Language Policies in Present-Day Central Asia

Birgit N. Schlyter

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Abstract

Current language policies in Central Asian states developed in parallel with the disintegration of the Soviet Union and were left in the hands of persons trained in Soviet-style state bureaucracy. In 1989–1990, language laws were passed in the five republics of Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikstan and Turkmenistan laying down the rights and obligations in the use of languages. Ensuing language reform has been devoted to corpus issues - first and foremost the question of a change-over to Latin script, but also lexical revision. Even though the implementation of Central Asian language laws is slow and hesitating, the intensified preoccupation with linguistic matters in the newly-independent states of the region has made people more conscious of their own linguistic destiny and language identities. This concern among language users will add further dynamism to linguistic issues and influence both official language reform and developments for which there are not yet any definite plans.

Suggested bibliographic reference for this article:

N. Schlyter, Birgit. Language Policies in Present-Day Central Asia. IJMS: International Journal on Multicultural Societies. 2001, vol. 3, no.2, pp. 127-136. UNESCO. ISSN 1817-4574. www.unesco.org/shs/ijms/vol3/issue2/art5

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