Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous and landlocked country situated in Central Asia. The recorded history of the country dates back to 2,000 years ago, and a large number of empires have ruled over the region and contributed to the cultural diversity of Kyrgyzstan. The country served as the crossroad between several cultures of the past and was part of the ancient Silk Route. Kyrgyzstan was ruled for a long period by a number of clans and tribes and on several occasions came under the domination of foreign powers. The country was part of the Soviet Union and attained independence only in 1991.
After independence, Kyrgyzstan has been a unitary parliamentary democracy. Ethnic Kyrgyz is the major ethnic group in the country and has a population of about 5.7 million people. Uzbeks and Russians are the biggest minority group in the country. The ethnic composition of the population of Kyrgyzstan influences the linguistic diversity of the language.
Official Languages Of Kyrgyzstan
Russian and Kyrgyz are the two official languages of Kyrgyzstan. It is one of the two former Soviet republics located in Central Asia to continue using Russian as the official language of Kyrgyzstan. After the independence of the country, Kyrgyz was designated as a second official language on September 1991.
In Kyrgyzstan, Russian is the chief language to carry out business and political affairs. Though Kyrgyz was originally only spoken in homes across the country and rarely used in government proceedings, today the language of Kyrgyzstan is spoken during most parliamentary meetings in the country. Interpretations for those not speaking Kyrgyz are also arranged during such meetings.
According to the 2009 census, Kyrgyz is spoken by 4.1 million people in Kyrgyzstan and Russian is spoken by 2.5 million people in the country.
The Indigenous Languages Of Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyz is the most widely spoken language in Kyrgyzstan. The language is a Turkic language belonging to the Kipchak branch. Kyrgyz is related to Nogay Tatar, Karakalpak, and Kazakh. Till the 20th century, Kyrgyz was written using the Latin script. However, Stalin mandated the replacement of Arabic with the Cyrillic script in 1941. After the country’s independence, there was a certain demand of replacing the Cyrillic alphabet with the Latin alphabet but the plan is yet to be implemented. Kyrgyzstan has 3,830,556 native Kyrgyz speakers and 271,187 second-language speakers.
Uzbek is a Turkic language that is primarily spoken by the population of Uzbekistan. The language is also popular in Kyrgyzstan where it is spoken by about 772,561 native speakers and 97,753 second-language speakers.
European Languages Spoken In Kyrgyzstan
English, French, and German are spoken by small populations of Kyrgyzstan, primarily as a second language. English is spoken by 28,416, French by 641 and German by only 10 individuals residing in the country as a second language.