Overview of the Kazakh Language

Kazakh (also spelled Kazak) is primarily spoken in Kazakhstan, one of the former republics of the Soviet Union, where it is t he official language. However, there are also communities of Kazakh speakers in China, Mongolia, and other areas. The Kazakh language is a member of the Turkic language family. It is closely related to the languages of Nogai, Kyrgyz, and Karakalpak, and more distantly related to Turkish, Azerbaijani, and Uzbek. While the exact date of Kazakh's split from the ot her Turkic languages is debated, the modern form of the language is generally considered to have begun forming by the seventeenth century. It existed in oral form for several centuries before a standard written form was developed in the mid nineteenth century.

Kazakh Letters and the Kazakh Alphabet
In Kazakhstan, Kazakh uses a Cyrillic alphabet, similar but not identical to that of Russian. In other areas, particularly in China, it can also be written with a variation of the Arabic alphabet. The Cyrillic alphabet used by Kazakh has 42 letters, several of which are used only in foreign loanwords. Kazakh texts in this alphabet are written from left to right, the same as English. The Cyrillic letters have both capital and lowercase forms.

Kazakh Pronunciation
One notable aspect of Kazakh pronunciation is the system of vowel harmony. All Kazakh vowels can be classified as either front vowels or back vowels. In the Kazakh language, if the stem of a word contains a front vowel, then any suffixes for that word must also use a front vowel. Likewise, if there is a back vowel in the stem of a word, back vowels are used in any suffixes for that word. The only exceptions to this pronunciation rule are a few loan words from other languages. Most Kazakh words are stressed on the final syllable.

Kazakh Vocabulary
Kazakh vocabulary shares a number of words with the related languages in the Turkic language family. It also has a variety of loan words from other languages, most notably Russian. By some estimates, Kazakh has been more heavily in fluenced by Russian than any other Turkic language.

Kazakh Grammar
Kazakh is considered an agglutinative language because it indicates grammatical functions primarily by attaching suffixes to word stems. Kazakh nouns decline to show case, meaning that th ey change form to indicate their role in a sentence. The six noun cases in Kazakh are the nominative case, the genitive case, the dative case, the accusative case, the locative case, and the ablative case. Nouns also take suffixes to indicate when they are plural. Kazakh verbs take suffixes to indicate their tense, aspect, and mood. The typical word order for a Kazakh sentence is Subject -Object-Verb, which is different from that of English. Kazakh also uses postpositions, which come after the words they ap ply to, in place of prepositions, which come before them. Regular practice is important to learn to speak Kazakh well. That's why good Kazakh software programs can be so useful. It's easier than ever to learn Kazakh with the language resources and language software that Transparent Language offers. Good luck as you learn Kazakh!