Transition of Crimean Tatar language to Latin script is being doubted

10 June 2014 14:02

For more then 20 years Crimean Tatar language experienced the reform of transition from Cyrillic alphabet to Latin one. In 1997 Crimean Parliament ratified the Latin alphabet as the alphabet for Crimean Tatar language, still the full transition was not completed.

Crimean Tatar can be written in either the Cyrillic or Latin alphabets, both modified to the specific needs of Crimean Tatar, and either used respective to where the language is used. Under Ukrainian rule, the Latin alphabet was preferred, but amid Russia's annexation of Crimea, Cyrillic became the sole official script.

According to experts, the Latin alphabet transmits Crimean Tatar sounds more appropriate than the Cyrillic one.

“There is some uncertainly. Ukraine allowed the usage of Latin alphabet, while Russia forbids it. So I suppose, Latin alphabet will not be allowed”- Doctor of Philology, Professor Adile Emirova noted.

“It is necessary to obtain the permission to use the Latin alphabet in Crimean Tatar language and the issue should be put on agenda of Crimean Parliament”- she added.

To recall, Crimean constitution, adopted on April 11, declared Crimean Tatar language official language of Crimea along with Russian and Ukrainian languages.

Note: The forming of the Crimean Tatar spoken dialects began with the first Turkic invasions to Crimea and ended during the period of the Crimean Khanate. However, the official written languages of the Crimean Khanate were Chagatai and Ottoman Turkish. After the Islamization, Crimean Tatars wrote with an Arabic script.

In 1928, the alphabet was replaced with the Uniform Turkic Alphabet based on the Latin script. The Uniform Turkic Alphabet was itself replaced in 1938 by a Cyrillic alphabet. Since the 1990s, the script is in the process of being replaced with a Latin version again, but the Cyrillic is still widely used (mainly in published literature and newspapers).