There are 42 letters in Kazakh alphabet, including 33 Russian letters and 9 distinctly Kazakh letters.

Latin Kazakh alphabet was used between 1927 to 1940, and later was replaced by Cyrillic alphabet.

Modern Kazakh language is officially written in Cyrillic. However, for English learners it’s easier to read Kazakh in latin letters. Here we present the most widely used latin Kazakh alphabet version that is published in the Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazakh_alphabet.

Cyrillic – Latin [sound transcription] (English words with that sound) – examples (cyrillic – latin – translation):

А а — A a [/ɑ/] (as in father): ана – ana – mother, айна – ayna – mirror,  анар – anar – pomegranate, alma – apple

Ә ә — Ä ä [/æ/] (as in apple, man):  әлем – älem – world, ädebïet – literature, däriger – doctor/physician, ädemi – beautiful, äwejay – airport

Б б — B b [/b/] (as in bed):  bet – face/page,  beyne – image, bas – head, bastı – main

В в — V v [/v/] (as in very):  vagon – wagon

Г г — G g [/ɡ/] (as in got):  gül – flower, adamgerşilik – humanity, mergen – archer, ögey-ana – step-mother

Ғ ғ — Ğ ğ or Gh gh [/ʁ/] (no English equiv, backlingual glottal consonant):  ğarış – outer space (cosmos), ağa – elder brother or uncle, ağaş – tree, toğız – nine, ğılım – science, ğalım – scientist

Д д — D d [/d/] (as in day):  dop – ball, dana – wise, dala – an outside place, outside street or outside field (basically outside of the house)

Е е — E e [/e/]  (in Kazakh e is pronounced as if there is [y] before it, as in English yes, get): eger – if. eden – floor, eşki – goat, eski – old

Ё ё—Yo yo [/jo/] (as in yawn): only in Russian words, such as yolka – fur tree

Ж ж — J j or Zh zh [/ʒ/] (as in measure):  jaz – summer,  jazu – writing (n) or to write (v), jañbır – rain, jinalıs – meeting, jihaz -furniture, äwejay – airport

З з — Z z [/z/] (as in zone):  zäytün – olive,  zerger – jeweler, arzan – cheap

И и — Ï ï /ɯj/, /ɪj/ (sounds like ee in indeed, feet, sheet, beef):   ïne – needle, ïgi – noble/benevolent/good/useful/good/frank/valuable, ïrek – curved, Älïya – girl’s name

Й й — Y y [/j/] (only used in combination with a vowel, as in ray):  ay – moon, saray – palace, Quday – God

К к — K k [/k/] (as in kind):  kitap – book, keş (1) – evening, keş (2) – late, keme – ship, keleşek – future

Қ қ — Q q [/q/] (lingual glottal fricative sound):  qar – snow,  qoy – sheep, aqşa – money, qıs – winter, aqıl – intelligence/reason/mind, qarındas – little sister of/for a male person

Л л — L l [/l/] (can be hard as in element, and soft as in limo):  alma – apple, öleñ – song, alaw – flame, Almatı – Almaty (former capital of Kazakhstan)

М м — M m  [/m/] (as in main): may – butter/oil, men – I, märmär – marble, mal – livestock

Н н — N n [/n/] (as in pen):  neke – Muslim marriage, öner – art, on – ten

Ң ң — Ñ ñ or Ng ng [/ŋ/] (as in English swimming, song, wrong):  öleñ – song, eñbek – [hard] work/labor/merit, añ – wild animal/predator, alañ – square (as in Times Square, Red Square), oñ – right

О о — O o [/o/] (as in hot):  orman – forest, ojaw – ladle, oy – thought, oñ – right

Ө ө — Ö ö [/ø/] (as in early):  öner – art, özen – river, örik – apricot, ötiniş – request/petition

П п — P p [/p/] (as in park):  Patşa – King, perişte – angel, payda – profit/income/use, pende – individual

Р р — R r [/r/] (Spanish rolling r as in Raul):  arıstan – lion, orıs – Russian, resmï – formal,  ara (1) – bee, ara (2) – saw(n)

С с — S s [/s/] (as in miss):  senim – faith, siñili – little sister of/for a female person, astana – capital, aspan – sky, serik – companion/partner/associate/fellow campaigner/satellite

Т т — T t [/t/] (as in ten):  täwelsizdik – independence, tañ – morning, tañerteñ – early morning (usu. of today or tomorrow), tas – stone, teñ – equal

У у — W w [/w/, /ʊw/, /ʉw/] (as in tool):  waqıt – time, awa – air, wayım – worry, qarw – weapon

Ұ ұ — U u [/ʊ/] (acoustically resembles u in full, and pull the back part of the tongue more backwards): ul – son, un – flour, uzın (sounds like uzun) – long

Ү ү — Ü ü [/ʉ/] (while saying pool, try to raise the front part of the tongue as high as possible to the front, while mouth is half closed):  üki [sounds more like ükü] – owl, ükimet – government, ülgi [sounds more like ülgü] – example, üstel – table, üş – three

Ф ф — F f [/f/] (as in four): sounds same as in English. Fatima – girl’s name

Х х — X x [/x, χ/] (as in khan. Do not confuse with English ‘x’): Xat [khat] – letter, xalıq [khalıq] – people/nation

Һ һ — H h [/h/] (as in hat): There are not more than 10 words having this sound in kz language: qaharman – hero, qahar – anger,  aidahar – dragon, gawhar – diamond/pearl

Ц ц — C c [/ts/] (as in its): sound came from Russian and used only in Russian words]: aceton – acetone

Ч ч — Ç ç [/tʃ/] (as in check): sound came from Russian and used only in Russian words]: Çukotka – Chukotka

Ш ш — Ş ş [/ʃ/] (as in passion): şalbar – pants, şaş – hair, şelek – bucket, aşarşılıq – famine

Щ щ — Şş şş [/ʃtʃ/, /ʃː/] (as in she): aşşı – bitter, sour, acute, salty, tuşşı – unleavened

Ъ ъ – ” “: in Russian words only, hard mark, like pod”ezd – porch

Ы ы — I ı [/ɯ/] (as in around): ıstıq – hot, mısıq – cat, qızıq – interesting, Almatı – Almaty, ğılım – science, ğalım – scientist

І і — İ i [/ɪ/] (as in till): bilim – knowledge, ilim – theory, til – language/tongue, kilt – key, kitap -book, bir – one, eki -two

Ь ь — (ʹ): soft mark in Russian words only, such as al’fa – alpha

Э э — Ee [/e/] (as in English words end, friend, send]:  in Russian words only, such as ekskavator – excavator

Ю ю—Yu yu [/jʉw/, /jʊw/] (as in yule): ayu – bear, qoyu – thick, oyu – ornaments, Yurmala – Yurmala (city name)

Я я — Ya ya [/jɑ/] (as in yah): ayaq – foot/leg, ayaq kïim – shoe, tayaq – stick, ayan – known/explicit/clear

Podcast with pronunciations is coming soon…

* this link contains pronunciation of hardest sounds, which don’t exist in English:

http://www.tilashar.kz/index.php3?parent_id=1008305631&lang=kaz