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Yukiyo Kasai (Berlin)

Multiscriptality in Old Turkish – Relationship between scripts and religions

The main script used in the writing of Old Turkish (6th–14th c.) is the Uyghur script, which developed from the Sogdian script. In addition to this script the Uyghurs also used various scripts to write in their own language. As examples we can take the Sogdian, Tibetan, Manichean and Syriac scripts. The Uyghurs did not hesitate to use Chinese characters and Brāhmī script although they were not used to utilizing Old Turkish words in their writing but instead to cite the Chinese or Sanskrit terminologies in the Old Turkish texts. This multiscriptality in Old Turkish has to do with the religions of the Uyghurs; not only Buddhism, which became the main religion of the Uyghurs in the large part of the above-mentioned period, but also the other various beliefs existed one after another or in parallel. Each religion had their “holy” scripts, which were used alongside the Uyghur script. In my lecture the use of these scripts and its particularity are presented.