A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, wrote philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. Consistency in scholarly usage is not usually considered foolish. In writing about Mouradgea, however, consistency proves an elusive hobgoblin, enough so to make a scholar grateful to Emerson. In what follows, I aim for what might be termed contextual consistency, treating my own writing as one context and passages copied or translated from Mouradgea as another. In presenting Turkish and Arabic terms in my writing, unless the terms have acquired currency in English, or unless they are more widely known in their Arabic than in their Turkish forms, I attempt to follow modern Turkish orthography. The diacritics of scholarly transliteration will be used only as needed to avoid ambiguity. In terms from European languages, likewise, I have tried in my writing to maintain consistency according to present-day spellings. In citing multivolume works and periodicals, in the footnotes and bibliography, volume numbers will be indicated by preference in Arabic rather than Roman numerals.
On the other side of the consistency frontier, terms and passages quoted or translated from d’Ohsson will generally maintain his orthography. In the case of Ottoman Turkish and Arabic, this serves the purpose of demonstrating his method. In a period when modern ideas of scholarly transliteration had not yet been invented, he made a sustained effort to transcribe Arabic and Ottoman terms in a way that would signal correct pronunciation to francophone readers, as in Cour’ann for Qur’an. In the case of his French orthography, too, enforcing consistency would truly be foolish. This becomes particularly obvious in the study of his engravings. His artists’ names were not always spelled the same way. The captions of the engravings, too, must first be transcribed as found on the plates. His usage once noted, discussion can continue with now-standard orthography.
If meticulous readers find instances in which I have not lived up to these standards, blame it on Emerson!
The modern Turkish orthography referred to includes the following features:
like -j- in English
like -ch- in English
the soft g. Depending on the adjoining letters, this is either dropped, pronounced like -y- in English, or treated as lengthening the preceding vowel. Soft g does not appear at the beginning of words in Turkish. Thus, in loanwords from Arabic, while -ğ- is used to represent medial -gh- (the Arabic letter ghayn), initial ghayn becomes -g- in Turkish, whence Turkish gazi for Arabic ghazi.
has no consistent orthographic representation in English. Spreading the lips as if to say easy and then trying to say cushion produces the Turkish word kışın, in winter.
like -i- in English bit
like -ö- in German or -eu- in French peur
like -sh- in English
like -ü- in German or -u- in French