Uzbek (Ўзбек тили / O'zbek tili / أۇزبېك ﺗﻴﻠی)

Uzbek is a Turkic language spoken by about 30 million people mainly in Uzbekistan, and also in Afghanistan, Turkey. There are two main varieties of Uzbek: Northern Uzbek and Southern Uzbek. They are to some extent mutually intelligible, although there are differences in grammar and vocabulary.

Uzbek at a glance

  • Native name: Ўзбек тили / O'zbek tili / أۇزبېك ﺗﻴﻠی
  • Linguistic affliation: Turkic, Common Turkic, Karluk
  • Number of speakers: c. 30 million
  • Spoken in: Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkemenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, China and Turkey
  • First written: 14th century
  • Writing system: Arabic, Cyrillic and Latin scripts
  • Status: official Uzbekistan, recognised minority language in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Russia and China

Northern Uzbek (ўзбек тили‎ / o’zbek tili) is spoken mainly in Uzbekistan, and also in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkemenistan, Kazakhstan and China. There are 22.2 million speakers of Northern Uzbek in Uzbekistan (in 2015), 927,000 in Tajikistan (in 2012), 840,000 in Kyrgyzstan (in 2014), 478,000 in Turkmenistan (in 2015), 436,000 in Kazakhstan (in 2009) and 5,000 in China (in 2000). There are also about 400,000 speakers of Uzbek in Russia. The language is taught in schools and used in the media in Uzbekistan. It is also known as o'zbek, o'zbekcha or Özbek.

Since the 1990s fluency in Uzbek has been a requirement for citizenship of Uzbekistan, and also for government jobs. There has also been a trend to replace Russian and other international words with their Turkic equivalents.

Southern Uzbek (ﯣزبېک‎ [o’zbek]) is spoken mainly in northern Afghanistan. In 2011 there were about 2.9 million speakers in Afghanistan, and another 3,800 speakers in Turkey. Southern Uzbek is written with the Arabic script, is taught in schools, and used in literature and the media. It is also known as O'zbek, Usbeki, Uzbak or Uzbeki.

Written Uzbek

An early form of Uzbek, known as Chagatai (one of the sons of Genghis Khan) and written with the Arabic script, emerged as a literary language in the 14th century. A version of the Latin alphabet replaced the Arabic script in 1927, and was in turn replaced by the Cyrillic alphabet in 1940. In 1993 the government of Uzbekistan decided to switch to the Latin alphabet, with the aim to complete the transition by the year 2000. The Arabic alphabet is still used in Afghanistan, and sometimes in Uzbekistan and China.

Arabic alphabet for Uzbek (ئۇزبېك الفباسى)

Arabic alphabet for Uzbek

Cyrillic alphabet for Uzbek (ўзбек алифбоси)

Cyrillic alphabet for Uzbek

Latin alphabet for Uzbek (o’zbek alifbosi)

Latin alphabet for Uzbek

Hear how to pronounce Uzbek:


Download alphabet charts for Uzbek (Excel)

Uzbek sample text

Arabic alphabet

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the Uzbek Arabic alphabet

Cyrillic alphabet

Барча одамлар эрҝин, қадр-қиммат ва ҳуқуқларда танг бўлиб туғиладилар. Улар ақл ва виждон соҳибидирлар ва бир-бирларига биродарларча муомала қилишлари зарур.

Latin alphabet

Barcha odamlar erkin, qadr-qimmat va huquqlarda tang bo'lib tug'iladilar. Ular aql va vijdon sohibidirlar va bir-birlariga birodarlarcha muomala qilishlari zarur.

Hear a recording of this text


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Sample videos in Uzbek

Information about Uzbek | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel | Learning materials


Information about the Uzbek language

Online Uzbek lessons

Uzbek phrases

Learn Turkic languages - Turkish, Turkmen and Uzbek

Online Uzbek dictionaries

Online Uzbek radio

Turkic languages

Altay, Äynu, Azerbaijani, Bashkir, Chagatai, Chelkan, Chuvash, Crimean Tatar, Dolgan, Fuyu Kyrgyz, Gagauz, Karachay-Balkar, Karaim, Karakalpak, Kazakh, Khakas, Khorasani Turkic, Krymchak, Kyrgyz, Nogai, Old Turkic, Qashqai, Salar, Shor, Soyot, Tatar, Teleut, Tofa, Turkish, Turkmen, Tuvan, Urum, Uyghur, Uzbek, Yakut

Other languages written with the Arabic, Cyrillic and Latin alphabets.

Green Web Hosting - Kualo

Why not share this page:


If you need to type in many different languages, the Q International Keyboard can help. It enables you to type almost any language that uses the Latin, Cyrillic or Greek alphabets, and is free.

If you like this site and find it useful, you can support it by making a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or by contributing in other ways. Omniglot is how I make my living.


Note: all links on this site to, and are affiliate links. This means I earn a commission if you click on any of them and buy something. So by clicking on these links you can help to support this site.