Kazakhstan’s alphabet

This item appears on page 59 of the April 2018 issue.

Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Naza­bayev, announced on Oct. 27, 2017, that the nation would be switching its official alphabet from Cyrillic to Latin by 2025. Kazakh, a Turkic language, began being spelled in Cyrillic during the Soviet era. When including ligatures (such as æ), the Latin-based Kazakh alphabet will have 32 letters.

Because of the difference in the number of letters (Kazakh Cyrillic contains 33 letters), some common Latin transliterations may change, such as the proposed change to the name of the country, itself, to Qazaqstan. Russian is also an official language of Kazakhstan, so Cyrillic will still be used, side by side, with Latin on official documents.