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Kyrgyz

A language of Kyrgyzstan

ISO 639-3kir

Population  2,450,000 in Kyrgyzstan (1993 UBS). Population total all countries: 2,893,354.
Region  Widespread. Also in Afghanistan, China, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation (Asia), Tajikistan, Turkey (Asia), United States, Uzbekistan.
Language map  Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan
Alternate names   Kara-Kirgiz, Kirghiz, Kirgiz
Dialects  Northern Kyrgyz, Southern Kyrgyz.
Classification  Altaic, Turkic, Western, Aralo-Caspian
Language use  Official language. L1 for 98% of Kyrgyz. The Ichkilik are a Kyrgyz-speaking people of non-Kyrgyz origin. Some also use Russian.
Language development  Schools in Kyrghyz. Newspapers. Radio programs. Films. TV. Bible: 1995–2004.
Writing system  Arabic script, used in China. Cyrillic script, not used in Afghanistan. Latin script, used in Turkey.
Comments  The names Eastern Kyrghyz and Western Kyrghyz have been erroneously applied to Kazakh. Increasing education. SOV. Muslim (Sunni), Buddhist (Lamaist).

Also spoken in:

Afghanistan

Language name   Kyrgyz
Population  750 in Afghanistan (2000). 445 in the Great Pamir, plus a few in Badakhshan.
Region  Extreme northeast, Great Pamir Valley. All from Little Pamir went to Pakistan and then Turkey in 1982.
Language map  Afghanistan
Alternate names  Kirghiz, Kirghizi, Kirgiz
Language use  Spoken by a few Kyrghyz who cross the Chinese and Kyrgyzstan frontiers.
Language development  Literacy rate in L1: Below 1%. Afghan Kyrgyz do not read Cyrillic script.
Comments  Muslim (Sunni).
 

China

Language name   Kyrgyz
Population  160,000 in China (2000 census). Older adults monolingual. 60,000 Northern Kirghiz, 40,000 Southern Kirghiz.
Region  West and southwest Xinjiang, in Wuqia, Akqi, Akto, Tekes, Zhaosu, Baicheng, Wushi counties.
Language map  China
Alternate names  Kara, Ke’erkez, Kirgiz
Dialects  Southern Kyrgyz, Northern Kyrgyz.
Language use  Vigorous. All domains. All ages. Positive attitude. Also use Uyghur [uig], Chinese [cmn], or some variety of Farsi [pes].
Language development  Literacy rate in L1: 80%–85%. Literacy rate in L2: 59%. Taught in primary and secondary schools.
Comments  Classified as Kyrghyz nationality. Animal husbandry; agriculturalists. Muslim (Sunni), Shamanist.
 

Tajikistan

Language name   Kyrgyz
Population  64,000 in Tajikistan.
Language map  Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan
 

Turkey (Asia)

Language name   Kyrgyz
Population  1,140 in Turkey (1982).
Region  Van and Kars provinces.
Comments  Refugees from Afghanistan; now Turkish citizens. Muslim (Sunni).