Kazakhstan is a multiethnic and multicultural country. More than 130 nations live together (Sheryazdanova, 2013, p. 1). One of the crucial elements of international peacefulness is correctly developed language policy. Multilingual society has a strong impact on the stable economy, politics and cultural life of a country.
Plurilingual individuals co-exist with other plurilingual personalities. We may say that almost everybody in Kazakhstan is a carrier of more than one language. The reason of that statement is that school programs include both Russian and Kazakh languages. Moreover, all public and private schools provide one or more foreign languages. One of them is English language subject as a compulsory discipline.
All these components are led by plurilingualism drivers. Every child grows in a family. It is the first and the main driver that forms the personality. Children become acquainted with their mother tongue and gain proficiency in other languages mostly in their families. As a rule, in Kazakhstan most families are familiar with the Russian and Kazakh languages. However, the level of proficiency may vary from one to another. Therefore, children come to school with different knowledge levels of languages.
The second, but not the least pluralingualism driver is history. For more than 150 years Kazakhstan was under the tsarist rule (Oka, 2000, p. 3). The Tsarist regime had an impact on the Kazakhstani identity. One of the common and widespread tsarist policies was migration. So many nations were moved from their historical places to the wide steppes of Kazakhstan. The indigenous population always tried to make new comers’ lives better. Kazakh children and adults threw kurts to prisoners in Alzhir prison. It was an attempt to feed those who were under the tsarist repression (Tokaeva, 2011). Kazakh people tried to communicate with those who were forced to move to Kazakhstan. This communication also influenced the language acquisition among Kazakhs. So, without a doubt, we can say that the waves of migrations formed Kazakhstani language policy as it exists now.
There are more plurilingualism drivers that should be mentioned but in my opinion, these drivers are the most important. These factors contributed to the emergence of the current language policy in Kazakhstan.
Oka, N. (2000). Nationalities policy in Kazakhstan: Interviewing political and cultural
elites. Chiba: Institute of Developing Economies.
Sheryazdanova, K. (2013). The Role and Place of Migration and Diaspora’s Policy in Bilateral
Relations Between Kazakhstan and Germany. Chaos, Complexity and Leadership.
Springer Proceedings in Complexity 2014, pp 47-58.
Tokaeva, A. (2012). The history of the camp with an exotic name “ALZHIR” and its female
prisoners. Retrieved from