Old Uyghur language
|Old Uyghur language|
|Native to||Kingdom of Qocho|
Old Turkic language
|Old Uyghur alphabet|
The Old Uyghur language (traditional Chinese: 回鶻語; simplified Chinese: 回鹘语; pinyin: Huíhú yǔ) was a Turkic language which was spoken in the Kingdom of Qocho from the 9th–14th centuries and in Gansu where it evolved into the Western Yugur language.
The Old Uyghur language evolved from Old Turkic after the Uyghur Khaganate broke up and remnants of it migrated to Gansu and Turfan and Hami in the 9th century. The Uyghurs in Turfan and Hami founded the Kingdom of Qocho and adopted Manichaeism and Buddhism as their religions, while those in Gansu became subjects of the Western Xia.
The Kingdom of Qocho survived as a client state of the Mongol Empire, but was conquered by the Musim Chagatai Khanate which conquered Turfan and Hami and Islamisized the region. The Old Uyghur language then went extinct in Turfan and Hami, but survived in Gansu where it evolved into the modern Western Yugur language.
Modern Uyghur is not descended from Old Uyghur, rather, it is a descendant of the Karluk language spoken by the Kara-Khanid Khanate. Western Yugur is considered to be the true descendant of Old Uyghur, and is also called "Neo-Uygur". Modern Uyghur is not a descendant of Old Uyghur, but is descended from the Xākānī language described by Mahmud al-Kashgari in Dīwānu l-Luġat al-Turk. Modern Uyghur and Western Yugur belong to entirely different branches of the Turkic language family, respectively the southeastern Turkic languages and the northeastern Turkic languages .
Much of Old Uyghur literature is religious texts regarding Manichaeism and Buddhism, with examples found among the Dunhuang manuscripts. Multilingual inscriptions including Old Uyghur can be found at the Cloud Platform at Juyongguan and the Stele of Sulaiman.
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