Before going deep down in its history and alphabet; the standard blow-your-mind for the Turkish Language example is:
Afyonkarahisarlilastiramadiklarimizdanmisiniz? (45 characters)
Are you one of those people whom we tried -unsuccessfully- to make to resemble the citizens of Afyonkarahisar?
This was once the record and pretty popular for a long while till another word walked on the stage:
“Muvaffakiyetsizlestiricilestiriveremeyebileceklerimizdenmissinizcesine” (70 characters)
It is spread over a large geographical area in Europe and Asia; recent studies show that it goes back 5500 years, most widely spoken and perhaps even 8500. At the same time, it is one of the most widely spoken tongues in the most spoken, to be precise. It is spoken in the Azeri, the Turkmen, the Tatars, the Uzbek, the Baskurti, the Nogay, the Kırgız, the Kazakh, the Yakuti, the Cuvas and other dialects. It belongs to the Altaic branch of the Ural-Altaic family, and thus is closely related to Mongolian, Manchu-Tungus, Korean, and perhaps Japanese. Some scholars have maintained that these resemblances are not fundamental, but rather the result of borrowings. However, comparative Altaistic studies in recent years demonstrate that the language we have listed all go back to a common Ur-Altaic.
It is a very ancient language, with a flawless phonetic, morphological and syntactic structure, and at the same time possesses a wealth of vocabulary. The fundamental features which distinguish the Ural-Altaic family from the Indo-European are as follows:
- Vowel harmony, a feature of all Ural-Altaic tongues.
- The absence of gender.
- Adjectives precede nouns.
Verbs come at the end of the sentence. The name of the script of the language spoken in Turkey properly, the dialect falls into the southwestern dialects of the Western language family and also into the dialects of the Oguz Turkmen group. In Turkey, it is considered in a historical context, it can be classified according to three separate periods because of the inherent characteristics of each of the periods:
Old Anatolian (Old Ottoman – between the 13th and the 15th centuries)
The oldest written records are found upon stone monuments in Central Asia, in the Orhon, Yenisey and Talas regions within the boundaries of present-day Mongolia. These were erected to Bilge Kagan (735), Kultigin (732), and the vizier Tonyukuk (724-726). Apart from these, there are some one hundred inscriptions of various sizes mentioned by the Swedish army officer Johan von Strahlenberg. The first to read them and publish his results was the Danish Turcologist Wilhelm Thomsen, while the Russian Turkologist (of Prussian extraction) Wilhelm Radloff contributed in a major way to the deciphering of the script. The perfection of it used in these records, which document the social and political life of the Gokturk Dynasty, proves that as a language of letters, it has been in use from very ancient times.
In later periods many forms of writing would appear as Nestorian writing in the northeast, Sogd, Uighur, and Pali writings in the southeast, Manichaean texts. In Brahman writing, and from the 11th century onward, Arabic script for Islamic texts. In addition, depending on the region in which they lived, the Turks have employed Suryani, Armenian, Georgian and ancient Greek alphabets, producing literary works which have transmitted the culture up to the present day.
After the waning of the Gokturk state, the Uighurs produced many written texts that are the most important source works for the language. The Uighurs produced many written texts that are the most important source works it. The Uighurs abandoned shamanism (the original religion of Turks) in favor of Buddhism, Manichaeanism, and Brahmanism, and translated the pious and philosophical works of all of them into Turkish. Examples are Altun Yaruk, Mautrisimit, Sekiz Yukmek, Huastunift, etc. These were collected by European Turkologists in Türkische Turfan-Texte.
The Kokturk (Gokturk) inscriptions, together with Uighur writings, are in a language called by scholars Old Turkish. This term refers to the Turkish spoken, prior to the conversion to Islam, on the steppes of Mongolia and Tarim basin.
With the emergence of the Cagatay Dynasty, which came about when the Empire of Genghis Khan was divided among his sons, a new wave of the literature was born and flowered under the influence of Persian literature. It reached its pinnacle with the works of Ali Sir Nevai in the 15th century.
Ottoman Era (from the 16th to the 19th century)
In Turkey, it developed in Anatolia and across the Bosphorus in the times of the Seljuks and Ottomans was used in several valuable literary works prior to the 13th century. The men of letters of the time were, notably, Sultan Veled, the son of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi, Ahmed Fakih, Seyyad Hamza, Yunus Emre, a prominent thinker of the time, and the famed poet, Gulsehri.
Up to the 16th Century
With the spread of Islam among the Turks from the 10th century onward, it came under the heavy influence of Arabic and Persian cultures.
The Divanu-Lugati’t-Turk (1072), the dictionary edited by Kacgarli Mahmut to assist Arabs to learn Turkish, was written in Arabic. In the following century, Edip Ahmet Mahmut Yukneri wrote his book Atabetu’l-Hakayik, in Eastern Turkish, but the title was in Arabic. All these are indications of the strong influence of the new religion and culture on Turks.
In spite of the heavy influence of Islam, in texts written in Anatolian one, the number of words of foreign origin is minimal. The most important reason for this is that during the period mentioned, effective measures were taken to minimize the influence of other cultures. For example, during the Karahanlilar period, there was a significant resistance of it against the Arabic and Persian languages. The first masterpiece of the Muslim Turks, Kutadgu Bilig by Yusuf Has Hacib, was written also in Turkish in 1069.
Ali Sir Nevai of the Cagatay Turks defended the superiority of it from various points of view vis-a-vis Persian in his book Muhakemetul-Lugateyn, written in 1498.
During the time of the Anatolian Seljuks and Karamanogullari, efforts were made resulting in the acceptance of it as the official language and in the publication of a dictionary, Divini Turki, by Sultan Veled (1277).
Ahmet Fakih, Seyyat Hamza and Yunus Emre adopted the same attitude in their use of ancient Anatolian version, which was in use till 1299. Moreover, after the emergence of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Orhan promulgated the first official document of the State, the “Mulkname” as well.
In the 14th century, Asikpasa, Gulsehri, Ahmedi and Kaygusuz Abdal, in the 15th century Suleyman Celebi and Hacı Bayram and in the 16th century Pir Sultan Abdal and Koroglu were the leading poets of their time, pioneering the literary use of it. In 1530, Kadri Efendi of Bergama published the first study of the grammar, Muyessiretul-Ulum.
The outstanding characteristic in the evolution of the written language during these periods was that terminology of foreign origin was accompanied with the indigenous. Furthermore, during the 14th and 15th centuries translations were made particularly in the fields of medicine, botany, astronomy, mathematics and Islamic studies, which promoted the introduction of a great number of scientific terms of foreign origin into the written version, either in their authentic form or with its own transcriptions.
Scientific treatises made use of both written and vernacular, but the scientific terms were generally of foreign origin, particularly Arabic.
The Evolution since the 16th Century
The harmony with the foreign words in poetry and science did not last forever. Particularly after the 16th-century foreign terms dominated written texts, in fact, some words disappeared altogether from the written language. In the field of literature, a great passion for creating artwork of high quality persuaded the ruling elite to attribute a higher value to literary works containing a high proportion of Arabic and Persian vocabulary, which resulted in the domination of foreign elements over the language. This development was at its extreme in the literary works originating in the palace. This trend of royal literature eventually had its impact on folk literature, and numerous foreign words and phrases were used by folk poets.
The extensive use of Arabic and Persian in science and literature not only influenced the spoken language in the palace and its surroundings but as time went by, it also persuaded the Ottoman intelligentsia to adopt and utilize a form of palace language heavily reliant on foreign elements.
As a result, there came into being two different types of languages. One in which foreign elements dominated and the second was the spoken language used by the public.
From the 16th to the middle of the 19th century, it was used in science and literature was supplemented and enriched by the inclusion of foreign items under the influence of foreign cultures. However, since there was no systematic effort to limit the inclusion of foreign words in the language, too many began to appear.
In the mid-19th century, Ottoman Reformation (tanzimat) enabled a new understanding and approach to linguistic issues to emerge, as in many other matters of social nature.
The community which had been under the influence of Eastern culture was exposed to the cultural environment of the West. As a result, ideological developments such as the outcome of reformation and nationalism in the West began to influence the Turks community, and thus important changes came into being in the cultural and ideological life of the country.
The most significant characteristic with respect to the language was the tendency to eliminate foreign vocabulary. In the years of the Reformation, the number of newspaper, magazines, and periodicals increased and accordingly the need for purifying became apparent. The writing of Namik Kemal, Ali Suavi, Ziya Pasha, Ahmet Mithat Efendi and Semsettin Sami which appeared in various newspapers tackled the problem of simplification.
The 20th Century
Efforts aimed at Turkification of the language by scholars like Ziya Gokalp became even more intensive at the beginning of the 20th century.
Furthermore, during the reform period of 1839, the emphasis was on theoretical linguistics whereas during the second constitutional period it was on the implementation and use of the new trend. Consequently, new linguists published successful examples of the purified language in the periodical Genc Kalemler (Young Writers).
The Republican Era and Language Reform
With the proclamation of the Republic in 1923 and after the process of national integration in the 1923-1928 period, the subject of adopting a new alphabet became an issue of utmost importance.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had the Latin alphabet adapted its vowel system, believing that to reach the level of contemporary civilization, it was essential to benefit from western culture.The creation of the Turkish Language Society in 1932 was another milestone in the effort to reform it. The studies of the society later renamed the Turkish Linguistic Association, concentrated on making use again of the authentic words discovered in linguistic surveys and research and bore fruitful results.
At present, in conformity with the relevant provision of the 1982 Constitution, the association continues to function within the organizational framework of the Atatürk High Institution of Culture, Language, and History.
The essential outcome of the developments in the last 50-60 years is that whereas before 1932 the use of authentic. The words in written texts were 35-40 percent, this figure has risen to 75-80 percent in recent years.
This is concrete proof that Ataturk’s revolution gained the full support of the public.
The alphabet has 29 letters, 8 of which are vowels and 21 are consonants. The language is written phonetically.
The pronunciation of the specific letters:
Written – Pronunciation
A,a as in French, Spanish papa (English bus)
B,b as in English, French
C,c as in John
Ç,ç as in chair
D,d as in English, French
E,e as in get
F,f as in English, French
G,g as in game
Ğ,ğ ( pronounced as yumusak g == soft g ) as in yet or mute
H,h as in English, in the south as in german ich or Bach
I,ı ( called the undotted i ) as in legend, nation
İ,i ( called the dotted i ) as in French lit, Spanish mi
J,j as in French Jeune, English pleasure
K,k as in English, French
L,l as in English, French
M,m as in English, French
N,n as in English, French
O,o as in French port ( pure open o )
Ö,ö as in French peu, German Köln
P,p as in English, French
R,r as in Spanish pero, Italian però
S,s as in sand
Ş,ş as in shoe
T,t as in French tour, Spanish Torre
U,u as in pull
Ü,ü as in French Voiture, German München
V,v as in English, French
Y,y as in yellow
Z,z as in English
The alphabet does not know the Q, W, and X. In general, stress has to be placed on the last syllable in a word. All letters must be pronounced. The spelling of Turkish Language is phonetic and it is said to be agglutinative while also no prefixes are being used.