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Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 1.djvu/58

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xlviii
PREFACE TO THE

TRANSLITERATION OF ORIENTAL ALPHABETS.

The system of transcribing Oriental words with Roman types, adopted by the translators of the Sacred Books of the East, is, on the whole, the same which I first laid down in my Proposals for a Missionary Alphabet, 1854, and which afterwards I shortly described in my Lectures on the Science of Language, Second Series, p. 169 (ninth edition). That system allows of great freedom in its application to different languages, and has, therefore, recommended itself to many scholars, even if they had long teen accustomed to use their own system of transliteration.

It rests in fact on a few principles only, which may be applied to individual languages according to the views which each student has formed for himself of the character and the pronunciation of the vowels and consonants of any given alphabet.

It does not differ essentially from the Standard Alphabet proposed by Professor Lepsius. It only endeavours to realise, by means of the ordinary types which are found in every printing office, what my learned friend has been enabled to achieve, it may be in a more perfect manner, by means of a number of new types with diacritical marks, cast expressly for him by the Berlin Academy.

The general principles of what, on account of its easy application to all languages, I have called the Missionary Alphabet, are these:

1. No letters are to be used which do not exist in ordinary founts.