This article is about the language called Turkish.
For the language family it belongs to, see Turkic languages.
|Pronunciation||Türkçe: [ˈtyɾctʃe (listen)
Türk dili: Turkish pronunciation: [ˈtyɾc 'dili
|Native to||Turkey (official), Northern Cyprus (official), Cyprus (official), Azerbaijan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Region||Anatolia, Balkans, Cyprus, Mesopotamia, Levant, Transcaucasia|
|Native speakers||75.7 million (2002–2018)|
|Early forms||Old Anatolian Turkish|
|Standard forms||Istanbul Turkish|
|Writing system||Latin (Turkish alphabet)|
|Official language in||Turkey
|Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Regulated by||Turkish Language Association|
|Linguasphere||part of 44-AAB-a|
Turkish (Türkçe (listen), Türk dili), also referred to as Istanbul Turkish (İstanbul Türkçesi) or Turkey Turkish (Türkiye Türkçesi), is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages, with around 70 to 80 million speakers, the national language of Turkey.
Outside its native country, significant smaller groups of speakers exist in Iraq, Syria, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, Greece, the Caucasus, and other parts of Europe and Central Asia.
Cyprus has requested that the European Union add Turkish as an official language, even though Turkey is not a member state.
To the west, the influence of Ottoman Turkish—the variety of the Turkish language that was used as the administrative and literary language of the Ottoman Empire—spread as the Ottoman Empire expanded.
The basic word order of Turkish is subject–object–verb.
The plural second-person pronoun and verb forms are used referring to a single person out of respect.
Main article: Turkic languages
Classification of the Turkic languages is complicated.
After the discovery and excavation of these monuments and associated stone slabs by Russian archaeologists in the wider area surrounding the Orkhon Valley between 1889 and 1893, it became established that the language on the inscriptions was the Old Turkic language written using the Old Turkic alphabet, which has also been referred to as "Turkic runes" or "runiform" due to a superficial similarity to the Germanic runic alphabets.
With the Turkic expansion during Early Middle Ages (c. 6th–11th centuries), peoples speaking Turkic languages spread across Central Asia, covering a vast geographical region stretching from Siberia all the way to Europe and the Mediterranean.
Also during the 11th century, an early linguist of the Turkic languages, Mahmud al-Kashgari from the Kara-Khanid Khanate, published the first comprehensive Turkic language dictionary and map of the geographical distribution of Turkic speakers in the Compendium of the Turkic Dialects (Ottoman Turkish: Divânü Lügati't-Türk).
Main article: Ottoman Turkish language
See also: Old Anatolian Turkish
Following the adoption of Islam c. 950 by the Kara-Khanid Khanate and the Seljuq Turks, who are both regarded as the ethnic and cultural ancestors of the Ottomans, the administrative language of these states acquired a large collection of loanwords from Arabic and Persian.
The literary and official language during the Ottoman Empire period (c. 1299–1922) is termed Ottoman Turkish, which was a mixture of Turkish, Persian, and Arabic that differed considerably and was largely unintelligible to the period's everyday Turkish.
The everyday Turkish, known as kaba Türkçe or "rough Turkish", spoken by the less-educated lower and also rural members of society, contained a higher percentage of native vocabulary and served as basis for the modern Turkish language.
Language reform and modern Turkish
After the foundation of the modern state of Turkey and the script reform, the Turkish Language Association (TDK) was established in 1932 under the patronage of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, with the aim of conducting research on Turkish.
By banning the usage of imported words in the press, the association succeeded in removing several hundred foreign words from the language.
While most of the words introduced to the language by the TDK were newly derived from Turkic roots, it also opted for reviving Old Turkish words which had not been used for centuries.
Owing to this sudden change in the language, older and younger people in Turkey started to differ in their vocabularies.
While the generations born before the 1940s tend to use the older terms of Arabic or Persian origin, the younger generations favor new expressions.
It is considered particularly ironic that Atatürk himself, in his lengthy speech to the new Parliament in 1927, used a style of Ottoman which sounded so alien to later listeners that it had to be "translated" three times into modern Turkish: first in 1963, again in 1986, and most recently in 1995.
The past few decades have seen the continuing work of the TDK to coin new Turkish words to express new concepts and technologies as they enter the language, mostly from English.
Many of these new words, particularly information technology terms, have received widespread acceptance.
However, the TDK is occasionally criticized for coining words which sound contrived and artificial.
Some earlier changes—such as bölem to replace fırka, "political party"—also failed to meet with popular approval (fırka has been replaced by the French loanword parti).
Some examples of modern Turkish words and the old loanwords are:
|Ottoman Turkish||Modern Turkish||English translation||Comments|
|müselles||üçgen||triangle||Compound of the noun üç the suffix -gen|
|tayyare||uçak||aeroplane||Derived from the verb uçmak ("to fly"). The word was first proposed to mean "airport".|
|nispet||oran||ratio||The old word is still used in the language today together with the new one. The modern word is from the Old Turkic verb or- (to cut).|
|şimal||kuzey||north||Derived from the Old Turkic noun kuz ("cold and dark place", "shadow"). The word is restored from Middle Turkic usage.|
|teşrinievvel||ekim||October||The noun ekim means "the action of planting", referring to the planting of cereal seeds in autumn, which is widespread in Turkey|
For a more comprehensive list, see List of replaced loanwords in Turkish.
See also: Turkish diaspora
Turkish language is mutually intelligible with Azerbaijani and other Turkic languages.
In particular, Turkish-speaking minorities exist in countries that formerly (in whole or part) belonged to the Ottoman Empire, such as Iraq, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece (primarily in Western Thrace), the Republic of North Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia.
More than two million Turkish speakers live in Germany; and there are significant Turkish-speaking communities in the United States, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Due to the cultural assimilation of Turkish immigrants in host countries, not all ethnic members of the diaspora speak the language with native fluency.
In 2005 93% of the population of Turkey were native speakers of Turkish, about 67 million at the time, with Kurdish languages making up most of the remainder.
In Turkey, the regulatory body for Turkish is the Turkish Language Association (Türk Dil Kurumu or TDK), which was founded in 1932 under the name Türk Dili Tetkik Cemiyeti ("Society for Research on the Turkish Language").
The Turkish Language Association was influenced by the ideology of linguistic purism: indeed one of its primary tasks was the replacement of loanwords and of foreign grammatical constructions with equivalents of Turkish origin.
The TDK became an independent body in 1951, with the lifting of the requirement that it should be presided over by the Minister of Education.
Main article: Turkish dialects
Modern standard Turkish is based on the dialect of Istanbul.
Academic researchers from Turkey often refer to Turkish dialects as ağız or şive, leading to an ambiguity with the linguistic concept of accent, which is also covered with these words.
Several universities, as well as a dedicated work-group of the Turkish Language Association, carry out projects investigating Turkish dialects.
As of 2002 work continued on the compilation and publication of their research as a comprehensive dialect-atlas of the Turkish language.
Edirne is the dialect of Edirne.
This group is not to be confused with the Yuruk nomads of Macedonia, Greece, and European Turkey, who speak Balkan Gagauz Turkish.
Güneydoğu is spoken in the southeast, to the east of Mersin.
The Meskhetian Turks who live in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Russia as well as in several Central Asian countries, also speak an Eastern Anatolian dialect of Turkish, originating in the areas of Kars, Ardahan, and Artvin and sharing similarities with Azerbaijani, the language of Azerbaijan.
The Central Anatolia Region speaks Orta Anadolu.
Karadeniz, spoken in the Eastern Black Sea Region and represented primarily by the Trabzon dialect, exhibits substratum influence from Greek in phonology and syntax; it is also known as Laz dialect (not to be confused with the Laz language).
Kastamonu is spoken in Kastamonu and its surrounding areas.
Karamanli Turkish is spoken in Greece, where it is called Kαραμανλήδικα.
It is the literary standard for the Karamanlides.
Main article: Turkish phonology
See Turkish alphabet for a pronunciation guide
At least one source claims Turkish consonants are larengially specified three-way fortis-lenis (aspirated/neutral/voiced) like Armenian.
The phoneme that is usually referred to as yumuşak g ("soft g"), written ⟨ğ⟩ in Turkish orthography, represents a vowel sequence or a rather weak bilabial approximant between rounded vowels, a weak palatal approximant between unrounded front vowels, and a vowel sequence elsewhere.
It never occurs at the beginning of a word or a syllable, but always follows a vowel.
When word-final or preceding another consonant, it lengthens the preceding vowel.
In native Turkic words, the sounds [c], [ɟ], and [l] are in complementary distribution with [k], [ɡ], and [ɫ]; the former set occurs adjacent to front vowels and the latter adjacent to back vowels.
The distribution of these phonemes is often unpredictable, however, in foreign borrowings and proper nouns.
In such words, [c], [ɟ], and [l] often occur with back vowels: some examples are given below.
Main article: Final-obstruent devoicing
Turkish orthography reflects final-obstruent devoicing, a form of consonant mutation whereby a voiced obstruent, such as /b d dʒ ɡ/, is devoiced to [p t tʃ k] at the end of a word or before a consonant, but retains its voicing before a vowel.
In loan words, the voiced equivalent of /k/ is /g/; in native words, it is /ğ/.
|Dictionary form||Dative case /
However, in a few cases, such as ad /at/ 'name' (dative ada), the underlying form is retained in the spelling (cf.
at /at/ 'horse', dative ata).
Other exceptions are od 'fire' vs. ot 'herb', sac 'sheet metal', saç 'hair'.
Most loanwords, such as kitap above, are spelled as pronounced, but a few such as hac 'hajj', şad 'happy', and yad 'strange(r)' also show their underlying forms.
Native nouns of two or more syllables that end in /k/ in dictionary form are nearly all //ğ// in underlying form.
However, most verbs and monosyllabic nouns are underlyingly //k//.
The vowels of the Turkish language are, in their alphabetical order, ⟨a⟩, ⟨e⟩, ⟨ı⟩, ⟨i⟩, ⟨o⟩, ⟨ö⟩, ⟨u⟩, ⟨ü⟩.
The Turkish vowel system can be considered as being three-dimensional, where vowels are characterised by how and where they are articulated focusing on three key features: front and back, rounded and unrounded and vowel height.
Vowels are classified [±back], [±round] and [±high].
Further information: Vowel harmony
|Turkish Vowel Harmony||Front Vowels||Back Vowels|
|Vowel||e /e/||i /i/||ü /y/||ö /œ/||a /a/||ı /ɯ/||u /u/||o /o/|
|Fourfold (Backness + Rounding)||i||ü||ı||u|
The principle of vowel harmony, which permeates Turkish word-formation and suffixation, is due to the natural human tendency towards economy of muscular effort.
This principle is expressed in Turkish through three rules:
- If the first vowel of a word is a back vowel, any subsequent vowel is also a back vowel; if the first is a front vowel, any subsequent vowel is also a front vowel.
- If the first vowel is unrounded, so too are subsequent vowels.
- If the first vowel is rounded, subsequent vowels are either rounded and close or unrounded and open.
The second and third rules minimize muscular effort during speech.
More specifically, they are related to the phenomenon of labial assimilation: if the lips are rounded (a process that requires muscular effort) for the first vowel they may stay rounded for subsequent vowels.
If they are unrounded for the first vowel, the speaker does not make the additional muscular effort to round them subsequently.
Grammatical affixes have "a chameleon-like quality", and obey one of the following patterns of vowel harmony:
- twofold (-e/-a): the locative case suffix, for example, is -de after front vowels and -da after back vowels. The notation -de² is a convenient shorthand for this pattern.
- fourfold (-i/-ı/-ü/-u): the genitive case suffix, for example, is -in or -ın after unrounded vowels (front or back respectively); and -ün or -un after the corresponding rounded vowels. In this case, the shorthand notation -in is used.
Practically, the twofold pattern (also referred to as the e-type vowel harmony) means that in the environment where the vowel in the word stem is formed in the front of the mouth, the suffix will take the e-form, while if it is formed in the back it will take the a-form.
The fourfold pattern (also called the i-type) accounts for rounding as well as for front/back.
The following examples, based on the copula -dir ("[it] is"), illustrate the principles of i-type vowel harmony in practice: Türkiye'dir ("it is Turkey"), kapıdır ("it is the door"), but gündür ("it is the day"), paltodur ("it is the coat").
Exceptions to vowel harmony
These are of four classes of words that are exceptions to the rules of vowel harmony:
- Native, non-compound words, e.g. dahi "also," ela "light brown," elma "apple," hangi "which," hani "where," haydi "come on," inanmak "to believe," kardeş "brother," şişman "fat," anne "mother"
- Native compound words, e.g. bugün "today," dedikodu "gossip"
- Foreign words, e.g. ferman (< Farsi فرماندهی "command"), mikrop (< French microbe "microbe"), piskopos (< Greek επίσκοπος "bishop")
- Invariable suffixes: –daş (denoting common attachment to the concept expressed by the noun), –yor (denoting the present tense in the third person), –ane (turning adjectives or nouns into adverbs), –ken (meaning "while being"), –leyin (meaning "in/at/during"), –imtrak (weakening an adjective of color or taste in a way similar to the English suffix –ish as in blueish), –ki (making a pronoun or adjective out an adverb or a noun in the locative case), –gil (meaning "the house or family of"), –gen (referring to the name of plane figures)
|Invariable suffix||Turkish example||Meaning in English||Remarks|
|–daş||meslektaş||"colleague"||From meslek "profession."|
|–yor||geliyor||"he/she/it is coming"||From gel– "to come."|
|–ane||şahane||"regal"||From şah, "king."|
|–ken||uyurken||"while sleeping"||From uyu–, "to sleep."|
|–leyin||sabahleyin||"in the morning"||From sabah, "morning."|
|–imtrak||ekşimtrak||"sourish"||From ekşi, "sour."|
|–ki||ormandaki||"(that) in the forest"||From orman, "forest."|
|–gil||annemgiller||"my mother’s family"||From annem, "my mother."|
|–gen||altıgen||"hexagon"||From altı, "six."|
The road sign in the photograph above illustrates several of these features:
- a native compound which does not obey vowel harmony: Orta+köy ("middle village"—a place name)
- a loanword also violating vowel harmony: viyadük (< French viaduc "viaduct")
- the possessive suffix -i harmonizing with the final vowel (and softening the k by consonant alternation): viyadüğü
The rules of vowel harmony may vary by regional dialect.
The dialect of Turkish spoken in the Trabzon region of northeastern Turkey follows the reduced vowel harmony of Old Anatolian Turkish, with the additional complication of two missing vowels (ü and ı), thus there is no palatal harmony.
It's likely that elün meant "your hand" in Old Anatolian.
While the 2nd person singular possessive would vary between back and front vowel, -ün or -un, as in elün for "your hand" and kitabun for "your book", the lack of ü vowel in the Trabzon dialect means -un would be used in both of these cases — elun and kitabun.
Further information: Turkish phonology § Word-accent
With the exceptions stated below, Turkish words are oxytone (accented on the last syllable).
Exceptions to word-accent rules
- Place-names are not oxytone: Anádolu (Anatolia), İstánbul. Most place names are accented on their first syllable as in Páris and Zónguldak. This holds true when place names are spelled the same way as common nouns, which are oxytone: mısír (maize), Mísır (Egypt), sirkecí (vinegar-seller), Sírkeci (district in Istanbul), bebék (doll, baby), Bébek (district in Istanbul), ordú (army), Órdu (a Turkish city on the Black Sea).
- Foreign nouns usually retain their original accentuation, e.g., lokánta (< Italian locanda "restaurant"), ólta (< Greek βόλτα "fishing line"), gazéte (< Italian gazzetta "newspaper")
- Some words about family members and living creatures have irregular accentuation: ánne (mother), ábla (older sister), görúmce (husband’s sister), yénge (brother’s wife), hála (paternal aunt), téyze (maternal aunt), ámca (paternal uncle), çekírge (grasshopper), karínca (ant), kokárca (skunk)
- Adverbs are usually accented on the first syllable, e.g., şímdi (now), sónra (after), ánsızın (suddenly), gérçekten (really), (but gerçektén (from reality)), kíşın (during winter)
- Compound words are accented on the end of the first element, e.g., çíplak (naked), çırílçıplak (stark naked), bakán (minister), báşbakan (prime minister)
- Diminutives constructed by suffix –cik are accented on the first syllable, e.g., úfacık (very tiny), évcik (small house)
- Words with enclitic suffixes, –Ie (meaning "with,") –ken (meaning "while,") –ce (creating an adverb,) –leyin (meaning "in" or "during,") –me (negating the verbal stem,) –yor (denoting the present tense)
- Enclitic words, which shift the accentuation to the previous syllable, e.g., –ol (meaning to be,) mi, (denoting a question,) gibi (meaning similar to,) için (for,) ki (that,) de (too)
- definite (possessive) compound (belirtili tamlama). E.g. Türkiye'nin sesi "the voice of Turkey (radio station)": the voice belonging to Turkey. Here the relationship is shown by the genitive ending -in added to the first noun; the second noun has the third-person suffix of possession -(s)i.
- indefinite (qualifying) compound (belirtisiz tamlama). E.g. Türkiye Cumhuriyeti "Turkey-Republic = the Republic of Turkey": not the republic belonging to Turkey, but the Republic that is Turkey. Here the first noun has no ending; but the second noun has the ending -(s)i—the same as in definite compounds.
The following table illustrates these principles.
In some cases the constituents of the compounds are themselves compounds; for clarity these subsidiary compounds are marked with [square brackets].
The suffixes involved in the linking are underlined.
Note that if the second noun group already had a possessive suffix (because it is a compound by itself), no further suffix is added.
|Definite (possessive)||Indefinite (qualifier)||Complement||Meaning|
|"kimse"||yanıtı||the answer "nobody"|
|Atatürk||Bulvarı||Atatürk Boulevard (named after, not belonging to Atatürk)|
|"Orhan"||adı||the name "Orhan"|
|r||sessizi||the consonant r|
|[r sessizi]nin||söylenişi||pronunciation of the consonant r|
|Türk||[Dil Kurumu]||Turkish language-association|
|[Türk Dili]||Dergisi||Turkish-language magazine|
|Ford||[aile arabası]||Ford family car|
|Ford'un||[aile arabası]||(Mr) Ford's family car|
|[Ford ailesi]nin||arabası||the Ford family's car|
|Ankara||[Kız Lisesi]||Ankara Girls' School|
|[yıl sonu]||sınavları||year-end examinations|
|Bulgaristan'ın||[İstanbul Başkonsolosluğu]||the Istanbul Consulate-General of Bulgaria (located in Istanbul, but belonging to Bulgaria)|
|[ [İstanbul Üniversitesi] [Edebiyat Fakültesi] ]||[ [Türk Edebiyatı] Profesörü]||Professor of Turkish Literature in the Faculty of Literature of the University of Istanbul|
|ne oldum||delisi||"what-have-I-become!" madman = parvenu who gives himself airs|
As the last example shows, the qualifying expression may be a substantival sentence rather than a noun or noun group.
There is a third way of linking the nouns where both nouns take no suffixes (takısız tamlama).
However, in this case the first noun acts as an adjective, e.g. Demir kapı (iron gate), elma yanak ("apple cheek", i.e. red cheek), kömür göz ("coal eye", i.e. black eye) :
Turkish adjectives are not declined.
However most adjectives can also be used as nouns, in which case they are declined: e.g. güzel ("beautiful") → güzeller ("(the) beautiful ones / people").
Used attributively, adjectives precede the nouns they modify.
The adjectives var ("existent") and yok ("non-existent") are used in many cases where English would use "there is" or "have", e.g. süt yok ("there is no milk", lit.
"(the) milk (is) non-existent"); the construction "noun 1-GEN noun 2-POSS var/yok" can be translated "noun 1 has/doesn't have noun 2"; imparatorun elbisesi yok "the emperor has no clothes" ("(the) emperor-of clothes-his non-existent"); kedimin ayakkabıları yoktu ("my cat had no shoes", lit.
"cat-my-of shoe-plur.-its non-existent-past tense").
See also: Turkish copula
Turkish verbs indicate person.
They can be made negative, potential ("can"), or impotential ("cannot").
Negation is expressed by the infix -me²- immediately following the stem.
|gelebil-||(to) be able to come|
|gelme-||not (to) come|
|geleme-||(to) be unable to come|
|gelememiş||Apparently (s)he couldn't come|
|gelebilecek||(s)he'll be able to come|
|gelmeyebilir||(s)he may (possibly) not come|
|gelebilirsen||if thou can come|
|gelinir||(passive) one comes, people come|
|gelebilmeliydin||thou shouldst have been able to come|
|gelebilseydin||if thou could have come|
|gelmeliydin||thou shouldst have come|
For the sake of simplicity the term "tense" is used here throughout, although for some forms "aspect" or "mood" might be more appropriate.)
There are 9 simple and 20 compound tenses in Turkish.
9 simple tenses are simple past (di'li geçmiş), inferential past (miş'li geçmiş), present continuous, simple present (aorist), future, optative, subjunctive, necessitative ("must") and imperative.
There are three groups of compound forms.
Story (hikaye) is the witnessed past of the above forms (except command), rumor (rivayet) is the unwitnessed past of the above forms (except simple past and command), conditional (koşul) is the conditional form of the first five basic tenses.
In the example below the second person singular of the verb gitmek ("go"), stem gid-/git-, is shown.
|English of the basic form||Basic tense||Story (hikaye)||Rumor (rivayet)||Condition (koşul)|
|you have gone||gitmişsin||gitmiştin||gitmişmişsin||gitmişsen|
|you are going||gidiyorsun||gidiyordun||gidiyormuşsun||gidiyorsan|
|you (are wont to) go||gidersin||giderdin||gidermişsin||gidersen|
|you will go||gideceksin||gidecektin||gidecekmişsin||gideceksen|
|if only you go||gitsen||gitseydin||gitseymişsin||–|
|may you go||gidesin||gideydin||gideymişsin||–|
|you must go||gitmelisin||gitmeliydin||gitmeliymişsin||–|
There are also so-called combined verbs, which are created by suffixing certain verb stems (like bil or ver) to the original stem of a verb.
Bil is the suffix for the sufficiency mood.
It is the equivalent of the English auxiliary verbs "able to", "can" or "may".
Ver is the suffix for the swiftness mood, kal for the perpetuity mood and yaz for the approach ("almost") mood.
Thus, while gittin means "you went", gidebildin means "you could go" and gidiverdin means "you went swiftly".
The tenses of the combined verbs are formed the same way as for simple verbs.
Attributive verbs (participles)
The most important function of some of these attributive verbs is to form modifying phrases equivalent to the relative clauses found in most European languages.
The subject of the verb in an -en form is (possibly implicitly) in the third person (he/she/it/they); this form, when used in a modifying phrase, does not change according to number.
The other attributive forms used in these constructions are the future (-ecek) and an older form (-dik), which covers both present and past meanings.
These two forms take "personal endings", which have the same form as the possessive suffixes but indicate the person and possibly number of the subject of the attributive verb; for example, yediğim means "what I eat", yediğin means "what you eat", and so on.
The use of these "personal or relative participles" is illustrated in the following table, in which the examples are presented according to the grammatical case which would be seen in the equivalent English relative clause.
|Case of relative pronoun||Pronoun||Literal||Idiomatic|
|Nominative||who, which/that||şimdi konuşan adam||"now speaking man"||the man (who is) now speaking|
|Genitive||whose (nom.)||babası şimdi konuşan adam||"father-is now speaking man"||the man whose father is now speaking|
|whose (acc.)||babasını dün gördüğüm adam||"father-is-ACC yesterday seen-my man"||the man whose father I saw yesterday|
|at whose||resimlerine baktığımız ressam||"pictures-is-to looked-our artist"||the artist whose pictures we looked at|
|of which||muhtarı seçildiği köy||"mayor-its been-chosen-his village"||the village of which he was elected mayor|
|of which||muhtarı seçilmek istediği köy||the village of which he wishes to be elected mayor|
|Remaining cases (incl. prepositions)||whom, which||yazdığım mektup||"written-my letter"||the letter (which) I wrote|
|from which||çıktığımız kapı||"emerged-our door"||the door from which we emerged|
|on which||geldikleri vapur||"come-their ship"||the ship they came on|
|which + subordinate clause||yaklaştığını anladığı hapishane günleri||"approach-their-ACC understood-his prison days-its"||the prison days (which) he knew were approaching|
Main article: Turkish vocabulary
Latest 2010 edition of Büyük Türkçe Sözlük (Great Turkish Dictionary), the official dictionary of the Turkish language published by Turkish Language Association, contains 616,767 words, expressions, terms and nouns, including place names and person names, both from the standard language and from dialects.
The 2005 edition of Güncel Türkçe Sözlük, the official dictionary of the Turkish language published by Turkish Language Association, contains 104,481 words, of which about 86% are Turkish and 14% are of foreign origin.
Among the most significant foreign contributors to Turkish vocabulary are Arabic, French, Persian, Italian, English, and Greek.
The majority of Turkish words originate from the application of derivative suffixes to a relatively small set of core vocabulary.
Turkish obeys certain principles when it comes to suffixation.
Most suffixes in Turkish will have more than one form, depending on the vowels and consonants in the root- vowel harmony rules will apply; consonant-initial suffixes will follow the voiced/ voiceless character of the consonant in the final unit of the root; and in the case of vowel-initial suffixes an additional consonant may be inserted if the root ends in a vowel, or the suffix may lose its initial vowel.
There is also a prescribed order of affixation of suffixes- as a rule of thumb, derivative suffixes precede inflectional suffixes which are followed by clitics, as can be seen in the example set of words derived from a substantive root below:
|gözlük||göz + -lük||eyeglasses||Noun|
|gözlükçü||göz + -lük + -çü||optician||Noun|
|gözlükçülük||göz + -lük + -çü + -lük||optician's trade||Noun|
|gözlem||göz + -lem||observation||Noun|
|gözlemci||göz + -lem + -ci||observer||Noun|
|gözle-||göz + -le||observe||Verb (order)|
|gözlemek||göz + -le + -mek||to observe||Verb (infinitive)|
|gözetlemek||göz + -et + -le + -mek||to peep||Verb (infinitive)|
Another example, starting from a verbal root:
|yat-||yat-||lie down||Verb (order)|
|yatmak||yat-mak||to lie down||Verb (infinitive)|
|yatık||yat- + -(ı)k||leaning||Adjective|
|yatak||yat- + -ak||bed, place to sleep||Noun|
|yatay||yat- + -ay||horizontal||Adjective|
|yatkın||yat- + -gın||inclined to; stale (from lying too long)||Adjective|
|yatır-||yat- + -(ı)r-||lay down||Verb (order)|
|yatırmak||yat- + -(ı)r-mak||to lay down something/someone||Verb (infinitive)|
|yatırım||yat- + -(ı)r- + -(ı)m||laying down; deposit, investment||Noun|
|yatırımcı||yat- + -(ı)r- + -(ı)m + -cı||depositor, investor||Noun|
New words are also frequently formed by compounding two existing words into a new one, as in German.
Compounds can be of two types- bare and (s)I.
The bare compounds, both nouns and adjectives are effectively two words juxtaposed without the addition of suffixes for example the word for girlfriend kızarkadaş (kız+arkadaş) or black pepper karabiber (kara+biber).
A few examples of compound words are given below:
|Turkish||English||Constituent words||Literal meaning|
|pazartesi||Monday||pazar ("Sunday") and ertesi ("after")||after Sunday|
|bilgisayar||computer||bilgi ("information") and say- ("to count")||information counter|
|gökdelen||skyscraper||gök ("sky") and del- ("to pierce")||sky piercer|
|başparmak||thumb||baş ("prime") and parmak ("finger")||primary finger|
|önyargı||prejudice||ön ("before") and yargı ("splitting; judgement")||fore-judging|
However, the majority of compound words in Turkish are (s)I compounds, which means that the second word will be marked by the 3rd person possessive suffix.
A few such examples are given in the table below (note vowel harmony):
|Turkish||English||Constituent words||Possessive Suffix|
|el çantası||handbag||el (hand) and çanta (bag)||+sı|
|masa örtüsü||tablecloth||masa (table) and örtü (cover)||+sü|
|çay bardağı||tea glass||çay (tea) and bardak (glass)||+ı (the k changes to ğ)|
The Ottoman alphabet marked only three different vowels—long ā, ū and ī—and included several redundant consonants, such as variants of z (which were distinguished in Arabic but not in Turkish).
The omission of short vowels in the Arabic script was claimed to make it particularly unsuitable for Turkish, which has eight vowels.
The reform of the script was an important step in the cultural reforms of the period.
The task of preparing the new alphabet and selecting the necessary modifications for sounds specific to Turkish was entrusted to a Language Commission composed of prominent linguists, academics, and writers.
The introduction of the new Turkish alphabet was supported by public education centers opened throughout the country, cooperation with publishing companies, and encouragement by Atatürk himself, who toured the country teaching the new letters to the public.
As a result, there was a dramatic increase in literacy from its original Third World levels.
The Latin alphabet was applied to the Turkish language for educational purposes even before the 20th-century reform.
Instances include a 1635 Latin-Albanian dictionary by Frang Bardhi, who also incorporated several sayings in the Turkish language, as an appendix to his work (e.g. alma agatsdan irak duschamas—"An apple does not fall far from its tree").
Most of the letters are used approximately as in English, the main exceptions being ⟨c⟩, which denotes [dʒ] (⟨j⟩ being used for the [ʒ] found in Persian and European loans); and the undotted ⟨ı⟩, representing [ɯ].
As in German, ⟨ö⟩ and ⟨ü⟩ represent [ø] and [y].
The letter ⟨ğ⟩, in principle, denotes [ɣ] but has the property of lengthening the preceding vowel and assimilating any subsequent vowel.
The letters ⟨ş⟩ and ⟨ç⟩ represent [ʃ] and [tʃ], respectively.
The Turkish alphabet consists of 29 letters (q, x, w omitted and ç, ş, ğ, ı, ö, ü added); the complete list is:
- a, b, c, ç, d, e, f, g, ğ, h, ı, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, ö, p, r, s, ş, t, u, ü, v, y, and z (Note that capital of i is İ and lowercase I is ı.)
The specifically Turkish letters and spellings described above are illustrated in this table:
|çalıştığı||tʃaɫɯʃtɯˈɣɯ||where/that (s)he works/worked|
Main article: Turkish bird language
The region consists of a series of deep valleys and the unusual mode of communication allows for conversation over distances of up to 5 kilometres.
Turkish authorities estimate that there are still around 10,000 people using the whistled language.
Since then the local education directorate has introduced it as a course in schools in the region, hoping to revive its use.
A study was conducted by a German scientist of Turkish origin Onur Güntürkün at Ruhr University, observing 31 "speakers" of kuş dili ("bird's tongue") from Kuşköy, and he found that the whistled language mirrored the lexical and syntactical structure of Turkish language.
Turkish computer keyboard
Turkish language uses two standardised keyboard layouts, known as Turkish Q (QWERTY) and Turkish F, with Turkish Q being the most common.
- Sun Language Theory
- Turkish name
- Turkish Sign Language
- List of English words of Turkic origin
- List of Turkish exonyms
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish language.