Karakalpak language

Karakalpak is a Turkic language spoken by Karakalpaks in Karakalpakstan. It is divided into two dialects, Northeastern Karakalpak and Southeastern Karakalpak. It developed alongside neighboring Kazakh and Uzbek languages, being markedly influenced by both. Typologically, Karakalpak belongs to the Kipchak branch of the Turkic languages, thus being closely related to and highly mutually intelligible with Kazakh.[2]

Qaraqalpaq tili, Қарақалпақ тили, قاراقالپاق تىلى
Native toUzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan
Native speakers
583,410 (2010)[1]
Official status
Official language in
 Karakalpakstan (Uzbekistan)
Language codes
ISO 639-2kaa
ISO 639-3kaa
Map showing locations of Karakalpak (red) within Uzbekistan
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.


Karakalpak is a member of the Kipchak branch of Turkic languages, which includes Kazakh, Bashkir, Tatar, Kumyk, Karachay, Nogai and Kyrgyz. Due to its proximity to Uzbek, much of Karakalpak's vocabulary and grammar has been influenced by Uzbek. Like the vast majority of Turkic languages, Karakalpak has vowel harmony, is agglutinative and has no grammatical gender. Word order is usually subject–object–verb.

Geographic distributionEdit

Karakalpak is spoken mainly in the Karakalpakstan Autonomous Republic of Uzbekistan. Approximately 2,000 people in Afghanistan and smaller diaspora in parts of Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and other parts of the world speak Karakalpak.

Official statusEdit

Karakalpak has official status in the Karakalpakstan Autonomous Republic.


The Ethnologue identifies two dialects of Karakalpak: Northeastern and Southwestern. Menges mentions a third possible dialect spoken in the Fergana Valley. The Southwestern dialect has /tʃ/ for the Northeastern /ʃ/.


Karakalpak has 21 native consonant phonemes and regularly uses four non-native phonemes in loan words. Non-native sounds are shown in parentheses.

Karakalpak vowels, from Menges (1947:?)
Consonant phonemes
  Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n     ŋ        
Plosive p b t d     k ɡ q      
Affricate     (t͡s)   (t͡ʃ)              
Fricative (f) (v) s z ʃ ʒ x ɣ     h  
Rhotic     r                
Approximant     l j w        


Front Back
spread rounded spread rounded
Close i y ɯ u
Mid e œ o
Open æ a

Vowel harmonyEdit

Vowel harmony functions in Karakalpak much as it does in other Turkic languages. Words borrowed from Russian or other languages may not observe rules of vowel harmony, but the following rules usually apply:

Vowel May be followed by:
a a, ɯ
æ e, i
e e, i
i e, i
o a, o, u, ɯ
œ e, i, œ, y
u a, o, u
y e, œ, y
ɯ a, ɯ


Personal pronounsEdit

Singular Plural
1st person men "I" biz "we"
2nd person sen "you" siz "you (pl.)"
3rd person ol "he/she/it" olar "they"


  1. bir 1
  2. eki 2
  3. úsh 3
  4. tórt 4
  5. bes 5
  6. altı 6
  7. jeti 7
  8. segiz 8
  9. toǵız 9
  10. on 10
  • júz 100
  • mıń 1000

Writing systemEdit

March 2006. A photo laboratory in Nukus – with the signboard written in Karakalpak language using the Latin alphabet.

Karakalpak was written in the Arabic and Persian script until 1928, in the Latin script (with additional characters) from 1928 to 1940, after which Cyrillic was introduced. Following Uzbekistan's independence in 1991, the decision was made to drop Cyrillic and revert to the Latin alphabet. Whilst the use of Latin script is now widespread in Tashkent, its introduction into Karakalpakstan remains gradual.

The Cyrillic and Latin alphabets are shown below with their equivalent representations in the IPA. Cyrillic letters with no representation in the Latin alphabet are marked with asterisks. The last changes to the new Karakalpak alphabet were made in 2016: instead of letters with apostrophes, letters with acutes were introduced.[3] Therefore, the new Karakalpak alphabet will act in the same way the new Kazakh and Uzbek alphabets represent – that is, with acutes.

Cyrillic Latin IPA Cyrillic Latin IPA Cyrillic Latin IPA
Аа Aa /a/ Ққ Qq /q/ Фф Ff /f/
Әә Áá /æ/ Лл Ll /l/ Хх Xx /x/
Бб Bb /b/ Мм Mm /m/ Ҳҳ Hh /h/
Вв Vv /v/ Нн Nn /n/ Цц Cc /ts/
Гг Gg /ɡ/ Ңң Ńń /ŋ/ Чч Ch;ch /tʃ/
Ғғ Ǵǵ /ɣ/ Оо Oo /o/ Шш Sh;sh /ʃ/
Дд Dd /d/ Өө Óó /œ/ Щщ* sch /ʃtʃ/
Ее Ee /e/ Пп Pp /p/ Ъъ*    
Ёё* yo /jo/ Рр Rr /r/ Ыы Íı /ɯ/
Жж Jj /ʒ/ Сс Ss /s/ Ьь*    
Зз Zz /z/ Тт Tt /t/ Ээ Ee /e/
Ии Ii /i/ Уу Uu /u/ Юю* yu /ju/
Йй Yy /j/ Үү Úú /y/ Яя ya /ja/
Кк Kk /k/ Ўў Ww /w/

Before 2009, C was written as TS; I and Í were written as dotted and dotless I.[4]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Karakalpak at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ "Karakalpak". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  3. ^ "Латын жазыўына тийкарланған қарақалпақ әлипбеси". Каракалпакский государственный университет им. Бердаха (in Kara-Kalpak). Archived from the original on 2017-12-24. Retrieved 2018-01-27.
  4. ^ Karakalpak Cyrillic – (Old / New) Latin transliterator