Uzbekistan is a country located in Central Asia, where Uzbeks constitute 81% of the population. Thus, the most widely spoken language in the country is the Uzbek language.

The Uzbek language is the official state language of Uzbekistan which is spoken by approximately 85% of the population. Uzbek is a Turkic language which is closely related to the Uyghur language. Both languages belong to the Turkic language family; more precisely, the Karluk language subdivision. The Uzbek language is externally influenced by Arabic, Persian, and Russian, and is considered to be a later form or the direct descendant of Chagatai, an extinct Turkic language that was once adopted as Central Asia’s common language. Uzbek does not have vowel harmony, a type of phonological process which involves the limitation on which vowels may be used next to each other in a sentence, unlike the other languages belonging to the Turkic language family.

Russian is the second most spoken language of Uzbekistan, with an estimated 5.4% of the population of Uzbekistan who speak it. Russian is an essential language for conducting interethnic communication in the country, especially when it comes to governmental, technical, business, and scientific usage. Russian is used as a primary language by more than 14% of the total population of Uzbekistan. Many others use it as a second language. However, the use of Russian is largely limited in the remote rural areas of the country. Nowadays, a large percentage of children have zero proficiency in Russian in urban areas as well. According to a 2003 report, over a half of the country’s population could understand and speak the language as well. The newly established close political ties between Russia and Uzbekistan has largely eradicated the official deterrent of the Russian language.

Other than Uzbek and Russian, other minority languages spoken in Uzbekistan include the Tajik language as the largest one and the third most spoken language in the country. This is a result of the Tajiks comprising 4.0% of the total country’s population. The Tajik language is widely spoken in the cities of Bukhara and Samarkand, as both of these are home to relatively large populations of the Tajik people. The Tajik language is spoken by around 10-15% of the country’s total population.

Other minority languages include Bukhari, Crimean Tatar, Karakalpak, Kazakh, Korean Turkish, and Arabic. English is not very commonly heard in Uzbekistan, but more people have been starting to learn it in the recent years, especially the country’s younger generations. Some English is spoken in large cities and within the tourist industry.


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