Uzbek language

Uzbek is a Turkic language that is the first official and only declared national language of Uzbekistan. The language of Uzbeks, it is spoken by some 33 million native speakers in Uzbekistan and elsewhere in Central Asia.

Uzbek belongs to the Eastern Turkic, or Karluk, branch of the Turkic language family. External influences include Persian, Arabic and Russian. One of the most noticeable distinctions of Uzbek from other Turkic languages is the rounding of the vowel /ɑ/ to /ɒ/, a feature that was influenced by Persian.

oʻzbekcha, oʻzbek tili;
ўзбекча, ўзбек тили;
اوزبیکچه, اوزبیک تیلی
Native toUzbekistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Russia, China
Native speakers
33 million (2019)[1]
Early forms
Latin, Cyrillic, and Arabic (used in Afghanistan and China), Uzbek Braille
(Uzbek alphabets)
Official status
Official language in
 Afghanistan (3rd official language)
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated byTashkent State University of Uzbek language and literature
Language codes
ISO 639-1uz
ISO 639-2uzb
ISO 639-3uzbinclusive code
Individual codes:
uzn – Northern
uzs – Southern
Linguasphere44-AAB-da, db
A map, showing that Uzbek is spoken throughout Uzbekistan, except the western third (where Karakalpak dominates), and northern Afghanistan.
Dark blue = majority; light blue = minority


In the language itself, Uzbek is oʻzbek tili or oʻzbekcha. In Arabic script, اوزبیک تیلی‎ and اوزبیکچه‎.


Turkic speakers probably settled the Amu Darya, Syr Darya and Zarafshan river basins since at least 600–700 CE, gradually ousting or assimilating the speakers of Eastern Iranian languages who previously inhabited Sogdia, Bactria and Khwarezm. The first Turkic dynasty in the region was that of the Kara-Khanid Khanate in the 9th–12th centuries,[4] who were a confederation of Karluks, Chigils, Yaghma and other tribes.[5]

Uzbek can be considered the direct descendant or a later form of Chagatai, the language of great Turkic Central Asian literary development in the realm of Chagatai Khan, Timur (Tamerlane), and the Timurid dynasty[6] (including the early Mughal rulers of India). The language was championed by Ali-Shir Nava'i in the 15th and 16th centuries. Nava'i was the greatest representative of Chagatai language literature.[7][8] He significantly contributed to the development of the Chagatai language and its direct descendant Uzbek and is widely considered to be the founder of Uzbek literature.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15] Ultimately based on the Karluk variant of the Turkic languages, Chagatai contained large numbers of Persian and Arabic loanwords. By the 19th century it was rarely used for literary composition, but disappeared only in the early 20th century.

The term Uzbek as applied to language has meant different things at different times. Prior to 1921 "Uzbek" and "Sart" were considered to be different dialects:

In Khanate of Khiva, Sarts spoke a highly Oghuz Turkified form of Karluk Turkic. After 1921 the Soviet regime abolished the term Sart as derogatory, and decreed that henceforth the entire settled Turkic population of Turkestan would be known as Uzbeks, even though many had no Uzbek tribal heritage.

However, the standard written language that was chosen for the new republic in 1924, despite the protests of Uzbek Bolsheviks such as Fayzulla Khodzhayev, was not pre-revolutionary "Uzbek" but the "Sart" language of the Samarkand region. Edward A. Allworth argued that this "badly distorted the literary history of the region" and was used to give authors such as the 15th century author Ali-Shir Nava'i an Uzbek identity.[16] All three dialects continue to exist within modern spoken Uzbek.

Writing systems

Adib-i sani
A 1911 text in the Uyghur Arabic alphabet

Uzbek has been written in a variety of scripts throughout history:

  • Pre-1928: the Arabic-based Yaña imlâ alphabet by literates, approximately 3.7% of Uzbeks at the time.[17]
    • 1880s: Russian missionaries attempted to use Cyrillic for Uzbek.[17]
  • 1928–1940: the Latin-based Yañalif used officially.
  • 1940–1992: the Cyrillic script used officially.
  • Students in Tashkent 1943
    Students in Tashkent studying a Cyrillic-Latin conversion chart, 1943.
    Since 1992: a Yañalif-based Latin script is official in Uzbekistan.
Students in Tashkent 1943
Students in Tashkent studying a Cyrillic-Latin conversion chart, 1943.

Despite the official status of the Latin script in Uzbekistan, the use of Cyrillic is still widespread, especially in advertisements and signs. In newspapers, scripts may be mixed, with headlines in Latin and articles in Cyrillic.[18] The Arabic script is no longer used in Uzbekistan except symbolically in limited texts[18] or for the academic studies of Chagatai (Old Uzbek).[17]

In the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, where there is an Uzbek minority, the Arabic is still used.

In Afghanistan, the traditional Arabic orthography is still used.




Standard Uzbek has six vowel phonemes:[19]

Unrounded Rounded
Close i u
Mid e o
Open æ ɒ


Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive/Affricate voiceless p (t͡s) t͡ʃ k q (ʔ)
voiced b d͡ʒ ɡ
Fricative voiceless ɸ s ʃ χ h
voiced z (ʒ) ʁ
Approximant l j w
Rhotic r

Morphology and syntax

As a Turkic language, Uzbek is null subject, agglutinative and has no articles and no noun classes (gender or otherwise). The word order is subject–object–verb (SOV). Words are usually oxytones (i.e. the last syllable is stressed), but certain endings and suffixal particles are not stressed.

In Uzbek, there are two main categories of words:

  • nominals (equivalent to nouns, pronouns, adjectives and some adverbs)
  • verbals (equivalent to verbs and some adverbs)

Uzbek uses the following verbal suffixes:

Suffix Function Example Translation
-moq infinitive kelmoq to come
-di past tense keldi came
-ing imperative keling! come!
-sa conditional kelsa would come

The present and future tenses are both expressed with the -a and -y suffixes.


Nouns take the -ni suffix as an indefinite article. Unsuffixed nouns are understood as definite.

Pronoun Translation
men I
biz we
sen you
(informal singular)
siz you
(formal singular and plural)
u he/she/it

The word order in the Uzbek language is subject–object–verb (SOV), which means that, unlike in English, the object comes before the verb and the verb is the last element of the sentence.

I see the book
Men kitob kordim
subject direct object transitive verb
1.SG. book see-PRES.IND.

Number of speakers

Estimates of the number of speakers of Uzbek vary widely. The Swedish encyclopedia Nationalencyklopedin estimates the number of native speakers to be 30 million,[20] and the CIA World Factbook estimates 25 million. Other sources estimate the number of speakers of Uzbek to be 21 million in Uzbekistan,[21] 3.4 million in Afghanistan,[22] 900,000 in Tajikistan,[23] 800,000 in Kyrgyzstan,[24] 500,000 in Kazakhstan,[25] 300,000 in Turkmenistan,[26] and 300,000 in Russia.[27]

Loan words

The influence of Islam, and by extension, Arabic, is evident in Uzbek loanwords. There is also a residual influence of Russian, from the time when Uzbeks were under the rule of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Most importantly, Uzbek vocabulary, phraseology and pronunciation has been heavily influenced by Persian through its historic roots. Uzbek has been significantly influenced by Persian and it also influenced Tajik (a variety of Persian).[28] Among Turkic languages, perhaps Uzbek is the most influenced language by Persian.[29]


Nataev speaking Uzbek

The Uzbek language has many dialects, varying widely from region to region. However, there is a commonly understood dialect which is used in mass media and in most printed materials. Among the most-widespread dialects are the Tashkent dialect, Uzbek dialect, the Ferghana dialect, the Khorezm dialect, the Chimkent-Turkestan dialect, and the Surkhandarya dialect.

See also


  1. ^ Uzbek at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Northern at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Southern at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Scott Newton (20 November 2014). Law and the Making of the Soviet World: The Red Demiurge. Routledge. pp. 232–. ISBN 978-1-317-92978-9.
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Uzbek". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ "The Origins of the Uzbek Language" (in Russian). Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  5. ^ Golden, Peter. B. (1990), "Chapter 13 – The Karakhanids and Early Islam", in Sinor, Denis (ed.), The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-24304-1
  6. ^ Allworth, Edward (1994). Central Asia: 130 Years of Russian Dominance, a Historical Overview. Duke University Press. p. 72. ISBN 0-8223-1521-1.
  7. ^ Robert McHenry, ed. (1993). "Navā'ī, (Mir) 'Alī Shīr". Encyclopædia Britannica. 8 (15th ed.). Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. p. 563.
  8. ^ Subtelny, M. E. (1993). "Mīr 'Alī Shīr Nawā'ī". In C. E. Bosworth; E. Van Donzel; W. P. Heinrichs; Ch. Pellat (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Islam. VII. LeidenNew York: Brill Publishers. pp. 90–93.
  9. ^ Valitova, A. A. (1974). "Alisher Navoi". In A. M. Prokhorov (ed.). Great Soviet Encyclopedia (in Russian). 17 (3rd ed.). Moscow: Soviet Encyclopedia. pp. 194–195.
  10. ^ A. M. Prokhorov, ed. (1997). "Navoi, Nizamiddin Mir Alisher". Great Encyclopedic Dictionary (in Russian) (2nd ed.). Saint Petersburg: Great Russian Encyclopedia. p. 777.
  11. ^ "Alisher Navoi". Writers History. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  12. ^ Maxim Isaev (7 July 2009). "Uzbekistan – The monuments of classical writers of oriental literature are removed in Samarqand". Ferghana News. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  13. ^ Kamola Akilova. "Alisher Navoi and his epoch in the context of Uzbekistan art culture development [sic]". San'at Magazine. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  14. ^ "Uzbek Culture". UzHotels. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  15. ^ "Alisher Navoi – The Crown of Literature". Children's Digital Library (in Uzbek). Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  16. ^ Allworth, Edward A. (1990). The Modern Uzbeks: From the Fourteenth Century to the Present: A Cultural History. Hoover Institution Press. pp. 229–230. ISBN 978-0-8179-8732-9.
  17. ^ a b c Batalden, Stephen K. (1997). The Newly Independent States of Eurasia: Handbook of Former Soviet Republics. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-89774-940-4.
  18. ^ a b European Society for Central Asian Studies. International Conference (2005). Central Asia on Display. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 221. ISBN 978-3-8258-8309-6.
  19. ^ Sjoberg, Andrée F. (1963). Uzbek Structural Grammar. Uralic and Altaic Series. 18. Bloomington: Indiana University. pp. 16–18.
  20. ^ "Världens 100 största språk 2007" ("The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007"), Nationalencyklopedin
  21. ^ "Uzbekistan". CIA. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  22. ^ "Languages of Afghanistan". Ethnologue. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  23. ^ "Languages of Tajikistan". Ethnologue. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  24. ^ "Ethnic Makeup of the Population" (PDF). National Statistics Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic (in Russian). Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  25. ^ "National Census 2009" (PDF). Statistics Agency of Kazakhstan (in Russian). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 December 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  26. ^ "Languages of Turkmenistan". Ethnologue. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  27. ^ "National Census 2010". Federal State Statistics Service (in Russian). Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  28. ^ Hickey, Raymond 2010. The Handbook of Language Contact. Malden, MA: Wiley- Blackwel page 655
  29. ^ [1]


External links

Grammar and orthography
Learning/teaching materials

Andijan (sometimes spelled Andijon or Andizhan in English) (Uzbek: Andijon / Андижон / ئەندىجان; Persian: اندیجان‎, Andijân/Andīǰān; Russian: Андижан, Andižan) is a city in Uzbekistan. It is the administrative, economic, and cultural center of Andijan Region. Andijan is located in the south-eastern edge of the Fergana Valley near Uzbekistan's border with Kyrgyzstan.

Andijan is one of the oldest cities in the Fergana Valley. In some parts of the city, archeologists have found items dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries. Historically, Andijan was an important city on the Silk Road. The city is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Babur who, following a series of setbacks, finally succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty in the Indian Subcontinent and became the first Mughal emperor. Andijan also gained notoriety in 2005 when government forces opened fire on protestors, killing hundreds in what came to be known as the Andijan Massacre.

Andijan was developed into an important industrial city during the Soviet era. Manufactured goods produced in the city include chemicals, domestic appliances, electronics, foodstuffs, furniture, plows, pumps, shoes, spare parts for farming machines, various engineering tools, and wheelchairs.

Asaka, Uzbekistan

Asaka (Uzbek: Asaka/Aсака; Russian: Aсака) is a city and the administrative center of Asaka District in eastern Uzbekistan, located in the southeastern edge of the Fergana Valley near Uzbekistan's border with Kyrgyzstan.

Asaka underwent rapid industrialization during the Soviet era. Currently, it is the second biggest industrial city in Andijan Region, the first being Andijan. Asaka is home to the first automobile assembly plant in Central Asia, namely GM Uzbekistan (formerly UzDaewooAuto).


Bekabad (Uzbek: Bekobod/Бекобод; Russian: Бекабад), formerly Begovat, is a city in eastern Uzbekistan, (Bekabad District). It lies along both banks of the Syr Darya River near Uzbekistan's border with Tajikistan.

Bekabad originally arose in connection with a cement plant. It received the status of a city in 1945. Until 1964, the city was known as Begovat.

Bekabad underwent rapid industrialization during the Soviet era. It has retained some of its industrial importance. Bekabad is home to a large steel mill and a cement factory. The Farkhad Dam and Farkhad Hydroelectric Plant lie just upstream from the city.

Cannabis in Uzbekistan

Cannabis in Uzbekistan is illegal. Opiates, cannabis, and other plants containing psychotropic substances are illegal.

Chagatai language

Chagatai (جغتای Jağatāy) is an extinct Turkic language which was once widely spoken in Central Asia, and remained the shared literary language there until the early 20th century. Chagatai is the common predecessor of Uzbek and Uyghur. Ali-Shir Nava'i was the greatest representative of Chagatai literature.

As part of the preparation for the 1924 establishment of the Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan, Chagatai was officially renamed "Old Uzbek", which Edward A. Allworth argued "badly distorted the literary history of the region" and was used to give authors such as Ali-Shir Nava'i an Uzbek identity. It was also referred to as "Turki" or "Sart". In China it is sometimes called "ancient Uyghur".

FC Dinamo Samarqand

FC Dinamo Samarqand (Uzbek: Динамо Самарқанд Футбол Клуби, Tajik: Dastai Futboli Dinamo Samarqand, Russian: футбольный клуб "Динамо Самарканд") is an Uzbek football club, based in city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Currently it plays in Uzbek League.

FK Mash'al Mubarek

FC Mashʼal Mubarek (Uzbek: Машъал Муборак профессионал футбол клуби, Russian: Футбольный клуб Машъал Мубарек) is an Uzbek is an Uzbekistan football club based in Mubarek, Uzbekistan.


Khatun (Uzbek: xotin, Persian: خاتون‎ khātūn; Mongolian: ᠬᠠᠲᠤᠨ, khatun, хатан khatan; Urdu: خاتون‎, Hindi: ख़ातून khātūn, plural خواتين, ख़वातीन khavātīn; Bengali: খাতুন; Sylheti: ꠈꠣꠔꠥꠘ; Turkish: hatun) is a female title of nobility and counterpart to "khan" or "Khagan" prominently used in the Turkic Khaganate and in the subsequent Mongol Empire. It is equivalent to "queen regnant" or "empress regnant", approximately.

List of Uzbek-language poets

This is a list of authors who have written poetry in the Uzbek language.

Abdulla Oripov

Abdulla Qodiriy


Erkin Vohidov


Gʻafur Gʻulom

Halima Xudoyberdiyeva

Hamid Olimjon

Hamza Hakimzade Niyazi

Ilyas Malayev






Namangan (also in Uzbek: Наманган) is a city in eastern Uzbekistan. It is the administrative, economic, and cultural center of Namangan Region. Namangan is located in the northern edge of the Fergana Valley, less than 30 km from the Kyrgyzstan border. The city is served by Namangan Airport.

Namangan has been an important craft and trade center in the Fergana Valley since the 17th century. A large number of factories were built in the city during Soviet times. During World War II, industrial production in Namangan increased fivefold compared with that of 1926-1927. Currently, Namangan is mainly a center for light industry, especially in food.

The officially registered population of the city was 475,700 in 2014. Uzbeks are the largest ethnic group.


Olmaliq also spelled as Almalyk (Uzbek: Olmaliq / Олмалиқ; Russian: Алмалык) is a city (2004 pop est 138,000) in the Tashkent Region of central Uzbekistan, approximately 65 km east of Tashkent. It is located at latitude 40° 50' 41N; longitude 69° 35' 54E; at an altitude of 585 meters.

Almalyk is a company town developed by the Soviet Union in the 1930s, to exploit local reserves of copper, lead, zinc, gold, silver and barite. The town contains several enormous smelting facilities and related industries operated today by JSC Almalyk MMC, one of the largest mining-metallurgical enterprises in Uzbekistan.

The smelter operations have extensively contaminated Almalyk, which is considered one of the most polluted places on earth. The air has high concentrations of sulphuric acid fumes and the ground has hundreds of tons of toxic waste. The Uzbek government has resisted calls to close the plant, arguing that the country's economy cannot afford to do so: The plant employs around 25,000 residents of the city, and accounts for a substantial share of the region's economy. However, in January 2005 the government announced plans to clean up the area, with a target of 2010.

PFC Lokomotiv Tashkent

PFC Lokomotiv Tashkent (Uzbek: Lokomotiv Toshkent professional futbol klubi, Russian: Футбольный клуб Локомотив Ташкент) is an Uzbekistani football club based in Tashkent.

The owner and main sponsor of the club is a state-owned company Uzbekistan Railways.

Qizilqum Zarafshon

Qizilqum Zarafshon (Uzbek: Қизилқум Зарафшон футбол клуби, romanized: Qizilqum Zarafshon futbol klubi; FC Qizilqum) is an Uzbekistani football club based in Zarafshan. They play in the Uzbek League, the top division in Uzbekistani football. The club is named after the river that flows nearby; the Zeravshan River. Qizylqum in Uzbek means Red Sands, which also is the name for the local desert.

Ravshan Irmatov

Ravshan Sayfiddinovich Irmatov (Uzbek: Ravshan Sayfiddinovich Ermatov, Равшан Сайфиддинович Эрматов; born August 9, 1977) is a Uzbek professional football referee.

He has officiated in the Uzbek League since 2000, as well as at international level since 2003. As of June 2018, Irmatov holds the record for officiating the most FIFA World Cup matches.

Tajik cuisine

Tajik cuisine is a traditional cuisine of Tajikistan, and has much in common with Russian, Afghan, and Uzbek cuisines. Plov (pilaf) (Tajik: палав, Uzbek: palov), also called osh (Tajik: ош), is the national dish in Tajikistan, as in other countries in the region. Green tea is the national drink.


Uz-DaewooAuto (Uzbek: O'z-DeuAvto) was a joint venture founded in 1992 between the Uzbek state owned UzAvtosanoat. The company began production of vehicles on 19 July 1996, at the new assembly plant located in Asaka.The company produced vehicles under the brand name Uz-Daewoo and became increasingly important in the markets of the CIS area. The initiative to establish the Uzbek automobile industry goes back to the early 1990s and the administration of State President Islam Abdugʻaniyevich Karimov.GM Uzbekistan is the successor of Uz-DaewooAuto since March 2008, although the company continued selling cars under the Uz-Daewoo brand until October 2015, when it was replaced with the new Ravon brand.

Uzbek Wikipedia

The Uzbek Wikipedia (Uzbek: Oʻzbekcha Vikipediya) is the Uzbek-language edition of the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia. It was founded in December 2003. Articles in

Uzbek-language edition are written in the Latin script. In August 2012, a Latin-to-Cyrillic converter was added to allow users to view Uzbek Wikipedia's pages in both the Latin and Cyrillic scripts.

The Uzbek Wikipedia was blocked in Uzbekistan sometime in late 2011. While the reasons for the blockage were undisclosed, some believe that the encyclopedia was blocked because the Uzbek government was concerned about the appearance of articles critical of its actions. Others speculated that the Uzbek Wikipedia had been blocked simply as an "act of showmanship" because the government of Uzbekistan sees Uzbek-language content as subject to its jurisdiction. The blockage was not very robust: the pages of the Uzbek Wikipedia could be accessed on an HTTPS connection. Therefore, in 2013 Google started indexing pages of the Uzbek Wikipedia with HTTPS by default. Currently visitors of the Uzbek Wikipedia get automatically redirected to HTTPS and can access the pages of the encyclopedia without any problems.

Although Uzbekistan has nearly 9 million Internet users, there are not many active editors in the Uzbek Wikipedia and a majority of the existing articles are poorly sourced. Since early 2012, however, both the number of active users and well-written articles have increased noticeably. The number of visits to the encyclopedia has also been rising lately. In early 2013, the Uzbek-language Wikipedia ranked first among different editions of Wikipedia in terms of annual page-view growth. The current number of articles in the Uzbek Wikipedia is 131,144.

Uzbek alphabet

The Uzbek language has been written in various scripts: Arabic, Cyrillic and Latin.

In Uzbekistan, it is officially written in the Latin script, though most people still write in Cyrillic. In the Xinjiang region of China, some Uzbek speakers write using Cyrillic, while others apply the Uyghur Arabic script for Uzbek. Uzbeks of Afghanistan also write the language using the Arabic script. The Uzbek Arabic script is being taught at schools in Afghanistan.

Uzbekistan Football Association

The Uzbekistan Football Association (Uzbek: Oʻzbekiston futbol assotsiatsiyasi, Russian: Футбольная ассоциация Узбекистана) is the governing body of football in Uzbekistan, controlling the Uzbekistan national team.

Official language
Regional languages
Minority languages
Sign languages
Official languages
Regional languages
Minority languages
Sign languages
Varieties of
Common Turkic

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