So i’ve been learning Qazaq for some time, and the conditions have ripened to produce an overview of resources i’ve been enjoying.
This is not a complete or authoritative list in any way, and i might be updating it later as i follow my Qazaq learning path.
It should be noted that all resources on the list are either Qazaq only or Qazaq-Russian. The sole reason for this is the existence of historical Russian bilinguism among Qazaqs, and most Qazaq learning resources being primarily targeted at ethnic Qazaqs whose first language is Russian, and to a lesser extent at national minorities of Qazaqstan who also speak Russian. If i stumble upon any worthwile Qazaq learning resources in other languages at some point in the future, i’ll add them to the list without doubt.
Sözdik.kz is a rather comprehensive Qazaq-Russian and Russian-Qazaq dictionary. It features almost 60 thousand entries with lots of example phrases, synonyms, etc., and can fulfil the role of a solid paper dictionary.
For more specialised vocabulary that is sometimes absent from Sözdik.kz there is a Qazaq term database that gives Russian equivalents of most scientific terms and allows to search for a specific term as well as browse terms by topic.
Resources about the language and culture
Qazline is a great online and offline (Almatı based) Qazaq learning school by Dinara Eselbaeva. Dinara is very active on Instagram with a sea of information about grammar and vocabulary use, and also has a Youtube channel that is updated less nowadays, but has a longer history and a multitude of useful explanations too.
Kaz-tili.kz is a web-site with a lot of Qazaq learning resources including articles, texts, song translations, and a lot more.
However, the most valuable part of it is grammar explanations that were later published as a book. Materials on grammar are nowhere near being complete, and it’s sometimes hard to know where to find the necessary information, but it’s still a great free resource, especially for linguistically anxious people who need to recheck right suffix choices after they built a sentence. There’s also a lot of examples with pronunciation recordings made by native speakers along the way.
Qazaq Lab is a Telegram channel by Khadisha featuring short notes about language use, quizzes, and links. Their slogan is ‘Speaking Qazaq is the new sexy’, and the channel is sexy indeed.
Söyle.kz is a website with a ton of Qazaq learning resources including lessons for self-study, a learner’s dictionary, flashcards for word memorization, and a test to assess your Qazaq level in order to choose appropriate level of study.
They also have a very useful Instagram page featuring useful phrases with audio, as well as a Youtube channel with even more content, the most prominent being a Pimsleur-like Qazaq course.
Ayttım Sälem is an Almaty Qazaq Speaking Club for speakers of various levels with guidance and bilingual explanations as necessary created by Zärina Baimusina who is proficient in several languages, most notably French. In addition they also hold online meetings each Sunday. Every meeting usually has a topic for discussion, and the audience is actively engaged in discussion by the host.
Aqqıbat Aqjigitova is a teacher of Qazaq and a friend of Dinara from Qazline. Her Instagram stories are a great source of Qazaq language snippets. Together with Dinara and some other people whose names can be omitted she coauthored a great textbook Üyrenıwge Oñay Qazaq Tili.
Unknown Qazaqstan is an Instagram page by Dias and Aygerim Kameridanov. Their slogan is ‘We make you fall in love with Qazaq universe’ and they write about historical and linguistic phenomena less known, especially to foreigners.
Qazaq Bubble or Қазақ Бабыл (Qazaq Babylon) is a great resource for spreading Qazaq language. They also have a Youtube channel with some great insightful videos.
The name of this project is a reference to famous lyrics web-site Genius.com and the slogan is ‘Listen to songs you love and learn Qazaq’. They publish Qazaq song lyrics with English and Russian translation and color coding of the equivalent grammar and vocabulary. A great resource for you if you like learning languages through songs.
Qazaq Grammar is an Instagram page creating and sharing a lot of content mostly about the situation with Qazaq language in Qazaqstan and mostly culture than language related. One of their greatest contributions in the development of Qazaq language is their own romanisation scheme. They are also worth following merely for all the stuff they are sharing, so that you never miss an important discussion about Qazaq language and identity going on.
However, they are also toughest to follow because they tend to prefer more radical ideas and give an impression of striving to fight against all colonial (Russian/Soviet) influence from Qazaqstan rather than on building and strengthening Qazaq influence. They also tend to attract vocal followers with less intellectual and more emotional approach, making discussions harsh and misleading at times, and not very comfortable for foreign learners to participate.
Resources in the language
Dope Söz is a great podcast by Arsen Tusupbekov and Jomart Aralbayulı featuring Qazaqstan intellectuals from various spheres as their guests. Jomart, who is from Aqtaw, speaks mostly Qazaq while Arsen speaks Russian, and the podcasts are conducted in both languages, while the guest speaks their language of preference. The topics are highly enlightening and also provide a firsthand view into current Qazaqstan intellectual discourse.
Oila is a team creating documentaries about current social and ecology issues in Qazaqstan. The documentaries are available on their Youtube channel. The team is very talented, they make visually stunning and deeply emotional videos that deepen one’s understanding of problems that current and future generations are facing, and generate strong feeling of compassion and connectedness with the people of Qazaqstan. The interviewees are often chosen among passionate people who are eagerly sharing their ideas, and help to understand and appreciate Qazaqstan even more.