Kazakh language

one of the Turkic languages in Central Asia, the state language of Karakalpakstan

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

qazaqşa or qazaq tılı
қазақша or қазақ тілі
قازاقشا or قازاق تىلى
qɑˈzɑq tɘlɘ
Native toKazakhstan, China, Mongolia, Altai Republic (Russia), Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Serbia, Romania, Greece, Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria
RegionCentral Asia
Native speakers
22 million (2019)[1]
Kazakh alphabets (Latin script, Cyrillic script, Arabic script, Kazakh Braille)
Official status
Official language in
Altai Republic[2]


Regulated byKazakh language agency
Language codes
ISO 639-1kk
ISO 639-2kaz
ISO 639-3kaz
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.
Kazakhstani stamp with Cyrillic Kazakh text



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]

The Kazakhs used the Arabic script to write their language until approximately 1929. In the early 1900s, Kazakh activist Ahmed Baytursinuli reformed the Kazakh-Arabic alphabet, but his work was largely overshadowed by the Soviet presence in Central Asia. At that point, the new Soviet regime forced the Kazakhs to use a Latin script, and then a Cyrillic script in the 1940s in an effort to thoroughly Russify them. Today, Kazakhs use the Arabic, Latin, and Cyrillic scripts to write their language.[5]

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,[6] but was replaced with another one in February 2018 which instead uses diacritics on certain letters.[7] The latest version, proposed in 2021, has been in official use and will be taught in elementary schools starting 2023. If all goes as planned, the Cyrillic alphabet will be fully replaced with Latin by 2025.[8]

Kazakh letters


The last proposed Kazakh Latin alphabet was shown in 2019:

Kazakh alphabet
A a Ä ä B b D d E e F f G g Ğ ğ H h İ i I ı J j K k L l M m N n Ñ ñ O o Ö ö P p Q q R r S s Ş ş T t U u Ū ū Ü ü V v Y y Z z


  1. "Kazakh".
  2. "Статья 4. Правовое положение языков | ГАРАНТ".
  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.[permanent dead link]
  5. "Нұрсұлтан Назарбаев. Болашаққа бағдар: рухани жаңғыру". web.archive.org. 2017-06-28. Archived from the original on 2017-06-28. Retrieved 2023-03-09.
  6. "Kazakhstan's switch from Cyrillic to Latin is about more than just alphabets". Public Radio International. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
  7. "Kazakh President Drops Apostrophes In New Latin Alphabet". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
  8. "Kazakhstan to switch to Latin alphabet by 2025 - The Astana Times". The Astana Times. 2017-10-31. Retrieved 2018-10-28.

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