About the Turkish Language
Turkish is a branch of the Turkic language family. It is spoken as an official language by approximately 70 million people in Turkey and in Northern Cyprus. Additionally, there is a minority of approximately one million Turkish speakers in Bulgaria, and more than two million Turkish immigrants in Western European countries, especially Germanyand the Netherlands.
Standard Turkish, which you will hear in this Pimsleur course, is based on the dialect of Istanbul. Its predecessor, Ottoman Turkish, was written in the Arabic alphabet from the 13th century onwards and was heavily influenced by the non-related languages Persian and Arabic. The need for a language reform began to be articulated in the 19th century. In 1928 the Arabic alphabet was replaced by a Latin-based alphabet.
Since some Turkish sounds did not have an equivalent in the Latin alphabet an additional letter was created (“ı”-undotted i) and diacritical marks were included (cedilla, circumflex, breve, and umlaut). In addition to changing the script, Arabic and Persian lexical and syntactical elements were replaced by Turkish ones throughout the language reform during the 1930s.
Turkish is an “agglutinative” language, which means that grammatical relations such as past tense, possession, plural, etc. are expressed by adding suffixes to unchanging root words. The vowels of the suffixes change according to the last vowel of the word they are attached to. This important feature of Turkish is called “vowel harmony.”
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