Kyrgyz is the language spoken by the Kyrgyz people, a Turkic ethnic group who make up the majority of the population of the Kyrgyz Republic. The word "Kyrgyz" is one of the oldest recorded ethnic names for a Central Asian cultural group, appearing in ancient Chinese writings. The word is thought to be derived from "Kirk Kyiz" ("Forty Girls"), which is said to be a reference to the legendary original forty Kyrgyz tribes.
Like all Turkic languages, Kyrgyz is agglutinative; meanings are created by adding endings to words, instead of using prepositions as in English. For example, the Kyrgyz word for eat is "zhe" (pronounced "jay"), adding a "b" sound to the end indicated not doing the action, and adding an "aim" to the end makes it a first person action: "zhebaim" ("jaybaim") means "I do not eaten/will not eat."
The above example also demonstrates another facet of the Kyrgyz language: it contains no future tense. The past tense is expressed by adding a "d" sound to the ending, but the same ending is used for present and future tense. Whether the speaker means current events or future ones depends on context.
The Kyrgyz language also employs vowel harmony, like many Turkic languages. The vowel sounds used in Kyrgyz are paired together, such as in the case of the Kyrgyz "a" and "y" or "o" and "u." A true Kyrgyz word would never contain both "a" and "o," making it easy to recognize loanwords. Due to their colonial history, Kyrgyz people have been heavily influenced by Russian culture and language, and the Kyrgyz language contains many Russian loanwords.