Kazakh language

From Kazakhstan Encyclopedia

Template:Infobox language

Kazakh (natively Template:Lang, Template:Lang, Template:Lang, Template:Lang, Template:Rtl-lang, Template:Rtl-lang; pronounced Template:IPA) belongs to the Kipchak branch of the Turkic languages. It is closely related to Nogai, Kyrgyz, and especially Karakalpak. Kazakh is the official language of the Republic of Kazakhstan and a significant minority language in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang, China and in the Bayan-Ölgii Province of Mongolia. Kazakh is also spoken by many ethnic Kazakhs through the former Soviet Union (approximately 500,000 in Russia according to the 2002 Russian Census), Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, and Germany.

Like other Turkic languages, Kazakh is an agglutinative language, and it employs vowel harmony.

Geographic distribution[edit]

The Kazakh language has its speakers (mainly Kazakhs) spread over a vast territory from the Tian Shan to the western shore of Caspian Sea. Kazakh is the official state language of Kazakhstan, in which nearly 10 million speakers are reported to live (based on the CIA World Factbook's estimates for population and percentage of Kazakh speakers). In China, more than one million ethnic Kazakhs and Kazakh speakers reside in Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang.

Writing system[edit]

Template:Main article Today, Kazakh is written in Cyrillic in Kazakhstan and Mongolia, while more than one million Kazakh-speakers in China use an Arabic-derived alphabet similar to the one that is used to write Uyghur.

The oldest known written records of languages closely related to Kazakh were written in the Old Turkic alphabet. However, it is not believed that any of these varieties were direct predecessors of Kazakh. Modern Kazakh has historically been written using versions of the Latin, Cyrillic and Arabic scripts.

In October 2006, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the President of Kazakhstan, brought up the topic of using the Latin alphabet instead of the Cyrillic alphabet as the official script for Kazakh in Kazakhstan.<ref>Kazakhstan switching to Latin alphabet</ref><ref>Kazakh President Revives Idea of Switching to Latin Script</ref> A Kazakh government study released in September 2007 said that Kazakhstan could feasibly switch to a Latin script over a 10- to 12-year period, for a cost of $300 million.<ref>Kazakhstan: Moving Forward With Plan to Replace Cyrillic With Latin Alphabet</ref> The transition was halted temporarily on December 13, 2007, with President Nazarbayev declaring: “For 70 years the Kazakhstanis read and wrote in Cyrillic. More than 100 nationalities live in our state. Thus we need stability and peace. We should be in no hurry in the issue of alphabet transformation”.<ref>Kazakhstan should be in no hurry in Kazakh alphabet transformation to Latin: Nazarbayev, Kazinform, December 13, 2007</ref> However, on January 30, 2015, the Minister of Culture and Sports Arystanbek Mukhamediuly announced that a transition plan was underway, with specialists working on the orthography in order to accommodate the phonological aspects of the language.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> On April 12, 2017, President Nazarbayev ordered the authorities to transcribe the Kazakh alphabet into Latin by the end of the year, thereby signalling the end of the Cyrillic alphabet as the official script for Kazakh.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Cyrillic script Arabic script Latin script English translation
Барлық адамдар тумасынан азат және қадір-қасиеті мен құқықтары тең болып дүниеге келеді. Адамдарға ақыл-парасат, ар-ождан берілген, сондықтан олар бір-бірімен туыстық, бауырмалдық қарым-қатынас жасаулары тиіс. بارلىق ادامدار تۋمىسىنان ازات جانە قادىر-قاسيەتى مەن كۇقىقتارى تەڭ بولىپ دۇنيەگە كەلەدى. ادامدارعا اقىل-پاراسات، ار-وجدان بەرىلگەن، سوندىقتان ولار ٴبىر-بىرىمەن تۋىستىق، باۋىرمالدىق قارىم-قاتىناس جاساۋلارى ٴتيىس. Barlıq adamdar tuwmasınan azat jäne qadir-qasïeti men quqıqtarı teñ bolıp dünïege keledi. Adamdarğa aqıl-parasat, ar-ojdan berilgen, sondıqtan olar bir-birimen tuwıstıq, bauwırmaldıq qarım-qatınas jasauwları tïis. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
File:Kazakh latin alphabet (1924).JPG
Kazakh Arabic and Latin script in 1924

Phonology[edit]

Kazakh exhibits tongue-root vowel harmony, with some words of recent foreign origin (usually of Russian or Arabic origin) as exceptions. There is also a system of rounding harmony which resembles that of Kyrgyz, but which does not apply as strongly and is not reflected in the orthography.

Consonants[edit]

The following chart depicts the consonant inventory of standard Kazakh;<ref>Some variations occur in the different regions where Kazakh is spoken, including outside Kazakhstan; e.g. ж / ج (where a Perso-Arabic script similar to the current Uyghur alphabet is used) is read Template:IPA in standard Kazakh, but Template:IPA in some places.</ref> many of the sounds, however, are allophones of other sounds or appear only in recent loan-words. The 18 consonant phonemes listed by Vajda are in bold—since these are phonemes, their listed place and manner of articulation are very general, and will vary from what is shown. The borrowed phonemes Template:IPA, Template:IPA, Template:IPA, Template:IPA and Template:IPA, only occur in recent mostly Russian borrowings, and are shown in parentheses [ ] in the table below.

In the table, the elements left of a divide are voiceless, while those to the right are voiced.

Kazakh consonant phonemes
Labials Dental/
Alveolar
Palato-
alveolar
Alveolo-
palatal
Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket
Plosive Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket
Affricate Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket
Fricative Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket
Approximant Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket
Trill Template:IPA Template:Angle bracket

Vowels[edit]

Kazakh has a system of nine phonemic vowels, three of which are diphthongs. The rounding contrast and Template:IPA generally only occur as phonemes in the first syllable of a word, but do occur later allophonically; see the section on harmony below for more information.

According to Vajda, the front/back quality of vowels is actually one of neutral versus retracted tongue root.Template:Citation needed

Per convention, rounded vowels are presented to the right of their unrounded counterparts. Phonetic values are paired with the corresponding character in Kazakh's Cyrillic alphabet.

Kazakh vowel phonemes
−RTR
("Front")
+RTR
("Back")
Diphthongised Template:IPA, Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA, Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA, Template:Angle bracket
Close Template:IPA, Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA, Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA, Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA, Template:Angle bracket
Open Template:IPA, Template:Angle bracket Template:IPA, Template:Angle bracket

Morphology and Syntax[edit]

Template:Unreferenced section

Kazakh is generally verb-final, though various permutations on SOV (subject–object–verb) word order can be used.<ref>Beltranslations.com</ref> Inflectional and derivational morphology, both verbal and nominal, in Kazakh, exists almost exclusively in the form of agglutinative suffixes. Kazakh is a nominative-accusative, head-final, left-branching, dependent-marking language.

Declension of nouns
Case Morpheme Possible forms кеме "ship" ауа "air" шелек "bucket" сәбіз "carrot" бас "head" тұз "salt"
Nom кеме ауа шелек сәбіз бас тұз
Acc -NI -ні, -ны, -ді, -ды, -ті, -ты, -н кемені ауаны шелекті сәбізді басты тұзды
Gen -NIŋ -нің, -ның, -дің, -дың, -тің, -тың кеменің ауаның шелектің сәбіздің бастың тұздың
Dat -GA -ге, -ға, -ке, -қа, -не, -на кемеге ауаға шелекке сәбізге басқа тұзға
Loc -DA -де, -да, -те, -та кемеде ауада шелекте сәбізде баста тұзда
Abl -DAn -ден, -дан, -тен, -тан, -нен, -нан кемеден ауадан шелектен сәбізден бастан тұздан
Inst -Men -мен(ен) -бен(ен) -пен(ен) кемемен ауамен шелекпен сәбізбен баспен тұзбен

Pronouns[edit]

Kazakh has eight personal pronouns:

Personal pronouns
Singular Plural
Kazakh (transliteration) English Kazakh (transliteration) English
Мен (Men) I Біз (Biz) We
Сен (Sen) You (singular informal) Сендер (Sender) You (plural informal)
Сіз (Siz) You (singular formal) Сіздер (Sizder) You (plural formal)
Ол (Ol) He/She/It Олар (Olar) They

The declension of the pronouns is outlined in the following chart. Singular pronouns (with the exception of сіз, which used to be plural) exhibit irregularities, while plural pronouns don't. Irregular forms are highlighted in bold.

Declension of pronouns
Nom мен сен сіз ол біз сендер сіздер олар
Acc мені сені сізді оны бізді сендерді сіздерді оларды
Gen менің сенің сіздің оның біздің сендердің сіздердің олардың
Dat маған саған сізге оған бізге сендерге сіздерге оларға
Loc менде сенде сізде онда бізде сендерде сіздерде оларда
Abl менен сенен сізден онан бізден сендерден сіздерден олардан
Inst менімен сенімен сізбен онымен бізбен сендермен сіздермен олармен

In addition to the pronouns, there are several more sets of morphemes dealing with person.

Morphemes indicating person
pronouns copulas possessive endings past/conditional
1st sg мен -MIn -(I)m -(I)m
2nd sg сен -sIŋ -(I)ŋ -(I)ŋ
2nd formal sg сіз -sIz -(I)ŋIz -(I)ŋIz
3rd sg ол -(s)I(n)
1st pl біз -MIz -(I)mIz -(I)K
2nd pl сендер -sIŋdAr -(I)ŋ -(I)ŋ
2nd formal pl сіздер -sIzdAr -(I)ŋIz -(I)nIz
3rd pl олар -(s)I(n)

Tense, aspect and mood[edit]

Kazakh may express different combinations of tense, aspect and mood through the use of various verbal morphology or through a system of auxiliary verbs, many of which might better be considered light verbs. The present tense is a prime example of this; progressive tense in Kazakh is formed with one of four possible auxiliaries. These auxiliaries "отыр" (sit), "тұр" (stand), "жүр" (go) and "жат" (lie), encode various shades of meaning of how the action is carried out and also interact with the lexical semantics of the root verb: telic and non-telic actions, semelfactives, durative and non-durative, punctual, etc. There are selectional restrictions on auxiliaries: motion verbs, such as бару (go) and келу (come) may not combine with "отыр". Any verb, however, can combine with "жат" (lie) to get a progressive tense meaning.

Progressive Aspect in the Kazakh Present Tense
Kazakh Aspect English translation
Жеймін non-progressive "I eat."
Жеп жатырмын progressive "I am eating [right now]."
Жеп отырмын progressive/durative "I am [sitting and] eating." / "I have been eating."
Жеп тұрмын progressive/punctual "I am [in the middle of] eating [this very minute]."
Жеп жүрмін habitual "I eat [lunch, everyday]"

While it is possible to think that different categories of aspect govern the choice of auxiliary, it is not so straightforward in Kazakh. Auxiliaries are internally sensitive to the lexical semantics of predicates, for example, verbs describing motion:

Selectional Restrictions on Kazakh Auxiliaries

Kazakh Gloss Auxiliary Used English translation
Суда балық жүзеді

Suw-da balıq jüz-e-di

water-LOC fish swim-PRES-3 Ø

(present/future tense used)

"Fish swim in water"

(general statement)

Суда балық жүзіп жатыр

suw-da balıq jüz-ip jatır

water-LOC fish swim-CNVB AUX.3 жат- to lie, general marker for

progressive aspect.

"The/A fish is swimming in the water"
Суда балық жүзіп жүр

suw-da balıq jüz-ip jür

water-LOC fish swim-CNVB AUX.3 жүр – "go", dynamic/habitual/iterative "The fish is swimming [as it always does] in the water"
Суда балық жүзіп тұр

suw-da balıq jüz-ip tur

water-LOC fish swim-CNVB AUX.3 тұр – "stand", progressive marker to show

the swimming is punctual

"The fish is swimming in the water"
* Суда балық жүзіп отыр

suw-da balıq jüz-ip otır

water-LOC fish swim-CNVB AUX.3 отыр – "sit", ungrammatical in

this sentence, отыр can only be used

for verbs that are stative in nature

*The fish has been swimming

Not a possible sentence of Kazakh

In addition to the complexities of the progressive tense, there are many auxiliary-converb pairs that encode a range of aspectual, modal, volitional, evidential and action- modificational meanings. For example, the pattern -ып көру, with the auxiliary verb көру (see), indicates that the subject of the verb attempted or tried to do something (compare the Japanese てみる temiru construction).

Annotated text with gloss[edit]

Meniñ Qazaqstanım

Менің Қазақстаным Meniñ Qazaqstan-ım My Kazakhstan
Алтын күн аспаны altın kün aspan-ı The golden sun in the sky
Template:IPA gold sun sky-3.POSS
Алтын дән даласы altın dän dala-sı The golden corn of the steppe
Template:IPA gold corn steppe-3.POSS
Ерліктің дастаны erlik-tiñ dastan-ı The legend of courage
Template:IPA courage legend-GEN epic-3.POSS-NOM
Еліме қарашы! el-im-e qara-şı Just look at my country!
Template:IPA country-1SG.ACC look-IMP
Ежелден ер деген ejel-den er de-gen Called heroes since time in memorium
Template:IPA antiquity-ABL hero say-PTCP.PST
Даңқымыз шықты ғой dañq-ımız şıq-tı ğoj Our glory, emerged!
Template:IPA glory-1PL.POSS.NOM emerge-PST.3 EMPH
Намысын бермеген namys-ı-n ber-me-gen Without losing their honor
Template:IPA honor-3.POSS-ACC give-NEG-PTCP.PST
Қазағым мықты ғой Qazağ-ım mıqtı ğoj Mighty are my Kazakh people!
Template:IPA Kazakh-1SG.POSS strong EMPH
Менің елім, менің елім meniñ el-im, meniñ el-im My country, my country
Template:IPA 1SG.GEN my country (2x)-1SG.NOM
Гүлің болып, егілемін gül-iñ bol-ıp, e.g.-il-e-min As your flower, I am rooted in you
Template:IPA flower-2SG.NOM be-CNVB, root-PASS-PRES-1SG
Жырың болып төгілемін, елім jır-ıñ bol-ıp, tög-il-e-min, el-im As your song, I will be sung abound
Template:IPA song-2SG.NOM be-CNVB, sing-PASS-PRES-1SG, country-1SG.POSS.NOM
Туған жерім менің – Қазақстаным tuw-ğan jer-im meniñ – Qazaqstan-ım My native land – My Kazakhstan
Template:IPA birth-PTCP-PST place-1SG.POSS.NOM 1SG.GEN – Kazakhstan-1SG.POSS.NOM

See also[edit]

Template:Portal

References[edit]

Template:Reflist

Further reading[edit]

  • Template:Citation
  • Mark Kirchner: "Kazakh and Karakalpak". In: The Turkic languages. Ed. by Lars Johanson and É. Á. Csató. London [u.a.] : Routledge, 1998. (Routledge language family descriptions). S.318-332.

External links[edit]

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