Uzbek/The Alphabet

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For over sixty years Uzbek has been written in a modified Cyrillic alphabet. Since 1992 however the Uzbekistan government has made many attempts to switch over to the Latin script. This is the alphabet they decided on in 1995. This is an official script, but at the moment is not the only official script as they are keeping both scripts in use, forever pushing off the date to completely phase out Cyrillic. For your reference I've added a chart showing what letters represent what in the bottom of this page, but we will only use the new alphabet in our lessons.

Uzbek Dialogue • The Alphabet • Gnome-speakernotes.pngaudio (upload)
Flag of Uzbekistan.svg The Alphabet (Alifbo)
A a /a, æ/ As American English a in the word bat.
B be /b/ As American English b in the word book (In the end of a word this letter often sounds like American English p)
D de /d/ As American English d in the word door
E e /e/ As in American English e in the word yes
F ef /ɸ/ As American English f in the word few
G ge /g/ As American English g in the word good
H he /h/ As American English h in the word help
I i /i, ɨ/ As American English i in the word it
J je /dʒ/ For Uzbek words: As American English j in the word just, For borrowed words (mainly from Russian, or international words such as "Televisor"): As English s in the word measure
K ke /k/ As American English k in the word keep, but without aspiration. (the h sound after p)
L el /l/ As American English l in the word look
M em /m/ As American English m in the word mood
N en /n/ As American English n in the word new
O o /ɒ/ As American English o in the word hot.
P pe /p/ As American English p in the word pick, but without aspiration.
Q qe /q/ English doesn't have an equivalent sound. This is a back k, pronounced similar to the English c in the word cost, but pronounced farther back in the mouth.
R er /r/ Like the Scottish rolled r
S es /s/ As American English s in the word see
T te /t/ As American English t in the word top, also pronounced without aspiration.
U u /u, y/ As American English oo in the word root.
V ve /w/ For Uzbek words: As American English w in want, For borrowed words (mainly from Russian, or international ie. "televisor"): As American English v in very.
X xe /χ/ English doesn't have an equivalent sound. This sound is exactly the same as the German pronunciation ch in bach
Y ye /j/ As American English y in the word you
Z ze /z/ As American English z in the word zoo
/o, ø/ As American English o in the word 'row,' but without the w sound.
gʻe /ʁ/ English doesn't have an equivalent sound. Gʻ is close to the English gh in the word yoghurt. It is similar to the sound х, but is pronounced with the quality of voicing. (like a French r)
Sh she /ʃ/ As American English sh in the word show
Ch che /tʃ/ As American English ch in the word child.
ʼ apostrof /ʔ/ In Uzbek words, after a vowel this letter indicates that the vowel is long: ra’no /raano/. After a consonant it indicates that the consonant is followed by a brief breath or no sound: san’at /san#at/. In Russian borrow words it is used to indicate that a consonant does not have a palatable or 'y' quality.

Latin-Cyrillic Chart[edit]

Latin Cyrillic IPA
A a А а /a, æ/
B b Б б /b/
D d Д д /d/
E e Е е, Э э /e/
F f Ф ф /ɸ/
G g Г г /g/
H h Ҳ ҳ /h/
I i И и /i, ɨ/
J j Ж ж /dʒ/
K k К к /k/
L l Л л /l/
M m М м /m/
N n Н н /n/
O o О о /ɒ/
P p П п /p/
Q q Қ қ /q/
R r Р р /r/
S s С с /s/
T t Т т /t/
U u У у /u, y/
V v В в /w/
X x Х х /χ/
Y y Й й /j/
Z z З з /z/
Oʻ oʻ Ў ў /o, ø/
Gʻ gʻ Ғ ғ /ʁ/
Sh sh Ш ш /ʃ/
Ch ch Ч ч /tʃ/
ʼ ъ /ʔ/

There are special symbols for y sound with vowels:

Latin Cyrillic IPA
Ya ya Я я /ja, jæ/
Ye ye Е е* /je/
Yo yo Ё ё /jɒ/
Yu yu Ю ю /ju/
ʼ ъ /ʔ/
  • Only at the beginning of the words

At the beginning of the words Cyrillic letter Ее corresponds to the Latin combination Ye ye, elsewhere it corresponds to a Latin letter Ee. Letter Ээ is used for Latin Ee in the beginning of the word, and doesn't occur in the middle of words. Examples:

  • еди - yedi
  • эди - edi
  • мен - men

The general rule doesn't apply to Russian loanwords, where letter э can appear in the middle of the word:

  • поэма - poema

Letter Ьь (soft sign) doesn't represent any sound (and it doesn't mark palatisation, like it does in Slavic languages). It is used only in Russian loanwords, and has no corresponding letter in the Latin script:

  • калькулятор - kalkulator
  • календарь - kalendar
  • панель - panel
  • лагерь - lager

When suffixes are added to a word, final Ьь is dropped:

  • календарь + лар = календарлар (kalendar + lar = kalendarlar)
  • панель + ли = панелли (panel + li = panelli)

Letter Ъъ (hard sign) generally corresponds to apostrophe in Latin, but sometimes it is used before a yotified vowel in Russian loanwords; then it means nothing and is omitted in Latin: адъютант - adyutant

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