Uyghur is a Turkic language with about 10 million speakers mainly in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, and also in Afghanistan, Australia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Turkey, the USA and Uzbekistan.
Between the 8th and the 16th century, Uyghur was written with an alphabet derived from Sogdian known as Old Uyghur. Unlike Sogdian, which was written from right to left in horizontal lines, the Old Uyghur alphabet was written from left to right in vertical columns, or in other words, it was a version of Sogdian rotated 90° to the left. Uyghur was also written with the Syriac alphabet, mostly in Christian documents.
From the the 16th century until the early 20th century, Uyghur was written with a version of the Arabic alphabet known as 'Chagatai'. During the 20th century a number of versions of the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets were adopted to write Uyghur in different Uyghur-speaking regions. However the Latin alphabet was unpopular and in 1987 the Arabic script was reinstated as the official script for Uyghur in China.
The name of this language is variously spelt Uigur, Uiguir, Uighuir, Uygur, Uighur, Uygur, Uyghur or in Chinese, 维吾尔语 (Wéiwú'ěryǔ). Uyghur is the preferred spelling in the Latin alphabet: this was confirmed at a conference of the Ethnic Languages and Script Committe of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region held in October 2006.
Most of the Old Uyghur letters have different shapes depending on their position in a word. The initial shapes are used at the beginning of words, the medial shapes in the middle, and the final shapes at the ends of words.
There is no standard or official Latin alphabet for Uyghur: this version, known as Yengi Yezik or Yeŋi Yeziq (New Writing) was used between 1969 and 1987.
This is the Uyghur Latin Yéziq (ULY), which was introduced between November 2000 and July 2001 at five conferences were held at Xinjiang University in Urumchi. It is intended to be a unified Latin script for Uyghur.
Һемме адем занидинла еркин, иззет-һөрмет ве һоқуқта бапбаравер болуп туғулған. Улар еқилге ве вийдан'ға иге һемде бир-бириге қэриндашлиқ мунасивитиге хас роһ билен билен муамил қилиши кэрек.
H̡əmmə adəm zatidinla ərkin, izzət-h̡ɵrmət wə hok̡uk̡ta babbarawər bolup tuƣulƣan. Ular ək̡ilƣə wə wijdanƣa igə h̡əmdə bir-birigə k̡erindaxlik̡ munasiwitigə hax roh bilən mu’amilə k̡ilixi kerək.
Hemme adem zatidinla erkin, izzet-hörmet we hoquqta babbarawer bolup tughulghan. Ular eqilghe we wijdan'gha ige hemde bir-birige qérindashliq munasiwitige xas roh bilen muamile qilishi kérek.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Hey, péqir uyghur, oyghan, uyqung yéter,
Sende mal yoq, emdi ketse jan kéter.
Bu ölümdin özengni qutqazmisang,
Ah, séning haling xeter, haling xeter.
Hey, poor Uyghur, wake up, you have slept long enough,
You have nothing, what is now at stake is your very life.
If you don't rescue yourself from this death,
Ah, your end will be looming, your end will be looming.
Part of ئويغان! / Oyghan! (Wake up), a poem by Abduxaliq Uyghur
The complete poem with English and French translations can be found at: http://www.oyghan.com/oyghan.html
Longer sample text (Tower of Babel)
Greetings from the Teklimakan: a handbook of Modern Uyghur (free downloadable Uyghur course)
Uyghur Arabic-Cyrillic-Latin converter
Online Uyghur news and radio
London Uyghur Ensemble
Forum for discussing technical matters concerning the Uyghur language,
like grammar, vocabulary, semantics or discourse analysis:
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