The war over apostrophes in Kazakhstan's new alphabet


Originally published at:


Is this the president himself reforming the language, or is he taking credit for the work of linguists? Could this be Dunning-Kruger at its finest?


It seems to be the dictator’s own work (because he doesn’t need no stinkin’ linguists! He’s the smartest Kazakh who ever lived! The father of his people and the fountain of all blessings! All hail!). And no, he is not a linguist–therein lies the problem.



Russians don’t seem to have a problem using computers, maybe the Kazakhs could adopt the Cyrillic alphabet.

oh. . . right. . . never mind.


Under this new system, the Kazakh word for cherry will be written as s’i’i’e, and pronounced she-ee-ye.

In fairness, that’s pretty much how I would have tried to pronounce that.


What about exclamation points? I’d put one here! and here! And I’d put one right here!


BREAKING NEWS: Trump calls Kazakhstan a “s’i’i’e’h’o’l’e country”.


A left-field reminder to me of how George W. Bush’s stooges chose to repeatedly echo his own mispronunciations: Nuclear as new-queue-ler, and Iran as eye-ran (in spite of journalists, news analysts, and historians pronouncing it as eee-ron). The “king’s lisp” sort of thing.


Please cease and desist using deleted scenes from Borat as news articles.
– Twentieth Century Fox



So modern Kazakh is now ancient elvish?

Full circle!


This is about someone changing a writing system, not a languages, right? (I mean, the word for cherry isn’t changing.)


Correct. The Kazakh language is the Kazakh language, they’re arguing about their writing system.


So Nazarbayev wants to Make Kazakhstan Great Again? There seems to be an awful lot of that derangement lately, around the world. I wonder if they’ll ditch the +7 telephone country code? Kazakhstan is the last country other than Russia to still use it.


He’s never heard of an AltGr key?


So a barely 10 year old Lonely Island video is considered “vintage” now? You do you, NBC.


¡Before and after, Spanish style!


Kazakhstan needs to call Donald Cameron. He will sort this little mess out once and for all.


In order to promote literacy among the common people, Sejong the Great, the fourth king of the Joseon dynasty, personally created and promulgated a new alphabet.

Why do you persistently deny the divine aspects of kingship?