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Latin Alphabet to Become Mandatory in Uzbekistan

Thursday 11 February 2021

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TASHKENT (UzRepott) — The Uzbek government has decided to complete the transition to the Latin alphabet, the press service of Justice Ministry of the country declared today.

The use of the Latin alphabet will be compulsory for the writing of the following documents:

  • ID cards, residence permits of foreign citizens and documents of stateless persons;
  • official documents;
  • names of streets, places, organizations, advertisements.

The activities of the central, printed and electronic media, websites, publishing houses and printing works must also be carried out in the Latin alphabet.

Like all Turkic languages in Central Asia, Uzbek was written in various forms of the Arabic script. In 1940, under Stalin, the Uzbek language was switched to Cyrillic. Until 1992, Uzbekistan continued to use Cyrillic script in almost all aspects, however, nowadays the Latin script has been officially reintroduced, although the use of Cyrillic is still widespread. The deadline for making this transition has been pushed back several times.

In 2018, the Uzbek government has launched another reform for the Uzbek Latin alphabet. According to the new proposal, some digraphs will be replaced by diacritical signs. On May 22, 2019, an updated version of the Uzbek Latin alphabet was revealed, with five letters being updated. This reverses a 1995 reform, and brings the orthography closer to that of Turkish and also of Turkmen, Karakalpak, Kazakh and Azerbaijani. All this was met with mixed reactions from the citizens who preferre to conyinue writing in Cyrillic alphabet. Nevertheless, the deadline for the official Latin script reform is April 2021.


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