Kazakh language

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
қазақ тілі

Spoken in

Kazakhstan , China , Uzbekistan , Russia , Mongolia
speaker 11 million
Official status
Official language in KazakhstanKazakhstan Kazakhstan Altai Republic People's Republic of China ( Ili )
Altai RepublicAltai Republic 
China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China 
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2


ISO 639-3


The Kazakh language (Kazakh қазақ тілі, қазақша Qasaq tili, qasaqscha ; قازاق تيل, قازاقشا qazaq tili, qazaqşa , IPA : [qɑzɑq tɪlɪ] ) is a Turkic language that belongs to the Kipchak subgroup there . Kazakh is mainly spoken in Kazakhstan and various Central Asian countries.

Kazakh is officially written using a modified Cyrillic alphabet . The conversion to the Latin alphabet should be completed by 2025 . However, variants of the Latin alphabet are already used today on the Internet and in the Kazakh diaspora . The Arabic alphabet is used in part by those Kazakhs who live in China , Iran and Afghanistan and who were not affected by the modernization of the Kazakh written language .


Genetically , the Kazakh part of the language family of Turkic languages , which in turn often to by some as Sprachbund , other than parent language family considered Altaic languages is counted. Within the Turkic languages ​​it is part of the Kyptschak group (the western Turkish languages), which also includes Tatar , Bashkir and Karakalpak , among others . It is also closely related to the Kyrgyz language to the southeast , which occupies a transitional position between the Kyptschak group , the Uighur (eastern Turkish) group and the Altai of the Altai region . (See also the section "Equations of words in Turkic languages" in the article "Turkic languages".)

Number of speakers and dialects

Of the almost 8.2 million Kazakhs in what was then the USSR, around 7.9 million stated Kazakh as their mother tongue and 40,606 as a second language in 1989; only 1.6% of the minorities spoke the national language.

Today Kazakh is spoken by 6.6 million people in Kazakhstan and is also the state language there . Due to the large Russian-speaking minorities, Russian is still considered the country's second administrative language. 808,227 people speak Kazakh in Uzbekistan , 37,318 in Russia, and 11,376 in Tajikistan .

Furthermore, 1.1 million Kazakhs live in the People's Republic of China (1991) and there alone 607,000 in Xinjiang . In Mongolia (1991) 100,000 people named Kazakh as their mother tongue. In 1982 there were 3000 Kazakhs in Iran and 2000 in Afghanistan . But also in Turkey in 1982 a little over 600 people said the Kazakh language was their mother tongue.

Kazakh can be divided into three dialect groups , which roughly correspond to the three historical tribal associations of the Kazakhs: Northeast Kazakh is spoken in the traditional area of ​​the Middle Horde in central and northeastern Kazakhstan. It forms the main basis of the modern written Kazakh language. The West Kazakhstan that works closely with the Nogay is related, is in the traditional territory of the Little Horde in western Kazakhstan and neighboring Turkmenistan spoken. The third dialect is South Kazakh , which is spoken in the traditional area of ​​the Great Horde in southern Kazakhstan, in the adjacent part of Uzbekistan and in Sinkiang .

Until the 1920s, the Russians (and other Europeans) mostly referred to Kazakh as Kyrgyz or Kazak-Kyrgyz or Kazak-Tatar and not always differentiated from the closely related Kyrgyz language . The vocabulary of High Kazakh was enriched with numerous derivations from Azerbaijani in the 1930s. This was partly due to the fact that many members of the Kazakh intellectual class received their higher education at the University of Baku, founded in 1919, or at the University of G .ncə. Kazakhstan did not receive the first national universities until the 1930s.

Development of the written language

In the period from the 13th to the 15th century, the ancestors of the Kazakhs used Old Tatar as a written language, as their settlement areas were in the area of ​​the Golden Horde . In the 15th century, the old Tatar was replaced by Chagataisch . Both languages ​​were written in Arabic characters .

In the 18th century, the Kazakhs began to use this script to write their own language - at that time still known as "Kazak-Kirighiz" - and there was widespread bilingualism (as everywhere in Central Asia): Chagatan for general communication and "Kyrgyz" for the private sector.

In 1929 the Kazakhs adopted the "New Turkic Language Alphabet" , but in 1940 it was abolished. It was replaced by a modified Cyrillic alphabet , which was supplemented by the following nine characters. These nine additional characters were foreign to the Russian alphabet and were intended to express Kazakh sounds specifically: Әә, Ғғ, Ққ, Ңң, Өө, Ұұ, Үү, Һһ, İi. (Latin Áá, Ǵǵ, Qq, Ńń, Óó, Uu, Úú, Hh, İi; the Russian Ии stands for and the Russian Уу for Ýý )

The modern written Kazakh language was not created until 1936/37, when the Soviet Union dissolved the "Autonomous Kyrgyz Republic" and u. a. created the "Kazakh SSR". With this, Kazakh was officially declared the state language of the Kazakh SSR. As in the other Soviet republics, Russian was used as the country's second language in order to be able to communicate with residents who did not speak Kazakh.

Table with the officially adopted Latin alphabet, which should be mandatory in Kazakhstan from 2025

In the early 1990s, the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, in which the Turkic languages ​​are spoken, agreed to introduce a form of the Latin writing system based on the “new Turkish alphabet” for their official languages . For Kazakh and the closely related Kyrgyz language , a Kazakh-Kyrgyz commission developed a Latin alphabet on this basis. This was presented to the public by the Kazakh President on January 6, 1998. However, this Latin alphabet has not yet been declared the official spelling. In Kazakhstan, for example, the Cyrillic alphabet is still used, which is partly explained by the Russian minority living in the country. Only the Kazakh news agency introduced this Latin spelling for its website on April 16, 2004, parallel to the Cyrillic spelling, which should primarily benefit the Kazakhs living abroad in countries with the Latin script. The website of the Kazakh government is now also available in Latin script. The introduction of the Latin alphabet was finally announced by Nursultan Nazarbayev in December 2012 for 2025 and made binding by a corresponding ordinance in 2017, which was slightly modified in 2018.

Spellings of Kazakh names

When Kazakhstan first belonged to the Russian Empire and later to the Soviet Union, the Kazakh language was of secondary importance - the Russian spellings became known in German-speaking countries. Since independence in 1990, Kazakhstan has emphasized the Kazakh spellings and they are used for official names (e.g. city names or nature parks) - also in Wikipedia. For some geographical names, however, Russian spellings are still used, which sometimes leads to different names.


Many names were originally in Kazakh / Turkish, were then Russified and are now Kazakh again. In addition, there are also many originally Russian place names, especially in the north.


  • Bingzhe Jin, Jin 金炳 喆 [eds.] And Kayyeng 开 英 [Corr.]: 哈 汉 词典Ha Han cidian / Ķazaķxa-Hanzuxa Sɵzdik (Kazakh-Chinese dictionary). 新疆 人民出版社Xinjiang renmin chubanshe (Xinjiang People's Publishing House ). 乌鲁木齐 Ürümqi 1979/1980. XII + 897 pages.
  • Mark Kirchner: Kazakh and Karakalpak . In: The Turkic languages . Ed. by Lars Johanson and É. Á. Csató. Routledge, London [u. a.] 1998. (Routledge language family descriptions). Pp. 318-332.
  • S. Nayman (那 衣 满) u. a .: Hanzuxa-Ķazaķxa Sɵzdik / Han Ha cidian汉 哈 辞典 (Chinese-Kazakh dictionary). 新疆 人民出版社Xinjiang renmin chubanshe (Xinjiang People's Publishing House ). 乌鲁木齐 Ürümqi 1979/1981. 6 + 53 + 1,550 pp.
  • Г. Қ. Рысбаева [GQ Rysbaeva]: Қазақ тілі: Грамматикалық анықтағыш = Казахский язык: Грамматический справочник. Сөздік-Словарь, Алматы 2000.
  • Dávid Somfai Kara: Kazak. Lincom Europa, Munich 2002. (Languages ​​of the world: Materials; 417)
  • Zura Mazhit: Parlons kazakh. L'Harmattan, Paris 2015, ISBN 978-2-343-06355-3 .
  • Raihan Muhamedowa: Kazakh. A Comprehensive Grammar. Routledge, London / New York 2016, ISBN 978-1-138-82864-3 (Routledge Comprehensive Grammars).
  • Mark Kirchner: Phonology of Kazakh. 2 volumes. Wiesbaden 1992 (Turcologica 10), ISBN 978-3-447-03277-3 .
  • Angelika Landmann: Kazakh: Short grammar. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2012, ISBN 978-3-447-06783-6 .

Web links

Commons : Kazakh language  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Закон Республики Алтай «О языках». Глава I, статья 4
  2. О переводе алфавита казахского языка с кириллицы на латинскую графику ( Russian ) Kazakh presidential administration. October 25, 2017. Retrieved October 25, 2017.