Yugtun script

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The Lord's Prayer in Yugtun script ideographs. 1909 in Quigillingoq near Kuskokvim Bay

The Yugtun or Alaska script is a syllabary invented around the year 1900 by Uyaquq to write the Central Alaskan Yup'ik language. Uyaquq, who was monolingual in Yup'ik, initially used indigenous pictograms as a form of proto-writing that served as a mnemonic in preaching the Bible. However, when he realized that this did not allow him to reproduce the exact words of a passage the way the Latin alphabet did for English-speaking missionaries, he and his assistants developed it until it became a full syllabary.[1] Although Uyaquq never learned English or the Latin alphabet, he was influenced by both. The syllable kut, for example, resembles the cursive form of the English word good.


  • Florian Coulmas, 1996. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Writing Systems
  • Albertine Gaur, 2000. Literacy and the Politics of Writing
  • Alfred Schmitt, 1951. Die Alaska-Schrift und ihre schriftgeschichtliche Bedeutung, Simons, Marburg
  • Alfred Schmitt, 1981. Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der Schrift. Eine Schriftentwicklung um 1900 in Alaska, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden (Reprint der Ausgabe Leipzig 1940), ISBN 3-447-02162-4
    • Vol. 1 Text, vol. 2. Abbildungen


  1. Ian James, "Yugtun script", Sky Knowledge, April 2012

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