Why does the status of Kazakh remain low?

Reading the blog of Gulzhaina I got the insight to continue the discussion of the status of Kazakh language. This topic seems to be as old as the hills, but still is a burning issue for many Kazakhstani citizens.

I agree with Gulzhaina that even Kazakh language is a state language its status among Kazakhstani people is still low, especially young people prefer learning three foreign language instead of learning one state language. And the most distressing thing is that people are not willing to learn the state language. However, criticizing and blaming people for not showing a desire to speak Kazakh will not bring us any use. Here we need totally different tools and methods to solve this problem.

I have noticed that most of the Media in Kazakh is a priori sententious and educating. Take any public person in Kazakhstan who speaks let’s say ideal Kazakh, he or she is for sure a national patriot and this is how they show it – each of their speech is full of pieces of advice on how our people should talk, dress and behave. I think it is extremely dull and tedious. As for me, I am sick and tired of hearing that Kazakh people must speak Kazakh, unless they are not patriotic.  With the help of our Media I get the sense that Kazakh language is a language of an ‘ideal’ person, who is a highly-moral and well-mannered. It creates the feeling that Kazakh language is something sacral and sometimes you are even afraid to speak it because of the possibility to make a mistake. Maybe it is the reason why people are not minded to start speaking Kazakh?

I believe that all the efforts of the government and individuals interested in promoting Kazakh language should be directed on raising the attractiveness of Kazakh language. We need to understand that Kazakh language is not anymore the language of only Kazakh people, but all Kazakhstani people, since it is a state language. Currently, all the new releases of broadcast movies, bestseller books or popular TV series our people watch and read in Russian and never in Kazakh, because there are no any translations in Kazakh. Let’s make Kazakh language the language of good quality modern movies, music, TV shows and magazines and then it would become attractive and accessible for all Kazakhstani people.

I am proud of our country, our ancestors and we have just a fascinating history, but time flies and we should adjust to a new time with new standards and demands. Kazakh language needs to be the language of the 21st century with all its beautiful imperfections and weirdness.

What are your thoughts? How can we en masse promote Kazakh language?


7 thoughts on “Why does the status of Kazakh remain low?

  1. Dear aidana17, your blog touched an important issue which is as old as the hills(!) though it is still one of the daily “headaches” of the society and the mass media. I share a slightly different position that Kazakh language is a language of an ‘ideal’ person, who is a highly-moral and well-mannered. To justify this I can name the group “91” which is on top of the charts, singers whom are also almost idols like Kairat Nurtas and Toregali Toreali – they all sing in Kazakh and at some level popularize it avoiding the feeling that Kazakh language is something sacral. The case of Dimash Kudaibergenov is at all unique. As he is conquering the stages of China most of Chinese are interested in the language Dimash speaks and even started to learn it! So to sum up I will not give any advice(!) rather I will posit the view: as I had seen an interest to learn Kazakh from most of my mates that surround me I believe that promoting Kazakh is not a primary goal. People will speak Kazakh and it will come naturally. For that we only should not to prevent them when attempting to speak it and be patient as the change in the generation will make its impact in the mentality towards the language.


    1. Thank you for your comment, Dumankhan.
      I agree with your view that we need to support and encourage people willing to speak Kazakh.
      What comes to famous people you have given, singing Kazakh songs and promoting Kazakh language as you say, they are just “a drop in the ocean”, because, agree, there is not much Kazakh you can learn from pop songs which are all about unanswered love.
      Mainly, I wanted to deliver that our people need quality books, printed media and translations of world bestsellers in Kazakh language. How can person, who love, let’s say, hard rock and Nietzsche be attracted in Kazakh?


  2. Thanks, Aidana. (4.5/5) Great job trying to incorporate new vocabulary into your writing. Sometimes it may be a bit much (a priori, sententious, and sacral are three words your readers may not know, all used in the same two lines of text), but in general I commend your efforts! Take another look some proofreading mistakes:

    Why the status of Kazakh remains low? (Question word, auxiliary, subject, verb)
    Maybe it is the reason why people are not (minded) to start speaking Kazakh?
    …there are (no) any translations in Kazakh.


  3. Thank you Aidana for sharing your thoughts on the Kazakh language as a state language!
    I agree with you that the status of the Kazakh language should be promoted through media sources. Definitely it will encourage people to learn Kazakh. I would love to see a movie in Kazakh:)
    It reminds me the speech of Imangali Tasmagambetov who told that the Kazakhs should speak in the Kazakh language with each other…
    It must be shameful for Kazakhs who live in Kazakhstan who don’t speak their own language… I encourage myself to learn and speak Kazakh!


  4. Dear Aidana, a good job, thanks.
    Unfortunately, it is again, again and again making rounds, talking everything about nothing. It is not teaching, when it comes to problems of a national scope as a state language. There is obviously 1 way to improve the situation: JUST DO IT (my respect to NIKE). Otherwise , it’s just having the 100th meeting in russian or whatever language on kazakh language development, again and again. We must start with ourselves. I am really proud of my groupmates of 2014 SL cohort. We were the only group mostly speaking kazakh. In our what’s app group texting in other languages other than kazakh was not allowed (100 tenge fine for each non-kazakh word). It was not because we manifested against Russian or English, but it was our own choice. That’s the way to talk about change. WE are the drivers of change , not government, not Sagadiyev, not even the 01.


    1. Thank you for your comment, Bauyrzhan.
      The aim of my post was not just raising again this already debatable topic, but it was an attempt to analyze the reasons of people not showing a will to start speaking the state language. According my personal observations, I have noticed a breach in the Kazakhstani Media which occurs to be the biggest tool to promote Kazakh language since only Media can embrace the immense number of people at once.
      And I admire your active solution of this issue with your group. Way to go!


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