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The Turkish language

The Turkish language

The Turkish Language originated in The Altay Mountain Range in Northern Siberia centuries ago. For this reason it is called an Altaic Language. As the nomads expanded further into Asia Minor, they brought their language with them to Asia Minor, namely Turkey.

Turkish being a language emanating from Central Asia, is spoken from the borders of Greece to the hinterland of Western China. There may also be some affinity with the Hungarian, Finnish, Korean and some of the indigenous American Indian languages. (extra info for website: The earliest Turkic inscriptions date from the 7th century and Islamic texts written in Turkic appear in the 11th century.)

As an Altaic language, Turkish has virtually nothing in common with English or other Indo-European languages except for some loan words, usually from French or English.
Turkish grammar is complex, but also quite regular. Its two most characteristic features are : (1) vowel harmony (vowels within a word follow certain harmonic patterns) and (2) agglutination (addition suffixes to words.) These suffixes determine the positve/negative, interrogative, tense, active/passive features, modals and pronouns of the main verb; eg. gidemeyebilirim “I may not be able to go.” The suffix çi is used to describe “one who sells/does”; eg. gevrekçi. The suffix li means “with”, and “siz” without; eg. şekerli/ şekersiz, with/without sugar. Another ending: Hane, means “house of” and can be added to nouns to mean “place where”; eg. hastane, postane, kıraathane, kahvehane, meyhane  places for the sick, post, reading, coffee, and drinking.

Another interesting feature is that there is no gender in Turkish. The pronoun, "o", for example, means "he", "she" and "it" and is thus easy to use.

The Turkish Alphabet

Turkish spelling is highly phonetic and a word's pronunciation is always completely identified by its spelling. The following table presents the 29 Turkish letters, the sounds they correspond to in the International Phonetic Alphabet and how these can be approximated more or less by an English speaker.
Since 1928, Turkish has been written in a slightly modified Latin alphabet which is very nearly phonetic.
The Turkish alphabet has 8 vowels (A, E, I, İ, O, Ö, U, Ü ) and 21 consonants. The letters Q,W and X do not exist in Turkish. There is also a “ğ” which is called a soft g and enables syllables to flow.

 

Letter

Turkish Word

Pronounced:

Meaning

A a

anaokulu, açık

a

Kindergarten,

open

B b

Banka, balık

ba/be (based on vowel harmony)

Bank, fish

C c

Mescid

j

mosque, glass

Ç ç

çöp, çok

the ch sound in English

trash/rubbish, a lot

D d

dikkat, durak

da/de (based on vowel harmony)

attention, bus stop

E e

elma, eczane 

e

apple, pharmacy

F f

futbol, fikir

fa/fe (based on vowel harmony)

football, idea

G g

gel, gezici 

g

come, traveling

Ğ ğ

Çiğ köfte

has no sound but softens the transition

raw meatballs

H h

hoş, hanım

h

pleasing, Mrs.

I ı

ılık ,rakı

 

Mild, rakı

İ i

içmek, ilk

e

To smoke/drink, first

J j

jandarma

j

gendarmerie

K k

köşk, kumru 

k

Mansion,

pigeon/local sandwich

L l

liman, lise 

l

port, high school

 

M m

milli, meyva 

m

national, fruit

N n

nefis, nargile 

n

great, water pipes

O o

otel, okul

 

hotel, school

Ö ö

Özel

 

private

P p

kapalı

p

closed

R r

merkez

r

center

S s

sokak, sanat

s

street, art

Ş ş

şehir, şampiyon

the sh sound in English

city, champ

T t

temiz, tek 

t

Clean, "one on"

U u

Rusca, uçak

 

long, airplane

Ü ü

büyük

 

big, high

V v

Devlet 

v

state

Y y

Yeni, yangın

y

new, fire

Z z

zade, zar

z

Family of, dice