Kazakh language

Turkic language, official language of Republic of Kazakhstan

Kazakh is a Turkic language that is spoken in Kazakhstan, a country in central Asia. It, along with Russian, is one of Kazakhstan's official languages.[3]

Қазақша or қазақ тілі
قازاقشا‎ or قازاق تىلى
Qazaqsha or qazaq tili
qɑˈzɑq tɪˈlɪ
Native toKazakhstan, China, Mongolia, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan
RegionCentral Asia
Native speakers
22 million (2019)[1]
Kazakh alphabets (Latin script, Cyrillic script, Arabic script, Kazakh Braille)
Official status
Official language in


Regulated byKazakh language agency
Language codes
ISO 639-1kk
ISO 639-2kaz
ISO 639-3kaz
Idioma kazajo.png
The Kazakh-speaking world:
  regions where Kazakh is the language of the majority
  regions where Kazakh is the language of a significant minority
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
Stamp of Kazakshtan partially in Latin alphabet (Qazaqsa)


The Kazakh language had been written in the Cyrillic alphabet since the Russian Empire started to occupy that country in the 19th century. In 1917, people began to use the Arabic alphabet, but the Russians were not able to make them use Cyrillic.[4]

After World War I, the Turkic countries started to use the Latin alphabet, led by Kemal Atatürk of Turkey. Because of this, from 1927 to 1939, Kazakhstan, then part of the Soviet Union, changed from the Arabic to the Latin alphabet.[5] But Stalin made a law in 1940 that all the countries that were part of the Soviet Union had to use Cyrillic, in order to bring Kazakhstan and the rest of the countries in Central Asia in line with the Russian style.[6]

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the newly-independent Republic of Kazakhstan allowed the old Latin alphabet to be used, but continued to use Cyrillic as the main alphabet. In 2006, president Nursultan Nazarbayev started a project to introduce a standard form of the Latin alphabet as the official script of his country. A version of the new Latin alphabet, which used apostrophes for certain sounds, was created in April 2017,[7] but was replaced with another one in February 2018 which instead uses diacritics on certain letters.[8] If all goes as planned, the Cyrillic alphabet will be fully replaced with Latin by 2025.[9]

Kazakh lettersEdit

The proposed Kazakh Latin alphabet has 38 letters:

Kazakh alphabet
A a Ä ä B b C c Ç ç D d E e Yo yo F f G g
Ğ ğ H h X x I ı İ i J j K k Q q L l M m N n
Ñ ñ O o Ö ö P p R r S s Ş ş ŞÇ şç T t U u Ü ü
V v W w Ý ý Z z É é Ï ï Yw yw Ya ya


  1. https://www.ethnologue.com/language/kaz
  2. [1]
  3. Hays, Jeffrey. "LANGUAGES IN KAZAKHSTAN | Facts and Details". factsanddetails.com. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
  4. "The Language Called Kazakh". One Hour Translation. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
  5. "Kazakh language, alphabet and pronunciation". www.omniglot.com. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
  6. "Legislating Letters: Kazakhstan's Alphabetical Experiment - Brown Political Review". Brown Political Review. 2018-04-19. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
  7. "Kazakhstan's switch from Cyrillic to Latin is about more than just alphabets". Public Radio International. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
  8. "Kazakh President Drops Apostrophes In New Latin Alphabet". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
  9. "Kazakhstan to switch to Latin alphabet by 2025 - The Astana Times". The Astana Times. 2017-10-31. Retrieved 2018-10-28.

Other websitesEdit