Published August 26, 2017
This video was recorded by Elise Lieberman in Moscow, Russia, where she was visiting and where Aigul lives and works. Kyrgyz is spoken by as many as 4.3 million people, primarily in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan, where it is nationally official, as well as in the neighboring countries of China, where it is regionally recognized, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. It is also spoken by communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Russia. A Turkic language, Kyrgyz was written with the Arabic alphabet for centuries, until the rise of the USSR prompted a shift toward the Cyrillic alphabet, shared with Russian. In recent decades, a movement to switch to the Latin alphabet has emerged.