by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2010/05/02 07:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2010/05/02/10005857.aspx
The Kazakh Language Interface Pack for Windows 7 is now available!
It is only available for 32-bit, but it can be installed atop either English or Russian Windows 7.
You can download it from right here....
A LITTLE BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON KAZAKH
NUMBER OF SPEAKERS: 8.5 million native speakers
NAME IN THE LANGUAGE ITSELF: Қазақ
Official language of Kazakhstan (where it is spoken by roughly half of the population), and also traditionally spoken in China (1 million speakers) and Uzbekistan (1 million speakers) as well as Afghanistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine. Germany has some Kazakh speakers because descendants of Germans living in Russian (mainly Volga Germans) who were deported to Kazakhstan in the second half of the 20th century came to Germany.
- Kazakh comes from the Tatar word “qazaq” which means adventurer, vagabond, or free man. It became the name of the largest independent group of people in central Asia, the Kazakhs, but it was also used for the warriors at the Russian border to the west, the cossacks.
- In October 2006, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the President of Kazakhstan, brought up the topic of using the Latin alphabet instead of the Cyrillic alphabet as the official script for Kazakh in Kazakhstan. A Kazakh government study released in September 2007 said that Kazakhstan could feasibly switch to a Latin script over a 10 to 12 year period, for a cost of $300 million. On December 13, 2007, however, President Nazarbayev announced a decision not to advance the transformation to a Latin alphabet: "For 70 years the Kazakhstanis read and wrote in Cyrillic. More than 100 nationalities live in our state. Thus we need stability and peace. We should be in no hurry in the issue of alphabet transformation".
- Kazakh exhibits yet another form of vowel harmony; tongue-root vowel harmony, with some words of recent foreign origin (usually of Russian or Arabic origin) as exceptions. There is also a system of rounding harmony which resembles that of Kyrgyz, but which does not apply as strongly and is not reflected in the orthography.
- Kazakh, like several languages that Windows supports locales for, has support for genitive dates, something I have written about many times in the past.
- Interestingly, the first person external to Microsoft to ever talk to me about the genitive date feature and ask me why it was not exposed/documented in Windows had a native language of Kazakh (he was from Kazakhstan). It happened several years ago, though as it also happened to be in the month of May (just like this blog!) his examples of the phenomenon involved мамыр and мамырның (the latter is the genitive form). I explained to him why it was not documented (too hard to describe to those who didn't have the need for it in their language). This conversation was the first of three that convinced me that Microsoft should start to document the long-standing feature.
- When the genitive support finally was documented I bought a copy of Visual Studio and mailed it to him with a note telling him the conversation that we had inspired me and I wanted him to know of the impact (his future wife, also born in Kazakhstan, was reportedly quite entertained and impressed by the story and the note, and this was one of the initial "charming" moments in their mythology that led to their eventual romance and marriage three years ago. It was a pleasure to "give him props" in such a way!).
- There was an amusing (to some) bit of dialog from the television show The West Wing a few years back that was the introduction of both Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to many Americans between Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) and Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford):
Sam: In fact we were talking about the stability of former Soviet republics and their fear of Islamic extremism and I have to say that I made some very scholarly points regarding the remaining nuclear weapons in Kyrgyzstan and I have to believe...
Josh: The nuclear weapons are in Kazakhstan.
Sam: I said Kyrgyzstan?
Sam: Yeah, well, Kyrgyzstan has no nuclear weapons.
Sam: Kazakhstan's a country four times the size of Texas and has a sizable number of former Russian missile silos.
Sam: Kyrgyzstan's on the side of a hill near China and has mostly nomads and sheep.
I have some friends who have claimed that not everyone in Kyrgyzstan was amused by the scene. I can't admit I'm entirely surprised, though Kyrgyzstan certainly fared better than the town of Chino did in The O.C. It was just one scene, after all....
Click here for more information about the Kazakh language
CLASSIFICATION: Kazakh belongs to the Kypchak (Northwestern) group of the Turkic languages. Other Turkic languages are, for example, Turkish, Kyrgyz, Azeri and Tatar. The Turkic languages are believed by some to be a subfamily of the disputed language family of Altaic languages which would include the Turkic languages along with the Mongolic and Tungusic languages and - according to some scholars - also Japanese and Korean.
Click here for more information about Kazakh classification
SCRIPT: Though Kazakh was traditionally written in the Arabic script, today it is written using the Cyrillic (Kazakhstan, Mongolia), the Latin (Turkey), and modified Arabic (China, Iran, Afghanistan) scripts. In Cyrillic the Kazakh script includes these 9 letters in addition to 33 Russian Cyrillic characters: Ә, Ғ, Қ, Ң, Ө, Ұ, Ү, Һ, İ.
Click here for more information about the Kazakh script
Now obviously given the wide number of countries in which Kazakh is used by some of the people, and the wide variety of scripts used both historically and in modern times, in those countries, I think it might be best to point out that the both the locale in Windows and the localization of the LIP is primarily targeted for Kazakh (Kazakhstan). Mutual intelligibility between the various other regions would depend on knowledge of the scripts and dialectical differences involved. The various "other Kazakhs" might make excellent custom locales for interested people. :-)
2010/06/01 It is with a tenge of sorrow that I say this
go to newer or older post, or back to index or month or day