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Re: Mongolian (was: Re: Fluency Wish-List

From:Kenji Schwarz <schwarz@...>
Date:Wednesday, April 19, 2000, 21:44
On Tue, 18 Apr 2000, BP Jonsson wrote:

> had met Poppe several times. It was also he who told me that the > folks developing the Cyrillic Mongolian did so under pain of death.
Hating the Cyrillic orthography seems to be a basic tenet of Western Mongolistics, which has always puzzled me. That it has a long, long tradition doesn't surprise me any more :)
> Meeting a person who had met both these two on a regular basis was > awesome enough to me! :)
I only met Poppe when he was quite elderly and frail, though still spitting out etymologies and attacks on his attackers like a machine gun. To be honest, he came across as a thoroughly unpleasant individual, if an interesting one.
> >There were some gaps, but there were translators' schools at the Korean > >court teaching Mongol as well as Chinese at least up to the early 1600s. > >I don't remember the details of the institutional history, but if I > >understood things correctly, Mongolian was being taught in Korea in the > >14th century according to Yuan standards, which implies 'Phags-pa script - > >in addition, I think there are contemporary references to it in Korean > >literature or histories. I'll ask around here and see if anyone can cite > >some details/references. > > What mostly baffles me is that they did it at all, and why!
Mongolian was the basic language of diplomacy and trade in the Northeast, or at least it was a lingua franca to an extent that's generally not noticed. For example, the correspondence between the Korean court and the Later Jin court, right up through the 1630s, was in Mongolian, not Manchu or Chinese (or Korean, for that matter).
> Heh! I more or less abandoned it for Tibetan, then got swamped in the > Iranian stuff. Any Eastern mangling of Sanskrit is triflish compared to > the mangling Middle Iranian scribes subjected their own language to with > the help of the Aramaic origin of their script.
From what little I know about it, I'd have to agree completely. A friend of mine here has taken up Iranian historical/comparative linguistics, and is suffering mightily for his choice :) Isn't Avestan a strong candidate for "best conlang hoax in history"?
> One of my unfinished projects is an alphabetical index to the > Mahavyutpatti which I hope I'll finish some day...
THat would be great! I'm surprised one hasn't been produced already, in fact.
> >ObConlang: Uh... > > Sanskrit is a conlang! :-)
No! Impossible! No conlanger could possibly be that sick and twisted! :) Kenji