The Uyghur Cyrillic alphabet (ar. ئۇيغۇر كىرىل يازىكى, lat. Uyghur Kiril Yëziqi or UKY, cyr. Уйғур Кирил Йезиқи) is a Cyrillic-derived alphabet used for writing the Uyghur language, primarily by Uyghurs living in Kazakhstan and former CIS countries.
It was devised around 1937 by the Soviet Union, which wanted an alternative to the Latin-derived alphabet they had devised some eleven years earlier, in 1926, as they feared a romanization of the Uyghur language would strengthen the relationship of the Uyghurs to Turkey, which had switched to a Latin-based alphabet in 1927–1928.
After the proclamation of the Communist People's Republic of China in 1949, Russian linguists began helping the Chinese with codifying the various minority languages of China and promoting Cyrillic-derived alphabets and thus the Uyghurs of China also came to use the Uyghur Kiril Yëziqi.
As the tensions between the Soviet Union and China grew stronger, the Chinese dismissed the Uyghur Kiril Yëziqi and as of 1959, the newly devised Uyghur Yëngi Yëziqi became the new alphabet of use among the Chinese Uyghurs and eventually China restored the Arabic script to write Uyghur till now. Uyghur Kiril Yëziqi continued to be used in the Soviet Union, however and is today used in Kazakhstan and former CIS countries and is also the alphabet used for writing Standard Soviet Uyghur.
The letters in the Uyghur Cyrillic Alphabet are, in order:
The Cyrillic script is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia and is used as the national script in various Slavic, Turkic, Mongolic and Iranic-speaking countries in Southeastern Europe, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, North Asia and East Asia.
The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancient Romans to write the Latin language and its extensions used to write modern languages.
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Kazakh, or Kazak, is a Turkic language of the Kipchak branch spoken in Central Asia. It is closely related to Nogai, Kyrgyz and Karakalpak. Kazakh is the official language of Kazakhstan and a significant minority language in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang, China and in the Bayan-Ölgii Province of Mongolia. Kazakh is also spoken by many ethnic Kazakhs through the former Soviet Union, Germany, Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan.
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