Kazakh language

Kazakh language

Infobox Language
nativename= " _kk. Qazaq tili", _kk. Қазақ тілі, rtl- _kk. قازاق تىلى
pronunciation = [qɑzɑq tˈlə]
states=Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Russia, Iran
region=Central Asia
speakers=12 million
fam1=Altaic [" [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_family.asp?subid=90009 Ethnologue report for Altaic] "] (controversial)
script=Cyrillic alphabet, Latin alphabet, Arabic alphabet

Area with significant Kazakh-speaking population

Kazakh (also Qazaq and variants [The most common English spelling, "Kazakh", is from the Russian name, " _ru. Казах".] , natively " _kk. Qazaq tili", _kk. Қазақ тілі, rtl- _kk. قازاق ٴتىلى; pronounced IPA| [qɑzɑq tˈlə] ) is a Turkic language closely related to Nogai and Karakalpak.

Kazakh is an agglutinative language, and it employs vowel harmony.

Geographic distribution

Kazakh language has its speakers (mainly Kazakhs) spread over a vast territory from the Tian Shan mountains to the Ural mountains. Kazakh is the official state language of Kazakhstan, in which nearly 10 million speakers are reported to live (based on the CIA World Factbook's estimates for population and percentage of Kazakh speakers). More than two million speakers reside in China.
Russian Census (2002) reported 560,000 Kazakh speakers in Russia.Other sizable populations of Kazakh speakers live in Mongolia (fewer than 200,000). Large numbers exist elsewhere in Central Asia (mostly in Uzbekistan) and the former Soviet Union, and in Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, and other countries. There are also some Kazakh speakers in Germany, having immigrated from Turkey in the 1970s.

Writing system

Today, Kazakh is written in the Cyrillic alphabet in Kazakhstan and Mongolia, while the more than one million Kazakh-speakers in China use an Arabic-derived script similar to that used to write Uyghur.

The oldest known written records of languages closely related to Kazakh were written in the Orkhon script. However, it is not believed that any of these varieties were direct predecessors of Kazakh. Modern Kazakh has historically been written using versions of the Latin, Cyrillic, and Arabic scripts.

In October of 2006, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan, brought up the topic of using the Latin alphabet instead of the Cyrillic alphabet as the official script for Kazakh in Kazakhstan. [ [http://www.interfax.ru/e/B/politics/28.html?id_issue=11612625 Kazakhstan switching to Latin alphabet] ] [ [http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/10/f279f7ea-af3d-4a71-a457-347fbbb11591.html Kazakh President Revives Idea Of Switching To Latin Script] ] A Kazakh government study released in September 2007 said that Kazakhstan could feasibly switch to a Latin script over a 10 to 12 year period, for a cost of $300 million. [ [http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav090407.shtml Kazakhstan: Moving Forward With Plan To Replace Cyrillic With Latin Alphabet] ]


Kazakh exhibits front-back vowel harmony, with some words of recent foreign origin (usually of Russian language or Arabic language) as exceptions. There is also a system of rounding harmony which resembles that of Kyrgyz, but which doesn't apply as strongly and isn't reflected in the orthography.


The following chart depicts the consonant inventory of standard Kazakh [Some variations occur in the different regions where Kazakh is spoken, including outside Kazakhstan; e.g. ж / ج (where the so-called “Uyghur” (Perso-Arabic) script is used) is read [ʒ] in standard Kazakh, but [d͡ʒ] in some places.] ; many of the sounds, however, are allophones of other sounds or appear only in recent loan-words. The 18 consonant phonemes listed by Vajda are in bold—since these are phonemes, their listed place and manner of articulation are very general, and will vary from what's shown. The borrowed phonemes IPA|/f/, IPA|/v/, IPA|/ɕ/, IPA|/ʨ/ and IPA|/x/, only occur in recent mostly Russian borrowings, and are shown in parentheses ( ) in the table below.

In the table, the elements left of a divide are voiceless, while those to the right are voiced.


Kazakh has eight personal pronouns:


Kazakh may express different combinations of tense, aspect, and mood through the use of various verbal morphology or through a system of auxiliary verbs, many of which might better be considered light verbs. For example, the (imperfect) present tense in Kazakh bears different aspectual information depending on whether basic present-tense morphology is used, or one of (commonly) four verbs is used:


Kazakh exhibits an evidentiality system which does not neatly align with morphological paradigms.

* тазалап тастапты - he cleaned it, and I saw the result
* тазалап тастаған - he cleaned it, I saw the result, and verified it with him
* тазалап тастаған екен - he cleaned it, and told me, but I probably didn't see the results
* тазалап тастады - he cleaned it, and I saw him clean it
* тазалап тастаған ұқсас - he cleaned it, or so I infer from a result I saw which suggests this
* тазалап тастаған шығар - he cleaned it, or so I infer from a result I saw which suggests this

ee also

* Turkic languages


* [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=kaz This language's entry] in the Ethnologue.
* [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/kz.html Kazakhstan] in the CIA World Factbook

External links

* [http://clp.arizona.edu/cls/kaz.htm Kazakh Language Courseware from University of Arizona Critical Languages Series]
* [http://www.massagan.com The Largest Portal in Kazakh language]
* [http://www.omniglot.com/writing/kazakh.htm Kazak language, alphabet, and pronunciation]
* [http://home.unilang.org/wiki3/index.php/Kazakh_Lessons Online Kazakh language course]
* [http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2/content_storage_01/0000000b/80/25/32/be.pdf Course of Kazakh for Peace Corps Volunteers]
* [http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2/content_storage_01/0000000b/80/24/33/f1.pdf Another course of Kazakh for PCV]
* [http://www.suhbat.com/ Forum in Kazakh Language Suhbat.com]
* [http://www.qaztranslit.com/ Roman-Cyrillic characters converter for Kazakh alphabets]
* [http://www.kultur.gov.tr/gaspirali/default.asp?lehce_ID=2&strDil=English Gaspirali] Another converter
* [http://www.und.edu/dept/linguistics/theses/2003Kuzhabekova.PDF Aliya S. Kuzhabekova, "Past, Present and Future of Language Policy in Kazakhstan"] (M.A. thesis, University of North Dakota, 2003)
* [http://www.tilashar.kz/ Tilashar online Kazakh language lessons & dictionary ru icon]

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