Ottoman abjad to the modern Turkish alphabet, one must first begin by ://asha/uploadedFiles/practice/multicultural/ArabicPhonemicInventory.pdf.

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I. Introduction In 2014, the debate over whether Ottoman Turkish was to be taught in schools or not was once again brought to the forefront of Turkish society and the Turkish conscience, as Erdogan began to push for Ottoman Turkish to be taught in all high schools across the country (Yeginsu, 2014) . This became an obsession of a news topic for media in the West as well as in Turkey. Turkish in all high schools to become a hotbed of controversy and debate. For all those who are perfectly contented to let bygones be bygones, there are many who assert that the Ottoman Turkish alphabet is still relevant and important. In fact, though this may be a personal anecdote, there are still certainly people who believe that the Ottoman script is, or was, superior to the Latin alphabet with which modern Turkish is written. This thesis does not aim to undertake a task so grand as sussing out which of the two was more appropriate for Turkish. No, such a task would be a behemo th for this paper. Instead, it inherent judgement of value, but of the f ew claims seen circulating Facebook on the efficacy of the Ottoman script, it seems some believe that it represented Turkish more accurately and efficiently. However, this paper will not even attempt to address the issues relating the comparative efficacy of one script to another. Instead, this paper intends to only look at the Ottoman script alone. The particular way in which this thesis will explore the aforementioned question will be through the lens of orthographic transparency. Specifically, this pap er will explore two aspects of orthographic transparency and how they are manifested in the Ottoman abjad. These two

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properties are consistency and neighbourhood density. These two have been chosen specifically as they are both well – studied aspects of orth ographic transparency, have been shown to be especially relevant in reading comprehension and orthography processing, and finally are the most immediately relevant to address upon a simple examination of the Ottoman script itself. This last point being per haps a bit mundane, it is still evident that the role of history in creating the Ottoman script cannot be ignored and indeed history had left its mark on the script in a way that, without knowing of it, one might presume that the script itself must be rand om, the assignment of phoneme to character relatively arbitrary. However, such an analysis could not be further from the truth. In fact, the complicated nature of the script hints at the part which had borne it, and no doubt, still echoes in the debates of modern Turks over alphabet or abjad. As such, no understanding on the insistence on the Ottoman abjad or the reluctance to learn it can be informed without first understanding the script itself and its origins. I. A Few Moments in History In many ways, be fore one can begin to understand the modern insistence on the efficacy of the previous abjad system, one must first understand how the Ottoman abjad came into being, and therefore arises the question of how the Ottomans arose to an empire from their nomadi c based on the identity bequeathed the young Turkish Republic following the fall of the Ottoman Empire, so too are the demands to return to the abjad steeped in a sense of identity that is inseparable from the experience of the Empire, and then, the Republic.

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That is, to understand why some modern Turks still insist on the superiority of the Ottoman abjad to the modern Turkish alphabet, one must first begin by tu rning to history to understand how the abjad came into being and the world in which it existed and was used, and though it is admittedly beyond the scope of this paper to analyse the opacity of the modified Latin script currently in use for Turkish, it is still relevant to understand the process by which the script arose as it sheds light on a number of challenges and strengths of adapting a pre – existing script to an unrelated language. 2.1 Geopolitical Context The world in the era leading to and of the T urkish expansion was one characterised by a landscape of power and the efforts to grow or, at the very least, maintain it, but even more strikingly it was an era marked by the rise of religious unity in the Middle East. This was the era in which Islam was spreading with great gusto and enthusiasm, and it would be with the help of this expansion that migrating Oghuz Turks would come to find first a home, then an empire, in Anatolia. Following the unification of Arabia under the Prophet Muhammed (c. 570 63 2), Arab armies conquered Transoxania and the Umayyad Caliphate rose to replace the Sassanid Empire. Following this, the Abbasid Caliphate came to power in 750 and replaced the Ummayad Caliphate (McCarthy, 1997) . This caliphate was a massive empire, spanning the course of all of Central Asia to India and in the opposite direction, to the Atlantic Ocean itself and would come to be one of the most expansive and far – reaching empires the world has ever seen (McCarthy, 1997) . Of course, as the Turks would begin their migrations south and west, their contact with Islam is hardly surprising.

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Additionally, though today the role of religion may be somewhat diminished in our politics, it is imp ortant to remember that the world in which the Turks travelled, warred, and ruled was a devout one. Where Islam was spreading throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, in the West was Christendom. While the fall of Constantinople to the Turks would fall in 1453, until then Anatolia was occupied by the Byzantine Empire, a devout Christian empire . Beyond this, there was the presence and power of the Roman Catholic Church in continental Europe. (Bisaha, 2004) 2.2 Entering Anatolia The story of the mass migrations of the Turkic peoples into Central Asia, and then, their conversion to Islam, first begins in the Altai Mountains in Mongolia. Though there were many Turkish peoples occupying this area at the time, the dominant po wer in these lands were the Oghuz until AD 745, when this dominance was passed over to the Uyghurs (Hostler, 1993) . This would lead to an almost cascade – like migration of the Oghuz west and south into Central Asia, making them among the most important players in Ottoman history (Frye, 1996) . Early Turkic history can be characterised in many ways by the constant rise and dissolution of vast networks of tribal power. That is, while the domination of Turks in the lands they conquered may not be able to described as a traditional empire, it can ce rtainly be described describes. However, during the sixth century, two major Turk khanates can be seen to rise and then dissolve. Firstly, in the west, Turkish k hagan Ishtemi established the power of the Turkish khanate in the beginning of the sixth century. In the east, the rise of the Sui dynasty led to the dissolution of a previous eastern khanate under Taspar Khagan (Golden, Central Asi a in World History, 2011) .

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(Golden, An Introduction to the History of Turkish Peoples, 1992) . He would come to be the las t ruler of a unified Turkish empire in the region, enjoying enormous influence and affluence in China, as China feared an invasion or attack, offering him many riches and treating Turks in the capital extremely well in an effort to appease the Turkish Khag an (Golden, An Introduction to the History of Turkish Peoples, 1992) . However, following Taspar, while khanate of his own in the ho ly lands of the Ashina (the heavenly order from which the Turk elites were said to originate) and came to be referred to as Isbara Khagan. Finally in 742 the Oghuz would be defeated by a branch of the Ashina led by Isbara Khagan, who would soon after that themselves be replaced by the Uyghurs (Golden, Central Asia in World History, 2011) – discussed by Frye (1996). Following this, the Turks, and especially the Oghuz, would come to inhabit large swaths of land in Central Asia by the tenth century, when another Turkish clan would find itself slowly rising to power again. This clan in particular was that of the Seljuks, a branch of Oghuz Turks which migrated to Tra nsoxania in the eleventh century (McCarthy, 1997) . They would have taken over all of Iran by 1054, following the defeat of other Turkic clans to their south by 1040 (McCarthy, 1997) . The Seljuks wo uld prove to be especially significant in their role in restoring an orthodox entering Baghdad in 1055, the Abbasid Empire had not only weakened but had come t o be – encompassing religion, such a divide threatened not only the sanctity of the religious power of the Caliph, but

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really been a bureaucracy the Seljuks themselves had borrowed from the Abbasids), the remaining tribes in the region were left to infighting over land and money. It would be the Ottomans, a small and relatively weak Turkic tribe on the border of Christendom that would lead the onslaught into and against Europe and would as a result eventually come to power. It would be this clan that would come to be the Ottomans of the Ottoman Empire. 2.4 Islam Islam, from the very beginning of the incepti on of the Ottoman State, played a key role in gaining power and in maintaining it. The Seljuks before the Ottomans had adopted much of the bureaucracy of the Abbasids, and it would be exactly this same system (with a few minor adjustments) that the Ottoman s would employ in their own empire (McCarthy, 1997) . Additionally, the role the Seljuks played in cultivating an appearance of being frightful gazis would prove to be useful to the Turks not only as an effective marketing strat egy but additionally as an example to future Turks who were particularly illustrious in their expansion efforts. The manner by which the Ottomans pushed into the West, and the reason for picking westward expansion itself, was rooted in Islam, even if not in the principles of the faith, in the principles of the faithful. That is, the Ottomans, who were on the edge of Christendom, came to understand quickly that there was little in the way of profit or progress by fighting against other Turkic tribes. Addit ionally, their being Muslim made it difficult to justify war against other Muslim principalities and empires surrounding them. As a result, the rather small beylik invested in recruiting other Muslim Turks for holy wa r , or jihad, against the already well – e stablished and quite wealthy western Christendom. (McCarthy, 1997)

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Additionally, the success of the Ottoman Empire, upon its establishment, and in fact its resilience can also be traced to Islam. Where the successful expansio n of the Turks into Christian lands and then also the surrounding Muslim areas was justified through religion, the surrounding empires found themselves in a more volatile position for it. But this is a tale that requires one revisit the methods by which Is lam was first spread. The Turks first came into contact with Islam via their many incursions west and especially through trade. Turkic tribes from the very beginning were quite interested in monetary enrichment, coming to gain either power or influence i n many cities along the Silk Road (Frye, 1996) . Trade was lively along these routes and as a result, of course the Turks came into contact with merchants and traders of all backgrounds. As a result, it is likely that Turks were first introduced to Islam through trade, coming into contact with it first through their business partners (Golden, Central Asia in World History, 2011) . In fact, the conversion to Islam was not one that came with particular difficulty for the Turks. There are many reasons for this, including but not limited to the fact that the Turks had already come into contact with Christianity and other Abrahamic faiths and that their own shamanistic beliefs were not entirely unlike Islam (McCarthy, 1997) . Additionally, as mentioned before, because of the Silk Road and the ongoing trade at the time, Turks had already come into contact with the Arabs in Central Asia and also with the Christians of Byzantium prio r. In fact, in 563 itself the Turks had come into contact with Byzantium with regards to trade, when a Turkish ruler Ishtemi approached the Byzantines with the possibility of an alliance that would circumvent involvement with the Sassanians (Frye, 1996) . Only a few years following that, there would even be Byzantine embassies that would seek conference with the Turk Khagans of the East (Golden, Central Asia in World History, 2011) .

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Furthermore, as a result of the ongoing slow but steady travels of the Turks west and south from the fifth century and onwards, Turks had come into contact with more and more differing religions, some Turks converting to a variety of faiths, including Judaism, Buddhism, a nd Christianity (McCarthy, 1997) . As such, the Turks were not unfamiliar with monotheistic religions and in fact, historically had even come to rely on these partners for trade. Especially following the rise and expansion of the Abbasid Caliphate, Turks found themselves increasingly in c ontact with Muslim communities, armies, and missionaries, especially as their travels took them further into Central Asia and towards the Middle East. This familiarity with many different religions likely made them more apt to adopt Islam when it was intro duced as a choice, especially as pragmatically it would to be increasingly practical, if from no other than a business perspective (though this is not to say that converted Turks did not necessarily believe). An important point to note is that as Islam, like Christianity at the time, was a highly structured religion which outlined specific laws and seemingly valued orthodoxy where it might have been hard for the Turks to convert, the Turks did so quite willingly not only due to the resemblance of their ow n beliefs with those of Islam but additionally due to the flexibility which Islam allowed new converts (McCarthy, 1997) . Frye (1996) points out that the rapid expansion of Islam and the Abbasid Caliphate was likely one of the r easons why in the eyes of the Europe, Islam came to be associated with a ruthless violence in its tactics to convert non – Muslims even though this is an inaccurate representation of the policy of Muslim missionaries abroad. Instead, for egalitarianism was a major reason for the Turks to adopt it in the first place. Following their conversion, the Turks did not face a complex hierarchy that othered converts, but rather they found themselves to be accepted among a community much large r than

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simply their own nomadic company (Hostler, 1993) . Converts were not looked upon as second – class citizens of the ummah but were rather looked upon as brothers in what was a community of faith. Additionally, though the Mus lim traders through which the Turks were first introduced to Islam were quite keen on the converts converting, they were not themselves fundamentalists or overly orthodox, allowing that there were certainly going to be some minor differences in practice fr om converts (Frye, 1996) . It can however be said that these differences were not always looked upon kindly (Lindholm, 2002) . Ultimately, however, it would be this liberal, lax attitude of merchants a nd traders that would lead to the destabilization of other Islamic states in the region surrounding the Ottomans and Anatolia, leading to an overall weakening of the orthodox political systems that the Ottomans expanded against or into (Lindholm, 2002) . A final note on Islam and the Turks is that much of the influence of Islam on the Ottomans specifically is rooted not only in the manner by which they were introduced to it, but in addition by whom they had been introduced. The Turks, as a result of travelling east to west rather that easterly from the west, first confronted Islam on the Silk Road from Persian – speaking peoples (Golden, Central Asia in World History, 2011) . Of course, this would affect their future decisions, but it is no stretch to suggest that perhaps the reason the Turks adopted the Arabic abjad was because they encountered it before they encountered Latin, or other scripts, at least not before they found somewhere they were willing to settle. This paired with the fact that much of the Ottoman system was borrowed from the previous Seljuk Empire, which had itself borrowed from the Abbasids before them, leads to there being no surprise that the script that is ultimately used in the emp ire is the Arabic abjad, no matter how reshaped to fit the Turkish language. Furthermore, the importance of Arabic as a language in and or itself in Islam is crucial to understanding the role a script might play in a

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