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Latin Alphabet in Uzbekistan: To B or Not to Б

On a more puerile note, the way in which Russian words have been transliterated into Romanized Uzbek can cause red faces. One notable example is the Russian word “цех,” which describes any kind of industrial production facility. That is rendered into Uzbek as “sex.” Much to the amusement of schoolchildren, it is possible to see sausage-makers bearing signs reading “kolbasa sexi.” (Photo: Voennoe Obozrenie)

When Sarvar Otamuradov ran for president in Uzbekistan last year, one of his main campaign promises was to push through the full-fledged adoption of the Latin alphabet.
 
The tone of Otamuradov’s platform is best illustrated by the name of his party, Milliy Tiklanish, or National Revival. As proponents of the Latinization of the Uzbek language like to argue, a transition away from the Soviet-imposed Cyrillic alphabet would allow the nation to fully assert its national identity.
 
Critics of the idea worry that bringing these plans to fruition would be too costly and complicate the lives of many people for whom intimate knowledge of Cyrillic script is a matter of economic survival.
 
The issue has been on the public agenda for a quarter of a century.
 

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Latin Alphabet in Uzbekistan: To B or Not to Б

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