Balti scripts

James Ward jamesward at EARTHLINK.NET
Tue Apr 8 05:57:06 UTC 2003

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Thank you to both Peter Hook and Greg Cooper for your replies to my
questions about Balti scripts.  It was certainly a surprise to hear that
Roman letters are being used by younger writers.  My first impression
from the responses is that the scarcity of published works in Balti does
not necessarily indicate that there is not an active writing culture,
even if it is in a state of flux currently.  I suppose most of the
printed works are in Urdu.

I wonder if this is a fairly unique situation?  I can't immediately
think of any other "minority languages" which are in a social position
to switch among unrelated script systems in this manner.  Often there
will be instability of spelling in the languages of smaller communities
within nations that use different official languages.  This is only to
be expected if they haven't been standardized due to widespread print
media, but usually in those cases there isn't much question about which
alphabetic system to use.

Anyway, many thanks again for your responses.  They have given me food
for thought.


James Ward

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