Transliteration Of Old Mongolian Names: Linguo-Didactic Aspect

Abstract

This article discusses in detail the technology of teaching Old Mongolian writing. Knowledge of Old Mongolian writing is one of the most relevant aspects of mastering oriental languages. For centuries, Old Mongolian writing has been the only literary form of various Mongolian languages. Without a detailed study of Old Mongolian writing, there cannot be a deep understanding of traditional Mongolian culture. This subject is studied in the framework of the discipline "Ancient Languages and Cultures" at the university. The theory of teaching the ancient Mongolian language has not actually been developed (for Russian educational institutions). Much attention is paid to the specifics of teaching reading. Reading in the old written Mongolian language is one of the most important information channels through which the student is introduced to the cultural heritage of the past. Given the complex graphic system of Old Mongolian writing, it is necessary to use the generally accepted transliteration on the Latin basis, which serves as a support for reading at the initial stage, helps the teacher to identify students' reading errors and contributes to the fast learning of the alphabet. The State Archive of the Trans-Baikal Territory contains archival documents in the old Mongolian language, which allows students to open horizons for research activity. In revision inventories from the archive fund, a list of foreigners of the Irkutsk province of the Verkhneudinsky district of the Khorinskaya Steppe Duma of the Sagan genus (July 7, 1831) was examined.

Keywords: Old-written Mongolian languageanthroponymytransliterationState Archive of the Trans-Baikal Territoryrevision inventories

Introduction

Knowledge of Old Mongolian writing is one of the most relevant aspects of mastering oriental languages. For centuries, Old Mongolian writing has been the only literary form of various Mongolian languages. This writing was used until the 1940s in Mongolia, and until the 1930s in the Buryat Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, while in Inner Mongolia (China) it is continues to be used. Without a detailed study of Old Mongolian writing, one cannot have a deep understanding of traditional Mongolian culture.

Education of Old Mongolian writing in our university is given in the framework of the disciplines "Ancient Languages and Cultures" as the minimum requirement for the content of the state educational standard along with European languages. This course was previously taught to undergraduate students of the specialty “Theory and Practice of Intercultural Communication” (Bardakhanova, 2018, p. 14). At present it is read to undergraduates majoring in Linguistics, for whom the first foreign language is Mongolian.

Problem Statement

Studying the old Mongolian writing by university students gives great prospects associated with research activity. Archival documents stored in the regional museum of local lore named after A.K. Kuznetsov, in the State Archive of the Trans-Baikal Territory, in the Buryat Scientific Center, in the State Archive of the Republic of Buryatia, contain valuable information on the ethnic culture of the Mongol-speaking peoples, which constitutes a state property that requires preservation and lingual cultural studies. Monuments of writing ethnic culture await a comprehensive study. Trained linguists who understand and master the system of ideas about the relationship between the language, history and culture of the people, the national and cultural specifics of the countries of the language being studied and their country can not only preserve, but also conduct research work focused on the study of regional problems, including carrying out work in museum funds.

The teaching technology of Old Mongolian writing, the theory of its training has not actually been developed (for Russian educational institutions). In this article, we consider the specifics of teaching this writing.

Research Questions

According to Vladimirtsov (1989, p. 33), the periodization of the old Mongolian language is as follows:

1) the ancient period – before the 14th century;

2) the average period – from the beginning of the 14th century until the second half of the 16th century;

3) the transition period – from the end of the 16th century until the beginning of the 17th century;

4) a new (classical) period – from the beginning of the 17th century.

To teach students of Old Mongolian writing, we are interested in the old-written Mongolian language of the classical period.

Purpose of the Study

One of the main tasks of teaching Old Mongolian writing is learning to read in it. Reading in the old written Mongolian language is one of the most important information channels through which the student is introduced to the cultural heritage of the past. They do not speak the old written Mongolian language, they only write and read. As it is not possible to restore the pronunciation of that distant era, scientific researchers can only guess which dialect of the Mongolian language was taken as a basis.

Research Methods

Given the complex graphic system of Old Mongolian writing, it is necessary to use the generally accepted transliteration on the Latin basis, which serves as a support for reading at the initial stage, helps the teacher to establish students' reading errors and contributes to the fast learning of the alphabet.

It should be noted that, as in any other language, the Old Mongolian script has printed and written fonts. Experience has shown that these two fonts need to be run simultaneously. If students are taught only written fonts, they find it difficult, and some do not recognize texts written in print, and vice versa.

Starting to study the Old Mongolian vertical writing, students first of all get acquainted with the grapheme elements, which in combination or separately make up the letters of the Mongolian writing. The letters of the old Mongolian script are written from top to bottom, the lines are read from left to right, each letter has three positions in the word: at the beginning, in the middle and at the end. In the old Mongolian there is no capital or lowercase letter. All vowels and some consonants in the initial position have the element titled “crown”, therefore, so that students remember this, you can use the mnemonic way of remembering: at the beginning of the word, the letter puts on the crown, as if becoming the first and main. For example, the letter a at the beginning of the word consists of the elements titim “crown” and shud “tooth”, in the middle – only shud “tooth”, and at the end either orkhits “folding” or sul “tail”.

Students quickly and with interest master the skills of calligraphy, remember the basic elements. At the initial stage, difficulty in reading lexical units is caused by the fact that the old-written Mongolian language, in terms of its lexical and grammatical features, is largely detached from living modern Mongolian languages, as well as in connection with the polyphonic character of the letter styles. However, this lies in the uniqueness of this writing and in a single spelling rule for Mongolian words, due to which it has become common to all Mongolian tribes. Speakers of different Mongolian languages could read the same word according to their dialect. So, for example, the word čaүan “white” will be read by the Khalkha-Mongol as tsagaan, Buryats as sagaan, Chakhar as chagaan etc; ǰirүal “happiness” by representatives of different dialects can be read as zhirүal, jarүal and dǰarүal, as the sign ǰ means zh, ja and affricate dǰ. One sign for the vowels o and u, ö and ü regardless of position in the word; one character for a and e, t and d in the middle of the word, etc. Depending on the position in the word, some characters have two or three faces. The same spelling makes reading difficult. For example, olan “many” and ulam “more and more”. The student can read olan “much” as ulan and not understand the meaning.

Attention should be paid to a number of rules that help correct reading: a) in accordance with the law of syngarmonism (vowel harmony rule: palatal and labial), the vowel of the first syllable regulates the writing of vowels of subsequent syllables. According to the palatal harmony of the vowels in the same word, vowels of hard and soft rows cannot be found. The term hard and soft series are borrowed from Bobrovnikov (1849, p. 6). Hard-row vowels include a, o, u, soft-row vowels – e, ö, ü, neutral – i. Therefore, if in the first syllable is a vowel of a solid series, in subsequent syllables only vowels of a solid series or neutral i can be used. If in the first syllable a vowel of the soft row, in the subsequent syllables only vowels of the soft row or neutral i can be found. Thus, neutral i can occur both in hard-row and soft-row words. Words with only neutral vowels i are considered mildly consonant; b) according to the law of vowel lip harmony, the vowels o and ö can be found only in the first syllable, u and ü can be found both in the first and in any of the following syllables; c) in some cases, reading is determined by context. It is also recommended that students learn, memorize the vocabulary they have learned, which helps in the future to correctly read and translate texts.

The Mongolian script, based on the Uyghur script, dates back to the Sogdian alphabet, which, in turn, according to modern scientific assumptions, goes back to one of the forms of Aramaic writing, originating from the Phoenician alphabet.

Currently, there is no unequivocal opinion about the number of letters in the alphabet of Old Mongolian writing. In the “Grammar of the Mongolian-Kalmyk language” by Bobrovnikov (1849) noted: "The Mongolian-Kalmyk language has seven vowels and nineteen consonants, for the expression of which the Mongols use twenty, and the Kalmyks twenty-seven letters" (pp. 1-2). According to the table (Vladimirtsov, 1989, p. 71) the Mongolian alphabet consists of 23 letters, with each letter conveyed by the corresponding terms in Latin. Sanzheev (1964) in his work “The Old Writing Mongolian Language” writes that “the old Mongolian alphabet consists of 20 basic and 8 additional letters, the first of which serve to convey the “indigenous” (p. 12) Mongolian phonemes, and the latter to indicate foreign sounds in words borrowed from about the 15th century until now". At Poppe (1937) we find 7 vowels and 21 consonants. In the "Big Encyclopedic Dictionary" (Yartseva, 1998) it is indicated that Mongolian writing consists of 20 basic 8 additional letters (for transmitting foreign-language sounds).

Thus, in the named grammars and in other educational literature, a different number of letters in the alphabet of the old Mongolian language is given: from 23 to 31 letters. In addition, the teaching literature gives a different number of galik letters, which are used to transfer borrowed words from other languages.In our work with students, we represent the alphabet of the Old Mongolian letter from 23 basic and 14 additional letters – galik (for the transmission of foreign languages), 10 of which are galik letters that are not in the Mongolian alphabet, 4 are modified forms of Mongolian letters (Ulzetuyeva, 2006, p. 88). All of them are derived from the 14 main characters of the Uyghur alphabet, which almost until the 16th century preserved by the Mongols in the form in which it was borrowed, and only at the beginning of the 17th century significant changes were made to it in accordance with the norms of the Mongolian language.

Material for students is provided on the principle of increasing complexity – as you familiarize yourself with the letters of the Old Mongolian alphabet (first vowels, then consonants), a new vocabulary is introduced into the exercises containing exactly those letters that you are familiar with at this stage.

The difficulty for students is made by the q consonants in the words of the hard series, k in the words of the soft series, and also ү in the words of the hard series, g in the words of the soft series. So, the spelling of k coincides with the spelling of g. The difference between q and ү in the element davhar tseg “two points” before ү, but not in all cases: q is always written before the vowel, while the consonant ү as “devsger useg” can appear in the middle of the word before the consonant and at the end of the word without the vowel, in this case, before ү two points are not set:

Students remember the letters of the Old Mongolian alphabet, which are written differently at the beginning, in the middle and at the end, connecting syllables. Thus, students learn to read syllables, words, phrases and sentences, and then texts. Reading a coherent text forms true reading among students as a form of speech activity. Understanding of the text is determined by knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. The presence of a large number of unfamiliar vocabulary reduces the interest in reading, distracts from the content of the text by searching for unfamiliar words in the dictionary. In this case, it is recommended to give a list of unfamiliar words on the board or in printed form. However, students should be accustomed to using the dictionary when reading. Today, bilingual dictionaries are available for sale: modern Mongolian-ancient Mongolian.

One of the most important reading skills is linguistic guessing. Students determine the meaning of words and the rules of word formation. For example, the affix / -či / -čin forms words that name persons according to their activity, commitment, inclination, habit: malčin “herder” ( mal “cattle”), qoničin “shepherd” ( qoni “sheep”), angčin “hunter” ( ang “beast”), ayilčin “guest” ( ayil “family”) etc.

Word-building games, solving crosswords, tasks to exclude unnecessary words from a homogeneous list, exercises to fill in the blanks are all effectively used.

Learning such vocabulary as internationalism does not require special efforts. Galik is used here – letters used in foreign words: Moskva “Moscow”, element “element”, kino “cinema”, foto “photo”, lektsi “lecture”. It was noticed that the students, having learned the entire alphabet and the galik, use the letters of the Old Mongolian alphabet to write Russian words, turning their notes into "secret writing".

To understand the text, it is important to identify the main members of the sentence, correlate them with the meaning and meaning of what is read. The guidelines here can be postpositions, pronouns, word order in a sentence. The grammatical features that facilitate orientation in the text include the morphological design of the word, affixes of the noun, the end of the verb. Students should be aware that parts of the predicate's speech must be sought in last place in the sentence.

Also, support for understanding the text can serve as knowledge of the elements of the culture of the Mongolian people, a familiar name that played a role in the history, literature, culture of the country.

So, students, having become acquainted with vertical graphic elements and letters, master the skills of calligraphy, literate writing, reading, transliteration on a Latin basis, translation, learn the necessary amount of lexical material.

The State Archive of the Trans-Baikal Territory pre-revolutionary funds have invaluable information about one of the most important periods in the history of Eastern Transbaikalia – the period of the expansion of the Russian Empire due to the eastward expansion of the Eurasian continent and the colonization of vast Siberian expanses (Zhamsaranova & Baturina, 2018).

The State Archive of the Trans-Baikal Territory stores archival documents in the old Mongolian language, which allows students to engage in scientific activities. The State Archive of the Trans-Baikal Territory has the opportunity to get acquainted with materials in the Old Mongolian language, to study the nature of archival documents, especially the functioning of the Old Mongolian language in business documentation. The documents show a not very neat handwriting, vocabulary from the Russian language, such as the Steppe Duma, foreign authorities, February, March, written in the old Mongolian language, despite the fact that there is vocabulary for 12 months of the year: nige=düger sar=a (ext. first month) “January”, qoyar=duүar sar=a (ext. second month) “February”, үurba=duүar sar=a (ext. third month) “March”.

Vocabulary found in documents, such as the Steppe Duma, foreign government require comments. So, in the 19th - early 20th centuries. 12 Buryat Steppe Dumas functioned. The system of local self-government of the Siberian peoples was introduced according to the Charter on the Management of Foreigners of 1822. M.M. Speransky, and was a reflection of the regional government’s policy of the Russian government, which consisted of the desire to provide the treasury with taxes and the gradual incorporation of Siberian foreigners into the all-Russian space while maintaining the traditions of ethnic self-government.

The system of local government included:

1) The Steppe Duma is the highest administrative unit uniting many clans. It could consist of several clan boards or several foreign boards. The composition of the Steppe Duma included the main ancestor-Taisha, his assistants, assessors, heads. Subordinate to higher bodies of state power;

2) foreign government – the middle stage, consisting of several camps and uluses, or several tribal administrations. The governor was led by a head, several elected, and a clerk. The government obeyed the Steppe Duma.

3) patrimonial management – the lowest level, was established for individual uluses and camps of the clan, with at least 15 families, headed by a headman who had one or two assistants. The clan administration was subordinate to the foreign clan.

During the years 1824-1825 7 Buryat Steppe Dumas were established in the Irkutsk province – Alar, Balagan, Idin, Kudinsky, Verkholenskaya, Olkhonskaya, Tunkinsky and 4 Steppe Dumas in the Trans-Baikal Region – Kudarinsky, Barguzinsky, Selenginsky, Khorinsky. In 1839, the Agin Steppe Duma stood out from the Khorinsky Steppe Duma. Thus, a total of 12 Buryat Steppe Dumas are established (Zhalsanova & Kuras, 2016).

Half of the documents of the Steppe Duma are written in the old Mongolian language, handwritten documents are poorly read. Translation from the old written Mongolian language also presents a certain difficulty due to the limited number of specialists in this field. In 2010, efforts began to publish documents of the Buryat Steppe Duma. So, the works on the Khorinsky Steppe Duma were published (Nanzatov & Sodnompilova, 2016; Zhalsanova & Kuras, 2016), Kudinskaya Steppe Duma (Nanzatov, 2015).

The Agin Steppe Duma was formed in 1839, and from that time the Khorin clans of Aga gained independence. According to the text of the "Report on the Origin of the Eleven Khorin Clans" after 1824, there were various censuses during which the Agin people did not want to be with the people of Verkhneudinsky prison and, according to the decision of the lords of the provincial chiefs, was completely separated in 1835. The Duma included eight genera of Khorintsy: Galsut, Khargana, Khuatsai, Khubdut, Sharayd, Khuday, Bodongut and Sagan, there is no Batanay, Gushad and Halbin clan (Zhamsaranova & Budaeva, 2018, p103).

In revision inventories from the State Archive of the Trans-Baikal Territory fund (Fund No. 284. Archival inventory No. 1. Permanent storage case No. 50 for 1830-1917), a list of foreigners from the Irkutsk province of the Verkhneudinsky district of the Khorinsky Steppe Duma of the Sagan genus (July 7, 1831) was studied (Zhamsaranova, 2020).

With the penetration of Buddhism into the territory of Transbaikalia, the Buryat anthroponymy changed under the influence of Lamaism. In addition to the proper Buryat names, a large number of borrowings from the Tibetan and Sanskrit languages are observed.

Personal name is secondary education. Artificially formed names are usually in unit languages (Lamozhapova, 2015a). In this inventory of the names of Buryat-foreigners, the personal name Vashir is often found. Note that the consonant “v” is absent in the original Buryat words, the initial “v” is a borrowing here.

Vashir, in all likelihood, is a Tibetan name formed from the appellate vajra “diamond, thunder stone”, naming a ritual item common in India, Tibet. In the “History of the Khorinsky Steppe Duma in the documents of the State Archive of the Republic of Buryatia (1825-1904)” (Zhalsanova & Kuras, 2016) this name is also often found in the form of Vachir. There is an alternation of “ch” and “sh”, depending on the dialect. In Old Mongolian, it is written as . Transliteration is as follows: [včir]. The generally accepted transliteration in Latin serves as a support for students to read at the initial stage and contributes to the rapid development of the language, given the complex graphic system of Old Mongolian writing.

Findings

In Mongolian languages, vowels were inserted in borrowed words that began with a consonant. For example, the Tibetan rasiyan “healing mineral spring” – a-rshaan, rinčin “jewel” – i-rinchin, včir “vajra” – o-cir, etc. From these tokens, the anthroponyms Irensey // Irenshay // Rinchin, Vashir // Vachir // Ochir. Similarly, surnames of the Buryats Rincinov // Irincinov, Ochirov // Oshorov (where “ch” and “sh” vary depending on a particular dialect) were formed, which are an invariant of the original personal name Vashir / Vashirov. Tibetan names Irenshay // Rinchin are present in the genealogy tables of the Khongodor, Irensay and Irensheng are recorded in the Bohan district as a very rare phenomenon that appeared as a result of the construction of the Bilchir Dugan in 1912 (Lamozhapova, 2015b, pp. 154-155).

A detailed review of anthroponymic research in the Turkish and Mongolian regions of the Russian Federation can be found in the article by Vasilyeva (2017).

Conclusion

The anthroponymy of each ethnic group is a historical category that responds in a special way to significant events, the sources of naming are universal. At the same time, some types are becoming historical, while others are being reborn. The anthroponymic system is the most conservative and most mobile system (Lamozhapova, 2016, p. 186).

Personal names preserved in archival documents reflect a certain era, are reliable facts. One of the tasks is to clarify the origin and history of the formation of names. Knowledge of the old script of the Mongolian language, transliteration of the vertical ligature to the Latin alphabet helps to understand the meanings of anthroponyms that preserve the cultural memory of the people.

Acknowledgments

The study was funded by RFBR, Project No. 20-012-00335 А

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08 December 2020

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Bardakhanova, Z. D. (2020). Transliteration Of Old Mongolian Names: Linguo-Didactic Aspect. In & V. I. Karasik (Ed.), Topical Issues of Linguistics and Teaching Methods in Business and Professional Communication, vol 97. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 233-241). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.12.02.32