‘Tar Zaman’ – A story of my Kazakh language

Kazakh language is a unique language. It had passed through many challenges in its history. Starting its usage from the middle of 15th century Kazakh language is considered among the eldest and richest languages in the world.


There are many periods that worth paying attention for in the history of the language of people of the Great Steppe. For instance, if we consider current situation we can surely state that Kazakh language is developing and taking more and more influential positions in the Kazakhstan. However there were times when Kazakh language had a role of a heritage language. The language was almost ‘killed’ by another dominating language. The language as the Kazakh nation itself had to survive. And we survived!

The period I mentioned is the two decades between 1920s and 1940s. There was a huge political change that affected Kazakhstan in many ways. The mentality, traditions and languages had to be adapted under the Soviet rules. The Great Famine in 1930s decreased Kazakh nation’s population to 1/3 from 6 to 2 millions. Part of a population had to migrate to another countries. Consequently, the Kazakh language status dropped from being a national language to the status of a minority language in its own country.

Moreover, during these two decades the Kazakh alphabet used three alphabets. Before the Soviets Kazakhs used Arabic writing for its alphabet. The Arabic writing was replaced by Latin script. After a while the Kazakh Latin script was adapted to Cyrillic alphabet. All these changes in a short period affected to Kazakh language and the nation very negatively. The most of the population had a very low level of literacy, thus it made Kazakh the language spoken only  in rural areas. This situation limited the usage of Kazakh language and lessened its perspectives. The people who used only Kazakh and who could not communicate in the dominating language had no opportunity to take governmental positions.

These all can be named as ‘Tar Zaman’ of Kazakh language. In order to step in a brighter future we need to take into consideration lessons from our past!


Video retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qI5ca0X9rTI

Photo retrieved from https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjApdGbsOzXAhXMa5oKHSCgDI8QjxwIAw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fult.kz%2Fpost%2Fmemlekettik-til-menin-tilim&psig=AOvVaw2nlIMp9crxJu1kOohnc_sZ&ust=1512340056339265



4 thoughts on “‘Tar Zaman’ – A story of my Kazakh language

  1. What will be the impact of the new tri-lingual policy on the popularity of the KZ language? Any relevant empirical research?

    Liked by 1 person

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