Kyrgyz Arabic Script as developed by the founder of the Kyrgyz linguistics, Qasym Tynystanov.

The Kyrgyz alphabets[a] are the alphabets used to write the Kyrgyz language. Kyrgyz uses the following alphabets:

The Arabic script was traditionally used to write Kyrgyz before the introduction of the first Latin-based alphabets in 1927. Today an Arabic alphabet is used in China.[1] The New Turkic Alphabet was used in the USSR in the 1930s until its replacement by a Cyrillic script.[2] The Kyrgyz Cyrillic alphabet is the alphabet used in Kyrgyzstan. It contains 36 letters: 33 from the Russian alphabet with 3 additional letters for sounds of the Kyrgyz language: Ң, Ү, Ө.

Within the country there have been mixed reactions to the idea of adopting the Latin alphabet for Kyrgyz. The chairman of Kyrgyzstan’s National Commission for the State Language and Language Policies, Kanybek Osmonaliev, announced in September 2022 that it is considering switching to the Latin alphabet.[3] However, several months later, Russia suspended dairy exports to Kyrgyzstan after Osmonaliev repeated his proposal to change the official script from Cyrillic to Latin to bring the country in line with other Turkic-speaking nations. Osmonaliev was reprimanded by President Sadyr Japarov who then clarified that Kyrgyzstan had no plans to replace the Cyrillic alphabet.[4]


In Kyrgyz Cyrillic Alphabet, there are 15 vowels, and in Kyrgyz Arabic Alphabet, there are 13. The discrepancy is for two reasons. First, in Kyrgyz Cyrillic, both vowels "Э э" and "Е е" were imported from Russian Cyrillic. They essentially make the same sound, and the choice comes down to a matter of orthographic rule. They are both represented in Kyrgyz Arabic Alphabet with "ە / ﻪ". The second difference is that Kyrgyz Cyrillic Alphabet has two letters "Ы ы" and "И и", the former being a back vowel, and the latter, a front vowel.

Similar to other Turkic languages, Kyrgyz vowels are divided into front vowel and back vowel, and all words shall follow the vowel harmony rules. This means that the vowel sounds within a word can either be front vowel, or back vowel.

In Kyrgyz, vowels are also divided into short and long. Whether in Kyrgyz Cyrillic Alphabet, or in Kyrgyz Arabic Alphabet, long vowels are represented by writing the same letter twice. For example, in the world "дөөлөт / دۅۅلۅت", there is a long vowel and a short vowel. Of the two letters "Э э" and "Е е", only the former also has a long vowel, "Ээ ээ"

The two letters "Ы ы" and "И и" do not have a long vowel equivalent.

Rounded Unrounded
Close Open Close Open
Short Long Short Long N/A Short Long Short Long
Жоон үндүүлөр
جوون ۉندۉۉلۅر
Arabic ـﯗ‎ / ﯗ ـﯗﯗ‎ / ﯗﯗ ـو‎ / و‎ ـوو‎ / وو‎ ىـ / ـى / ى‎ ا / ‍ـا اا / ‍ـاا
У у
(U u)
Уу уу
(Uu uu)
О о
(O o)
Оо оо
(Oo oo)
Ы ы
(Y y)
А а
(A a)
Аа аа
(Aa aa)
IPA [ʊ] [uː] [ɔ] [ɔː] [ɯ] [ɑ] [ɑː]
Ичке үндүүлөр
ئچكە ۉندۉۉلۅر
Arabic ـۉ‎ / ۉ ـۉۉ‎ / ۉۉ ـۅ‎ / ۅ‎ ـۅۅ‎ / ۅۅ ئـ / ـئ / ئ‎ ە / ـە ەە / ـەە
Ү ү
(Ü ü)
Үү үү
(Üü üü)
Ө ө
(Ö ö)
Өө өө
(Öö öö)
И и
(I i)
Е е / Э э
(E e)
Ээ ээ
(Ee ee)
IPA [ʏ] [yː] [ɵ] [ɵː] [ɪ] [e] [eː]

Correspondence chart

Correspondence chart of four Kyrgyz alphabets: the Kyrgyz Cyrillic and Kyrgyz Braille alphabets used in Kyrgyzstan, the Kyrgyz Latin alphabet used 1928–1938 in the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic and the Kyrgyz Arabic alphabet used in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Xinjiang, China. In this correspondence chart, the Cyrillic alphabet is written in its official order. The Arabic and Latin equivalents are not written in their official alphabetical orders but have been listed around the Cyrillic for ease of understanding.

Comparison of Kyrgyz Alphabets[5]
Cyrillic Name Braille Arabic[5] Transliteration
IPA transcription
А а а (a) ا A a A a /ɑ/
Б б бе (be) ب B b B ʙ /b/
В в ве (ve) ۋ V v V v /v/, /w/
Г г ге (ge) گ
G g G g, Ƣ ƣ /ɡ/, /ʁ/, /ɢ/
Д д де (de) د D d D d /d/
Е е е (e) ە E e E e /e/
Ё ё ё (ë) ي+و(يو) Yo yo Jo jo /jo/
Ж ж же (je) ج C c Cc (Ƶ ƶ from 1938) /d͡ʒ/, both /d͡ʒ/ and /ʒ/ since 1938
З з зе (ze) ز Z z Z z /z/
И и и (i) ئ I i I i /i/
Й й ий (iy) ي Y y J j /j/
К к ка (ka) ك
K k K k, Q q /k/, /q/, /χ/
Л л эл (el) ل L l L l /l/, /ɫ/
М м эм (em) م M m M m /m/
Н н эн (en) ن N n N n /n/
Ң ң ың (yng) ڭ Ng ng /ŋ/, /ɴ/
О о о (o) و O o O o /o/
Ө ө ө (ö) ۅ Ö ö Ɵ ɵ /ø/
П п пе (pe) پ P p P p /p/
Р р эр (er) ر R r R r /r/
С с эс (es) س S s S s /s/
Т т те (te) ت T t T t /t/
У у у (u) ۇ U u U u /u/
Ү ү ү (ü) ۉ Ü ü Y y /y/
Ф ф эф (ef) ف F f F f /f/
Х х ха (kha) ح Kh kh H h /χ/
Ц ц це (tse) (ت+س (تس C c Ts ts /t͡s/
Ч ч че (che) چ Ch ch Ç ç /t͡ʃ/
Ш ш ша (sha) ش Ş ş Ş ş /ʃ/
Щ щ ща (shcha) - Shch shch ŞÇ şç /ʃt͡ʃ/, /ʃː/
Ъ ъ ажыратуу белгиси (azhyratuu belgisi) - - *[8]
Ы ы ы (y) ى Y y Ь ь /ɯ/
Ь ь ичкертүү белгиси (ichkertüü belgisi) - - *[8]
Э э э (e) ە E e E e /e/
Ю ю ю (yu) ي+ۇ(يۇ) Yu yu Ju ju /ju/, /jy/
Я я я (ya) ي+ا(يا) Ya ya Ja ja /ja/, /jɑ/

The letter H is not present in the Kyrgyz alphabet. Instead, it was replaced by a mute sound. (e.g. "Шаар (Shaar)" (city) in Kyrgyz corresponds to Şahar/Şähär/Şəhər in other Turkic languages.)

Text sample

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights[9]

Cyrillic script Perso-Arabic script Latin script (1928-38) IPA transcription English translation
Бардык адамдар өз беделинде жана укуктарында эркин жана тең укуктуу болуп жаралат. Алардын аң-сезими менен абийири бар жана бири-бирине бир туугандык мамиле кылууга тийиш. باردىق ادامدار ۅز بەدەلينده جانا وُقوُقتارىندا ەرکین جانا تەڭ ۇقۇقتۇۇ بولۇپ جارالات. الاردىن اڭ-سەزیمئ مەنەن ابئییری بار جانا بئرئ-بئرینه بئر توُوُعاندىق مامئلە قىلوُوُعا تئییش. Bardьq adamdar ɵz ʙedelinde çana uquqtarьnda erkin çana teꞑ uquqtuu ʙolup çaralat. Alardьn aꞑ-sezimi menen aʙijiri ʙar çana ʙiri-ʙirine ʙir tuuƣandьq mamile qьluuƣa tijiş. [bɑr.ˈdɯχ ɑ.dɑm.ˈdɑr ɵzɪn.ˈde d͡ʑɑ.nɑ ʊ.ˌqʊχ.tɑ.rɯn.ˈdɑ er.ˈcɪn d͡ʑɑ.ˈnɑ teŋ ʊ.qʊχ.ˈtuː βɔ.ˈɫʊp d͡ʑɑ.rɑ.ˈɫɑt ‖ ɑ.ɫɑr.ˈdɯn ɑŋ se.zɪ.ˈmɪ me.ˈnen ɑ.βɪ.ʝɪ.ˈrɪ βɑr d͡ʑɑ.ˈnɑ βɪ.ˈrɪ βɪ.rɪ.ˈne βɪr tuː.ʁɑn.ˈdɯχ mɑ.mɪ.ˈle qɯ.ɫuː.ˈʁɑ tɪ.ˈʝɪɕ ‖] All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.


The tabel below illustrates the letter order for Kyrgyz as the letter order differs based on whether it is being written in the Arabic versus Cyrillic alphabet.

Transliteration Letter name IPA Isolated Final Medial Initial
Cyrillic Latin
А а A a Алиф [ɑ] ا ا
Б б B b Бе [b]
П п P p Пе [p] پ
Т т T t Те [t]
Ж ж J j Жим [dʒ]
Ч ч Ch ch Чим [t͡ʃ]
Х х H h Хе [χ~q]
Д д D d Дал [d]
Р р R r Ре [r]
З з Z z Зайн [z]
С с S s Син [s]
Ш ш Sh sh Шин [ʃ]
Г г G g Гайн [ɢ~ʁ]
Ф ф F f Фе [ɸ]
К к K k Каф [q]
Кь кь K k [k] ك ـك ـكـ كـ
Гь гь G g Ге [ɡ] گ
Ң ң Ng ng Эң [ŋ~ɴ] ڭ ـڭ ـڭـ ڭـ
Л л L l Лам [l~ɫ]
М м M m Mим [m]
Н н N n Нун [n]
О о O o O o [o] و و
Ө ө Ö ö Ө ө [ø] ۅ ـۅ ۅ
У у U u У у [u] ـﯗ
Ү ү Ü ü Ү ү [y] ۉ ـۉ ۉ
В в V v Ве [v~w] ـﯞ
Э э E e Э э [e] ە ە
Ы ы I ı I ı [ɯ] ـىـ ىـ
И и İ i İ i [i] ئ ئ ـئـ ئـ
Й й Y y Эй эй [j] ي ي
- Кыбачы ء

In earlier versions of the alphabet, the sequence «ییی» was used to represent ы/и; the sequence «ېېې» was instead used to represent й. This modification was likely undone because of «ېېې»'s historic role representing the /e/ sound. Although «ېېې» was never a part of standardized Persian or Chagatai orthography, it possibly had precedent as a scribal variation of representing /e/ and its modern-day role in Pashto and Uyghur is also representing /e/. For this reason Kasym Tynystanov likely erred on the side of caution and settled on the modern scheme shown above.

See also


  1. ^ Kyrgyz: Кыргыз алфавити, romanizedKyrgyz alfaviti, قىرعىز الفاۋئتى, Yañalif: Qьrƣьz alfaviti, pronounced [qɯrˈɢɯz ɐɫfɐˈvʲitɪ]


  1. ^ Minglang Zhou (2003). Multilingualism in China: the politics of writing reforms for minority languages, 1949–2002. Vol. 89 of Contributions to the sociology of language (illustrated ed.). Walter de Gruyter. p. 149. ISBN 3-11-017896-6. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
  2. ^ a b O.L. Sumarokova (2021). "Кыргызский алфавит: долгий путь к кириллице" (PDF) (in Russian). Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University. pp. 59–73, 77.
  3. ^ "Kyrgyzstan to adopt Latin alphabet, in blow to 'Russian order'". 29 September 2022.
  4. ^ Russia Suspends Dairy Products From Kyrgyzstan After Calls In Bishkek To Drop Cyrillic Script. Radio Free Europe, 21 April 2023. Retrieved 22 June 2023
  5. ^ a b "Kyrgyz alphabet, language and pronunciation". Retrieved 2021-08-09.
  6. ^ Romanization of Kyrgyz, United States Board on Geographic Names, October 2017.
  7. ^ Кыргызская латиница (Kyrgyz Latin Alphabet)
  8. ^ a b no phonemic value; only found in borrowings
  9. ^ Kyrgyz edition of Universal Declaration of Human Rights