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Kazakh language


Kazakh (natively Қазақ тілі, Қазақша, Qazaq tili, Qazaqşa, قازاق ٴتىلى‎; pronounced [qɑˈzɑq tɘˈlɘ]) is a Turkic language belonging to the Kipchak (or Northwestern Turkic) branch, closely related to No gai, and especially Karakalpak. Kazakh is an agglutinative language, and it employs vowel harmony. Geographic The Kazakh language has its speakers (mainly Kazakhs) spread over a vast territory from the Tian Shan mountains to the western shore of Caspian Sea. Kazakh is the official state language of Kazakhstan, in which nearly 10 million speakers are reported to live (based on the CIA World Factbook's estimates for population and percentage of Kazakh speakers). In the People's Republic of China, more than one million ethnic Kazakhs and Kazakh speakers reside in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture within the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Culture The traditional Kazakh dwelling is the yurt, a tent consisting of a flexible framework of willow wood covered with varying thicknesses of felt. The open top permits smoke from the central hearth to escape; temperature and draft can be controlled by a flap that increases or decreases the size of the opening. A properly constructed yurt can be cooled in summer and warmed in winter, and it can be disassembled or set up in less than an hour. The interior of the yurt has ritual significance; the right side is generally reserved for men and the left for women. Yurts are also frequently used as a decorative motif in restaurants and other public buildings. Religion Islam is the largest religion in Kazakhstan, followed by Russian Orthodox Christianity. By tradition the Kazakhs are Sunni Muslims, and the Russians are Russian Orthodox. Approximately 70% of the population is Muslim] The majority are Sunni of the Hanafi school, including ethnic Kazakhs, who constitute about 60% of the population, as well as by ethnic Uzbeks, Uighurs, and Tatars. Less than 25% of the population is Russian Orthodox, including ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians. Other religious groups include Judaism, the Bahá'í Faith, Hare Krishnas, Buddhism, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.