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State language of Kazakhstan.
Studying the Kazakh language.
The official language of Kazakhstan is Kazakh, which belongs to the Kipchak (or Western Turkic) branch of the Turkic languages. The Kazakh language developed originally in the Arabic script, but in 1928 the Soviet government mandated a switch to the Latin (or Roman) alphabet.
Then in 1940 the Soviet authorities imposed the Cyrillic alphabet (the script of the Russian language), with some modifications for the Kazakh language. This writing system continues to be used today.
Russian is the lingua franca in Kazakhstan. Although Kazakh is the official language, many Kazakhstanis - including ethnic Kazakhs themselves - do not speak it fluently. This may change, as the government has declared that all Kazakhstanis must learn Kazakh and English to a high level of competence within the next few years.
But for now, Russian is what you need to get around. If your Russian is nonexistent, you will need the help of a translator for all but the most basic sightseeing. English is spoken in the cities by only a small percentage of people, mostly within the tourist service industry or by students, but confidence is not very high among the majority of the populace.
If you are looking for help, a good trick is to find and frequent a local university cafe, where you are likely to meet students who will be happy to practise and improve their English by assisting you.
Russian is the primary language of interethnic communication in Kazakhstan. Most Russians do not know the Kazakh language, while many Kazakhs have a working knowledge of Russian.
During the Soviet period, Russian was the primary language of instruction in most schools, and knowledge of Russian was necessary to acquire skilled jobs. Beginning in the late 1980s it became more important for residents to learn and speak Kazakh.
In 1989 the Supreme Soviet (legislature) of Kazakhstan adopted legislation making Kazakh the official language of the republic, and the constitution of 1993 ratified this designation. However, the language law recognizes Russian as a national language and allows it to be used in education, government, the military, and the courts.
"Zhetysu is the Land of tourism”. A Tourist Guide-book. Almaty. 2003. 68 p. and the material for this page is taken from the printed edition."Guide to Kazakhstan" Baur Publishing House 2002.