Kazakh language - c. 7.5 million speakers in Kazakhstan (one of the five Central Asian Soviet Republics of the former Soviet Union), where it is the official language; with some speakers in China, Mongolia, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and Germany. The Kazakh literary language dates from the early 19th century, although traditional folk poetry is older. Today the language is spoken in three main dialects: northeastern, southern and western. Dialectal differences are minor.
CLASSIFICATION = Turkic branch of Altaic languages, SCRIPT = Cyrillic in Kazakhstan (where the script formerly was Arabic); Roman elsewhere