Kazakhstan opens new Latin alphabet to public opinion

Kazakhstan's transition from Cyrillic to Latin alphabet to begin in 2023

2021-04-22 16:17:45

NUR SULTAN, Kazakhstan 

Kazakhstan has opened its new alphabet to public opinion.

The alphabet was converted from Cyrillic to Latin.

The public can vote on the change until May 6.

The Central Asian nation has been planning to gradually convert to Latin letters by 2023.

The new Kazakh alphabet has 31 letters.

It also includes “ö, ğ, ü, ş” letters as in Turkish.

Kazakhstan's shift to Latin alphabet

Despite gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Kazakhstan, which continued to use the Cyrillic alphabet like other former Soviet countries, decided to switch to the Latin alphabet in 2017 upon instructions of then-President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The National Alphabet Commission was established and efforts to transition to the new alphabet were initiated.

Since then, writing the names of state buildings, streets, shops and pharmacies has become widespread in the Kazakh language using the Latin alphabet.

But the new alphabet, in which the apostrophe was used extensively, has been then criticized by Kazakhs, and incumbent President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev advised to redevelop the alphabet.

On the eve of the 30th anniversary of independence, the National Alphabet Commission introduced the improved national alphabet adapted for Latin letters.

*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin