The University of Kansas


Uyghur (ooey-GHUR say Uyghurs, WEE-gur say Americans) is a Central Asian Turkic language spoken along the Silk Route in Chinese Turkestan (Xinjiang).

Cultural and Linguistic History

The Uyghurs, who number nearly ten million, are closely related to the Uzbeks and have a rich body of literature, arts, music, and dance, that stretches back to the 9th century. Living at the cultural crossroads of Central Asia, the Uyghur are influenced not only from Central Asian Turkic culture but also Persian, Arabic, Mongolian, Indian, and ancient Indo-European cultures. Today, the language is geopolitically strategic, as the region shares a border with Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Central Asian Turkic republics, Russia, and Mongolia. Someone who studies Uyghur will become one of a small number of experts in the world speaking this language, which increases job opportunities.

Learning Uyghur is a blast! If you speak Uyghur, you can learn Uzbek, within weeks. You can learn Turkish, Kazakh, or Kirghiz, within months. Summer study is also available at Xinjiang University in China, and research opportunities may also be available. For more information on Uyghur courses at KU and on Uyghur culture in general, please contact the KU Center for East Asian Studies

Learning Uyghur 

The University of Kansas is pleased to announce the publication of our first-year Uyghur language textbook and grammar, Greetings from the Teklimakan: a Handbook of Modern Uyghur, by Tarjei Engesæth, Mahire Yakup and Adrienne Dwyer. The textbook and accompanying audio are available for download» *at no cost*.

The textbook, which also serves as a grammatical reference, is suitable both for self-study and for classroom use and is equivalent to one year’s study of the language.

For additional information, please contact The KU Uyghur Studies group.