Kyrgyz is a language spoken by 4 million people primarily in Kyrgyzstan and, to a lesser extent, in adjacent regions such as Kazakhstan, Xinjiang (China), Uzbekistan, & Tajikistan. In Kyrgyzstan, the language is co-official with Russian, which is the predominate language used in urban areas (especially Bishkek) while Kyrgyz is predominate in rural areas and small cities/towns. It is a Turkic language and has many similarities with languages such as Turkish, Tartar, Kazakh, Azeri, & Uzbek. As a result of close ties culturally and economically, Kyrgyz has become increasingly mutually intelligible with Kazakh in recent decades.
The alphabet used for Kyrgyz was originally an Arabic script followed by a 20th century conversion to Roman script, much like the Arabic-Roman switch in other Turkic languages. However, cyrillic script was forced on the language by the Soviet government (as they did with all other Turkic languages) and cyrillic remains the alphabet used today by the overwhelming percentage of Kyrgyz speakers except in China, where Arabic script is the official script imposed by Chinese authorities.
a ah like father, hunt, sun o oh like score, long y oo like cartoon, spoon, moon but do not pronounce it long. и ee like big, lip, hip ы yh like sit, hit, but pronounced far further down the throat, as if being punched in the stomach э eh like end (also pronounced further down the throat, as if being punched in the stomach) e yeh like yes, yet, yesterday.
jirma Ortuz Kirk Eluu Altumush jetimush Seksen tokson Júz Meen
Writing time and date
Bus and train
A 325 page PDF document covering the Kyrgyz language, originally created for US Peace Corps volunteers in Kyrgyzstan, is available to view and download here.