USAGE BY COUNTRY (OFFICIAL LANGUAGE)Official Language: Uzbekistan Home Speakers: Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, China
BACKGROUNDUzbek is spoken in Uzbekistan by about 16 million speakers. A large number of speakers live in neighbouring Tajikistan, and smaller numbers in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Uzbek is one of the Turkic languages, which form a branch of the Altaic family. At the time of the Russian Revolution it was written in the Arabic script, but this was replaced by the Roman in 1927, and the Cyrillic in 1940. According to new standard rules, the Latin script is now the official one. Many speakers are bilingual in Russian, the exception being mainly rural people. Uzbek language and culture have been heavily influenced by Persian.