Last month, Turkey repealed its 1928 Alphabet Law, and legalized the letter Q. In a short, illuminating piece in the London Review of Books, Yasmine Searle describes the history of Romanicization of Turkish writing, which was part of a larger project to assimilate Turkish minorities by standardizing the language and its spelling, and, in the process, banning many of the keys from the left side of the typewriter.
Banks, post offices and police stations were fitted with blackboards; on bridges and ferries, syllabaries sold fast; prisoners were photographed bent over their primers. ‘Turkey is one vast schoolroom,’ National Geographic reported. ‘There is no “q”, no “w”, no “x” in the new alphabet… The left-hand edge of the typewriter is the hardest hit. One does not go to the “Maxim” Restaurant, but to the “Maksim”.’
Romanisation, it was argued, would help standardise Turkish spelling, improve literacy, and allow for cheaper and more convenient printing (the Arabic script required more than 400 pieces of type). But the reform had other, political aims: imposing cultural homogeneity and assimilating Turkey’s minorities. New characters were added to the alphabet to accommodate Turkish phonology – ğ, ı, ü, ş – while others were left out. By adhering so closely to the specifics of Turkish and outlawing all other Latin characters (and all other scripts), it effectively proscribed written expression in any language other than Turkish – not least Kurdish, which was spoken by around 20 per cent of the population.
- See more at: http://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2013/10/16/yasmine-seale/q-v-k/#sthash.kUTJKp3S.dpuf
Q v. K [Yasmine Seale/London Review of Books]
The best way to fight gerrymandering is to prove to courts that electoral districts have been unfairly formed, a tactic that’s been used successfully in places like North Carolina; but for this to work, you need good demographic data to show that the district is unfair, and for that, you need an accurate census.
James B. Comey may once have tried to hide behind curtains to avoid Donald J. Trump, but the former FBI director’s investigation could mean curtains for the Trump presidency.
Games for the Many sends us Put on Your Corbyn Face, “A web game where you are challenged to match the emotions of a photo Jeremy Corbyn. Possibly the first web game you play with empathy and emotion.”
Yes, yes there is. The ultraportable Twisty Glass Mini boasts all of the simplicity of its forebear, while fitting just a little bit better in your pocket.The Mini is perfect for casual smokers, and anyone who doesn’t have the patience or fine motor skill for rolling papers. This piece keeps the convenient design of its older […]
Learning to code is a perfect way to grow your technical sophistication, and open up a host of new career options. But since most “learn to code” initiatives focus heavily on web development, it can be tough to find good resources for general-purpose computer science outside of a 4-year degree program. To get a broad […]
While many newer smartphones boast decent water resistance, most of us are still stuck with the kind of handsets that need to spend the night in a bowl of rice when they get wet. If you want to enjoy your favorite podcasts in the shower but are holding out for your next phone upgrade, this […]