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History of development of the Kazakh writing


History of development of the Kazakh writing


The greatest invention of the people – writing. It allows to accumulate all experience accumulated by society and to transfer him to the subsequent generations. Writing forms national codes and removes temporary and spatial borders of communication.

Kazakh in the course of the development repeatedly changed the graphics, adapting to requirements of the concrete historical period.

In the 6-7th centuries the ancient Turkic people – ancestors including modern Kazakhs, used the Old Turkic runic letter known in science as the orkhonoyeniseysky letter. It is one of the most ancient types of the alphabetic letter. One of early monuments to such writing has been found in 1896-1897 in Kazakhstan near Auliye-At (nowadays the city of Taraz). There 5 stones with Old Turkic inscriptions have been found. And in 1940 in East Turkestan well remained 4 manuscripts of the Old Turkic letter of the middle of the 8th century have been found. Up to the 15th century Turkic language was language of international communication on the most part of Eurasia. For example, at the Mongolian khans Batye and Munch all official documents in the Golden Horde, the international correspondence, besides Mongolian, were kept also in Turkic language.

To arrival on the territory of modern Kazakhstan of Islam, since 10th century, there is a transition to the Arab graphics used up to the beginning of the 20th century. An important factor of transition of Kazakh to the Arab graphics was expansion of her use at the international level. The Arab letter was applied in Kazakhstan at spiritual and secular schools and also in official correspondence as Arabic was language of the international communication. Decorated with his beautiful ornament buildings, scientists and poets wrote the works in Arabic, decorating their pages with the drawings executed quite often at the high art level.

In 1912 Ahmet Baytursynov for adaptation of the Kazakh writing on the basis of the Arab graphics to requirements of that time has carried out her reforming, having given the chance to use her to millions of Kazakhs living abroad. The new alphabet which has received the name "Zhaa to an Emla" ("New spelling") is still applied by the Kazakhs living in China, Afghanistan and Iran. At the same time, according to researchers and public figures of that period, the Arab letter (the national name "Tte to a Zhaz"), having played the significant role in development of Kazakh, at the beginning of the 20th century has exhausted the potential.

Since 1929 in the territory of Kazakhstan the new latinizirovanny alphabet – "The uniform Turkic alphabet" is entered. Writing on the basis of Latin has existed till 1939, and in 11 years Latin was replaced by the Cyrillic alphabet.

In 1940 the Law "About the Translation of the Kazakh Writing with Latinizirovanny on the New Alphabet on the basis of the Russian Graphics" has been adopted.

The question of need of transition to Latin graphics has been initiated by the Kazakhstan public figures and experts in the field of linguistics in the first years of Independence. For the first time the question of expediency of change of graphics of Kazakh has been sounded in 1992 within the Tyurkologichesky congress passing in Turkey at which there were representatives of the Turkic-speaking people living in the territory of the former USSR. After the Congress the director of Institute of linguistics academician Abduali Kaydar has written the letter to the President N.A. Nazarbayev where has noted that many Turkic-speaking countries after disintegration of the Soviet Union have already mastered the Latin alphabet, and therefore Kazakhstan has to follow their example. Enclosed the Concept of transition to Latin and the first draft of the Kazakh alphabet developed by Institute of linguistics on the basis of Latin graphics to the letter. The offer has been attentively studied. However expert estimates have shown that society isn't ready to so sharp changes yet. The question has risen on the agenda again in 2006 when, acting on Assembly of the people of Kazakhstan, the Leader of the state has noted that Latin graphics dominates in world communication space, and has suggested experts to return to discussion of a question of a possibility of transition to Latin. It is absolutely logical that the question of phased transition on Latin graphics has found the reflection in the new strategic document "Strategy Kazakhstan-2050. In the Message of the President to the people in 2012 "Strategy Kazakhstan-2050: a new political policy of the taken place state" it is told that it is time modernizations of Kazakh. Kazakh "has to become a consolidator of the people of Kazakhstan". "Kazakh is our spiritual core. Our task – to develop it, actively using in all spheres. We have to leave in inheritance to our descendants the modern language in which our noticeable trace also would be harmoniously added to experience of many generations of our ancestors... Our sovereignty, our independence at last will find what fastens the nation, cements it, is a native language. It is the main diamond in a crown of the sovereignty of our state", – the President has noted. Then exact date of the transfer of the Kazakh writing to Latin graphics – has been specified 2025.


On October 27, 2017 there was a decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev: "About the translation of the alphabet of Kazakh from Cyrillics on Latin graphics".

On February 19, 2018 the Head of state Nursultan Nazarbayev has signed the document on modification of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan of October 26, 2017 No. 569 "About the translation of the alphabet of Kazakh from Cyrillics on Latin graphics". The alphabet of Kazakh which was reworded as follows is published in the supplement of the Decree.


  1. Article of the Head of state "Prospection: modernization of public consciousness" [Electronic resource]. – Access mode: http://www.akorda.kz/ru/events/akorda_news/press_conferences/statya-glavy-gosudarstva-vzglyad-v-budushchee-modernizaciya-obshchestvennogo-soznaniya (date of the address 4/3/2018)
  2. History of development of the Kazakh writing//Prospection: modernization of public consciousness: a methodical grant on information and explanatory work. – Astana, 2017. – Page 21-27.
  3. About the translation of the alphabet of Kazakh from Cyrillics on Latin graphics [An electronic resource]. – Access mode: http://www.akorda.kz/ru/legal_acts/decrees/o-perevode-alfavita-kazahskogo-yazyka-s-kirillicy-na-latinskuyu-grafiku (date of the address 2/27/2018)
  4. About modification of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan of October 26, 2017 No. 569 "About the translation of the alphabet of Kazakh from Cyrillics on Latin graphics" [An electronic resource]. – Access mode: http://www.akorda.kz/ru/legal_acts/decrees/o-vnesenii-izmeneniya-v-ukaz-prezidenta-respubliki-kazahstan-ot-26-oktyabrya-2017-goda-569-o-perevode-alfavita-kazahskogo-yazyka-s-kirillicy (date of the address 2/27/2018)