 2.

5 Thomsen W. Deciphering of Orkhon and Yenisei inscriptions, p. 337; "To talk definitely about the origin of our alphabet would be premature. I shall allow myself to only address the similarity of some letters with the letters signs of the (Semito-) Pehlevi alphabet"; Tomsen W. Inscriptions de Orkhon dechiffrees. " Memoires de la Societe Finno-Ougrienne " (MSFOu), V, Helsingfors, 1894-1896, pp. 49-50; Tomsen W. V alphabet runiforme Turc. Samlede Afhandlinger, III Bind, Kobenhavn, 1922, pp. 73-77.

6 Klyashtorny S.G. Ancient Türkic runiform monuments as a source on a history of Central Asia. ., 1964, p. 49.

7 Donner O. Sur Toriğine de Palphabet turc du nord de G Asie, "Journal de la Societe Finno-Ougrienne" (JSFOu), XIV, 1, Helsingfors, 1896, pp. 17, 21, 70.

8 Jensen H. Die Schrift in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart, 2. neubearbeitete und erweiterte Auflage, Berlin 1958, pp. 343-344, Abb. 343.

9 Altheim F. Geschichte der Hunnen, Bd. 1, Kapitel 11 (" Hunnische und alttürkische Runen "), Berlin, 1959, pp. 284-286, 437.

10 Here we agree with S.G.Kljashtorny, compare Klyashtorny S.G. Ancient Türkic runiform monuments as a source on a history of Central Asia, p. 46.

11 Aristov N. Ethnic structure of Kirghiz - cossacks of the Big Horde and Karakirgizes from genealogical legends and existing clan divisions and clan tamgas, and also history and beginning of anthropological research. "Live olde", issue III - IV, SPB., 1894, p. 419-420; Aristov N. Notes about ethnic structure of Türkic tribes and nations, and their number. "Live olde", issue III - IV, SPb., 1896, p. 418, 420.

12 Mallitsky N. Link of Türkic tamgas with Orkhon letters. " Records of Türkestani circle of archeology fans ", year III, Tashkent, 1897-1898, p. 43-47.

13 Sokolov A. From stone to press. "Culture and writing of the East", Baku, 1928, II, p. 116, 118.

14 Batmanov I.A. and Kunaa A.Ch. Monuments of Ancient Türkic writing in Tuva, issue I. Kyzyl, 1963, p. 8.

15 Tomsen W. L'alphabet runiforme Turc, pp. 78 - 79.

16 Polivanov E.D. Ideographic motive in formation of the Orkhon alphabet. A reprint from "Bulletin of the Central Asian state university" (Tashkent), 9, 1925, p. 177-179. "Alphabetical etymologies ( oq, aj) demonstrate that these letters were created only in the Turkish society, relying upon the Turkish language of the script... ", - wrote in the same place E.D.Polivanov.

17 Emre A. . Eski türk yazisinin menşegi. Istanbul, 1938, s. 19, 48, 50-52.

18 Clauson G. The origin of the Türkish "runic" alphabet. " Acta örientalia " (Havniae), XXXII, 1970, pp. 55, 59-60.

19 Critical analysis of these hypotheses see: Amanjolov A.S. Materials and research for history of the Ancient Türkic writing. Author's abstract of the Doctor Dissertation. Alma-Ata, 1975, p. 54-57.

20 Livshits V.A. Origin of Ancient Türkic runiform writing. SPb. "Ethnic, historical and cultural links of Türkic peoples of the USSR. Theses of reports and messages. All-Union Türkological conference, 27 - 29 September, 1976 ", Alma-Ata, 1976, p. 64.

21 Ibid, p. 68-69 (table).

22 Amanjolov A.S. Once more about Irtysh runic inscription, "Bulletin of Kazakh SSR Academy of Sciences", 1967, 9 (269), p. 66-70;
Amanjolov A.S. Runic-like inscription from Saka burial near Alma-Ata, "Bulletin of Kazakh SSR Academy of Sciences", 1971, 12 (320), p. 64-66;
Amanjolov A.S. Türkic runiform graphics, Ch. III (exponents - Irtysh, Ili and Syr-Darya inscriptions). Alma-Ata, 1985, p. 5-16, 31-39.

23 Amanjolov A.S. An "Ancient Greek " inscription from Alma-Ata region, "Oriental Archive" (Praha), 1967, 35/1, pp. 89-94;
Amanzh1v A. S. Forefather goat or ancient Türkic inscription in early Greek alphabet, "Oriental Archive" (Praha), 1974, 42/1, pp. 33-36.

24 Main provisions of this principally new development of the subject were published, see:
Amanjolov A.S. History of the Türkic runiform alphabet. Coll. "Kazaktsh men edebiet" ["Kazakh language and literature"], issue 5, Alma-Ata, 1974, p. 98-100;
Amanjolov A.S. Problem of origin of the Türkic runiform alphabet. Coll. " The cossack tsh men 1 " ["Kazakh language and literature "], issue 8, Alma-Ata, 1976, p. 59-71;
Amanjolov A.S. Genesis of Türkic runes. "Questions of linguistics", 1978, 2, p. 76 - 87.

25 Malov S.E. Monuments of Ancient Türkic writing in Mongolia and Kirghizia. M. - L., 1959, p. 63, 74-75.

26 Neike1 H. J. Altertumer aus dem Tale des Talaş in Türkestan. "Travaux ethnographiques de la Societe Finno-Ougrienne", VII, Helsinki, 1918, II: 1 and II: 14.

27 Vinnik D.N., Kojemyako P. N. Monuments of Ancient Türkic writing of Ayrtam-Oy valley. Coll. "New epigraphic finds in Kirghizia (1961)", Frunze, 1962, p. 9-10.

28 Convincing critics of such statements which contradict obvious facts, see: Batmanov I.A. Dating of Yenisei monuments of the Ancient Türkic writing, "Scientific notes of Tuva NIIYALI ", X, Kyzyl, 1963, p. 294.

29 I.V. Basic concepts of Türkic runiform paleography, "Soviet Türkology", 1975, 2, p. 38, 45, 47.

30 Ibid, p. 45.

31 This subject is covered with more detail in Chapter I of this monograph, partly in former publications, see: Amanjolov A.S. Graphics of Talass, Yenisei and Orkhon inscriptions, Coll. "Kazak tili men aedebieti", 3, Alma-Ata, 1973, p. 16-26;
Amanjolov A.S. Interpretation of some runic characters, "Scientific notes of Tuva NIIYALI", XVI, Kyzyl, 1973, p. 163-168;
Amanjolov A.S. Türkic runiform graphics (methodical development). Alma-Ata, 1980 [P. I].

32 M . E. Monuments of the Ancient Türkic writing of Mongolia and Kirgizia. M. - L., 1959, p. 74.

33 Ginzburg V.V. Anthropological characteristic of the Kazakhstan population during Bronze Epoch. Works IIAE Academy of Sciences KazSSR, vol. I, Alma-Ata, 1956, p. 159, 170-171;
Ginzburg V.V. Anthropology materials of ancient population of southeast Kazakhstan. - Works IIAE Academy of Sciences KazSSR, vol. 7, Alma-Ata, 1959, p. 269;
Ismagulov O. Anthropological  characteristics of Jeti-Su Usuns. - Works IIAE Academy of Sciences KazSSR, vol. 16, Alma-Ata, 1962, p. 176, 187, 190-192;
Ismagulov O. Kazakhstan population from an Bronze Epoch to modernity (paleoanthropological research). Alma-Ata, 1970, p. 4, 10, 19, 37-38.

34 Bernshtam A.N. Most ancient Türkic elements in ethnogenesis of Central Asia. "Soviet Ethnography" (collection of articles), VI - VII, M. - L., 1947, p. 148.

35 Ibid, p. 148-149, etc.

36 Marx . and Engels F. Selected letters. M., I947, p. 73.

37 Gumilev L.N. Hunnu. Middle Asia during ancient times. M, 1960, p. 39-40.

38 Hirth F. Nachworte zur Inschrift des Tonjukuk. In: Radloff W. Diealttiirkischen Inschriften der Mongolei. Zweite Folge. SPb., 1899, S. 49.

39 Shiratori . Über die Wu-sun Stamm in Zentralasien. " Keleti Szemle " (Budapest), 1902, 2-3, pp. 103-140.

40 Aristov N.A. Notes about ethnic structure of Türkic tribes and nations and their number, p. 17.

41 Zuev Yu.A. Question of language of ancient Usuns. "Bulletin of Academy of Sciences KazSSR ", No 5 (146), 1957, p. 73.

42 Gryaznov M.P. Connections of Southern Siberia nomads with Central Asia and Near East in 1st millennium BC "Materials of Second meeting of archeologists and ethnographers of Central Asia". M. - L., 1959, p. 142;
Rudenko S.I. Art of Altai and Near East (Middle of the 1st millennium BC). ., 1961, p. 64; Mannay-ool M. X. New materials of Scythian time in Tuva (Materials of archeological research TNIIYALI), issue IX, Kyzyl, 1964, p. 278-284.

43 Comparison material, besides Türkological material, was from the following studies of general and specific nature:
Shampolion J.-F. Egyptian hieroglyphic alphabet. Translation, edition and comments by I.G.Livshits. Publ. USSR Academy of Sciences, 1950;
Wiedemann F. Begining of historical Greek writing. Research in the field of most ancient Greek alphabet. Leipzig, 1908 (1910);
Thompson E. M. An Introduction to Greek and Latin Palaeography. Oxford, 1912;
Driver G. R. Semitic Writing from Pictograph to Alphabet. London, 1948;
Gelb L. J. Study of Writing. Foundation of Grammatology. London, 1952;
Diringer D. Alphabet. Key to the History of Mankind. London, 1953;
Diringer D. Writing. London, 1962;
Moorhouse A. . The Triumph of the Alphabet. A History of Writing. New York, 1953;
Friedrich J. Entzifferung verschollener Schriften und Sprachen, Berlin, 1954;
Jensen . Die Schrift in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart, 2. neubearbeitete und erweiterte Auflage, Berlin, 1958;
Cohen M. La grande invention de reeriture et son evolution. Paris, 1958;
Shifman I.S. Phoenician language. ., 1963;
Istrin V.A. Emergence and development of writing. ., 1965 (2nd revised edition);
Shevoroshkin V.V. Research in decoding of Karian inscriptions. ., 1965;
Makaev E.A. Language of the most ancient runic inscriptions. The linguistic and historical philological analysis. ., 1965;
Friedrich J. Geschichte der Schrift. Unter besonderer Berücksichtung ilırer geistigen Entwickltmg. Heidelberg, 1966;
Földes-Papp . Vom Felsbild zurn Alphabet. Die geschichte der Schrift von ihren frühesten Vorstufen bis zur modernen lateinischen Schreibshrift. Stuttgart, 1966;
Bauer . M. Language of S.Arabian writing. ., 1966;
Shevoroshkin V.V. Lidian language. ., 1967;
Shevoroshkin V. V. Zur Entstehımg und Entwicklung der kleinasiatischen Buchstabenschriften. "Kadmos" (Berlin), Bd. VII, 2, 1968, pp. 150-173.

44 Margulan A.H. Begazy-Dandyb Culture of Central Kazakhstan. Alma-Ata, 1979, p. 21.

45 Ramstedt . J. The relation of the Altaic languages to other language groups. Extrait du " Journal de la Societe Finno-Ougrienne ", LIII, Helsinki, 1947, p. 23: "In my view equally good reasons could be found for attempting to link together the Altaic and Indo-European languages";
Emre A. C. Le probleme de la parente des langues turques et indo-europeennes. Ankara, 1960; (A.J. Emre addressed up to 40 cases of most ancient Indoeuropean-Türkic lexical concordances);
Dulzon A.P. Hypothesis about remote relationship of the Uralo-Altai language s with Indo-European. Coll. "Origin of Siberia natives and their languages" (Materials of interuniversity conference 11 - 13 May, 1969), Tomsk, 1969, p. 108 - 110;
Petrov K.I. Genetical relationship of the Altai and Indo-European languages.
Ibid, p. 110 - 112.

46 Abbreviations in Table 3 "Genetical links of Türkic runes": see Table 3

47 Ryasyanen M. Materials for historical phonetics of Türkic languages, ., 1955, p. 24 - 25;
Baskakov N.A. Türkic languages (General and typological characteristics), "Languages of the USSR peoples", II - Türkic languages, ., 1966, p. 17;
Doerfer G. Bemerkungen zur Methodik der turkischen Lautlehre, " Orientalistische Literaturzeitung ", (Berlin), LXVI, 7/8,1971, p. 335.

Existence of proto-Türkic initial consonant of type *h (*k) is definitely confirmed by the Khalage material, see: Derfer, Research status of Khalage group of languages. Questions of linguistics, 1972, 1, and other works.

Also compare:
ancient-Türkic ara "interval, middle" and Chuvash. khusha "gap between objects",
ancient-Türkic egri "1) curved, uneven, bent; 2) indirect: false, lying, wrong; 3) curvature", and Chuvash. kuker " 1) curved, bent, crooked; 2) dishonest, dishonestly; 3) curvature, bend, corner, turn, bow",
ancient-Türkic inč "1) rest; quiet; 2) quietly ", and Chuvash. kanač "rest, calmness, breather, convenience" (formed from verb kan- "to rest, resting"),
ancient-Türkic ačïγ "1) sour, bitter; 2) indirect. bitter, insulting; 3) noun, indirect bitterness, bitter", and Chuvash. kacha "term for anything very spicy, bitter",
ancient-Türkic aşuq "ankle joint, anklebone" and Khakass. khazykh "knucklebone, anklebone",
ancient-Türkic üηür " 1) emptiness, empty space; 2) hollow".

Kyzlasov Alphabet Table Amanjolov Alphabet Table Amanjolov Book Contents Proceed to Conclusions
In Russian
Codex of Inscriptions - Index
Alphabet - Index
Hunnic Writing
Turanian Writing
Paleography of 8 Türkic Alphabets
Türkic and Kharosthi Table
(Kharosthi) Script
Karosthi-Aramaic Script
Alan Dateline
Avar Dateline
Besenyo Dateline
Bulgar Dateline
Huns Dateline
Karluk Dateline
Khazar Dateline
Kimak Dateline
Kipchak Dateline
Kyrgyz Dateline
Sabir Dateline
Seyanto Dateline
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3/31/06 TürkicWorld