updated 10/18/2006 10:03:28 AM ET 2006-10-18T14:03:28

The Kazakhstan central bank has misspelled the word “bank” on its new notes, officials said Wednesday.

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The bank plans to put the misprinted notes — worth 2,000 tenge ($15) and 5,000-tenge — into circulation in November and then gradually withdraw them to correct the spelling.

The move has drawn the ire of the Central Asian state’s politicians who urged the bank to abandon the notes altogether.

“The mistake ... is not just a spelling problem — it has political undertones,” a letter from members of parliament to President Nursultan Nazarbayev said.

“We urge you to tell the National Bank not to put out the notes with a mistake in the Kazakh language.”

Language is a contentious issue in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhs were encouraged to speak Russian, which is written in Cyrillic script, during Soviet times but since independence in 1991, the country has seen the Kazakh language as a national symbol.

The Kazakh word for bank is the Cyrillic form of “bank.” On the new note, the word was written with an alternate Kazakh form of the letter K, which has a slightly different pronunciation.

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