[Marxism] Re: Cyrillic vs. Latin alphabet

Lueko Willms 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
/--------- L.WILLMS at jpberlin.de -- Alle Rechte vorbehalten --

"Regierung aus dem Volke, durch das Volk und für das Volk"
   - Abraham Lincoln, Ansprache in Gettysburg, 19.11.1863
"... was in die revolutionäre Sprache von heute übersetzt heißt:
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                                  - Fidel Castro, November 1994

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