The earliest known examples of writing in any Turkic language were
found in the Orkhon river valley in Mongolia in the 19th century. They
date from the early 8th century AD and the script in which they are
written is known as the Orkhon alphabet, or the Old Turkic script, the
Göktürk script, or the Orkhon-Yenisey script. Inscriptions dating from the
later 8th century AD in a slight variant of the Orkhon alphabet, known
as Yenisei or Siberian runes, have also been found around Yenisei and
other parts of Siberia.
Because of a superficial resemblance to the Runic
alphabet, the alphabet is also known as Orkhon or Turkic runes.
This resemblance is probably a result of the writing materials used
- most inscriptions are in hard surfaces, such as stone or wood, and
curved lines are difficult to inscribe in such surfaces.
The Orkhon alphabet is thought to have been derived from or inspired
by a non-cursive version of the Sogdian script. By the 9th century AD,
the Orkhon and Yenisei alphabets were replaced by the Uighur alphabet,
which developed from the cursive version of the Sogdian script.
Type of writing system: alphabet
Direction of writing: written mainly from right to left in horizontal
lines, though some inscriptions are written vertically with the letters
rotated by 90°. When written vertically, it read from bottom to top
and right to left.
Some consonants have two forms, one of which was used with front
vowels, the other with back vowels.
Used to write: Old Turkic (a.k.a. East Old Turkic, Orkhon Turkic, Old Uyghur),
the earliest attested form of Turkic, found in Göktürk and Old Uyghur
inscriptions dating from between the 7th and 13th century.
Orkhon/Old Turkic alphabet
Türk Oguz begleri, bodun, eşidin üze Tengri basmasar
asra yir telinmeser Türk bodun ilinin, törüngün
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