Uzbek is the native language of the Uzbeks, spoken in Uzbekistan and other Central Asian states. Outside the former Soviet Union, Uzbek is spoken in Eastern Turkey and Northern Afghanistan.

Uzbek belongs to the South Eastern (Central Asian) group of Turkic languages. The dialects of the modern spoken language have been influenced by some diverse dialect groups such as Karluk, Kipchak and Oguz.Uzbek dialects are conventionally divided according to phonetic features into two groups: the “O” group, which includes the dialects of such cities as Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, and the surrounding regions; and the “A” group, which is divided into two subgroups according to the use of the initial consonants. This classification was developed by the Russian scientist A.K. Borovkov.

The modern Uzbek literary language is based on the Tashkent-Fergana “0” dialect group. An old Uzbek literary language had emerged by the 13th century (by the 15th or 16th cc. according to some scholars); opinion is divided on its definition and designation. Uzbek phonology is marked by the absence of long vowels in word initial position. Secondary length results from the loss of consonant assimilated into vowels. Certain vowels may be lengthened for emphasis. The main dialects lack synharmonic novel alternation and division of affixes into front and back Uzbek grammatical structure, which in common with all Turkic languages is agglutinative.

Uzbek was written in Arabic script until 1927 and in the Latin Alphabet from 1927 to 1940, when the Cyrillic alphabet was introduced. Since the mid-90’s, Latin has again been adopted as the official alphabet.


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