Changing your official language to a new alphabet is pretty expensive thing (especially when your country's economy is collapsed and your country has extreme inflation). You have to change all official signs, texts and reteach whole population.
Another stupid thing Uzbekistan did is to publicly burn (literally) soviet school books while not having a good replacement. I remember looking at those burning soviet math books in my school's backyard.
And it's all done instead of what? Instead of:
1. Teach population of proper fluent English as a second/third language along with Russian;
2. Making competitive free-market economy without clan-type quasi-government monopolies which run by top government official's relatives;
3. Attracting and protecting western investors;
From a practical standpoint, though, Arabic doesn't make sense - it's more complicated to learn, vastly more different from the alphabets of all neighboring languages (starting with the whole right-to-left thing), and most other Turkic languages use Latin-based alphabets these days.
But if the choice of Latin is dictated by pragmatic considerations, then it's reasonable to compare it to Cyrillic on the same grounds.
The original attempts to latinize (replacing Arabic) writing systems in those republics were, in fact, carried out by USSR, and it was very much a top-down thing, not some local initiative. USSR had a massive country-wide latinization campaign in 1920s for basically all languages spoken anywhere in the country that didn't already use Cyrillic. Long-term plans were to latinize everything, including Russian itself (this one went as far as a final proposal by a committee in 1930).
For Turkic languages specifically:
And part of a broader ideological push:
It makes perfect sense when you realize that Soviet government, at that point, viewed itself as a first comer in a blaze of worldwide communist revolutions, that would ultimately produce a single worldwide federated communist state. Per Marxist dogma about industrial workers being the vanguard of the revolution, the expectation was that the center of gravity would shift to Western Europe once revolutions happened there. Communist utopias of that time period generally assumed that such unification would result in adoption of some common language, and that Latin script would be used for that language. So adopting Latin for Soviet languages made sense in preparation.
When Stalin abandoned the concept of "world revolution", and switched instead to "socialism in one country", with a heavy dose of Russian nationalism underpinning the new ideology, all this was scrapped, and (then already established) Latin writing systems were replaced with Cyrillic ones, from roughly mid 1930s onward. Those Cyrillic writing systems are the ones inherited by the Asian republics at the dissolution of the USSR.
Had the latin alphabet symbols for diphtongs, things could be simpler. Mind you, I am not a linguist.
That is also challenging though because you run into a lot of cases where a syllable is a diphthong in one regional accent, but not another.
For example, in Southern US English, "ride" is often pronounced something like "rahd". In the former, the "i" is a diphthong, but in the latter, the "ah" is not.
Conversely, some vowels become dipthongs. A short "i" in Southern accents often gets pronounced more like "ee-uh". Imagine Foghorn Leghorn saying "pin" as "pi-uhn" and you've got the idea.
I wonder if part of the reason for the diversity of regional accents in English is because pronunciation is more loosely encoded than in languages that have more vowel symbols or modifying marks, or strict phonetic pronunciation. Written English doesn't really provide many strong indicators that a particular pronunciation isn't standard.
So, by this thinking, what exactly does it gain linguistically from being written in the same script as italian?
So, if anything, a switch to Latin script is a signal of choosing to align with the West, and perhaps technological convenience.
As far as popular culture goes, Borat is the only thing most people recognize Kazakhtan for (besides it being No. 2 potassium producer in the world, of course) :)
However, looking at the draft, they did their own thing, instead of taking e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Turkic_Alphabet, or at least using something similar to it. In particular, they decided to use letter combinations instead of diacritics. Their mapping for regular Latin letters is also very different (e.g. U/Y/W).
> The scientists rejected the idea of introducing diacritical marks (glyphs added to a letter, or basic glyphs) as they suppose that because of rare use, the specific sounds of the Kazakh language can disappear.
I see nothing wrong in principle with diacritics (I use two languages that require them daily, in addition to English) but given the dire state of internationalization this makes it easier for foreign software to support Kazakh, and fits their entire language in the ASCII plane.
If specific sounds in Kazakh disappear because "they were written the same", it merely means that the particular sound distinction was already being phased out in the spoken language. If the sound distinction is gone, separate symbols won't save them. It will merely become yet another opaque spelling rule for children to memorize.
English "th" represents two different sounds, and English speakers manage just fine, because in its sound system they are totally distinct and never confused with each other.
Three main ones (excluding compounds where it's really a “t” next to an “h” that aren't related): in IPA terms, they are θ,ð, and t.
> and English speakers manage just fine, because in its sound system they are totally distinct and never confused with each other.
English speakers do okay because they learn fairly quickly that written English isn't phonetic and you just have to memorize spelling, not because of a lack of ambiguity.
Nothing about “Thai” vs. “thigh” vs. “thy” tells you which “th” sound each uses (and in pronunciation, the “th” sound is the only difference between them) except knowing what each word is as a rule unto itself.
To ensure fullness of the Kazakh language sound system, the scientists included 8 digraphs,
The scientists rejected the idea of introducing diacritical marks
I don't see any vowel ones
I also only see four digraphs, for consonants only.
It looks like U is replacing У-with-a-line, and W (!) is replacing У
see chart with three rows for other vowel sounds
To be precise, it uses symbols that don't exist in Russian. Cyrillic is much broader than Russian, though. Ukrainian and Serbian use their own letters, too.
In USSR, there was actually a standard called the "common alphabet", that combined all letters of all languages spoken in COMECON, both Cyrillic and Latin.