The official language in Uzbekistan is Uzbek. It is a Turkic language under the Qarluq branch in the Altaic cluster of languages and is closely associated with Uyghur and Kazak. Even though there are various native dialects and variations of the Uzbek language, the official written form of the language uses the Tashkent dialect as its foundation. The Turkmen language has high influence over the dialects spoken in the northern and western parts of Uzbekistan. Before the 1920s, the written language of Uzbeks was referred to as Turki. From 1992, Uzbek has officially been written using the Latin alphabet which comprises of 26 letters.

The Uzbek language is spoken by about 85% of the entire Uzbekistan population. Approximately 14% of the countrymen speak Russian hence making it the second most used language in the country. The Tajik language is spoken by around 10% of the people living in Uzbekistan.

The Uzbek language has many words and grammar formations similar to Turkish. It stemmed from Chagatai which is spoken in eastern Turkish. Commonly used valuable words and phrases in the language include “ko'rishguncha” which means goodbye, “assalomu alaykum” meaning hello, “uzr” for I am sorry, “raxmat” which translates to thank you, and “kechirasiz” for excuse me, among others.

Uzbekistan is home to other languages besides Uzbek. One of these languages is Russian. It is mainly used for interethnic communication in the country especially in cities where there are many governmental, business, and technical use. Conversely, usage of the language is limited in the remote rural regions of the country. In contemporary Uzbekistan, a considerable percentage of school children lack proficiency in the Russian language including those in the urban centers. The other indigenous language in the country is Tajik. It is commonly used in Samarkand and Bukhara cities mainly because they both have relatively large numbers of the Tajik community. The Tajik language is also used in Baghistan, Kitab, Rishton, and Chust in Fergana valley, the river valleys of Chaganian and Kafiringan, Ahangaran, Shahrisabz, and Kasan. Other languages used in the country include Arabic, Karakalpak, Kazakh, Crimean Tatar, Bukhari, and Korean Turkish.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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