Kazakh language

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Kazakh (also Qazaq and variants[6], natively Qazaq tili, Қазақ тілі, قازاق ٴتىلى‎; pronounced [qɑzɑq tˈlə]) is a Turkic language closely related to Kyrgyz and Karakalpak.

Kazakh is an agglutinative language, and it employs vowel harmony.

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Geographic distribution

The Kazakh language has its speakers (mainly Kazakhs) spread over a vast territory from the Tian Shan mountains to the Ural mountains. Kazakh is the official state language of Kazakhstan, in which nearly 10 million speakers are reported to live (based on the CIA World Factbook's estimates for population and percentage of Kazakh speakers). More than a million speakers reside in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The 2002 Russian Census reported 560,000 Kazakh speakers in Russia. Other sizable populations of Kazakh speakers live in Mongolia (fewer than 200,000). Large numbers exist elsewhere in Central Asia (mostly in Uzbekistan) and the former Soviet Union, and in Afghanistan and other countries. There are also some Kazakh speakers in Germany who immigrated from Turkey in the 1970s.

Writing system

Today, Kazakh is written in the Cyrillic alphabet in Kazakhstan and Mongolia, while the more than one million Kazakh-speakers in China use an Arabic-derived script similar to that used to write Uyghur.

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