Script and identity: Arab intellectual perspectives on the Turkish alphabet reform
El Bakri, Alia Arafat (2013) Script and identity: Arab intellectual perspectives on the Turkish alphabet reform. [Thesis]
Official URL: http://192.168.1.20/record=b1558716 (Table of Contents)
The passage of Turkey's landmark 1928 alphabet law, which replaced the Arabic-based Ottoman script with a Latin-based alphabet for writing Turkish, has been widely studied in terms of modernization and its implications for Turkish identity. However, there is a lack of scholarship regarding the significance of the Turkish script reform for Arab audiences. This thesis contributes to addressing the dearth in the literature by examining Arab intellectual perspectives on the Turkish script reform using influential Arabic sources contemporaneous with Turkey's passage of the alphabet law. The thesis makes two main assertions: first, that Arab observers at the time were deeply concerned with and closely followed developments on Turkey's alphabet change; and second, that the Turkish alphabet reform served as a framework within which these observers evaluated and renegotiated their own identities, and in the process, connected with or distanced themselves and their communities from Turkey. Highlighting the diverse ways in which Arab intellectuals understood the Turkish reform and discussed its pertinence to modernization in their own societies, this study examines religion-based approaches, as well as Arab and Egyptian nationalist and socialist perspectives. These works are valuable sites for exploring the Arab-Turkish relationship within the context of language, which contributes to a more nuanced understanding of the various components of this relationship, and how it has been shaped and reshaped over time.
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