ELTE University Budapest
The Written Oirat language and the Oirat script were created in 1648 by the Oirat Zaya Pandita, Oqtor?uyin Dalai. On the basis of the traditional Uigur-Mongolian script he prepared a new writing system (Oir. todorxoi üzüq 'Clear Script'), which has eliminated the deficiencies of that (ambiguity of some letters, lack of long vowels, etc.) using diacritical marks and new letters, so the new script was suitable to accurately indicate the vocalic system of the contemporary spoken Mongolian. Beside the new script Zaya Pandita created a new literary language with new orthography, and he intended it for a common Mongolian literary language, however it could spread only among the Oirats (Western Mongols). Although this literary language was close to the spoken language in some aspects, it had many features inherited from Written Mongolian. It had strict rules in its original form and was used mostly for Buddhist texts, but shortly spread in wider range (codes, documents, historical works, folk-religious texts, etc.), and became under the strong influence of the spoken language.
Up to the 20th century Written Oirat was the literary language of the Oirats of Western Mongolia and Eastern Turkestan, as well as of the Kalmyks. Later on the Oirats of Xinjiang used it only, but few years ago they partly replaced it with Uigur-Mongolian script.
ISBN 9783895864711. Languages of the World/Materials 418. 60pp. 2002.