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History: Central Asia, 140 years ago

History: Central Asia, 140 Years Ago

Russian, as well as being spoken by around six million ethnic Russians and Ukrainians of Central Asia, is the defacto lingua franca throughout the former Soviet Central Asian Republics. Mandarin Chinese has an equally dominant presence in Inner Mongolia, Qinghai and Xinjiang.
The languages of the majority of the inhabitants of the former Soviet Central Asian Republics come from the Turkic language group. Turkmen, is mainly spoken in Turkmenistan, and as a minority language in Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey. Kazakh and Kyrgyz are related languages of the Kypchak group of Turkic languages and are spoken throughout Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and as a minority language in Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Xinjiang. Uzbek and Uyghur are spoken in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Xinjiang.
The Turkic languages may belong to a larger, but controversial, Altaic language family, which includes Mongolian. Mongolian is spoken throughout Mongolia and into Buryatia, Kalmyk, Tuva, Inner Mongolia, and Xinjiang.
Iranian languages were once spoken throughout Central Asia, such as the once prominent Sogdian, Khwarezmian, Bactrian and Scythian languages are now extinct. The Eastern Iranian language of Pashto is still spoken in Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan, and other minor East Iranian languages, such as Shughni, Munji, Ishkashimi, Sarikoli, Wakhi, Yaghnobi and Ossetian, are also spoken in various places in Central Asia. Varieties of Persian are also spoken as a major language in the region. Locally known as Darī (in Afghanistan), Tojikī (by Tajiks in Tajikistan), and Bukhori (by the Bukharan Jews all over Central Asia).

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