Old Kurdish Alphabet

The old Kurdish alphabet documented by the welknown muslim author In Wahshia in his book Shawq al-Mustaham in 856 (855?) AC. can provide a final solution for a unified Kurdish alphabet.
Ibn Wahshiyya informs us that the Kurds used this alphabet since ancient times and old scientists such as Yanbushad and Masi Surati wrote their science and knowledge in this script. He further states that Kurds are in possession of book of Safar of Adam.
Ibn Wahshiya writes that he has seen in Baghdad thirty Kurdish books written in this alphabet. He further states that he has two scientific Kurdish books in Sham (Levantine) written in this alphabet, that he has transltated into Arabic for the benefit of mankind; one of the books is on the culture of the vine and the palm tree, the other on water and the means of finding it out in unknown ground.

The list of the letters provide by Ibn Wahshiya consists of 37 letters; including all 28 Arabic letters, plus two other Kurdish (and non existant in Arabic) letters. He was however unable to provide equivalents for 7 other letters, and labelled them as extraordinary and strange letters non-existant in any other language.
A quick analys of the list shows that the 7 undeciphered letters may include some of following sounds: j (zh), ê?, e, g?, v?, o/û?
Like in many other oriental scripts, there may have been no distinction between u and î versus w and y, as is the case in Arabic. Similarly, short i may have been left wittout any signs as in modern Sorani script (as well as many east European languages). Since o and û are interchangable and originally formed a single vowel in proto-Kurdish, as is evidenced from Hurro-Urartian remains, and that in northern (Kurmanji) and central (Sorani) Kurdish they are highly interchangable, (whenever there are two homonymous words one is undoubtedly a foreign loan), and the fact that in Southern Kurdish (Kalhuri) exists only û, and o is absent, we may rightly assume that there was a single sign for both modern o and û.
Similarly, it appears that in proto-Kurdish existed only one of î and ê vowels, as these are highly interchangable in varous Kurdish dialects.
The 26th letter, represented by Arabic zad, may indeed represent Kurdish thrilled l, as it is the closest existant equivalent of that letter in Arabic. Similarly, the 28th letter, ghayn, may actually represent g and not gh, since gh does not exist in many Kurdish dialects, moreover, in Arabic foreign g is represented by gh. Anyways, in modern Kurdish gh has almost completely disappeared.
There is a possibily that one of the undeciphered letteres represented v, however, in central and southern Kurdish v is absent and there exists only w.
The undeciphered letters may also represent some letters which nowadays have been limited to a few small dialects such as k', p', r', etc. Finally there is the probablity that they represent sounds who have now completely disappeared from all existing Kurdish dialetcts.

Egyptian scholar Daria Auni states that this alphabet was written from left to light. I belive this is an advantage, since it's in accordance to the numerical digits.
So, now after this analys of the actual values of the signs, an important question which rises here is: Does our current knowledge of this old Kurdish script allow us to resuse in for [modern] Kurdish?
According to our analys of the actual values of the signs,  it appears that we have two necessary steps:
1) Looking forward to find more extants of this alphabet in old documents. Indeed there may be undeciphered manuscripts in this script labelled and preserved as unknown language in unknown places such as museums, which now can be identified and easily translated based on our knowledge of existence of this valuable alphabet.Indeed, any short text, even a few short sentences provides us a considerable amount of knowledge for usage of this script.
2) Reconstruction and reorganizing of the script on the basis of old and modern Kurdish, as was done above, gives us the possibility of reviving and resusing this script. To begin with, a computer based typing system for keyboard (fonts), is of utmost importance.

Further reading:


Anonymous said...

I'm truly enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It's a vеry еasy
on the eyes which mаκes it much mοre enjoуable foг me to come heгe аnԁ
vіsit more often. Did yоu hіre out а ԁеveloρeг to create уouг theme?
Outstanding wοrk!

Here is my sіte: Chatroulette Users

Runhener said...

Astonishing information indeed. Thanks for your instructive post.

Total Help Towing said...

Stay up the good work! You understand, lots of individuals are hunting round for this information, you could aid them greatly.

- local towing | 24 hours towing service |24 hours road service

Post a Comment