Category Archives: Orthography

The Uyghur Arabic-script (Kona Yeziq) Keyboard

Uyghur-Arabic keyboard

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Writing Uyghur – The Arabic Script

Note: If you want to type in Uyghur-Arabic script, click here to see the standard keyboard.

Of the numerous scripts that have been used throughout the history of the development of the Uyghur language, three of them are in use today – the Arabic script, the Cyrillic script, and the Latin script.   The vast majority of Uyghurs today use the Arabic script, called Kona Yeziq (“Old Script”).  This is the official script for Uyghur in the People’s Republic of China, and can be seen, for example, on Chinese currency (along with Chinese, Tibetan, Mongolian and Zhuang).

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For the beginner who has no background with Arabic-based scripts, learning the Uyghur Arabic script can appear quite daunting.  Especially when you discover that most letters take different forms depending on their position in a given word!   However, there is a certain aesthetic and logic to the Arabic alphabet and it should take no longer than a week or two to become fairly familiar with it.

One thing I found very helpful in learning both the letters and the order of the alphabet was to understand that letters with the same basic shapes are grouped together. So, for example ت ,پ ,ب appear together and in that order in the alphabet. The image below (click to enlarge) shows how this works for the entire alphabet.  Read from left-to-right and top-to-bottom. You will see that most letters have an ې added, which simply indicates the pronunciation of that letter.  It also means that you are seeing the word-initial form of each letter.

I hope this helps.

Elipba (Arabic)