Uzbek is the official language of Uzbekistan, and has about 18.5 million native speakers. Other countries where Uzbek speakers live include Australia, China, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and the United States. It was written using the Cyrillic alphabet before 1992, but now a Latin script is used in Uzbekistan; Uzbek speakers in China write it using the Arabic alphabet.
The Uzbek language has many dialects, varying widely from region to region. However, there is a commonly understood dialect which is used in mass media and in most printed material. Some linguists consider the language spoken in northern Afghanistan by ethnic Uzbeks to be a dialect of Uzbek.
See also: Languages of China