Kazakh is a member of the Kipchak branch of the Turkic language family. It is spoken mainly in Kazakhstan, China and Uzbekistan and also in Iran, Mongolia, Turkey and other countries. In 2009 there were about 12.8 million speakers of Kazakh: about 10 million in Kazakhstan, 1.25 million in China, almost 1 million in Uzbekistan, and about 100,000 in Mongolia.
Kazakh is spoken in the northeast of China in Gansu and Qinghai provinces and in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. In Uzbekistan it is spoken in Karakalpakstan Autonomous Republic. In Mongolia it is spoken in Bayan-Olgiy and Hovd provinces.
Kazakh is also known as Qazaq, Kaisak, Kazak, Kosach, Kazax, Gazaqi, Kazakhi or Qazaqi. The word Kazakh comes from the ancient Turkic word qaz (to wander). The word cossack comes from the root [source].
Kazakh was first written with the Arabic script during the 19th century when a number of poets, educated in Islamic schools, incited revolt against Russia. Russia's response was to set up secular schools and devise a way of writing Kazakh with the Cyrillic alphabet, which was not widely accepted. By 1917, the Arabic script was reintroduced, even in schools and local government.
In 1927, Kazakh nationalist movement sprang up but was soon suppressed. At the same time the Arabic script was banned and the Latin alphabet was imposed for writing Kazakh. The Latin alphabet was in turn replaced by the Cyrillic alphabet in 1940.
Since 2006, as part of a modernization program, the government of Kazakhstan decided to replace the Cyrillic alphabet with the Latin alphabet. The switch to the Latin alphabet official started in October 2017.
More details: The Astana Times
This version of the Latin alphabet was adopted in October 2017, and is currently in official use. It was revised in 2018, and several more amendments have been proposed since then. A new version will be used from 2023.
Hear a recording of the Kazakh alphabet
Hear some Kazakh alphabet with examples:
Download alphabet charts for Kazakh (Excel)
بارلىق ادامدار تۋمىسىنان ازات جانە قادىر‐قاسىييەتى مەن كۇقىقتارى تەڭ بولىپ دۇنىييەگە كەلەدى. ادامدارعا اقىل‐پاراسات، ار‐وجدان بەرىلگەن، سوندىقتان ولار بىر‐بىرىمەن تۋىستىق، باۋىرمالدىق قارىم‐قاتىناس جاساۋلارى ٴتىيىس.
Barlıq adamdar twmısınan azat jäne qadir-qasïyeti men quqıqtarı teñ bolıp dünïyege keledi. Adamdarğa aqıl-parasat, ar-ojdan berilgen, sondıqtan olar bir-birimen twıstıq, bawırmaldıq qarım-qatınas jasawları tïis.
Барлық адамдар тумысынан азат және қадір-қасиеті мен кұқықтары тең болып дүниеге келеді. Адамдарға ақыл-парасат, ар-ождан берілген, сондықтан олар бір-бірімен туыстық, бауырмалдық қарым-қатынас жасаулары тиіс.
Barlıq adamdar tumısınan azat jäne qadir qasyeti men kûqıqtarı teŋ bolıp dünyege keledi. Adamdarġa aqıl parasat, ar ojdan berilgen, sondıqtan olar bir birimen tuıstıq, bauırmaldıq qarım qatınas jasauları tyis.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Improvements supplied by 이윤호
Information about Kazakh | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel | Learning materials
Information about the Kazakh language
Online Kazakh lessons
Online Kazakh dictionaries
Online Kazakh translation
Online Kazakh news and radio
Altay, Äynu, Azerbaijani, Bashkir, Chagatai, Chelkan, Chulym, Chuvash, Crimean Tatar, Dolgan, Fuyu Kyrgyz, Gagauz, Ili Turki, Karachay-Balkar, Karaim, Karakalpak, Karamanli Turkish, Kazakh, Khakas, Khalaj, Khorasani Turkic, Krymchak, Kumandy, Kyrgyz, Nogai, Old Turkic, Qashqai, Romanian Tatar, Salar, Shor, Siberian Tatar, Soyot, Tatar, Teleut, Tofa, Turkish, Turkmen, Tuvan, Urum, Uyghur, Uzbek, Western Yugur, Yakut (Sakha)
Adamaua Fulfulde, Afrikaans, Arabic (Algerian), Arabic (Bedawi), Arabic (Chadian), Arabic (Egyptian), Arabic (Gulf), Arabic (Hassaniya), Arabic (Hejazi), Arabic (Lebanese), Arabic (Libyan), Arabic (Modern Standard), Arabic (Moroccan), Arabic (Najdi), Arabic (Syrian), Arabic (Tunisian), Arwi, Äynu, Azeri, Balanta-Ganja, Balti, Baluchi, Beja, Belarusian, Bosnian, Brahui, Chagatai, Chechen, Chittagonian, Comorian, Crimean Tatar, Dargwa, Dari, Dhatki, Dogri, Domari, Gawar Bati, Gilaki, Hausa, Hazaragi, Hindko, Indus Kohistani, Kabyle, Kalkoti, Karakalpak, Kashmiri, Kazakh, Khowar, Khorasani Turkic, Khwarezmian, Konkani, Kumzari, Kurdish, Kyrgyz, Lezgi, Luri, Maguindanao, Malay, Malay (Terengganu), Mandinka, Marwari, Mazandarani, Mogholi, Morisco, Mozarabic, Munji, Nubi, Ormuri, Palula, Parkari Koli, Pashto, Persian/Farsi, Punjabi, Qashqai, Rajasthani, Rohingya, Salar, Saraiki, Sawi, Serer, Shabaki, Shina, Shughni, Sindhi, Somali, Tatar, Tausūg, Tawallammat Tamajaq, Tayart Tamajeq, Torwali, Turkish, Urdu, Uyghur, Uzbek, Wakhi, Wanetsi, Wolof, Xiao'erjing, Yidgha
Abaza, Abkhaz, Adyghe, Aghul, Akhvakh, Akkala Sámi, Aleut, Altay, Alyutor, Andi, Archi, Assyrian / Neo-Assyrian, Avar, Azeri, Bagvalal, Balkar, Bashkir, Belarusian, Bezhta, Bosnian, Botlikh, Budukh, Bulgarian, Buryat, Chamalal, Chechen, Chelkan, Chukchi, Chulym, Chuvash, Crimean Tatar, Dargwa, Daur, Dolgan, Dungan, Enets, Erzya, Even, Evenki, Gagauz, Godoberi, Hinukh, Hunzib, Ingush, Interslavic, Itelmen, Juhuri, Kabardian, Kaitag, Kalderash Romani, Kalmyk, Karaim, Karakalpak, Karata, Karelian, Kazakh, Ket, Khakas, Khanty, Khinalug, Khorasani Turkic, Khwarshi, Kildin Sámi, Komi, Koryak, Krymchak, Kryts, Kubachi, Kumandy, Kumyk, Kurdish, Kyrgyz, Lak, Lezgi, Lingua Franca Nova, Ludic, Macedonian, Mansi, Mari, Moksha, Moldovan, Mongolian, Montenegrin, Nanai, Negidal, Nenets, Nganasan, Nivkh, Nogai, Old Church Slavonic, Oroch, Orok, Ossetian, Pontic Greek, Romanian, Rushani, Russian, Rusyn, Rutul, Selkup, Serbian, Shor, Shughni, Siberian Tatar, Sirenik, Slovio, Soyot, Tabassaran, Tajik, Talysh, Tat, Tatar, Teleut, Ter Sámi, Tindi, Tofa, Tsakhur, Tsez, Turkmen, Tuvan, Ubykh, Udege, Udi, Udmurt, Ukrainian, Ulch, Urum, Uyghur, Uzbek, Veps, Votic, Wakhi, West Polesian, Xibe, Yaghnobi, Yakut, Yazghulami, Yukaghir (Northern / Tundra), Yukaghir (Southern / Kolyma), Yupik (Central Siberian)
Languages written with the Latin alphabet
Page last modified: 10.08.22
Why not share this page:
Learn languages for free on Duolingo
If you like this site and find it useful, you can support it by making a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or by contributing in other ways. Omniglot is how I make my living.
Note: all links on this site to Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.fr are affiliate links. This means I earn a commission if you click on any of them and buy something. So by clicking on these links you can help to support this site.