Transition to latin script
Foreign experts are discussing Kazakhstan’s initiative on transitioning to the Latin script. Many consider this reform as an important historic step aimed at bringing people closer together. Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkey Ahmet Yildiz believes that switching the Kazakh alphabet to the Latin script opens great opportunities for improved interaction of the Turkic world.
AHMET YILDIZ, DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER OF TURKEY:
- Kazakhstan's transition to the Latin script will open up opportunities for interaction with the world that invented and introduced technologies and the financial system. It is important for us that we will understand and know the Kazakh language, and also expand the scope of its application. Therefore, we are welcoming this initiative.
A draft project of the new Kazakh alphabet has recently been presented to the Kazakh President. Participants of a recent international conference in Aktau discussed the draft as well. Linguists from different regions of Kazakhstan, Turkey and Azerbaijan agreed that the use of apostrophes in the designation of specific sounds of the Kazakh language may be one of the most suitable options. Representatives of the working group on transitioning of the state language to the Latin script noted that the opinion of the public will be taken into account before the final decision is made.
ERDEN KAZHYBEK, HEAD OF WORKING GROUP:
- The second option takes into account the opinion that expressing original Kazakh sound in double letters complicates the writing and reading in Kazakh. Therefore, we are offering a version of the alphabet with apostrophes. The apostrophe is a much more convenient and understandable word-building tool which was offered by the founder of the Kazakh philology, Akhmet Baitursynov.
Teachers and students in Pavlodar region are also examining the draft version of the new Kazakh alphabet proposed to the President. This year 50 students from China and Mongolia are taking Kazakh language courses at the Pavlodar State Pedagogical Institute. Right now, in order to learn Kazakh, they are learning the Cyrillic alphabet. Latin script will greatly facilitate them in learning Kazakh, foreign students say. Although Cyrillic is used in Mongolia, many students know Latin script. Students from China, most of whom are Kazakh repatriates, would also prefer the new alphabet. In the near future, Pavlodar State Pedagogical Institute will re-train faculty to using Latin script.
YERLAN AIDYNULY, STUDENT, PAVLODAR STATE PEDAGOGICAL INSTITUTE:
- We support transition to the Latin script. I’m from China. I think that it will be more convenient for me to study the Latin script than the Cyrillic because there are a lot of letters in Cyrillic which are hard to learn.
ALTYNBEK NUKHULY, DEAN, PAVLODAR STATE PEDAGOGICAL INSTITUTE:
- Compared to the previous versions, this alphabet is simpler. There is a rule: one letter and one sound. Our president correctly noted that the transition to the Latin script should be conducted step by step. For this purpose, we need to develop more than one methodological manual and train good specialists. These is our, the faculty’s responsibility.
According to teachers of the West Kazakhstan State Medical University in Aktobe transition to the Latin script will give Kazakhstan the opportunity to join the global communication space. According to the future doctors, the Latin script will allow to communicate easily on social media without the help of special software and applications. The medical university hosted several round-tables where professors discussed the national project. Linguist Mayrash Sabitbekova says that introducing Latin script will allow foreigners to learn the Kazakh language with ease which will leads Kazakhstan being more and more recognized in the world.
MAYRASH SABITBEKOVA, SENIOR PROFESSOR, OSPANOV WEST KAZAKHSTAN STATE MEDICAL UNIVERSITY:
- Our team supports the transition of Kazakh to the Latin script. The Kazakh language has its own phonetic and vowel harmony features which are more accurately conveyed with Latin letters. The updated alphabet will give the whole world the opportunity to learn about the traditions and culture of the Kazakh people as well as to promote the Kazakh brands.