BGN/PCGN romanization of Kazakh

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BGN/PCGN romanization system for Kazakh is a method for romanization of Cyrillic Kazakh texts, that is, their transliteration into the Latin alphabet as used in the English language.

The BGN/PCGN system for transcribing Kazakh was designed to be relatively intuitive for anglophones to pronounce. It is part of the larger set of BGN/PCGN romanizations, which includes methods for twenty-nine different languages. It was developed by the United States Board on Geographic Names and by the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use.

This romanization of Kazakh can be rendered using the basic letters and punctuation found on English-language keyboards plus three diacritical marks: an umlaut (¨) to represent front vowels not otherwise represented by a roman character, a macron (ˉ) to represent "long vowels", and an overdot (˙) to differentiate between two ⟨e⟩s. The interpunct character (·) can also optionally be used to avoid certain ambiguity presented by the use of digraphs (e.g. ⟨ng⟩ represents ⟨ң⟩, and ⟨n·g⟩ may be used to represent ⟨нг⟩).

The following table describes the system and provides examples.

Cyrillic
letter
Romanization Special provision Examples
А (а) A (a) None Абай = Abay
Ә (ә) Ä (ä) None Әуезов = Äūezov
Б (б) B (b) None Aбай = Abay
В (в) V (v) This letter occurs principally in Russian borrowings. Владимир = Vladīmīr
Г (г) G (g) None
Ғ (ғ) Gh (gh) None
Д (д) D (d) None
Е (е) E (e) None
Ё (ё) Yo (yo) This letter occurs principally in Russian borrowings.
Ж (ж) Zh (zh) None Жамбыл = Zhambyl
З (з) Z (z) None
И (и) Ī (ī) None Шиелі = Shīeli
Й (й) Y (y) This letter does not occur in the beginning of a word in native Kazakh words. Семей = Semey
К (к) K (k) None Шымкент = Shymkent
Қ (қ) Q (q) None
Л (л) L (l) None
М (м) M (m) None
Н (н) N (n) None Өскемен = Öskemen
Ң (ң) Ng (ng) This letter does not occur in the beginning of a word Қаскелең = Qaskeleng
О (о) O (o) None
Ө (ө) Ö (ö) None Өскемен = Öskemen
П (п) P (p) None
Р (р) R (r) None
С (с) S (s) None
Т (т) T (t) None
У (у) Ū (ū) This letter represents both "long ū" and /w/ in Kazakh, the latter before and after vowels.
Ұ (ұ) U (u) None
Ү (ү) Ü (ü) None
Ф (ф) F (f) This letter occurs principally in Russian borrowings. Фурманов = Furmanov
Х (х) Kh (kh) None
Һ (һ) H (h) None
Ц (ц) Ts (ts) This letter occurs principally in Russian borrowings. Ельцин = Yel’tsīn
Ч (ч) Ch (ch) This letter occurs principally in Russian borrowings.
Ш (ш) Sh (sh) None Көкшетау = Kökshetaū
Щ (щ) Shch (shch) With a few exceptions, this letter principally occurs in Russian borrowings.
Ъ (ъ) This letter does not occur in the beginning of a word, and only occurs in Russian borrowings.
Ы (ы) Y (y) This letter may optionally be transcribed as ɨ. Алматы = Almaty
І (і) I (i) Шиелі = Shīeli
Ь (ь) This letter does not occur in the beginning of a word, and only occurs in Russian borrowings.
Э (э) Ė (ė) This letter only occurs in Russian borrowings.
Ю (ю) Yu (yu) This character actually represents y + ū in native Kazakh words, and does not occur at the beginning of native Kazakh words.
Я (я) Ya (ya) This letter does not occur at the beginning of native Kazakh words.

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