Upon acquisition of independence in 1991, Kazakhstan was the only post- Soviet state where the titular nation did not have an overwhelming majority, the number of Kazakhs being fewer than the number of ethnic Russians. This explains to a certain extent why the Russian language, unlike other minority languages, has, to date, enjoyed a position of lingua franca in Kazakhstan and is used on equal grounds with Kazakh. Our contribution attempts to study the possible impact on the status of the Russian language of a 2017 project known as the ‘trinity of languages’— Kazakh, Russian and English— which includes a reform to Latinize the Kazakh alphabet. It will consider the possible polarization in the society with the younger generation probably choosing English and the older generation preferring the language as they know it.
European Yearbook of Minority Issues Online – Brill
Published: Jun 1, 2021