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Uyghur Language Program

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. This means that someone who studies Uyghur will become one of a small number of experts in the world speaking this language, which increases job opportunities.


But more than that: learning Uyghur is a blast! And ...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; 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 at

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 Arienne 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 further information, please contact The University of Kansas Uyghur studies group



Departmental Calendar
CEAS M.A. Program

The Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) at The University of Kansas now offers an M.A. program in Contemporary East Asian Studies. Full-time students with prior East Asian language training will be able to complete the degree within 12 months. For more information about this M.A. program including specific requirements for admission, visit, or contact Ayako Mizumura, Assistant Director of CEAS, by email ( or call 785-864-1478. You can also download our program flyer (PDF) Please share this information with your friends, colleagues and students! We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, 12/1: Come learn about currencies and commodities in Qing Mongolia. @KUHistoryDept @kueconclub

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