The Info List - Uzbek Language

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Uzbek is a Turkic language that is the sole official language of Uzbekistan. The language of Uzbeks, it is spoken by some 28 million native speakers in Uzbekistan
and elsewhere in Central Asia. Uzbek belongs to the Eastern Turkic, or Karluk, branch of the Turkic language family. External influences include Persian, Arabic
and Russian. One of the most noticeable distinctions of Uzbek from other Turkic languages
Turkic languages
is the rounding of the vowel /a/ to /ɒ/, a feature that was influenced by Persian.


1 Name 2 History 3 Number of speakers 4 Loan words 5 Dialects 6 Writing systems 7 Phonology

7.1 Vowels 7.2 Consonants

8 See also 9 References 10 Sources 11 External links

Name[edit] In the language itself, Uzbek is oʻzbek tili or oʻzbekcha. In Cyrillic, the same names are written ўзбек тили and ўзбекча; in Arabic
script, ئوزبېک تیلی‎ and ئوزبېچه‎. History[edit] Turkic speakers probably settled the Amu Darya, Syr Darya
Syr Darya
and Zarafshan
river basins since at least 600–700 CE, gradually ousting or assimilating the speakers of Eastern Iranian languages who previously inhabited Sogdia, Bactria
and Khwarezm. The first Turkic dynasty in the region was that of the Kara-Khanid Khanate
Kara-Khanid Khanate
in the 9th–12th centuries, who were a confederation of Karluks, Chigils, Yaghma and other tribes.[4] Uzbek can be considered the direct descendant or a later form of Chagatai, the language of great Turkic Central Asian literary development in the realm of Chagatai Khan, Timur
(Tamerlane), and the Timurid dynasty[5] (including the early Mughal rulers of India). The language was championed by Ali-Shir Nava'i
Ali-Shir Nava'i
in the 15th and 16th centuries. Nava'i was the greatest representative of Chagatai language literature.[6][7] He significantly contributed to the development of the Chagatai language
Chagatai language
and its direct descendant Uzbek and is widely considered to be the founder of Uzbek literature.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14] Ultimately based on the Karluk variant of the Turkic languages, Chagatai contained large numbers of Persian and Arabic
loanwords. By the 19th century it was rarely used for literary composition, but disappeared only in the early 20th century. The term Uzbek as applied to language has meant different things at different times. Prior to 1921 "Uzbek" and "Sart" were considered to be different dialects:

"Uzbek" was a vowel-harmonised Kipchak variety spoken by descendants of those who arrived in Transoxiana
with Muhammad Shaybani
Muhammad Shaybani
in the 16th century, who lived mainly around Bukhara
and Samarkand, although the Turkic spoken in Tashkent
was also vowel-harmonised. It can be called old Uzbek and it's considered to be related to that specific group of people. "Sart" was a Karluk dialect spoken by the older settled Turkic populations of the region in the Fergana Valley
Fergana Valley
and the Qashqadaryo Region, and in some parts of what is now the Samarqand Region; it contained a heavier admixture of Persian and Arabic, and did not use vowel harmony. It became a standard Uzbek language
Uzbek language
or official dialect of Uzbekistan.

In Khanate of Khiva, Sarts spoke a highly Oghuz Turkified form of Karluk Turkic. After 1921 the Soviet regime abolished the term Sart
as derogatory, and decreed that henceforth the entire settled Turkic population of Turkestan would be known as Uzbeks, even though many had no Uzbek tribal heritage. However, the standard written language that was chosen for the new republic in 1924, despite the protests of Uzbek Bolsheviks
such as Fayzulla Khodzhayev, was not pre-revolutionary "Uzbek" but the "Sart" language of the Samarkand
region. Edward A. Allworth argued that this "badly distorted the literary history of the region" and was used to give authors such as the 15th century author Ali-Shir Nava'i
Ali-Shir Nava'i
an Uzbek identity.[15] All three dialects continue to exist within modern spoken Uzbek. Number of speakers[edit] Estimates of the number of speakers of Uzbek vary widely. The Swedish encyclopedia Nationalencyklopedin
estimates the number of native speakers to be 30 million,[16] and the CIA World Factbook
CIA World Factbook
estimates 25 million. Other sources estimate the number of speakers of Uzbek to be 21 million in Uzbekistan,[17] 3.4 million in Afghanistan,[18] 900,000 in Tajikistan,[19] 800,000 in Kyrgyzstan,[20] 500,000 in Kazakhstan,[21] 300,000 in Turkmenistan,[22] and 300,000 in Russia.[23] Loan words[edit] The influence of Islam, and by extension, Arabic, is evident in Uzbek loanwords. There is also a residual influence of Russian, from the time when Uzbeks
were under the rule of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
and the Soviet Union. Most importantly, Uzbek vocabulary, phraseology and pronunciation has been heavily influenced by Persian through its historic roots. Dialects[edit] The Uzbek language
Uzbek language
has many dialects, varying widely from region to region. However, there is a commonly understood dialect which is used in mass media and in most printed materials. Among the most-widespread dialects are the Tashkent
dialect, Uzbek dialect, the Ferghana dialect, the Khorezm dialect, the Chimkent-Turkestan dialect, and the Surkhandarya dialect. Writing systems[edit]

A 1911 text in the Uyghur Arabic

Main article: Uzbek alphabet Uzbek has been written in a variety of scripts throughout history:

Pre-1928: the Arabic-based Yaña imlâ alphabet
Yaña imlâ alphabet
by literates, approximately 3.7% of Uzbeks
at the time.[24]

1880s: Russian missionaries attempted to use Cyrillic
for Uzbek.[24]

1928–1940: the Latin-based Yañalif
used officially. 1940–1992: the Cyrillic script
Cyrillic script
used officially. Since 1992: a Yañalif-based Latin script
Latin script
is official in Uzbekistan, although the Cyrillic script
Cyrillic script
is still widely used.

Despite the official status of the Latin script
Latin script
in Uzbekistan, the use of Cyrillic
is still widespread, especially in advertisements and signs. In newspapers, scripts may be mixed, with headlines in Latin and articles in Cyrillic.[25] The Arabic script
Arabic script
is no longer used in Uzbekistan
except symbolically in limited texts[25] or for the academic studies of Chagatai (Old Uzbek).[24] In the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, where there is an Uzbek minority, the Cyrillic
is still used. However, the Uyghur Arabic alphabet is sometimes used. Phonology[edit] Vowels[edit] Standard Uzbek has six vowel phonemes:[26]



Close i u

Mid e o

Open æ ɒ


Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal

Nasal m



Plosive/Affricate voiceless p t̪ (ts) tʃ k q (ʔ)

voiced b d̪

dʒ ɡ

Fricative voiceless f

s ʃ

χ h

voiced v

z (ʒ)



l j



See also[edit]

Chagatai language Sogdian language Uzbeks


^ Uzbek at Ethnologue
(18th ed., 2015) Northern at Ethnologue
(18th ed., 2015) Southern at Ethnologue
(18th ed., 2015) ^ Scott Newton (20 November 2014). Law and the Making of the Soviet World: The Red Demiurge. Routledge. pp. 232–. ISBN 978-1-317-92978-9.  ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Uzbek". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ Golden, Peter. B. (1990), "Chapter 13 – The Karakhanids and Early Islam", in Sinor, Denis, The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-24304-1  ^ Allworth, Edward (1994). Central Asia: 130 Years of Russian Dominance, a Historical Overview. Duke University Press. p. 72. ISBN 0-8223-1521-1.  ^ Robert McHenry, ed. (1993). "Navā'ī, (Mir) 'Alī Shīr". Encyclopædia Britannica. 8 (15th ed.). Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. p. 563.  ^ Subtelny, M. E. (1993). "Mīr 'Alī Shīr Nawā'ī". In C. E. Bosworth; E. Van Donzel; W. P. Heinrichs; Ch. Pellat. Encyclopaedia of Islam. VII. Leiden—New York: Brill Publishers. pp. 90–93.  ^ Valitova, A. A. (1974). "Alisher Navoi". In A. M. Prokhorov. Great Soviet Encyclopedia (in Russian). 17 (3rd ed.). Moscow: Soviet Encyclopedia. pp. 194–195.  ^ A. M. Prokhorov, ed. (1997). "Navoi, Nizamiddin Mir Alisher". Great Encyclopedic Dictionary (in Russian) (2nd ed.). Saint Petersburg: Great Russian Encyclopedia. p. 777.  ^ "Alisher Navoi". Writers History. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2012.  ^ Maxim Isaev (7 July 2009). " Uzbekistan
– The monuments of classical writers of oriental literature are removed in Samarqand". Ferghana News. Retrieved 26 January 2012.  ^ Kamola Akilova. "Alisher Navoi and his epoch in the context of Uzbekistan
art culture development [sic]". San'at Magazine. Retrieved 28 January 2012.  ^ "Uzbek Culture". UzHotels. Retrieved 27 January 2012.  ^ "Alisher Navoi – The Crown of Literature". Kitob.uz Children's Digital Library (in Uzbek). Retrieved 8 February 2012.  ^ Allworth, Edward A. (1990). The Modern Uzbeks: From the Fourteenth Century to the Present: A Cultural History. Hoover Institution Press. pp. 229–230. ISBN 978-0-8179-8732-9.  ^ "Världens 100 största språk 2007" ("The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007"), Nationalencyklopedin ^ "Uzbekistan". CIA. Retrieved 7 December 2012.  ^ "Languages of Afghanistan". Ethnologue. Retrieved 7 December 2012.  ^ "Languages of Tajikistan". Ethnologue. Retrieved 7 December 2012.  ^ "Ethnic Makeup of the Population" (PDF). National Statistics Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic (in Russian). Retrieved 7 December 2012.  ^ "National Census 2009" (PDF). Statistics Agency of Kazakhstan
(in Russian). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 December 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2010.  ^ "Languages of Turkmenistan". Ethnologue. Retrieved 7 December 2012.  ^ "National Census 2010". Federal State Statistics Service (in Russian). Retrieved 7 December 2012.  ^ a b c Batalden, Stephen K. (1997). The Newly Independent States of Eurasia: Handbook of Former Soviet Republics. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-89774-940-4.  ^ a b European Society for Central Asian Studies. International Conference (2005). Central Asia
Central Asia
on Display. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 221. ISBN 978-3-8258-8309-6.  ^ Sjoberg, Andrée F. (1963). Uzbek Structural Grammar. Uralic and Altaic Series. 18. Bloomington: Indiana University. pp. 16–18. 


Mamatov, Jahangir; Kadirova, Karamat (2008). Comprehensive Uzbek-English Dictionary. Hyattsville, Maryland: Dunwoody Press. ISBN 1931546835. OCLC 300453555.  Csató, Éva Ágnes; Johanson, Lars (1936). The Turkic Languages. London: Routledge. ISBN 0415412617. OCLC 40980286.  Bregel, Yu (1978). "The Sarts in The Khanate of Khiva". Journal of Asian History. 12 (2): 120–151. doi:10.2307/41930294.  Bodrogligeti, András J. E. (2002). Modern Literary Uzbek: A Manual for Intensive Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced Courses. München: Lincom Europa. ISBN 3895866954. OCLC 51061526.  Fierman, William (1991). Language Planning and National Development: The Uzbek Experience. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 3110853388. OCLC 815507595.  Ismatullaev, Khaĭrulla (1995). Modern literary Uzbek I. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University, Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies. ISBN 0933070365. OCLC 34576336.  Karl, A. Krippes (1996). Uzbek-English Dictionary (Rev ed.). Kensington: Dunwoody Press. ISBN 1881265455. OCLC 35822650.  Sjoberg, Andrée Frances (1997). Uzbek Structural Grammar. Richmond: Curzon Press. ISBN 0700708189. OCLC 468438031.  Waterson, Natalie (1980). Uzbek-English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0197135978. OCLC 5100980.  Republic of Uzbekistan, Ministry of Higher and Middle Eductation. Lotin yozuviga asoslangan oʻzbek alifbosi va imlosi (Latin writing based Uzbek alphabet
Uzbek alphabet
and orthography), Tashkent
Finance Institute: Tashkent, 2004. A. Shermatov. "A New Stage in the Development of Uzbek Dialectology" in Essays on Uzbek History, Culture and Language. Ed. Bakhtiyar A. Nazarov & Denis Sinor. Bloomington, Indiana, 1993, pp. 101–9.

External links[edit]

Uzbek edition of, the free encyclopedia

Wikibooks has more on the topic of: Uzbek language

Wikivoyage has a phrasebook for Uzbek.


Uzbek Cyrillic–Latin converter Uzbek Cyrillic-Latin text and website converter Uzbek Latin- Cyrillic
text and website converter


Dictionary of the Uzbek Language Volume I (А—Р) (Tashkent, 1981) Dictionary of the Uzbek Language, Volume II (С—Ҳ) (Tashkent, 1981) English-Uzbek and Uzbek-English online dictionary English-Uzbek and Uzbek-English online dictionary Russian-Uzbek and Uzbek-Russian online dictionary Uzbek<>Turkish dictionary (Pamukkale University) Ole Olufsen: "A Vocabulary of the Dialect
of Bokhara" [1] (København 1905)

Grammar and orthography

Introduction to the Uzbek Language, Mark Dickens Principal Orthographic Rules For The Uzbek Language, translation of Uzbekistan
Cabinet of Minister's Resolution No. 339, of August 24, 1995 Uzbek alphabet, Omniglot

Learning/teaching materials

Ona tili uz, a website about Uzbek Uzbek language
Uzbek language
materials, Uz-Translations

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1 Mixed language. 2 Classification disputed.

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