[Marxism] Re: Cyrillic vs. Latin alphabet
l.willms at jpberlin.de
Sun Mar 6 15:22:00 MST 2005
. On 06.03.05
wrote jjonas at nic.fi (Joonas Laine)
in 6800017.1110116568388.JavaMail.jjonas at nic.fi
about [Marxism] Cyrillic vs. Latin alphabet
unfortunately I have no clue what you are referring to, since there
is no In-Reply-To: header in your mail..
JL> I don't have a Lenin reference, but Trotsky wrote in 'The
JL> Revolution Betrayed', Ch.7, '3. Family, Youth, and Culture':
JL> "In the schools of the Union, lessons are taught at present in no
JL> less than eighty languages. For a majority of them, it was necessary
JL> to compose new alphabets, or to replace the extremely aristocratic
JL> Asiatic alphabets with the more democratic Latin."
I would concede to Trotsky that he has simply copied the notion of
"more democratic" from those zealous refermers who labelled it as
such, but as far as this change refers to the mainly turkic languages
of Central Asia, it is true that the Arabic script is not very well
suited for those languages.
Arabic script is OK for those semitic languages which have a very
rich repertoire of consonants, but this script -- in its original form
-- normally does not write vowels, except when they are long, and then
they are just a different form of a consonant. Short vowels are not
written, or only indicated by diacritical marks as "haraket" or
"movement", and Arab only knows three of them.
In Turkey-turkish there are eight vowels to distinguish, and I
think that the Central Asian Turkic languages do not differ too much
from that; at least Azeri (the Turkish spoken in Azerbaijan, both in
Iran and in the republic Azerbaijan) is very very near to the Turkey-
So, for such languages, a change to a Latin script would be an
enhancement, which explains the success of the change from Arabic
script to Latin script in Turkey itself has shown.
The big question was: how far should a unified Turkic script be
established, which would favor a merging of the various Turkic
languages in the long run, or separate scripts for each and every
language which would cement separation between them and favor distinct
and separate development for each and every language or dialect.
BTW, under Stalin, in the late 1930ies (I believe), the latin script
was replaced by Cyrillic. At least in Azerbaycan, they reverted to a
Latin script after the breakup of the USSR.
Lüko Willms http://www.mlwerke.de
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