First Oxford Kazakh-English Dictionary Unveiled at Nazarbayev University

ASTANA – Nazarbayev University (NU) hosted a presentation of the first Kazakh-English and English-Kazakh Oxford Qazaq Dictionary on Dec. 19, developed by the Qazaq Tili international association, reported the university’s press service.

Photo credit: Nazarbayev University

NU Acting President Ilesanmi Adesida, Kazakh Minister of Science and Higher Education Sayasat Nurbek, Mazhilis Deputy Kazybek Isa, British Ambassador to Kazakhstan Kathy Leach, and Head of Qazaq Tili international association Rauan Kenzhekhanuly attended the event.

Photo credit: Nazarbayev University

Based on the Oxford Qazaq Dictionary, the Kazakh language will be included in the Oxford Global Languages platform, the most widespread and authoritative dictionary network globally, opening the opportunity to join the global linguistic community.

“What will be the future of language in the digital age, and how can we preserve it? Now, we have a vision. Within the framework of the adopted seven-year concept of the ministry, one of the crucial directions is the preservation of the Kazakh language through its systematization in the digital world. Today, the guarantee of language preservation lies in creating a unified language corpus systematically codified on digital and virtual platforms. This dictionary links the Kazakh language with the global language corpus, uniting the vocabulary of the 100 most important and basic languages worldwide,” said Nurbek.

The Oxford Qazaq Dictionary captures contemporary shifts in the lexicons of both Kazakh and English languages, incorporating updates from modern culture, technology, medicine, economics, finance, and trade. Additionally, the dictionary provides concise guidelines on English and Kazakh grammar, pronunciation, and spelling. It also includes examples of business and electronic correspondence in Kazakh. Adesida underscored the significance of hosting the presentation at NU in his welcoming address.

“This dictionary transcends being a mere compilation of words; it stands as a cornerstone for preserving the Kazakh language and disseminating it worldwide. The symbolic significance of presenting this dictionary within the walls of Nazarbayev University, where the School of Sciences and Humanities houses the Department of Kazakh Language and Turkic Studies, cannot be overstated. Our strong department, founders of the International Association of Teachers of the Kazakh Language, actively contributes to the development of practical Kazakh and research in language, literature, and culture,” he said.

Following official approval from the renowned publisher Oxford University Press, over 50 seasoned linguists dedicated four years to crafting the content of the dictionary using the methodology and technology of the Oxford English Dictionary. The inaugural edition of the Oxford Qazaq Dictionary encompasses over 60,000 words and spans 1,300 pages, with a print run of 10,000 copies. NU library has acquired 50 copies of the dictionary.

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