Xiao’erjin is not quite Pinyin

Xiao’erjin (alternatively xiao’erjing¹ 小儿经) is the name of a form of transcription for Mandarin and related languages. Rather than using Cyrillic or Roman letters, the Arabic script is used. China has had a large Muslim population for about as long as there have been Muslims, and it was among those of them who were less likely to have a traditional classical education that the system was used.

The structure is fairly simple. Syllable initial consonants are written with a single Arabic letter. The final then was primarily done with harakat or vowel diacritics. Before Annals of Wu, was blogging on xiao’erjin and Chinese Islam in general on another site, appropriately enough called xiao er jing.


Bilingual education in Xinjiang

Porfiriy over at New Dominion has translated an article on Mandarin-Uyghur bilingual education. Here’s a snippet:

The so-called “bilingual” education policy, based on forcing Uyghur children to speak Chinese, has aroused intense discontent among Uyghur intellectuals both within and outside the Uyghur homeland. Critics draw attention to the potential of “bilingual” education to threaten the normal development and healthy thinking of immature children and accuse bilingual education of being a planned and deliberate assimilation policy. Continue…

Ancient Beauties & Even Older Stereotypes

I’ve recently been directed to the blog “autonomous region”, new as of this past December. It’s a fairly Uyghur/Xinjiang centric site, with a fair number of posts on the music of the area. But that is only a portion of the content so far. The about page says it is “a personal weblog on music, images, travel, and translation of the Uyghur people in Central Asia. “

A couple posts in particular caught my attention, both regarding the use of 古丽 gǔlì as a catch-all name for Uyghur women.