Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Dr. Kara D. Brown

First Reader

Dr. Stephen A. Bahry

Second Reader

Dr. Stephen A. Bahry


With a shared history under the Soviet Union, the five Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have spent the past one hundred years dealing with quickly changing language policy and ethnic relations. Under the policy of the USSR, native languages of Central Asia were repressed, and Russian was introduced as the main language of interethnic communication. After they gained independence in 1991, however, each of the five countries embarked on missions to restore the strength of each of their national languages and de-Russify their political, economic, and educational systems. Throughout the region, one of the main tools of this nation-building and language reform has been primary and secondary school education. Of particular concern in these five contexts—which languages to use as mediums of instruction, which languages to be taught as subjects, and which languages to exclude entirely. This thesis will compare the different goals regarding language policy in each country and the role of multilingualism in their societies, explore the methods each country has taken within their education systems to attempt to alter their modern linguistic setting, identify any significant issues in their plans, and analyze the degree of success that each country has seen in achieving their goal.

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