from gbarto.com and

Also check out the Uzbek Mini-Course at multilingua.info

Introduction to Uzbek

Lesson 1

by Geoffrey Barto

This course is a very preliminary introduction to the Uzbek language. It will give you some idea of how the language works, how vocabulary items go into sentences and how to participate in very basic conversations. At its end, you are directed to my Self-Talk Uzbek Course to move from learning analytically to absorbing the language a little more naturally. At the end of the two courses, you will be able to offer standard greetings and replies and formulate simple sentences relating to basic social situations.

The primary texts upon which this is based are:

Lists of online resources will be forthcoming. Corrections and suggestions from Uzbek speakers and learners would be greatly appreciated. They may be sent to gbarto@gbarto.com.

The first lessons of the course are intended to help students with meeting and greeting people. This will be done by virtue of short "conversations" with a Canadian named Ben Walker. The lessons will consist of 1) a vocabulary list, 2) a short reading, 3) follow-up questions and 4) grammar points and commentary. In the first lessons, these sections may be divided up into smaller bits for easier comprehension.


Lesson One

Vocabulary List 1A

N.B. Items beginning with a hyphen (e.g. -man) are not independent words but attach to the preceding word.

  • Assalomu alaykum - peace be upon you, an Arabic greeting to which one responds, "Alaykum assalom."
  • ot - name
  • -(i)m - my
  • otim - my name (is)
  • Men - I
  • Kanada - Canada
  • -dan - from
  • Kanadadan - from Canada
  • -man - am
  • Men Kanadadanman - I am from Canada
  • -lik - from, related to, associated with
  • kanadalik - Canadian

Reading 1A

Assalomu alaykum. Otim Ben Walker. Men Kanadadanman. Men kanadalikman.

Follow-up 1A

(Answers to this lesson's questions are after the commentary.)

  1. Who is speaking?
  2. Where is he from?
  3. How does he say from what country he comes?
  4. How does he say what his nationality is?

Next, you are going to participate in a short discussion with Ben. For the moment, pretend you are American.

Vocabulary List 1B

  • Assalomu alaykum - peace be upon you
  • Alaykum assalom - upon you be peace
  • ot - name
  • -(i)m - my
  • otim - my name (is)
  • -(i)ngiz - your
  • otingiz - your name (is)
  • nima - what
  • men - I
  • -dan - from
  • -man - am
  • qayer - where
  • -lik - from, related to, associated with
  • -siz - (you) are
  • qayerliksiz? - where are (you) from?
  • Amerika - America
  • amerikalik - American

Reading 1B

Ben: Assalomu alaykum.
You: Alaykum assalom.
Ben: Otim Ben Walker. Otingiz nima?
You: Otim (your name).
Ben: Men Kanadadanman. Qayerliksiz?
You: Men Amerikadanman.

Follow-up 1B

  1. How does Ben say hello?
  2. How do you respond?
  3. How do you say my name? your name?
  4. In the last line of the dialog, you said, "Men Amerikadanman." What's another way of saying this?

Grammar and Commentary

You've just completed your first lesson in Uzbek. You can now say who you are and where you are from (provided you're American or Canadian). But it is sort of tricky with all those endings tacked on all over the place.

Uzbek is an agglutinating language. That means that to change the meaning of a word, you just keep gluing on new pieces. Here are some of the pieces we learned in lesson one:

  • -(i)m - my (if the word ends in a consonant, put in the "i", otherwise leave it out)
  • -(i)ngiz - your (works like "-(i)m")

Attach these to a noun to make a possessive. For example, the Uzbek word for first name is "ism" ("ot" is the whole name: first, middle and last). So "my first name" is "ismim" and "your first name" is "ismingiz". Say "My first name is (your name)" in Uzbek.

The other pieces we learned were:

  • -man - (I) am
  • -siz - (you) are
  • -dan - from
  • -lik - from, related to, associated with

So if we meet someone from Iran (Eron), he/she will say "Men Erondanman" (I am from Iran) or "Men eronlikman" (I am Iranian). However, the "-lik" trick doesn't work for all nationalities. An Englishman will say "Men Angliyadanman" (I am from England) but "Men inglizman" (I am English).

We will learn more about nationalities in the next chapter.

For now, review both parts of the lesson and make sure you know the pieces we have learned.

The second lesson starts here.

Return to the language page at gbarto.com.


Answer key:

Follow-up 1A: 1. Ben Walker 2. Canada 3. "Men Kanadadanman." 4. "kanadalik"

Follow-up 1B: 1. Assalomu alaykum. 2. Alaykum assalom. 3. Otim, otingiz 4. "Men amerikalikman"