Sunday, 21 January 2018
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Apostrophes trip up Kazakhstan's move away from Russian alphabet

Added: 21.01.2018 8:03 | 0 views | 0 comments


Kazakhstan's quarter-century struggle to assert its autonomy from former overlord Russia has hit an unlikely snag: the lowly apostrophe.  A vast but sparsely populated country wedged between Russia and China, Kazakhstan came under the rule of its northern neighbour as Russia and Britain jostled for control of Central Asia in the Great Game. It also came under its linguistic influence, and to this day, many Kazakhs speak more Russian than their Turkic native tongue.  This became especially concerning after Russian state media, which remain popular in Kazakhstan, helped whip up Russian-speaking separatists to fight government forces in Ukraine in 2014. In April, Kazakhstan's president of 27 years, Nursultan Nazarbayev, ordered the government to prepare a new Kazakh alphabet based on Latin characters and ditch the one based on Russia's Cyrillic script, which the Soviets implemented in 1940. He has said this will give Kazakhstan “real independence” and help it join the “information world”. But a cumbersome version of the new alphabet chosen by Mr Nazarbayev last autumn has sparked rare dissent in this authoritarian country due to its ample apostrophes. Of 32 letters in the alphabet, nine are written with an apostrophe. Mr Nazarbayev meets with Vladimir Putin in December. He has tried to gently assert Kazakhstan's independence from its former overlord Credit: Alexander Nemenov/Pool Photo via AP An “against apostrophes” hashtag soon appeared on social media. So did a “No to Kazakh Latinisation with apostrophes!” Change.org petition in October, which was briefly blocked. Film director Saken Zholdas made a video explaining how inconvenient the apostrophes were.  “With this decision, we are unintentionally, or maybe intentionally, killing the brand of Kazakh language once and for all,” he said. The problem lies in the need to differentiate related but distinct Kazakh sounds, such as a long and short “a,” or consonants similar to “s” and “sh”.  Setting them apart with an apostrophe allows the alphabet to be typed on a standard Latin keyboard, but also produces odd flurries of punctuation and many eyesore words. For instance, the word for “bottle,” pronounced “shisha,” is written “s'i's'a”, while “east,” pronounced “shyghys,” becomes “s'yg'ys”. Those are hardly the worst: The word for “skier” will be “s'an'g'ys'y” and that for “crucial” will be “s'es'u's'i”. The Republic of Kazakhstan will be written “Qazaqstan Respy’bli’kasy”. The palace of peace and reconciliation designed by Norman Foster in Astana, Kazakhstan Credit: Sergei Bobylev/\TASS via Getty Images Some have speculated that Mr Nazarbayev picked the apostrophes to keep Kazakh distinct from the Latinised alphabets of other Turkic languages and placate Russia, which since Soviet times has feared pan-Turkic movements along its southern border.  “The guy just liked it, and since our country is this way, no one in government can tell the president no,” Aidos Sarym, a political analyst who previously served on a state working group on Latinisation, told The Telegraph.  Last month, Mr Nazarbayev said while the new apostrophes had caused “much discussion,” this version was the right one because it suited computer keyboards.  But at the same time it complicates web searches and social media hashtags, where an apostrophe between letters splits them into separate words.  “From a technical point of view, apostrophes create more problems than they solve,” said political analyst Dosym Satpayev. Mr Nazarbayev appears with Donald Trump in the White House on Tuesday. He has tried to balance relations with the United States, Russia and China Credit: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Bloomberg In his video, Mr Zholdas suggested replacing the apostrophes with accent marks over the nine letters in question, a move he said could be supported by 70 per cent of computer fonts. Despite the defence of his version in December, Mr Nazarbayev also said there was still time to “work with the new alphabet” before the country switches over fully in 2025, giving hope that he could eventually relax his stance. “He wants to go into history … as the father of the new Latin Kazakh alphabet,” Mr Sarym said. “You can choose any version and let it be called the Nazarbayev version, but do it right so there aren't problems now, and so that tomorrow we won't have to do an upgrade.”

Ukraine passes bill to get occupied regions back from Russia

Added: 20.01.2018 3:15 | 0 views | 0 comments


KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's parliament on Thursday passed a bill that aims to reintegrate the eastern territories currently controlled by Russia-backed separatists, and goes as far as to declare support for taking them back by military force if necessary.

Tags: UK, Russia, Ukraine
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Belarus bristles at Kazakhstan’s offer to host Ukraine talks

Added: 19.01.2018 8:29 | 0 views | 0 comments


MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Belarus has mocked Kazakhstan's suggestion that it could serve as a new venue for Ukraine peace talks previously hosted by Minsk. Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said in a statement released to The Associated Press Friday that the ex-Soviet nation "isn't seeking peacemaker's laurels unlike some others." He added that moving ...]

Tags: UK, Ukraine, Seat
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Ukraine passes bill to get occupied regions back from Russia

Added: 19.01.2018 7:30 | 0 views | 0 comments


KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's parliament on Thursday passed a bill that aims to reintegrate the eastern territories currently controlled by Russia-backed separatists, and goes as far as to declare support for taking them back by military force if necessary.

Tags: UK, Russia, Ukraine
From: https:

Ukrainian parliament passes bill on ‘occupied’ territories

Added: 18.01.2018 12:13 | 0 views | 0 comments


KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's parliament has passed a bill on the "occupied" territories in the country's east controlled by Russia-backed separatists. The bill approved Thursday after raucous debates designates the areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as "temporarily occupied" by "aggressor country" Russia. It envisages the use of military force to get them ...]

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Ukraine's secret

Added: 18.01.2018 0:47 | 1 views | 0 comments

Ukraine's IT sector is flourishing despite continuing conflict with Russian-backed rebels in the east.

From: www.bbc.co.uk

Russia's Lavrov lashes out at US at annual press conference

Added: 16.01.2018 10:04 | 1 views | 0 comments


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov repeatedly attacked the US at his annual press conference Monday, accusing Washington of issuing ultimatums and failing to recognise "the reality of the emerging multipolar world". Lavrov said the past year had not been easy from a foreign policy perspective as he took questions on Syria, Ukraine, the Korean peninsula and other global issues, in a diplomatic round-up of 2017. "Unfortunately, our American colleagues and their allies still want to do business solely on the basis of issuing ultimatums and do not want to listen to the views of other centres of world politics," he said when asked about US President Donald Trump's position on the Iran nuclear deal.

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