a phonetic writing system developed by the Uighurs at the end of the first millennium. Uighur script has been traced back through the Sogdian alphabet to one of the Syriac-Aramaic alphabets. The letters were written from top to bottom, as though strung on a vertical line, and the lines were arranged from left to right. The configuration of each of the 22 letters depended on the letter’s word position: initial, medial, or final.
In the 11th and 12th centuries the Uighurs began using the Arabic alphabet, which gradually replaced Uighur script. The latter continued in use until the early 18th century, and the ethnic group of the Yellow Uighurs continued to use it into the 19th century. In the 13th century Uighur script was borrowed by the Mongols, who adapted it to the phonetics of Mongolian. This writing system is still used today in the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region. The Manchus, in turn, borrowed Uighur script from the Mongols and used it until the 18th century.
REFERENCESMalov, S. E. Pamiatniki drevnetiurkskoi pis’mennosti. Moscow-Leningrad, 1951.
Shcherbak, A. M. Grammaticheskii ocherk iazyka tiurkskikh tekstov X-XIII vv. iz. Vostochnogo Turkestana. Moscow-Leningrad, 1961.
Diringer, D. Alfavit. Moscow, 1963. (Translated from English.)
Gabain, A. von. Das uigurische Königreich von Chotscho, 850–1250. Berlin, 1961.