Last updated 2017-08-27 15:49:43

General Notes

Kazakh exhibets both consonant assimilation and vowel harmony. Meaning that some consonants in suffixes will change quality (ex. М to Б) depending on the last letter of the root word. Similarly, some vowels will change based on quality of vowels in the root. This is illustrated below by representing the letters that experience consonant assimilation or vowel harmony as capitals. For example, +МА will different for both the consnant and vowel depending on what it is attached to.

Consonant Assimilation

From RW pg. 285

Suffix variants

standard vowels р,й л,м,н,ң voiced C unvoiced C
М м м м or б б п
Н н д н or д д т
Л л л д д т

Other pairs with specific distributions are г/ғ, к/қ, and д/т.

Vowel Harmony

Standard vowels also change based on the vowel that occurs in the last syllable of the root. There are two main variations:

back vowels front vowels
ы,а,о,ұ і,ә,ө,ү,е

й tends to be lumped with the liquid consonant р, as seen above in consonant assimiliation.


Accusative (+НІ)

The accusative is used to mark the direct object of a verb. Besides the standard +НІ, the accusative has a non-standard form when following the possessive, .LC Lesson 2

Dative (+ГА)

The dative is used to mark the indirect object of a verb. It has 4 variations:

when root ends in this... use this
stem-final vowel ға
voiced consonant ге
voiceless consonant (back vowel) қа
voiceless consonant (front vowel) ке

There is a non-standard form when following the possessive: +нА.RW 226

Genitive (+НІң)

The genetive is used when indicating possession. It marks the owner of the object, ex. library-GEN book-POSS, meaning the library's book.

Locative (+ДА)

The locative is used to mark the location of clause or action. It has 4 variations:

when root ends in this... use this
stem-final vowel да
voiced consonant те
voiceless consonant (back vowel) да
voiceless consonant (front vowel) те

Instrumental (+Мен)

The instrumental marks the item with which the action was performed. Note that it is a lowercase е: this ending does not exhibit vowel harmoy.


The possessive marks the object which is possessed. It varies by person and number of the possessor.

possessor ending
1sg +(І)м
2sg (fam.) +(І)ң
2sg (pol.) +(І)ңІз
3sg +(с)І
1pl +(І)мІз
2pl +ЛАр(І)ң
3pl +ЛАрл


Kazakh pronouns are not gender marked.

case 1sg 2sg 3sg 1pl 2pl (fam.) 2pl (pol.) 3pl
NOM мен сен ол біз Сіз Сіздер олар
GEN менің сенің оның біздің Сіздің Сіздердің олардің
DAT маған саған оған бізге Сізге Сіздерге оларға
ACC мені сені оны бізді Сізді Сіздерді оларды
LOC менде сенде онда бізде Сізде Сіздерде оларда
ABL менден сенден ондан бізден Сізден Сіздерден олардан


Present Tense

The present tense is used for presently occuring or future actions. For more information see RM 165. To conjugate the present tense:

  1. drop у from the verbal noun
  2. add a matching vowel from the table below
  3. add an ending that matches in person and number

For example:

қалаймын {
қала й мын
root matching agreement
vowel marker

Matching Vowels

when root ends in this... use this
a vowel й
қ or double consonant и
ю я
consonant and last vowel is a front vowel е
consonant and last vowel is a back vowel а

Person and Number Endings

subject ending
1sg +МІн
2sg (fam.) +сІң
2sg (pol.) +сІз
3sg +∅/ДІ
1pl +МІз
2pl (fam.) +сІңдАр
2pl (pol.) +сІз(дАр)
3pl +∅/ДІ


The imparative is formed by removing у from the verbal noun (aka dictionary form). The 2nd person singualr imparative (You do this!) is the default, unmarked form.

2sg 2pl (fam.) 2pl (pol.)
+∅ +(І)ңдАр +(І)ңІз

It is negated with +МА.

келме (do not come) {
кел ме
root negative agreement

Verbal Negative

Verbas are negated by putting +МА in front of the matching vowel.

For example, түсінбеймін (I don't understand):

түсінбеймін {
түсін бе й мін
root negative matching agreement
vowel marker


Converbs are markers at the end of the main verb of the clause that indicate items such as aspect and mood will be modified by auxilaries. Converbs and their auxiliaries are prevalent throughout Kazakh - this section will continue to grow as I encounter more.

For the time being, it is enough to mention there are two main types of converb: А and (І)п.