Uyghur is the native language of over ten million people in Xinjiang and Central Asia. The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region occupies one sixth of China’s territory (nearly as large as Alaska). Significant communities of Uyghur-speakers are also located in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and various other countries have Uyghur-speaking expatriate communities.
Learning Uyghur is a gateway to the Turkic world and Central Asia. Non-profits, government, the military, and international companies are all interested in finding people who speak Uyghur. Many students learning Uyghur use the language to explore a region that is still little-known and mysterious to many, yet crucial to China and the region’s future development and stability. The neighborhoods in Xinjiang thrum with a Middle Eastern beat and mosques and minarets grace the skyline. Street vendors offer spices, nuts, and fruits, jeweled knives, richly embroidered caps, or seasoned kebabs and savory Central Asian pilaf.
The Department of Central Eurasian Studies offers a full major in the language with tracks of two or three years of language study available. Learn more about the language and courses at IU from the Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center here on campus.