Kazakh language surges ahead in the popularity stakes
We’ve noticed something interesting happening at Language Connect recently, so we’d thought we’d share it with you to see what you think.
There has been an unprecedented surge of clients requesting Kazakh language services over the last 6 months. Kazakh – who’d have thought it? On noticing this intriguing phenomenon, I thought I’d look into it and find out what’s going on – does it have something to do with the fatter long tail trend of multi-lingual projects (and again in normal speak: a situation in which rare languages are being requested more frequently) or has it something to do with Kazakhstan itself?
I had a quick read through the President of Kazakhstan’s recent State of the Nation address[i] and discovered some surprising facts – the least surprising of which being that I didn’t know much about one of the fastest growing economies among the former Soviet republics. Head bowed in shame, I read on to unearth some pretty compelling evidence to prove that as an emerging economy, we should expect, rather than be surprised, to receive even more requests for this language.
For the last couple of years, whilst the leading economic nations descended into panic over fears of a massive global recession, Kazakhstan, although affected by this downturn, managed to keep their economic momentum going. They managed to save their banks – rather than shut them down – and in 2009, economic growth amounted to 1.1%, the industry grew by 1.7%. Kazakhstan actually entered a “breakthrough” group of countries with positive expansion rate.
Plans for future growth are even more impressive with projects already underway to support the country’s drive towards ‘an economy of the future’. Plans include the realization of 162 projects that the government predicts will create over 200,000 jobs in the next three years. In the next five years, a major gas chemical complex, mineral fertilizer plants and a range of major electric power plants – to include a hydro electric power plant – will be put into operation. By 2014, Kazakhstan plans to modernise all three of their existing oil refineries which will offer them the ability to fully satisfy their domestic needs in all oil products.
It all goes to show that Kazakhstan has some pretty major plans for growth on the horizon – but what about the history behind this emerging nation?
Kazakhstan is ranked as the ninth largest country in the world and its vast terrain is home to around 16 million people. It became part of the Russian empire in the 18th Century having previously been populated almost entirely by nomadic Turkic tribes. The country is ethnically diverse thanks to the mass deportation of ethnic groups during Stalin’s reign. That said, Kazakhs make up the largest group and Kazakh is the official language alongside Russian.
So, if Kazakhstan is forging its own path in its bid to distance itself further from neighbouring Russia to become a power in its own right, perhaps we ought to expect a decrease in requests for Russian language services? We’ll keep you posted.
[i] Information quoted is taken from The President of Kazakhstan’s ‘State of the Nation’ address given to the country in January 2010.