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Kazakh President Orders Ministers To Work On Latin-Based Alphabet

By RFE/RL November 09, 2020

Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev has ordered a new variation of the Kazakh-language alphabet based on Latin letters that would replace the current alphabet based on Cyrillic by 2025.

According to the Kazakh presidential press service, Toqaev asked Culture Minister Aqtoty Raiymqulova and Education Minister Askhat Aimaghambetov to work with experts on the alphabet and present their work to a national commission working on the issue.

In April 2017, then President Nursultan Nazarbaev announced that all publications, documents, and street signs in Kazakhstan will switch from a Cyrillic-based alphabet to a Latin-based alphabet by 2025.

Nazarbaev signed a decree on the change in October 2017.

The move has been seen as an effort to emphasize Kazakh culture and distance the country from Russia and the Soviet era.

At least two variants of the new Latin-based alphabets have been proposed by experts, but neither has been approved so far.

Since becoming president after Nazarbaev's resignation in March last year, Toqaev has said that more work was needed to develop an appropriate Latin-based alphabet for Kazakh, which belongs to the Turkic linguistic stem.

In 1929, Soviet authorities replaced traditional Arabic-based alphabets used by Muslim minorities in the Soviet Union with Latin-based national alphabets.

In 1940, the Latin alphabet was replaced with Cyrillic, the alphabet used in Russian.

Source: orders-ministers-to-work-on-latin- based-alphabet-/30938794.html

Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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