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The Uzbek Language


Everyone traveling around Uzbekistan can hear a smoothly sounding language-Uzbek. Uzbek, is the official language of Uzbekistan, which is an Eastern Turkic language and is similar to other Turkish Languages as Kazak, Kyrgyz, Turkmen, Azerbaijani with about 23.5 million speakers mainly in Uzbekistan, but also in Australia, China, Germany, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey (Asia), Turkmenistan, Ukraine and the USA. Uzbek belongs to the Qarluq family of Turkic languages, and consequently its lexicon and grammar are most closely linked to the Uighur language, while other influences rose from Persian, Arabic and Russian.The influence of Islam, and by extension, Arabic, is evident in Uzbek, as well as the residual influence of Russian, from the time when Uzbekistan was under czarist and Soviet domination. Most of the Arabic words have found their way into Uzbek through Persian. Uzbek shares much Persian and Arabic vocabulary with neighboring languages such as Persian and its dialects (Tajik and Dari).
The Uzbek language has many dialects, varying widely from region to region, but three main dialects, namely, Qarluq (spoken in the Ferghana Valley, Tashkent, the Kashka-Darya region, and in some parts of the Samarkand province. It contains a heavier admixture of Persian and Arabic), Kipchak (closely related to Kazakh and spoken in Kashkadarya and Surkhandarya and in the regions around Bukhara and Samarkand) and Oghuz (closely related to Turkmen and spoken in Khorezm and Karakalpakstan) are differentiated. The commonly understood dialect Qarluq is used in mass media and in most printed material. Some linguists consider the language spoken in northern Afghanistan by ethnic Uzbeks to be a dialect of Uzbek.
An early form of Uzbek, known as Chagatai Uzbek (one of the sons of Genghis Khan) and written with the Arabic script, emerged as a literary language in the 14th century. A version of the Latin alphabet replaced the Arabic script in 1927, and was in turn replaced by the Cyrillic alphabet in 1940. Until 1992, Uzbek almost everywhere continued to be written using the Cyrillic alphabet, but now in Uzbekistan the Latin script has been officially re-introduced, although the use of Cyrillic is still widespread.