WELCOME SPEECH OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE MAZHILIS OF THE PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN NIGMATULIN N.Z. AT THE PARLIAMENT HEARINGS “ON INTRODUCTION OF THE UNIFORM ALPHABET STANDARD FOR THE NATIONAL LANGUAGE BASED ON THE LATIN GRAPHICS”, HOUSE OF MAZHILIS, SEPTEMBER 11, 2017

11.09.2017

Dear MPs!

Dear guests!

Language is the main wealth for any people at any time.

Along with the historical past, culture and territory, language is always the main unifying principle of any nation, any state.

That is why the President of Kazakhstan – Yelbasy Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev from the first days of Independence pays special attention to Kazakh language development.

As you know, the Head of the state in his program article “The Course towards the Future: Modernization of Public Conscience” defined the staged transition of Kazakh language to the Latin alphabet as one of the key priorities.

This is the real historical milestone in spiritual and cultural development of the country.

The President of Kazakhstan instructed to adopt a uniform standard for the Kazakh alphabet based on a new graphics with the support of scientists and the general public by the end of 2017.

In accordance with the established task, the scientists who joined the working group under the National Commission for Modernization of Public Consciousness performed a large, hard work and prepared the Uniform Standard of the State Language based on the Latin graphics.

And today's hearings, which are the first in the current parliamentary session, are devoted to this important issue - the introduction of the Uniform Standard for the New Alphabet.

Our mission is to comprehensively consider the proposed option and to provide an objective evaluation.

In this regard, today we invited not only the members of the working group, but also the experts from various fields, rectors of universities, representatives of state authorities, public associations, ethno-cultural centers, heads of the republican mass media to participate in our hearings.

The results of our work will serve as a starting point for further stages of practical activities connected with the transition to the Latin alphabet.

Therefore, we need to consider today's hearings through the prism of the whole process of the transition of the Kazakh alphabet to the Latin alphabet.

This process, which is specially important for our state and for the entire Kazakh society, is dictated by the following objective factors:

Firstly, the historical significance.

Reform of the alphabet is conditioned by the historical reasons and is aimed to increase the global competitiveness of Kazakhstan, accelerated integration in the world scientific and educational, technology and communication space.

We need to remember that the Latin alphabet is the most common in the world.

And this is the objective reality of the modern era.

Therefore, it is no exaggeration to say that today the modern world is the world of the Latin alphabet.

Dear colleagues!

As you know, the issue of changing the Kazakh alphabet did not emerge yesterday or accidentally. This question has been discussed for a long time in our society, both by professional philologists and by public experts.

In 2006 at the XII session of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan the Head of the State raised the question of the transition of the Kazakh alphabet to the Latin alphabet. In 2012, in “Kazakhstan-2050” Strategy, the President instructed us to start translating our alphabet into the Latin alphabet from 2025, and now his program article launched the practical implementation of this reform.

Thus, dear colleagues, we approached the issue of transition to the Latin alphabet with all possible weight and thoroughness.

And in the future, all this work on transition of our alphabet into the Latin alphabet will be equally systemic and consistent.

The second fundamental point is the need to modernize the Kazakh language.

The logic of historical development of the state language shows that it is not just a matter of changing graphics.

Today we need to modernize the Kazakh language in order to reveal all its invaluable wealth, its unlimited potential not only as a means of communication, but also as a powerful factor in spiritual revival and strengthening of national identity.

The third fundamental point is the unchanged language policy.

Here it is necessary to emphasize that the state language reform does not imply changes in the state language policy.

This is clearly stated by the Head of our state.

Change of the alphabet affects only the Kazakh language.

The transition to the Latin script is primarily aimed at reforming the Kazakh alphabet and spelling rules, which will allow us to establish the correspondence between the language phonetics and graphics.

Thus, the introduction of the Latin script is only intended to solve the internal problems of the state language development.

At the same time, as the Head of State emphasizes: “The transition to the Latin alphabet does not mean abandoning the Russian language, the Cyrillic alphabet. The Latin script will primarily affect the Kazakh language. All Russian publications will be published in Russian, that is, Russian-speaking citizens of Kazakhstan will continue to use Cyrillic alphabet”.

Here I would also like to quote the provision from “Kazakhstan-2050” Strategy that “we should treat the Russian language and the Cyrillic alphabet with the same care as we do for the Kazakh language. It is obvious to all that knowing Russian is the historical advantage of our nation”.

We think that such firm and consistent position of Yelbasy on this issue should help everyone to understand that the Russian language as the world language having powerful cultural and historical roots in our country will continue to play an important role in the life of Kazakhstan's society.

The state will also continue the steady implementation of the trilingualism development policy.

It is very important that there is complete clarity in society in this regard.

The fourth fundamental point is the systemic and staged reform implementation.

The transition of the Kazakh language into the Latin alphabet is a scientifically grounded process and includes a set of interrelated activities aimed at training teachers, various groups of the population, developing of teaching materials, translating of office work and information space into the Latin script.

In order to achieve an effective integrated result, none of these stages should be missed.

The transition to the Latin alphabet will be dynamic, but it does not accept rush and irresponsible forcing of events.

Only this way, we will be able to ensure the high-quality implementation of the instructions of the Head of State and will make Kazakhstan an example of successful language modernization.

By today's hearings, we, in fact, give an actual start to a nation-wide discussion of the Kazakh alphabet reform.

There is no doubt that this will lead to a consolidated opinion on a very important issue for our people.

Therefore, I urge all civil society institutions to take an active part in the discussion of the Uniform Standard of the State Language Alphabet based on the Latin graphics.

Now, the history opens up huge opportunities for us and at the same time imposes a high responsibility on us before the future generations.

I am sure that the participants of today's hearings, as well as all Kazakh people, realizing the importance of historical moment, expressing high social activity, civic responsibility and state approach, will adequately show themselves both at the stage of the reform discussion and in its practical implementation.