Uzbek alphabet

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A page from an Uzbek book printed in Arabic script. Tashkent, 1911.

Before 1928, the Uzbek language, like all Turkic Central Asian languages, was written in various forms of the Arabic script (Yana imla) by the literate population. Between 1928 and 1940, as part of comprehensive programs to educate (and politically influence) Uzbek people, who for the first time now had their own cartographically delineated (administrative) region, Uzbek writing was switched to Latin script (Yanalif; a proposal for the latinization of Yana imla was already developed in 1924). The latinization of Uzbek was carried out in the context of latinization of all Turkic languages.[1]

In 1940, Uzbek was switched to the Cyrillic script under Joseph Stalin. Until 1992, Uzbek continued to be written using a Cyrillic alphabet almost everywhere, but now in Uzbekistan the Latin script has been officially re-introduced, although the use of Cyrillic is still widespread. The deadline in Uzbekistan for making this transition has been repeatedly changed. The latest deadline was 2005, but was shifted once again to provide a few more years.

Already education in many areas of Uzbekistan is in the Latin script, and in 2001 the Latin script began to be used for coins. Since 2004 some official websites have switched over to using the Latin script when writing in Uzbek.[2] Most street signs are also in the new Latin script. The main national TV channel of Uzbekistan, O‘zbekiston telekanali, has also switched to the Latin script when writing in Uzbek.

In the Xinjiang province of China, Uzbek has no official orthography. Some speakers write using the Cyrillic script, while others write using the Uyghur Arabic script.

A Nowruz sign in front of The State Art Museum of Uzbekistan written using an okina-like symbol

When the Uzbek language is written using the Latin script, either the single opening quotation mark () (U+2018) or the ʻokina (ʻ) (U+02BB) is used to write the letters (Cyrillic Ў) and (Cyrillic Ғ). It has not been officially specified which character should be used to form these letters. While some websites including the Uzbek Wikipedia use the ʻokina,[3] others including some Uzbek governmental websites such as the Governmental Portal of the Republic of Uzbekistan use the single opening quotation mark.[2] However, currently most Uzbek websites use the straight apostrophe without bothering to find the necessary symbols.

What is clear is that a character that resembles curved quotes should be used. In other words, it should be a character that looks like a small figure six raised above the baseline (6) but then solid, i.e. with the counters filled. In many typefaces, this shape is the same as that of an inverted (upside down) comma.

The modifier letter apostrophe (ʼ) (tutuq belgisi) is used to mark the phonetic glottal stop when it is put immediately before a vowel in borrowed words, as in sanʼat (art). The modifier letter apostrophe is also used to mark a long vowel when placed immediately after a vowel, as in maʼno (meaning).[4] Currently most typists do not bother with the differentiation between the ʻokina/single opening quotation mark and modifier letter apostrophe as their keyboard layouts likely accommodate only the straight apostrophe.

Below is a table of Uzbek Cyrillic and Latin alphabets with represented sounds.[5]

Latin Cyrillic Name[6] IPA English Approximation
A a А а a /a, æ/ chai, cat
B b Б б be /b/ bat
D d Д д de /d̪/ den
E e Э э / Е е e /e/[N 1] sleigh
F f Ф ф ef /ɸ/ fish
G g Г г ge /ɡ/ go
H h Ҳ ҳ ha /h/ hoe
I i И и i /i, ɨ/ me
J j Ж ж je /dʒ/, /ʒ/[N 2] joke, genre
K k К к ka /k/ cold
L l Л л el /l/ list
M m М м em /m/ man
N n Н н en /n/ next
O o О о o /ɒ/, /o/[N 2] hot, call (Received Pronunciation)
P p П п pe /p/ pin
Q q Қ қ qa /q/ like a "k" but further back in the mouth
R r Р р er /r/ (trilled) rat
S s С с es /s/ sick
T t Т т te /t̪/ toe
U u У у u /u, ə/ put (also represents a second vowel in
some dialects, similar to the mid-central vowel)
V v В в ve /v, w/ van
X x Х х xa /χ/ "ch" as in German "Bach" or Scottish "loch"
Y y Й й ye /j/ yes
Z z З з ze /z/ zebra
Oʻ oʻ Ў ў /o, ø/ row, fur
Gʻ gʻ Ғ ғ gʻa /ʁ/ like a French "r"
Sh sh Ш ш sha /ʃ/ shoe
Ch ch Ч ч che /tʃ/ chew
Ng ng нг nge /ŋ/ king
ʼ ъ tutuq belgisi (ʼ ; "apostrof")

ayirish/ajratish belgisi (ъ)

/ʔ/ Both "ʼ" (tutuq belgisi) and "ъ" (ayirish belgisi)
are used either (1) to mark the phonetic glottal
stop when put immediately before a vowel or (2)
to mark a long vowel when placed immediately
after a vowel [N 3]
Ye ye Е е ye /je/ yellow
Yo yo Ё ё yo /jɒ/ beyond
Yu yu Ю ю yu /ju/ you
Ya ya Я я ya /ja/ yawn
Ts ts Ц ц tse /ts/ lets
  1. ^ Cyrillic "Е е" at the beginning of a word and after a vowel is "Ye ye" in Latin.
  2. ^ a b In Russian borrowings.
  3. ^ Tutuq belgisi (ʼ) is also used to indicate that the letters "s" and "h" should be pronounced separately, not as "sh" in Latin. For example, in the name Isʼhoq "s" and "h" are pronounced separately.

Text sample[edit]

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Uzbek in Latin script Uzbek in Cyrillic script Uzbek in Arabic script English
Barcha odamlar erkin, qadr-qimmat va huquqlarda teng boʻlib tugʻiladilar. Ular aql va vijdon sohibidirlar va bir-birlari ila birodarlarcha muomala qilishlari zarur. Барча одамлар эркин, қадр-қиммат ва ҳуқуқларда тенг бўлиб туғиладилар. Улар ақл ва виждон соҳибидирлар ва бир-бирлари ила биродарларча муомала қилишлари зарур.
ربه‌رچه آده‌مله‌ر ئېرکىن، قه‌در-قىممه‌ت ۋه هوُقوُقله‌رده ته‌ڭ بولىب توُغىله‌دىله‌ر. ئوله‌ر ئه‌قل ۋه وىجدان ساهىبىدىله‌ بىر-بىرله‌ئيله‌ بىراه‌رله‌رچه‌ موُآمه‌له‌ قىلىشه‌ری زه‌روُر
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.
Uzbek Uyghur Turkish English
Uning akasi bu yil universitetni bitirdi. Uning akisi bu yil uniwërsitëtni püttürdi. Onun kardeşi bu yıl üniversiteyi bitirdi. His brother graduated from university this year.
Uning yuzi qizardi. Uning yüzi qizardi. Onun yüzü kızardı. He blushed.
Men har haftada ikki soat dars olaman. Men her heptide ikki saet ders alimen(oquymen). Ben her hafta iki saat ders alıyorum. I have two hours of lessons every week.
Bu mamlakatning aholisi baxtiyordir. Bu memliketning ahalisi bextiyardur. Bu memleketin ahalisi bahtiyardır. The people of this country are happy.
Bu ishni men muddatidan oldin bajardim. Bu ishni men mudditidin aldin(burun) bijirdim. Bu işi müddeti dolmadan başardım. I completed this work before the set time.
  1. ^ Fierman, William (1991). Language Planning and National Development: The Uzbek. Walter de Gruyter. p. 75. ISBN 3-11-012454-8. 
  2. ^ a b "The Governmental Portal of the Republic of Uzbekistan" (in Uzbek). Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Main Page of Uzlib" (in Uzbek). Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "Principal Orthographic Rules For The Uzbek Language", the Uzbekistan Cabinet of Minister's Resolution No. 339. Adopted on August 24, 1995. Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
  5. ^ "The New Uzbek Latin Alphabet". Oxuscom. Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  6. ^ Ismatullayev, Xayrulla (1991). Teach-Yourself Uzbek Textbook (in Uzbek). Tashkent: Oʻqituvchi. p. 4. ISBN 5-645-01104-X.