How to Learn Uyghur : An Introduction

By Deniz Yücel, Sorbonne University

What is Uyghur and Why You Should Study It ?

First of all, you should keep in mind that Uyghur (what we also call Uighur, Uyghurche or Uyghur tili) is a southeastern Turkic languague, which is spoken by more than 10 million of people in Uyghur Autonomous Region, and even in smaller diaspora communities all around the world. It is indeed close to Turkish, Kazakh, Tatar, and especially Uzbek languages. Due to history and geography, Uyghur has over the centuries been influenced by Persian, Arabic and Mongolian.

Getting into Uyghur language, will bring you on its culture and history. However, it can also be a helpful “gateway” to other Turkic languages, especially if you are interested in tranlation or teaching. It allows you to socialize with Uyghur people and mix with them : you have the opportunity to get to learn about written Uyghur sources and historical ones. Furthermore, being a Muslim people, they have a long, abundant Islamic and Turkic cultural traditions : in music, poetry, literature, arts… etc. where they are also deeply attached to it.

5 steps to learn Uyghur :

  1. If you want to get straight to the point to learn Uyghur, you have read up on Uyghur history and culture : that is to say, you must check out your books stores, and on the internet about Turkic languages and history, or Central Asia for instance. You can also find these kinds of books on Amazon, they have plenty of them.
  2. Try to get Teach Yourself books about Uyghur, Uzbek and Turkish which will be very useful : you can also compare these 2 last languages with Uyghur as they have the same roots. Phrasebooks will be your must have anytime. Search on the internet : “Uyghur language grammar”, “Uyghur for beginners”…
  3. Study about Uyghur language sources : if you are determined to learn Uyghur rapidly then you can check this link and start it as soon possible :
  4. Learn the Uyghur alphabet by heart : beware about old Uyghur and its reforms do not mix them.
  5. Involve yourself deeply in Uyghur : find Uyghur courses and try to go to Uyghur region (Urumqi, Kashgar…) and visit its historical monuments and mix with Uyghur people !


Structure of our Lessons : 

  • Unit 1 : How to Make Simple Sentences : “What is this ?
  • Unit 2 : How to Express yourself : “the Good and the Bad”
  • Unit 3 : How to Greet People : “Geeting, Shopping, Working”
  • Unit 4 : How to Talk about your life : “Routine Days”
  • Unit 5 : How to Get to Buy Things : “at the Market”
  • Unit 6 : How to Talk about your student life : “School Life”
  • Unit 7 : How to Prepare yourself : “Preparing for Exams”
  • Unit 8 : How to Ask Questions : “Whose… is this ?”
  • Unit 9 : How to Talk about your Hobbies : “What Do You Like to Do”
  • Unit 10 : How to Talk about Various Things : “Existence and Nothingness”
  • Unit 11 : How to Discuss about your Pastime : “Occupations”
  • Unit 12 : How to Talk about your Holidays : “Going on Vacation”
  • Unit 13 : How to Talk about your Work “Business”
  • Unit 14 : How to Talk about your Work 2 : “Farming and Travelling”
  • Unit 15 : How to talk about yourself 2 : “Illness and Health”


Hope you will find those courses helpful and useful for you and for the future Uyghur generation too. Keep these tips and advice in mind and study well. Keep in up & Good luck !