Background Information

Number of Speakers: 21 million

Key Dialects: Northeastern Kazakh, Southern Kazakh, Western Kazakh

Geographical Center: Kazakhstan


Over the past thirty years, the government has implemented a number of internationalizing policies, including measures designed to enable the younger generations of Kazakhstanis (Қазақстандықтар/казахстанцы) to become trilingual in Kazakh, English and Russian. Many students from Kazakhstan study in Europe and North America in connection with the Bolashak International Scholarship Program; UCLA and USC are popular choices. students can meet Kazakhstani students in this program through our “Language Partners” and “Global Siblings”  programs

Kazakhstan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), among others. As the largest country in Central Asia, it serves as a gateway for many international NGOs. It is also famous for the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the world’s largest space launch station, which is located in the steppes of Kazakhstan.

UCLA students in the Flagship Program study at Al Farabi National University in Almaty,  where Russian is the primary language of instruction. The capstone year program in Almaty includes language courses designed to enable students to achieve a professional-level of Russian language competence, internships, direct enrollment courses, and homestays. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Susan Kresin ( if you are interested!

Language Variation




Linguistic Sketch


Role in Society