Latinizing the Alphabet in Kazakhstan: Rationale, Legal Foundation, and possible Impact on the status of the Russian Language

Mariya Riekkinen, Aizhan Zhatkanbayeva, Kanat Kozhabek, Gulnar Aigarinova

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    Abstract

    Upon acquisition of independence in 1991, Kazakhstan was the only post-Soviet state where the titular nation did not have an overwhelming majority, the number of Kazakhs being fewer than the number of ethnic Russians. This explains to a certain extent why the Russian language, unlike other minority languages, has, to date, enjoyed a position of lingua franca in Kazakhstan and is used on equal grounds with Kazakh as the state language. Our contribution attempts to study the possible impact on the status of the Russian language of a 2017 project known as the ‘trinity of languages’—Kazakh, Russian and English—which includes a reform to Latinize the Kazakh alphabet. It will consider the possible polarization in the society with the younger generation possibly choosing English and the older generation preferring the language as they know it
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEuropean Yearbook of Minority Issues Online
    Volume18
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2021
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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