Re: Boustrophedon (was: Re: Question about the directionality of "Old Hungarian" (document N3531))

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Tue Nov 04 2008 - 15:40:47 CST

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    On 4 Nov 2008, at 16:10, Hosszu Gabor wrote:

    > I agree with you and I also welcome your balanced view that is seen
    > on the expression "Old/Sekler-Hungarian". I do not know your customs
    > that is why I did not change the thread.

    Gábor, please do not use language like this. The view put forward in
    N3531, for instance, is not "unbalanced".

    > The Community of the Hungarian Rovas Writers prefers the name
    > "Szekler-Hungarian Rovas script" to the "Old Hungarian script" since
    > the (1) Rovas writing was never extinct and (2) the "Old Hungarian"
    > is not specific for the Rovas (in the Middle Ages there was old
    > Hungarian scripting in Latin letters, too).

    Regarding your first point, the word "Old" in "Old Hungarian" does not
    imply anything about extinction. The term "Old Hungarian",
    "Altungarisch", and "Староунгарска" (Staroungarska) are
    used in English, German, and Bulgarian as the name for this script. It
    is not an insult. It does not imply anything about the current use of
    the script. It is simply the name of the script in these languages. As
    such, it is not unreasonable for us to suggest that the naming
    practice of *our* languages be respected.

    Regarding your second point, again, this is a question of English-
    language terminology. Two scripts were used during the Middle Ages for
    the Hungarian language. We call one "the Latin script". We call the
    other "the Old Hungarian script".

    I note that the term "ösi magyar rovásírás" is not unknown in
    Hungarian. This means "Ancient Hungarian inscribed script". In the
    context of the UCS naming conventions for scripts, "Old" is the term
    which is used for this.

    In N3527, you give as one of your sources a book by Sándor Forrai,
    whose work helped to popularize the Old Hungarian script in the 20th

    Sándor Forrai: Az ősi magyar rovásírás az ókortól napjainkig,
    Antológia Kiadó, Lakitelek, 1994. ("The Old Szekler-Hungarian Rovas
    Writing from the Ancient Time to Nowadays")

    The translation here is not correct. "As ősi magyar rovásírás" does
    not translate as "the Old Sekler-Hungarian Rovas [sic] writing". It
    translates as "the old Hungarian inscribed script".

    With best regards,
    Michael Everson *

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