Southern Uzbek
اۉزبېکچه, اۉزبېکی, اۉزبېک تورکچه سی
Native toAfghanistan
Native speakers
L1: 3.5 million (2017)[1]
L2: 1.1 million (2022)[1]
Early forms
Official status
Official language in
Afghanistan (3rd most spoken language)
Recognised minority
language in
  • China
Regulated byAfghan Ministry of Education
Language codes
ISO 639-3uzs
Linguasphere44-AAB-da, db
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.

Southern Uzbek, also known as Afghan Uzbek, is the southern variant of the Uzbek language, spoken chiefly in Afghanistan with up to 4.6 million speakers including first and second language speakers.[1] It uses the Perso-Arabic writing system in contrast to the language variant of Uzbekistan.

Southern Uzbek is intelligible with the Northern Uzbek spoken in Uzbekistan to a certain degree. However, it has differences in grammar and also many more loan words from Dari, the local New Persian variety, in which many Southern Uzbek speakers are proficient.[3]

Southern Uzbek Alphabet

Main article: Uzbek alphabet

A 1911 text in Southern Uzbek

Southern Uzbek is written using the Perso-Arabic writing system called Arab Yozuv ("Arab Script"). The writing system is for the most part identical to Persian alphabet, with 3 additional letters. These include two vowels, "اۉ / ۉ" and "اې / ې", which are meant to represent the sounds represented in Uzbek Latin Script with "E e" and "Oʻ oʻ". The alphabet also includes a combined consonant letter "نگ", formerly (and currently in writing systems such as Uyghur) shown with the letter "ڭ". This letter represents the sound /ŋ/, and represented in the Latin writing system with "-ng". This letter makes the Voiced velar nasal sound, where in English one can for example hear when pronouncing the word "wingman".

Uzbek has 6 vowels, and it has lost its vowel harmony rules, unlike other Turkic languages.[4]

Table of Vowels in Uzbek Arabic Alphabet[5] [6]
IPA Arabic Latin Cyrillic
Final Medial Initial Isolated
[æ] ~ [ɑ] ه ـَ اَ A a А а
[ɒ] ~ [ɔ] ـا آ ‌ O o О о
[i] ـی ـیـ ایـ ای I i И и
[e] ـې ـېـ اېـ اې E e Э э / Е е
[o] ـۉ اۉ Oʻ oʻ Ў ў
[u] ـو او ‌ U u У у

Other than the additional combined letter "نگ / -ng", the consonants of Uzbek Arabic Alphabet are identical to that of Persian. Thus, there indeed is a case of various letters representing the same sound, as is the case in Persian. But the letters "ث، ح، ذ، ژ، ص، ض، ط، ظ، ع" are not used for writing of native Uzbek words. They're solely used for writing of loanwords from Arabic, Persian, or any of the European languages.

Letter Latin IPA
Final Medial Initial Isolated
ـب ـبـ بـ ب B b /b/
ـپ ـپـ پـ پ P p /p/
ـت ـتـ تـ ت T t /t/
ـث ـثـ ثـ ث S s /s/
ـج ـجـ جـ ج J j /dʒ/
ـچ ـچـ چـ چ Ch ch /tʃ/
ـح ـحـ حـ ح H h /h/
ـخ ـخـ خـ خ X x /x/
ـد د د D d /d/
ـذ ذ ذ Z z /z/
ـر ر ر R r /r/
ـز ز ز Z z /z/
ـژ ژ ژ J j /ʒ/
ـس ـسـ سـ س S s /s/
ـش ـشـ شـ ش Sh Sh /ʃ/
ـص ـصـ صـ ص S s /s/
ـض ـضـ ضـ ض Z z /z/
ـط ـطـ طـ ط T t /t/
ـظ ـظـ ظـ ظ Z z /z/
ـع ـعـ عـ ع ʻ /ʔ/
ـغ ـغـ غـ غ Gʻ gʻ /ɣ~ʁ/
ـف ـفـ فـ ف F f /f/
ـق ـقـ قـ ق Q q /q/
ـک ـکـ کـ ک K k /k/
ـگ ـگـ گـ گ G g /g/
ـم ـمـ مـ م M m /m/
ـن ـنـ نـ ن N n /n/
ـنگ ـنگـ - نگ -ng /ŋ/
ـو و و V v /v/
ـه ـهـ هـ ه H h /h/
ـی ـیـ یـ ی ‌ Y y /j/
- ـئـ / ـأ / ـؤ ئـ / أ / ؤ ء ʻ /ʔ/

See also


  1. ^ a b c Southern Uzbek at Ethnologue (27th ed., 2024) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Scott Newton (20 November 2014). Law and the Making of the Soviet World: The Red Demiurge. Routledge. p. 232. ISBN 978-1-317-92978-9.
  3. ^ "Uzbek, Southern".
  4. ^ Asamura, Takao. “Longing for Legacy: Vowel Harmony in the Uzbek Standard Language, 1924-1934.” Russian and East European Studies 2007, no. 36 (2007): 48–60.
  5. ^ Sjoberg, Andrée F. (1963). Uzbek Structural Grammar (PDF). Uralic and Altaic Series. Vol. 18. Bloomington: Indiana University. pp. 16–18.
  6. ^ Uzbek Turki to Persian/Dari Dictionary, authored by D. Faizullah Aimaq (فرهنگ تورکی اوزبیکی به فارسی/ دری، تألیف داکتر فیض الله ایماق) [1] (Archive)