Kazakhstan to adopt the Latin alphabet

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Moderator of the avant-garde
Joined: 05.04.2012
Pending moderation

Not sure if you heard about it, but recently it was revealed by the Kazakh government would shift from using the Cyrillic alphabet to the Latin one. This has become news in places like the The Guardian and Deutsche Welle.
As a researcher on linguistics anthropology, I think that this is an important movement - Kazakhstan is distancing from his (By the way, which pronoun do you use to refer to countries in English?) USSR Cyrillic-using past. Also interesting is that it is the third Kazakh alphabet - as the language has already used Arabic and Cyrillic letters to express its words graphically.

As a non-Cyrillic user, this transition might help me and other people understand and know some of Kazakh words, causing it to get more speakers (or, at least, people who understand a couple of words and can establish a basic conversation).

I'm posting this here because I want to know what do you think of this movement. LT being a plurilingual, pluricultural community, for sure has some interesting opinions on it. Also, it's a good way to spread the word...

Super Member
Joined: 10.05.2012

That is actually interesting. I knew this was something the Kazakh government has always wanted to do, but with little success. On one hand, you could be right, it may become easier for whoever would like to learn the language to, at least, get to know it without having to learn another alphabet. I know the Cyrillic alphabet and I'm even studying Russian currently, but I've always been fascinated by that area of Asia, although I have never even tried to learn Kazakh, Uzbekh, Tajik, Kyrgyz nor Turkmen for several reasons. What I wonder is: how important is to learn such languages as Russian is widely spoken in the area? I mean, personal pleasure is a big reason by itself, but the area has a lot of ties with Russia and many loanwords have been integrated into the Kazakh language. Notwithstanding, cultural ties are way stronger: Kazakh is a Turkic language and the most important languages of this family are written using the Latin script, Turkish, for instance. Speaking of Turkey, the reform promoted by Atatürk during the last century has pushed Turkey up, making it a modern and respected country. If Kazakhstan decides to adopt the Latin alphabet, it could form an economical and political alliance with Turkey, Azerbaijan and the other Central Asian countries, from which Kazakhstan would benefit a lot (even though I don't think Russia would be happy). If Kazakhstan manages to keep its ties with Russia and the ex USSR area, while collaborating with its Turkic friends, everyone would highly benefit from it. From the point of view of a western European with little knowledge of the area, such as me, I think that culture is what every country should preserve. Mongolia has a similar situation: Turkic country, influenced by the Soviet Union, what do people think when they hear the word "Mongolia"? Yeah, a great empire, which has, though, long gone. If one day Mongolia decided to adopt its old Mongolic script, I would be honestly happy. That's what I would like for Kazakhstan as well: it's a country on its own and, by promoting their cultural heritage, they can show it. My opinion may not matter a lot, but I really believe in individuality and, in this case, cultural individuality.

Leader of the Balkan Squad
Joined: 14.10.2016

Wow, this is really interesting! I think it may be easier for pronunciation in general, but this is a massive development. To answer your question, nations are generally female in pronoun in English.

Editor from the Land of Fire
Joined: 21.06.2013

Hi! I heard about it last year on the TV that the government wanted to do it. I actually think it is a good idea. My country ~Azerbaijan also had used Arabic script (from the VIII century till 1929), Latin 1929-1939, Cyrilic 1940-1991.
If I am not wrong, Kazakhistan is the only independent turkic country which still uses Cyrilic.
I don't mean to be rude, but I like nothing about the Soviet, so it might be the reason I am for adopting the Latin script :d

Editor and cheeky nitpicker
Joined: 14.09.2013

I find surprising to see how little this news has been covered in French media. Just a small article duplicated in a few mainstream newspapers.

The only other article in French I could find on the subject is from "le courier de russie", an independent (whatever that's supposed to mean) French newspaper focussing on Russia, that is certainly not as biased as RT, Sputnik News or the Moscow Times. Nevertheless, the various interviews cited in the article tend to indicate Russia does not show a lot of enthusiasm for the idea, and notes that four other countries switched to Latin alphabet since 1990 (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Moldavia).

This is an indication of the balance of power shifting in the region. I would have thought this would be something to be watched more closely, given the geopolitical instability of this area. Russia will certainly not take kindly to one of her former Socialist Republics she used as a giant nuclear test field not so long ago getting closer to the West.

Moderator of the Arabic Content
Joined: 21.04.2013

Uzbekistan isn't it officially still using the Cyrillic? or because the current generation was raised on using Cyrillic alphabet so they don't very much accept Latin letters?

Moderator of the Arabic Content
Joined: 21.04.2013

As for myself I hate Cyrillic alphabet It's Chinese to me, and when I was studiedTurkish the amount of loaned Arabic words in Turkish + the Latin alphabet made it very much easier for me to learn. And as I know Turkic languages are similar in vocabulary and grammar I hardly found any Uzbek lyrics written in Latin alphabet and that used to piss me off cause I planed to study it but it was very difficult to find learning resources.

Editor from the Land of Fire
Joined: 21.06.2013
Sara Ba wrote:

As for myself I hate Cyrillic alphabet It's Chinese to me, and when I was studiedTurkish the amount of loaned Arabic words in Turkish + the Latin alphabet made it very much easier for me to learn. And as I know Turkic languages are similar in vocabulary and grammar I hardly found any Uzbek lyrics written in Latin alphabet and that used to piss me off cause I planed to study it but it was very difficult to find learning resources.

Actually, Uzbekistan is using the Latin script now.
And yes, turkic languages are similiar, but not for non-natives. Because it is also divided to groups. As an oghuz turk, I sometimes struggle to understand some sentences in Uzbek (writing), and and Kazakh is the hardest for me to read&understand, but in listening Uzbek is the hardest. But I'd advise you to still focus on Turkish, turkic languages are never easy to remember. You should be an expert at adding propper suffixes and suffixes are quite many.

Member
Joined: 30.07.2016

It looks like they're doing the same thing that Azerbaijan did, as taddy26 mentioned. Interesting news!! I'm happy that Kazakhstan is doing this. From what I've noticed from Kazakh students here in the UK, Kazakhs speak mostly Russian with each other, not Kazakh... Is this true? Also, I've noticed that Kazakhstan mainly uses the Russian language for.. everything? So how much will they even be using the Kazakh language and it's new alphabet? Anyone have any idea?

Super Member
Joined: 08.04.2017
crimsonDyname wrote:

Wow, this is really interesting! I think it may be easier for pronunciation in general, but this is a massive development. To answer your question, nations are generally female in pronoun in English.

We use gender neutral pronouns (it, its) for countries

Slavic chrzan
Joined: 16.06.2013

I think that they have to use the alphabet they would like to use but I also think that the Latin alphabet isn't the best for this kind of languages because it is too simple and writing some sounds might become even more complicated than it was with the Cyrillic alphabet. We can see this problem in the transliteration of names. We see that in some Slavic languages who use the Latin script like Polish or even Czech for example. They look very complicated written in the Latin script with many diphthongs, digraphs, graphemes etc. But if they want to use it, let them.
However, I think the Latin script is too simple for Kazakh language.

Editor
Joined: 12.10.2010

The proposed Latin alphabet looks, in my opinion, horrible. I have already added a transliteration of the Kazakh national anthem into the new alphabet, and honestly, this many apostrophes make my eyes bleed. Also, there are some bizarre letter choices like Y’ for /w/ or I’ for /j/ (the Y sound). They could have gone with something similar to the system QazAqparat, the national news agency, currently uses. Honestly, current Cyrillic alphabet looks much better than the proposed Latin.

Editor from the Land of Fire
Joined: 21.06.2013
niko.kossev wrote:

I think that they have to use the alphabet they would like to use but I also think that the Latin alphabet isn't the best for this kind of languages because it is too simple and writing some sounds might become even more complicated than it was with the Cyrillic alphabet. We can see this problem in the transliteration of names. We see that in some Slavic languages who use the Latin script like Polish or even Czech for example. They look very complicated written in the Latin script with many diphthongs, digraphs, graphemes etc. But if they want to use it, let them.
However, I think the Latin script is too simple for Kazakh language.

Kazakh is a turkic language, if other turkic languages can use Latin without any problems, then why not kazakh? Of course there are some letters that are not common, but it is still OK. (In my language we have: ü, ö, ı, ə, ğ, ç, ş but so we can apply that to Kazakh, too)

Editor from the Land of Fire
Joined: 21.06.2013
amateur wrote:

The proposed Latin alphabet looks, in my opinion, horrible. I have already added a transliteration of the Kazakh national anthem into the new alphabet, and honestly, this many apostrophes make my eyes bleed. Also, there are some bizarre letter choices like Y’ for /w/ or I’ for /j/ (the Y sound). They could go with something similar to the system QazAqparat, the national news agency, currently uses. Honestly, current Cyrillic alphabet looks much better than the proposed Latin.

We have letters for those sounds which were written with apostrophes.

Editor
Joined: 12.10.2010
DarkJoshua wrote:

That is actually interesting. I knew this was something the Kazakh government has always wanted to do, but with little success. On one hand, you could be right, it may become easier for whoever would like to learn the language to, at least, get to know it without having to learn another alphabet. I know the Cyrillic alphabet and I'm even studying Russian currently, but I've always been fascinated by that area of Asia, although I have never even tried to learn Kazakh, Uzbekh, Tajik, Kyrgyz nor Turkmen for several reasons. What I wonder is: how important is to learn such languages as Russian is widely spoken in the area? I mean, personal pleasure is a big reason by itself, but the area has a lot of ties with Russia and many loanwords have been integrated into the Kazakh language. Notwithstanding, cultural ties are way stronger: Kazakh is a Turkic language and the most important languages of this family are written using the Latin script, Turkish, for instance. Speaking of Turkey, the reform promoted by Atatürk during the last century has pushed Turkey up, making it a modern and respected country. If Kazakhstan decides to adopt the Latin alphabet, it could form an economical and political alliance with Turkey, Azerbaijan and the other Central Asian countries, from which Kazakhstan would benefit a lot (even though I don't think Russia would be happy). If Kazakhstan manages to keep its ties with Russia and the ex USSR area, while collaborating with its Turkic friends, everyone would highly benefit from it. From the point of view of a western European with little knowledge of the area, such as me, I think that culture is what every country should preserve. Mongolia has a similar situation: Turkic country, influenced by the Soviet Union, what do people think when they hear the word "Mongolia"? Yeah, a great empire, which has, though, long gone. If one day Mongolia decided to adopt its old Mongolic script, I would be honestly happy. That's what I would like for Kazakhstan as well: it's a country on its own and, by promoting their cultural heritage, they can show it. My opinion may not matter a lot, but I really believe in individuality and, in this case, cultural individuality.

Actually, Mongolia isn't a Turkic nation.

taddy26 wrote:

Hi! I heard about it last year on the TV that the government wanted to do it. I actually think it is a good idea. My country ~Azerbaijan also had used Arabic script (from the VIII century till 1929), Latin 1929-1939, Cyrilic 1940-1991.
If I am not wrong, Kazakhistan is the only independent turkic country which still uses Cyrilic.
I don't mean to be rude, but I like nothing about the Soviet, so it might be the reason I am for adopting the Latin script :d

Kyrgyzstan uses Cyrillic too.

Slavic chrzan
Joined: 16.06.2013
amateur wrote:

The proposed Latin alphabet looks, in my opinion, horrible. I have already added a transliteration of the Kazakh national anthem into the new alphabet, and honestly, this many apostrophes make my eyes bleed. Also, there are some bizarre letter choices like Y’ for /w/ or I’ for /j/ (the Y sound). They could have gone with something similar to the system QazAqparat, the national news agency, currently uses. Honestly, current Cyrillic alphabet looks much better than the proposed Latin.

Not as bad as the Russian & Bulgarian Romanization system. Now, THAT is pure horror. Especially for the Bulgarian one. They decided to romanize the vowel ъ with a. WTF???

I wish we all had the Hangul (which in my honest opinion is the perfect alphabet for languages with more complicated phonetic structure) and get over this shit.

Slavic chrzan
Joined: 16.06.2013
taddy26 wrote:
niko.kossev wrote:

I think that they have to use the alphabet they would like to use but I also think that the Latin alphabet isn't the best for this kind of languages because it is too simple and writing some sounds might become even more complicated than it was with the Cyrillic alphabet. We can see this problem in the transliteration of names. We see that in some Slavic languages who use the Latin script like Polish or even Czech for example. They look very complicated written in the Latin script with many diphthongs, digraphs, graphemes etc. But if they want to use it, let them.
However, I think the Latin script is too simple for Kazakh language.

Kazakh is a turkic language, if other turkic languages can use Latin without any problems, then why not kazakh? Of course there are some letters that are not common, but it is still OK. (In my language we have: ü, ö, ı, ə, ğ, ç, ş but so we can apply that to Kazakh, too)

In Cyrillic there are letters for all those sounds and we don't have to bastardize the Latin alphabet with dots and all that unnecessary shit. The Cyrillic has been created with those sounds in mind and I personally think it's the better alphabet for those languages. It just looks neater and not like "oh, we have to think on how to change the letter X in order to write the sound Y". It looks unfinished and rushed. But that's just my opinion.

Editor
Joined: 12.10.2010
niko.kossev wrote:

In Cyrillic there are letters for all those sounds and we don't have to bastardize the Latin alphabet with dots and all that unnecessary shit. The Cyrillic has been created with those sounds in mind and I personally think it's the better alphabet for those languages. It just looks neater and not like "oh, we have to think on how to change the letter X in order to write the sound Y". It looks unfinished and rushed. But that's just my opinion.

Well the thing is, Kazakh Cyrillic alphabet has many non-standard Cyrillic letters too, like Ә, Ң, Ү, Ұ, Ғ, and Һ.

Slavic chrzan
Joined: 16.06.2013
amateur wrote:
niko.kossev wrote:

In Cyrillic there are letters for all those sounds and we don't have to bastardize the Latin alphabet with dots and all that unnecessary shit. The Cyrillic has been created with those sounds in mind and I personally think it's the better alphabet for those languages. It just looks neater and not like "oh, we have to think on how to change the letter X in order to write the sound Y". It looks unfinished and rushed. But that's just my opinion.

Well the thing is, Kazakh Cyrillic alphabet has many non-standard Cyrillic letters too, like Ә, Ң, Ү, Ұ, Ғ, and Һ.

That is true but so does Serbian.