Resources for the Study of Kyrgyz



Compiled by Maggie Ronkin, Georgetown University





UCLA Language Materials Project


Cirtautas, Ilsa D. 1993. Kirghiz Language Competencies for Peace Corps Volunteers in Kirghizstan.

Springfield, VA: ERIC Document Reproduction Service.

A textbook is designed for use by Peace Corps volunteers learning Kyrgyz in preparation for serving in Kyrgyzstan. It takes a competency-based approach to language learning, focusing on specific tasks the learner will need to accomplish through language. Some competencies are related to work tasks and others to survival needs or social transactions. An introductory section gives basic information about Kyrgyz phonology, alphabet, and grammar.

The instructional materials consist of lessons on 12 topics: personal identification; conversation with a host counterpart or family; general interpersonal communication; food; money; transportation; getting and giving directions; shopping at the bazaar; being invited by a Kyrgyz family; workplace interactions; medical and health issues; and interaction with government officials. Each lesson contains related cultural notes and segments on a number of specific competencies. Each competency is accompanied by a dialogue in Kyrgyz, a vocabulary list, grammar and vocabulary notes and, in some cases, a proverb. Appended materials include charts of grammar forms, translations of the dialogues, a  Kyrgyz-English glossary, a Kyrgyz-English supplemental word list by category (occupations, expressions of time, the calendar, signs and directions, useful classroom phrases, colloquial expressions, useful words, numbers), and a list of source materials. (MSE)


Herbert, Raymond J. and Nicholas Poppe. 1963. Kirghiz Manual. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Publications.

A reference grammar intended for those wanting to learn how to read modern Kyrgyz (Kirghiz). Introduces the Kyrgyz alphabet, a modified version of the Cyrillic script, in lesson one, and provides a phonetic explanation of each letter. Discusses the morphology and syntax of the language in lessons two through fifteen. Presents examples in Kyrgyz, with a phonemic transcription and an English equivalent. Completes the text with twenty short reading passages, written in Cyrillic. Includes a glossary with both vocabulary and linguistic terms. Lists Kyrgyz items alphabetically.


Krippes, Karl A. 1998. Hippocrene Concise Dictionary, Kyrgyz: Kyrgyz-English, English-Kyrgyz

Glossary of Terms. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1998.

A concise two-way dictionary, an abridgement of Yudakhin’s “Kyrgyz-Russian Dictionary,” intended for beginning speakers and travelers. Contains approximately 6,000 entries. Lists Kyrgyz headwords alphabetically in their Cyrillic form, followed by a phonetic transcription, the part of speech, and an American English equivalent. Lists English words in the Roman form, followed by phonetic transcriptions in Kyrgyz, the part of speech, and the Kyrgyz equivalent. Includes a chart of the Cyrillic.


Lewanski, Richard C., compiler. 1973. A Bibliography of Slavic Dictionaries: Volume III: Russian.

Bologna, Italy: Editrice Compositori Istituto Informatico Italiano. SERIES: Johns Hopkins University Bologna Center Library Publications, 4, World Bibliography of Dictionaries.

A bibliography of Russian dictionaries. Includes monolingual, bilingual and multilingual materials. The monolingual dictionaries are divided into categories such as encyclopedic, foreign words, Old Russian, quotations, slang, and terminology. The section on bilingual dictionaries lists materials in languages such as Accadian, Burmese, Chuvash, Danish, Georgian, Icelandic, Kyrgyz, Latin, Polish, Swahili, Tamil, Vietnamese, and Yiddish. The last section of the book lists multi-language materials. An author index, a language index, and a subject index appear at the end of the volume.


Rudelson, Justin Jon. 1998. Central Asia Phrasebook. Oakland, California: Lonely Planet Publications.

A travelers’ phrasebook. See descriptive entry under ‘Pashto’.


Smolkina, L. IA. and T. Satarov. 1985. Koomduk-Saiasii Leksikanyn Anglische-Oruscha-Kyrgyzcha Sozdugu. Frunze, Kyrgyzstan: Mektep.

An English-Russian-Kyrgyz political science dictionary, intended for the Kyrgyz speaker. Lists the English headwords followed by the Russian and Kyrgyz equivalents. Provides additional terms and phrases related to the headword and defines them as necessary.


Syrgabek, Shambaev and Dzhusaev Dzholdosh. 1978. Kyrgyzcha-Oruscha-Anglische Sozduk. Frunze, Kyrgyzstan: Mektep.

A Kyrgyz-Russian-English dictionary intended for the Kyrgyz speaker. Comprises entries that typically consist of the headword in Kyrgyz followed by the Russian and English equivalents. Includes applicable categories (i.e. technical, mathematics, etc.), illustrative phrases, and multiple meanings as necessary. Provides prefatory material in Kyrgyz. Additional materials include a conjugation table of irregular English participles, and a series of Kyrgyz-Russian-English topical lexicons (time expressions and the calendar; body parts; family members; food; school implements; professions; etc.).


Zhen-hua, Hu and Guy Imart. 1989. A Kirghiz Reader. Bloomington, Indiana: Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies, Indiana University.

This reader contains a selection of materials, which range in time from the pre-literary language to contemporary items from newspapers. It includes examples taken from the literary language under Soviet rule and as Kyrgyz (Kirghiz) is used in the West and in China. The book is designed to present the reader with an understanding of both the variety of materials available in Kyrgyz and with the internal structure of the language. The material ranges in difficulty from primers to historical documents. Each text is presented as it originally appeared, followed by a literal English translation. In addition, comments on the style and content are included with each text. (The comments section is a combination of literary, linguistic, historical, grammatical, and sociolinguistic explanations and remarks.) Publication information for the texts proceeds each subsection (e.g., the oral tradition, early written documents, and toward modern Kyrgyz are all included in a larger section titled The Pre-literary Language). An explanation of the transliteration systems used in the book is also included.