How to Learn Uzbek

Four Methods:Sourcing MaterialsFamiliarizing Yourself with UzbekGetting Used to the GrammarImmersing Yourself in the Culture

Uzbek (oʻzbekcha, ўзбекча, اوزبیکچه) is the official language of Uzbekistan, and a minority language in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Russia, Turkey, and Xinjiang, China.

Uzbek is a Turkic language, sharing its roots and base features with languages such as Turkish, Tatar, Kazakh, and especially Uyghur. Uzbek has, over the centuries, been influenced by Persian, Arabic, and Russian due to a dual Islamic and Soviet history. Depending on where Uzbek is spoken, it thus can be written in the Latin, Cyrillic, or Perso-Arabic alphabets.

Whether your aim is fluency or to know just a few words and expressions, learning Uzbek opens you into the ancient world of the Silk Road and the hearts of a people steeped in history, culture, hospitality, and tradition.

Method 1
Sourcing Materials

  1. Image titled Learn Uzbek Step 1
    Obtain Uzbek language learning materials. Before the fall of the Soviet Union, Uzbek was not a widely published foreign language. However, there is a small but steadily growing array of phrasebooks, self-teaching courses, textbooks, grammars, and dictionaries available in English on Uzbek. If you read Turkish or Russian, you will find even more resources available at your disposal.
    • Check what's available online, at your local library, and local book shop; universities with Turkic and Central Asian Studies programs may also have a broader selection of Uzbek references as well. Do your homework.

Method 2
Familiarizing Yourself with Uzbek

  1. Image titled Learn Uzbek Step 2
    Listen to Uzbek. In order to build an ear for any language, you have to listen to it as much as possible––Uzbek is no exception. If you conduct a simple Google or YouTube search, you will find a mosaic of Uzbek audio and video clips, media sources, and the like available for you to listen to. One excellent resource is BBC Uzbek.
  2. Image titled Learn Uzbek Step 3
    Befriend Uzbek speakers. If you are aware of an Uzbek diaspora where you live or you have access to penpal websites and online chatrooms, find Uzbek speaking friends. You need to immerse yourself in Uzbek food and culture as well as have people to practice your language skills with.
  3. Image titled Learn Uzbek Step 4
    Take an Uzbek course or find an Uzbek tutor. There is nothing better than learning under the proper guidance of an experienced teacher. Although finding language instruction for Uzbek may pose an incredible challenge because of its rarity outside Asia, it doesn't hurt to still look. There may be a visiting Uzbek student studying in your area who would love to do some tutoring!

Method 3
Getting Used to the Grammar

  1. Image titled Learn Uzbek Step 5
    Throw English grammar out the window. Uzbek has more in common with Japanese and Korean than it does English, meaning that learning Uzbek will be challenging but rewarding. Notable features of the language that are different from English include subject-object-verb sentence order, vowel harmony, and suffixes/agglutination. However, unlike English or most European languages, Uzbek has highly regular phonetic spelling, no irregular verbs, and is gender neutral; learn a rule and apply it to all.
  2. Image titled Learn Uzbek Step 6
    Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Native speakers won't scorn you if you make mistakes. There are so few foreigners who speak Uzbek that any knowledge of the language you have is a sign of honour and significant respect to Uzbek people. Spend most of your time listening and try to imitate what you hear as best possible. You will learn Uzbek well if you keep practicing.

Method 4
Immersing Yourself in the Culture

  1. Image titled Learn Uzbek Step 7
    Travel to Uzbekistan. If you have the ability to travel through Central Asia, the best place you can learn and apply Uzbek is in Uzbekistan itself. Uzbekistan is country rich in culture, art, history, and hospitality. Again, do your homework and find what works for you.
  2. Image titled Learn Uzbek Step 8
    Read as much as you can about the Uzbeks. Language is more than just words and syntax, it is woven intricately with history and culture. While or before you learn Uzbek, immerse yourself in as much information as you can about the Uzbek peoples and traditions. The more informed you are, the better you will understand the subtleties of Uzbek.


  • Uzbek men and women use different forms of greetings. Men greet each other by holding their left hand on their chest above the heart; women touch each other's shoulders with their right hand as well as kiss each other on the cheeks.
  • Uzbek speakers are generally multilingual, with most being able to speak and understand at least one or two regional languages, usually Russian and/or Tajik-Persian.


  • Travelling through Uzbekistan presents several challenges including difficult access to rural areas due to underdeveloped roads, a lack of security at airports and bus stations, wide-spread poverty, and corruption in government. Do your research well before you travel. You may also want to obtain a guide.

Article Info

Categories: World Languages