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Today the government is strengthening the Uzbek group identity, to prevent the splintering seen in other multiethnic states.Some people have assimilated with seemingly little concern.The arid land of this autonomous republic supports a nomadic lifestyle.Recently, the drying up of the Aral Sea has devastated the environment, causing more than 30 percent of the area's population to leave, from villages in the early 1980s and then from cities.But through prescribed borders, shifts in dialect coalesced into distinct languages.The Soviets replaced its Arabic script briefly with a Roman script and then with Cyrillic.
Uzbek emerged as a distinct language in the fifteenth century.
Since independence there has been a shift back to Roman script, as well as a push to eliminate words borrowed from Russian.
About 14 percent of the population—mostly non-Uzbek—speak Russian as their first language; 5 percent speak Tajik. Under the Soviet Union, Russian was taught as the Soviet lingua franca, but Uzbek was supported as the indigenous language of the republic, ironically resulting in the deterioration of other native languages and dialects.
The twelve stars on the flag symbolize the twelve regions of the country.
The crescent moon, a symbol of Islam, is common, though its appearance on the national flag is meant not as a religious symbol but as a metaphor for rebirth.
Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan also border the country.