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Oirat

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About Oirat

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  1. I am sorry, are you addressing Oirat? If yes, there shouldn't be any problems, in the recent past I did get couple of emails in my hotmail account from Batrun.
  2. О проекте

    Thank you Wincent You made my day! Any help helps. I am glad that you mentioned kalmyk artists. I am going to be in Kalmykia in April this year. So, maybe I can meet some of your artists friends while I am there (although I can only be there for 3 months, maybe even less). I asume that you mean Kalmyk artists in Kalmyk republic. I will be very busy, but I hope to be able to squeeze some time for this project. About the illustrations: What I am thinking of is to make one illustration for each of the stories, (total around 70 or less). They don't have to be in the traditional Kalmyk language textbook style (I don't mean to hurt anybody's feeling but the ones I saw in one of the editions of the 'Torskn literartur' textbook looked a little bit too boring). At this point, I don't have any strong inclinations, probably something attractive (moderately detailed) would suffice. But hopefully not too surrealistic, which might be inappropiate (too imposing). Those are just my preliminary suggestions. We can discuss later. It's a huge project for one person, but if there are several illustrator, it migh work better. What I will try to do is to somehow let the illustrators toknow about the context of the story; they can either listen to it themselves (if they understand the language) or I can try to translate it for them. Anyway, thank you for the encouregment. I will keep you posted about the progress of the project. Best, Oirat
  3. О проекте

    I agree. It's better on Kalmyk. I have recordings of Xinjiang Oirat folk stories, Chinese stories, and a few foreign stories; all read in Oirat language by young Oirat speakers (saved in WAV). I am trying to organize it as an illustrated story book with a CD (preferrably color print, which is probably very expensive). It could also be just an electronic version of a book. It is intended to be a gift from Xinjiang Oirats to young Kalmyks. An american non-profit Federal foundation agreed to give me up to $500 for this project. Which is not very much, but helps. The conditions are that this grant has to be spend on the expenses on printing (they might print it themselves, but probaly only a small amount, 25-30 copies) and shipping to Kalmykia. But , again, this project is at its initial stage. I am looking for volunteers to illustrate these stories, a picture for a story. I hope to find somebody to help me with the conversion from the Classical Mongolian into Cyrilic. I have an illustrator in Xinjiang, but I am not sure whether he can do it all by himself, the more people involved the better. I might have an editor, a friend of mine from Kalmykia, but it's still tentative. I would like to see this story book recorded and illustrated in Xinjiang, edited in Kalmykia, produced or printed in US, and finally donanted to Kalmyk national school (if any). Nothing fancy, a simple cheap paper (but color illustrated) and accompanied by the CD (CD is ready). Do you think Kalmyk national schools need something like this? If yes, I will try to work harder on this project, which is at the bottom of my to do list at the moment. I guess I need an inspiration. Any suggestions? Best, Oirat
  4. The same here. Some of the letters are just kvadratiki (e.g. /o/ after /t/ is just a square). It seems to be normal to have problems with the IPA fonts. I am not an expert in it but what if we download the SIL Doulos or Manuscript 93 on this site? Sorry if it's a silly suggestion. Actually, my problem is the Classical Mongolian font. I need to be able to type in Classical Mongolian. I've heard there is a free version for Mac, but unfortunately, I am a PC user. Can anybody help me to find such aprogram for free. I've heard there is one, somewhere in the cyberspace. I tried to google, but not luck, and soon lost my patience. I need it for my project, I am working on the Oirat-English electronic dictionary (just started). The program I am using is Toolbox or Shoebox (which is the same), some of you have probably heard of it. It's a nice program for making dictionaries. I am not getting paid for this project, just doing it. Prospective target is the Oirat children in Mongolian schools in Xinjiang. The idea is to help Oirat children to bypass Mandarin Chinese, if possible, while learning English. I realize that it's a never ending project, but it seems to make sense to me. The thing is that when I was in Xinjiang I've met a lot of Oirat children who want to learn English (inevitable phenomenon, samo saboi razumeyetsya, economically advantaged language), but in order to do it, they first have to master Mandarin Chinese (at the moment they use Mandarin-English dictionaries). Anyway, I am looking for the Classical Mongolian font for PC. Please help, if you can. Best, Oirat
  5. I am looking forward to Oirat/Kalmyk radio on the internet. Please let me know if there any progress. Best, Oirat
  6. Kalmyk Alphabets

    Thank you.
  7. Simple Kalmyk

    Your Xinjiang friend can help the forum with the Latin based unified Oirat writing system. Do you communicate with him in Oirat?
  8. Kalmyk Alphabets

    Dear readers, I made some corrections and additions to my previous message. Here is the revised version of my previous message. I agree that for the sake of the salvation (in the case of Oirats in China and Mongolia) and the revitalization (in the case of Oirats in Russia and other parts of the world) of the Spoken Oirat it would be great to come up with some kind of unified writing system. And I agree with those who believe that (mainly due to the keyboard issue) this new writing system has to be based on Roman (or Latin) alphabet. As a contribution to this discussion, I would like to say that you are not alone in trying to come up with this kind of system. In fact, there is at least one Oirat in Xinjiang region (China) who has already come up with such a system. His name is Gonqig, he is an Oirat speaking teacher at the Oirat school in Urumqi. I met him personally, a very nice guy, who is trying hard to raise the level of education among Oirat students in China. He hosts the following webpage, where he represents his system: http://www.dayar.net/default.asp His ideas regarding some of the diacritics are similar or identical with some of yours. In my opinion, whoever tries to come up with the unified Oirat writing system, primarily has to consider the current writing system used by Oirats in China. Here is why: To the extent of my knowledge, out of all the Oirat ethnic groups (Oirats in Russia, China, and Mongolia) Oirats in China managed to preserve their native language and culture the most. Majority of Oirats in China (mostly in Xinjiang,) unlike Oirats in other places, actually use their native language on everyday basis. Considering that the success of any writing system heavily depends on its usefulness, forming the new Oirat writing system on the basis of the writing system used by Oirats in China seems to make sense. We, for instance, as almost every Oirat in Russia and other countries (besides China), communicate in Russian and/or English. I doubt that as soon as there is a unified Oirat system, we are going to switch to it and start communicating in Oirat or use Oirat writing system very often. There are simply not enough incentives to do so for us. Oirats in China, on the other hand primarily speak Oirat. And there are thousands of young FLUENT speakers of Oirat in China who would be more than happy to communicate with the rest of the Oirat world via internet. The problem right now is the lack of computers in the poor Mongolian areas of China. But it’s a temporary problem, in the next decade or so Chinese Oirats will have a fairly free access to the internet. Unfortunately, right now most of the young Oirats in China who have an access to the internet use Mandarin Chinese and soon they will do their best to learn English or other ‘major’ languages. We could only hope that the unified Oirat writing system designed for the computerized communication (especially if implemented into the Oirat education system in China) could prevent the rapid loss of the language. One of the advantages of the Gonqig’s system is that it is at least partially based on the Classical Mongolian writing system, which is currently used in Oirat national schools in China. For instance, in his system the combination /ai / stands for [æ] (like in /bainai/ ‘is’) the same as in Classical Mongolian writing system (historically, [æ] came from /ai/). My idea is that if the new writing system is based on the Classical Mongolian writing system, it will be easier to learn it for the Oirat children in China. I might be wrong. In just think that in general the new writing system has to be user friendly and relatively easy-to-learn. And since the majority of users are going to be Oirats in China, we have to adjust it for them, for those who need it and is going to use it the most. What we can do at this point is to try to collaborate with the Oirats in China. I have to say that it is not going to be an easy task (they generally do not respond to the emails (period) or respond within a month or so). But we can try, we can at least ask them to try to use the system and get their feedback. I think, first of all, we have to decide who is the target. Note: There are some problems with his English version of the webpage (the table is not complete), but it's a good start. I apologize for the spelling and stylistic mistakes in the English translation of his webpage (I was asked to edit it, and I did but did it under the time pressure). Again, Gonqig's system is just a suggestion. In addition, as far as I know, Mongoloists around the world (Mongolian language specialists) also have some kind of unified transcription system to represent sounds of the Mongolian languages (this transcription system is not entirely an IPA). Some of the diacritics that are used in their system are also similar to Gonqig's and your ideas, which is good (in my opinion), because whichever new writing system we are going to invent, it is strongly recommended that it makes sense to the linguists (to a certain degree at least). However, you also have to keep in mind that the Mongoloists' transcription system is developed for the sound encoding; the symbols that they use are not letters, it is not intended to be a writing system My biggest concerns: As much as I understand the benefits of the unified Oirat writing system, I am not very happy about it. I am concerned about the preservation of the language in general, as the writing system of a language is a big part of it. I don’t want to promote the complete substitution of our traditional writing system with the new Latinized one. The loss of such a unique and beautiful (in my opinion) writing system would be a big loss. I’ve just learned the Classical Mongolian writing system (on which Todo is based), and I should say that it helped me a lot. For me, learning how to write and read in Classical Mongolian opened a whole new realm of the Mongolian culture. I hope that the new writing system will not alienate the young Oirat generation from their cultural inheritance (preserved in the form of the written materials). I hope that (onthe contary) it will help to preserve the language by being introduced as a supplementary mean of communication among the young Oirat population (especially in China). My other concern is the preservation of the dialectal differences. How the new writing system manages to preserve the differences in pronunciation across dialects (there are differences, not many but still)? I like the way Gonqig’s system addresses this issue: his system simply has no rules. His idea is: ‘write as you like, but try to be as close to your actual pronunciation as possible’. This principle will, to a certain degree, facilitate the preservation of the differences in pronunciation. Note: there are sad examples in the world languages where the use of the unified writing system via internet is the main cause for losing the dialectal differences in pronunciation. Take Denmark, for instance. There used to be at least 10-12 distinct dialects at some point. However, thanks to the internet and to the so-called 'spelling norms' most of those dialects are rapidly disapearing. Danish linguists and local authorities are trying to remedy it by supporting the production of paper print materials that reflect the dialectual differences. They publish children's books, for instance, that represent the alternative spelling. 'No spelling rules' writing systems are becoming very popular in the Pacific. There several examples that demonstarte the success of such an approach. It works, because none of the ethnic group get discriminated, there is no norms, the writing system is not prescriptive, it's descriptive. Representatives of various dialects seem to be happy because 'no rules' system allows to express their dialectal pronunciation. In Oirat, for instance, there are at least three pronunciations of the word /noxa/ 'dog'. Some Oirats pronuonce it as /noxa/ (in compliance with the vowel harmony), some as /noxai/ (with actual /i/ kratkaya), and some as 'noxai (where /ai/ is like in /bainai/ 'is'). Instead of imposing any norms, why not allow everybody to write it the way they pronounce it. Based on my experience, these pronunciation differences do not hinder the comprehension. If anybody is interested in communicating in Oirat, I can give an email address of my friend in Xinjiang. You can test your writing system and see if the communication is going. As for the Oirats in Mongolia, as far as I know, most of them switched to Khalkha and use a lot of 'calques' from the Classical Mongolian, heavily influenced by Khalkha Mongolian. Note that I have nothing against Khalkha Mongolian, it's just for me it's hard to understand their dialect. Death of a language is a natural phenomenon as is an attempt to preserve it. Thank you for your time and sorry for the redundancies Best regards, Oirat
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