Reset the history books: Kazakhstan drops Cyrillic for Latin
Kazakh President Nazabayev recently announced that the entire language of Kazakh will change its alphabet from Cyrillic to Latin, marking the fourth, and potentially final, alphabetic shift for the Central Asian language. Originally written in Arabic, Kazakh used Latin for 11 years in the early 1900s before being replaced by an amended Cyrillic, which features 33 Russian letters and nine Kazakh letters.
The downsize to 26 Latin letters poses a slew of potential issues. First and foremost, the spelling of the country's name itself might change from the transliteration Kazakhstan to an official Qazaqstan. The government aims to develop all new spellings and textbooks by the end of the year, then replace all official documents by 2025. This means a great deal of new typesetting for the newly-spelled language.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the change should also lead greater modernization in the digital age—Cyrillic may be common enough, but the rarity of the additional Kazakh glyphs exclude much of the web. The change to Latin should help with this overall accessibility.