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An Uzbek university is said to have forbidden students from using a widespread term to address teachers and professors in favor of Russian-style patronymics reminiscent of Soviet days. A reversion to teachers' first names followed by patronymics ending in "-ich" for men and "-ovna" for women would be especially puzzling in Uzbekistan, where President Islam Karimov's administration has spent the two decades since the breakup of the U. Another aim might simply be to standardize university mores across the country. After Uzbekistan declared its independence from the Soviet Union in , students took to addressing their teachers in a variety of ways, although the most popular was almost certainly "Ustoz. In many Uzbek schools, the honorific "Aka" for males or "Opa" for women -- denoting respect for elders but literally meaning "Uncle" and "Aunt" -- were tacked onto teachers' first names. Some of the most popular forms of addressing teachers across Central Asia's most populous country, however, have been Arabic words or other terms with their roots in religion, specifically Islam.
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