Turkish Language

Our subject is Türkçe, the Language of the Republic of Turkey. When we Turks want to distinguish it from the other members of its linguistic family whose borders extend from the Adriatic Sea and the Balkans to China, we informally call it İstanbul Türkçesi (Istanbul Turkish) and formally Turkiye Türkçesi (Turkey Turkish). However English speaking scholars tend to refer to the Language of Turkey as ‘Turkish’ and its linguistic family ‘Turkic’. So those will be our words also in our studies.

Turkish is a member of Oghuz group of the Turkic family while the others are: the Turkic dialects of the Balkans and Cyprus; Azeri, spoken in Azerbaijan and north-west Persia; the Turkmen or Turcoman of Turkmenistan.

On the other hand it is still being questioned if the Turkic family itself is a branch of a larger ‘Altaic’ family where Mongol, Tunguz an even Korean is part of. There is a good reason for all these languages considered to be in the same family and that is their share of three features; agglutination (adding suffix to suffix in one same word and achieving a phrase or a sentence), vowel harmony and not using any grammatical gender.

All these three features may look and sound alien for English or any other Western language speakers. Rightly so, however our methods of teaching and practicing will make you familiar with these alien rules and once the logic behind them is digested, it will all make sense.

Reform of the Turkish

The Turkish Language experienced one, immediate reform in 1928 when Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, decreed the Arabic-Persian alphabet to be changed to the Latin. In the following years a gradual and subtle – yet effective – reform has also taken place in the field of vocabulary. Officially sponsored by the government and supported all the way by the majority of the writers, it has resulted in the creation of a new written and spoken language. Apart from changes in the literary, commercial and conversational vocabulary, with some four to five thousand neologisms replacing loan-words from Arabic and Persian, the whole scientific terminology (originally Arabic) has been replaced by one based largely on western European Languages.

Nevertheless, now that the flood of neologisms has subsided, more and more of the old words are reappearing and some have never been changed at all as in the example of ‘saat’ originally Arabic meaning time. Add also the steady flow of especially English with some French words due to constant technological developments; the purity of Turkish had always been threatened. Therefore above mentioned three specific set of rules are not valid when confronted with those loan-words and even more complex set of rules or irregularities are in place.

So my advice to you would be to hire a Professional, definitely an Academic and with a lot of teaching experience on this subject. So, I will say my farewell for now in Turkish and also wish you luck.

İyi şanslar, Görüşürüz!




*This narrative piece of information about the Turkish Language has been partly my personal intellectual collection through the years. The reason that I have not indicated any sources is that the information provided here could have been given by any intellectual and academic Turk. However for those of you interested in reading and studying further, a list of referential books and texts with sources will be provided.