Similarities Between Turkish and Kazakh

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Can Turkish and Kazakh speakers understand each other? In this episode we showcase some of the similarities and test the degree of mutual intelligibility between Turkish and Kazakh. Meruyert and Tamerlan, from Nur-Sultan and Almaty, will represent the Kazakh language, while Aslı and Atakan, from İzmir and Ankara, will represent the Turkish language.

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The Turkish language, which is also referred to as Istanbul Turkish, is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages, with most of its native speakers living in Western Asia, and significant group of speakers in Germany, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, Greece, the Caucasus, and other parts of Europe and Central Asia. Ottoman Turkish, which was a variation of the Turkish spoken today, influenced many parts of Europe during the time that the Ottoman Empire expanded. When the modern Turkish republic was established, one of Atatürk’s Reforms consisted of changing the Ottoman Turkish alphabet with a Latin alphabet. Today, Turkish is recognized as a minority language in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Iraq, Macedonia, and Romania.

The Kazakh language (qazaqşa) belongs to the Kipchak branch of Turkic languages with official status in Kazakhstan and a minority language in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang, China and in the Bayan-Ölgii Province of Mongolia.

The Turkic languages consist of over 35 different documented languages, originating from East Asia. Turkish has the highest number of native speakers out of all Turkic language. There is a high degree of mutual intelligibility among the various Oghuz languages, which include Turkish, Azerbaijani, Turkmen, Qashqai, Gagauz, Balkan Gagauz Turkish and Oghuz-influenced Crimean Tatar.

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