Karakalpak: A language of Uzbekistan

If you are planning to travel to Karakalpakstan, you do not need to get any vaccinations. The best times to travel are in Autumn and Spring. It can get very hot in June. Most Karakalpakstan’s do not have the luxury of owning air conditioners, which can make it quite hard to sleep during summers. Karakalpak is still a very conservative society, so you should be careful about how you dress and conduct yourself in public. It would be advisable to avoid dressing up in sleeveless shirts and shorts when in the country, if you want to be treated with respect by the local people. It is okay for women to wear loose trousers and tops. When invited to someone’s house, you will be expected to remove your shoes before entering the house. Since gastric problems are a major problem for visitors to the country, avoid eating raw and undercooked foods and ice-cream. It will be a good idea to only drink boiled or bottled water.

Karakalpak falls under Turkic languages. Approximately 412, 000 people speak the language in Karakalpakstan, which is in Uzbekistan. Karakalpak is officially recognized in Karakalpakstan. Other speakers of the language can be found in Russia, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and other parts of central Asia. Karakalpak is related to Nogai and Kazakh languages. It has also gotten a lot of its vocabulary from the Uzbek language. Karakalpak has two main dialects. These are the northeastern and the southwestern dialects. Initially, the language was written using the Arabic alphabet. This was later changed to the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets. Most scholarly works are published using the Cyrillic alphabet.

The term ‘Kara’ means black while ‘kalpak’ means hat. Their tribes are divided into clans, which are known as ‘uru’, which are further subdivided into families known as ‘koshes’. Karakalpaks were renown for their weaving, though this is now dying out as only a few Karakalpaks still weave. Literacy levels in the community are high as most children are enrolled in school. Most Karakalpaks are Sunni Muslims and the Karakalpak Republic is a main center for the Islamic sect of Sufi.

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