Kyrgyzstan blog
Introduction to Kyrgyzstan

Exploring the Official and Spoken Languages of Kyrgyzstan

From its Eastern European neighbors to the Silk Road, Kyrgyzstan has a diverse culture and many influences. But what about its language? In Kyrgyzstan, there are both official and spoken languages in daily use. Whether you’re discovering this country for the first time or looking for a deeper understanding of its culture, learning more about Kyrgyzstan’s official and spoken languages can provide insight into its history and traditions.

You might be surprised to learn that the majority of the people in Kyrgyzstan speak Russian as their primary language instead of Kyrgyz—the state language. Even though Russian is widely used, many locals continue to use the traditional language, especially in rural areas. Let’s take a deeper look at the official and spoken languages of Kyrgyzstan and how they shape its culture today.

Overview of Language in Kyrgyzstan

For centuries, the people of Kyrgyzstan have spoken many languages and dialects. Today, much of this linguistic diversity remains, and the country has two official languages: Kyrgyz and Russian.

Kyrgyz is the native language used by a majority of the population. It is a Turkic language, of which there are many varieties spoken in countries stretching from Turkey to Tajikistan. This language is particularly important for preserving national identity, as it is closely linked to the culture and history of Kyrgyzstan.

In addition to Kyrgyz, Russian is also an official language in Kyrgyzstan. It was once widely used across the Soviet Union and was popularized during Soviet rule in Central Asia. As such, it serves as a link between different ethnic groups in Kyrgyzstan and other countries in the region. Many people still speak Russian as their main language, especially older adults who were born before independence when it was more widely used.

Other languages are also spoken throughout Kyrgyzstan today, including Uzbek, Dungan, Uyghur and Kazakh. These languages add to the unique tapestry of cultures that can be found within the nation’s borders.

The Official Language: Kyrgyz

Kyrgyz is the official language of Kyrgyzstan and is spoken by about 67% of the population. The language is part of the Turkic language family, alongside Turkish, Kazakh, Uzbek, and others. It's a relatively new language—the first written records only date back to the 18th century. It has two dialects—northern dialects and southern dialects—and uses Cyrillic script for writing.

What's more, Kyrgyz has two-way word order: either subject-object-verb (SOV) or object-subject-verb (OSV). To make matters even more interesting, new words can be formed by compounding them together - this creates a unique identity for the language that reflects the unique culture and geography of Kyrgyzstan. All these characteristics have enabled Kyrgyz to remain strong in this multi-lingual country.

The Other Official Language: Russian

Did you know that Russian is one of the official languages in Kyrgyzstan? While Kyrgyz is the primary language, Russian is also widely used as an official language.

Russian is spoken by many people in Kyrgyzstan, especially in cities and towns. It's a lingua franca, used to communicate between people of different linguistic backgrounds. It even has its own Cyrillic alphabet, which some people use to write their native language.

It's a great bridge between different cultures and ethnicities in Kyrgyzstan—it's estimated that around 59% of the population speaks Russian as a second language. It can be heard everywhere, from government offices and universities to TV programs and radio broadcasts.

And while it's not officially legislated, it's often used as the primary language of instruction in many schools across the country—it helps students acquire more knowledge about hearing and using two languages at once.

In other words, both Kyrgyz and Russian are equally important for the country—so if you're planning on visiting or living there for a longer period of time, make sure you brush up on both languages!

Resources to Learn the Languages of Kyrgyzstan

Are you interested in learning the languages of Kyrgyzstan? There are plenty of resources available to help you learn.

Resource #1: Online language courses

The internet is a great place to go if you want to learn the languages of Kyrgyzstan. Websites like DuoLingo and Babbel offer free online courses. These courses provide a good foundation in both the official and spoken languages, and they are designed to be intuitive and easy to use.

Resource #2: Language exchange groups

If you search online, you can find language exchange groups on sites like MeetUp and CouchSurfing. In these groups, native speakers come together with people who are trying to learn their language — a great way to practice conversation in real time!

Resource #3: Local classes

In most cities in Kyrgyzstan, there are language classes offered either through schools or private academies. For an immersive experience, this is a great option. You can really immerse yourself in the language by sitting down in a class with other native speakers — plus it's often quite affordable!


In conclusion, Kyrgyzstan is a fascinating language landscape, with many official and spoken languages. While the official languages of Kyrgyzstan are Russian and Kyrgyz, there are many other spoken languages, including Uzbek, Turkmen, Kazakh, and Tajik. With all of these languages, Kyrgyzstan is a melting pot of cultures, each with its own distinct language and history.

For anyone wanting to explore the languages of Kyrgyzstan, the best way to do so is to learn a few of the spoken languages, as well as the official languages. It is an incredible journey, for both the novice and experienced language learner, and a great way to fully understand the rich culture of Kyrgyzstan and its people.