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Re: Mongolian Transcription

David Marjanovic (david.marjanovic@gmx.at) wrote:

<OK, er... that's not the question. As usual in Altaic languages, it has 7
or 8 vowels. I use ö and ü for two of them because almost all languages
that have those and use the Latin alphabet write them as ö and ü. (Swedish
and Finnish have ö and y, Danish and Norwegian have ø and y, French has,
among others, e and u...) And so does the paper.>

  I was not questioning the spelling, and I know very well that the
spelling is logical in its own.
<Most transcriptions, by Mongolian authors or not, used to be done from
the Russianized version. Russian has neither ö nor ü and strongly dislikes
double letters.>

  There are plenty of double "ii" and "nn" in Russian lit to work around
this. Translating as I am some older Russian works, its very obvious that
lately the trend has been to replace the second sound in a vowel sequence
with a different character, but its pronounced the same all the way.

<Use of u for ö was probably encouraged by the fact that Özbekiston used
the Belorussian letter "short u" for its ö. (No, I have no idea about
Özbek, I've seen a stamp from there. :-) )>

  The Russian system was used because the Russians controlled it. Most of
the work on localities were governed by Russia, and this is where the
successive work comes from. Now we have the countries of the former
Russian republics asserting their own native works in the nomenclature of
the realm, and this is proving interesting to say the least, especially
since National Geographic isn't complying.

<-baatar. *Tarbosaurus*-or-not *bataar* has it the wrong way around. Bator
is Russianized... in Russian unstressed o is pronounced something like
English uh, so it's good to use for a short ah. Ulan Bator is Russianized
for Ulaanbaatar.>

  I don't want to get in an argument with this one. There is no one
correct way to transcribe Mongolian orthography in English; its all
relative to the language you speak or the various books you read. Sanskrit
authorities offer almost the same thing, and it is clear that it requires
outside authorities to make their own way when transcribing languages
whose written form has no actual "alphabet". Sop we get various forms of
writing Chinese, Japanese is not as difficult, but even Greek and Russian
transcription is not all that easy, and this is into _English_. I have no
idea what lit is being compiled in Romania on transcribing French names,
and this should be one caution on accepting systems of transcribing
non-orthographed languages. Like Mongolian. The practices of the American
authors is to follow "bataar" as is common in Mongolian multituberculate
names, and this would most likely have been the preferred form. It is also
clear than the name *Achillobator* derived from a Russian system, which
still has a prevalent place in Mongolian language and society, despite the
country being independant.


Jaime A. Headden

  Little steps are often the hardest to take.  We are too used to making leaps 
in the face of adversity, that a simple skip is so hard to do.  We should all 
learn to walk soft, walk small, see the world around us rather than zoom by it.

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