15 September, 2017

Nazarbayev on recently presented Latin-based alphabet

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Yesterday, Nursultan Nazarbayev gave an interview to domestic and foreign journalists in Akorda.

President stressed that the transition to the Latin alphabet should be gradual.

"The transition from Cyrillic to Latin alphabet is of concern to everyone. We talked a lot about that, our scientists have worked on this for a long time. We examined the whole history" the President said.

He noted that the experience of neighboring and Turkic-speaking countries, which had switched to the Latin alphabet, was also studied.

"I said that there should not be any hooks. They have hooks, dots, and some commas." There are 8 letters, purely Kazakh, so they have to be portrayed. That's the whole question," explained Nazarbayev.

The President also explained that the draft alphabet was decided to be discussed with the population of the country and not to accept it at once.

"The people must participate in this. There is nothing to hide from the people. The Parliament discussed and expressed all its remarks, and now it is necessary to consider it in detail. When there is a consensus, then scientists, linguists, historians will come to one agreement and say. Nevertheless, this does not mean that tomorrow this alphabet will begin to work. Cyrillic will continue to play its role because many of our writers' works were written on it" the President said.

He underlined that by 2022, teaching will start from the first grade in Latin schools.

The president also commented on the digraphs in the new alphabet, which provoked hot debate among Kazakhstanis on the Internet.

"The Kazakh language does not have the sounds “щ”, “ю”, “я”. If Russians call Japan “Япония”, the Kazakhs call it “Жапония”. There is no soft sign; there is no solid sign either. By using these letters, we are distorting the real Kazakh language. The basis of its language is the most important event for the entire state," he said.

To recall, on September 1, at the parliamentary hearings in the Mazhilis, the developers presented a new version of the Latin-based Kazakh alphabet. It uses 25 Latin letters and 8 digraphs. Again, this is not the final version, it is just a project to discuss.


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