Thursday, December 3, 2015

Language facts: Turkish

Turkish is predominantly used in Turkey and Cyprus. It has approximately 63 million speakers many of which can also be found in Greece, Bulgaria and other parts of Eastern Europe. Modern Turkish language has been highly influenced by Ottoman Turkish and has expanded as the Ottoman Empire grew. Turkish is also spoken by several million immigrants in Western Europe, mainly Germany, where a major Turkish diaspora exists. 
Ankara.
Source: DollarPhotoClub.com

Not so common language family

Turkish belongs to Turkic language family (as its most significant representative), namely to the group of Oghuz languages. Oghuz Turkic languages – such as Azerbaijani, Turkmen, Qashqai, or Gagauz – are characteristic with a high degree of mutual intelligibility.
Some features of Turkish language, such as lack of genders in grammar, no noun classes, vowel harmony, or agglutination (the process in which complex words are comprised of combining various morphemes in a string) are common throughout the entire Turkic language family. Turkish also features a considerable amount of loanwords from Arabic and Persian, due to the adoption of Islam by Ottoman ancestors, the Seljuq Turks. In fact, the Ottoman Turkish was a blend of Turkish, Arabic and Persian (not really compatible with today's Turkish).

"Republican" language reform

The establishment of Modern Turkish language in everyday use resulted from the foundation of the Republic of Turkey and was strongly supported by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (interesting fact: "Atatürk" is not a real surname of the first Turkish president, but an honorary title that directly means "father of all Turks". Turkish parliament even banned the name to be used in connection with any other person – by law). As the Ottoman language (that was used as administrative language of the empire) consisted of too many loanwords of Persian and Arabic origin, the aim of the language reform was to replace these terms with original Turkish expressions. It's quite funny though that Atatürk himself often used Ottoman terms in his speeches, which resulted in his 1927 speech to the new Parliament being repeatedly translated into Modern Turkish to make it comprehensible to younger generations.

Alphabet

In 1928, as a result of Atatürk's reform, the original Ottoman script was replaced with a phonetic variant of the Latin alphabet, but with some additions. 

A B C Ç D E F G Ğ H I I J K L M N O Ö P R S Ş T U Ü V Y Z

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 z

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