[lg policy] Kazakhstan: President Nazarbayev on language policy and Ukraine

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Wed Aug 27 16:07:25 UTC 2014

 President Nazarbayev on language policy and Ukraine
Monday, 25.08.2014, 12:58
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   [image: President Nazarbayev on language policy and Ukraine]
 President Nazarbayev. Turar Kazangapov ©

Kazakhstan might follow Ukraine’s scenario should it ban all the languages
other than Kazakh, the country’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev believes.

“The Government has been doing its best to ensure development of Kazakh
language. In line with the country’s Constitution, Kazakh language is
declared to be the official language of Kazakhstan. There is not a single
person who might be prevented from speaking the language. I do admit
writers and public figures are still grieving over inadequacy of the
language [as it wasn’t developing throughout the Soviet era]”, he said in
an interview for Kazakhstan’s Khabar TV Channel.

“However, if we introduce limitations on use of other languages, we will be
another Ukraine (…) Language policy is something that calls for caution”,
he added.

Among other things, he criticized the way new words emerge in Kazakh
language. “We try to come up with new words for a lot of things that have
had similarly sounding names in a lot of languages for ages. We falsely
think that we need to drift away from Russian language and for this reason
borrow certain words from Turkish, Arabic, Persian languages, however less
precise they may be (…) as a nation, we need to enrich the language as it
has a bright future here in Kazakhstan”, he said.

President reminded that there is a whole range of about 6000 languages in
the world, with around 70% of the global population resorting to English as
a language of education, science, medicine, Internet, media, and culture.
“If we fail to speak English, we miss out on a lot of things. How can we
join the club of 30 most developed nations of the world if the young don’t
speak the global language? After gaining independence India abandoned
English, but returned to the language 5-6 years later. Singapore and
Malaysia saw the same scenario. Developing all the three languages [Kazakh,
Russian and English] is the optimal option”, he said.

For more information see:
Use of the Tengrinews English materials must be accompanied by a hyperlink
to en.Tengrinews.kz

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