Turkish is spoken as a first language by over 77 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Cyprus, with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania and other parts of Eastern Europe. Turkish is also spoken by several million immigrants in Western Europe, particularly in Germany. The roots of the language can be traced to Central Asia, with the first written records dating back nearly 1,200 years.
Some Notes on The Turkish Alphabet and Language
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. Most letters are pronounced pretty much as you would expect, but some are not. Once the phonetic value of all letters is known, then it is rather easy to pronounce any word one sees or to spell any word one hears.The following letters require explanation:
Aa = "a" as in "card" or "dark", never as "a" in"cat" or "back" ( kan = blood )
Cc = "J" as in "judge" ( can= life, soul, pronounced like "John" )
Çç = "ch" as in "church"( çay= tea, pronounced "chay", rhymes with "buy" )
Ee = "e" as in "bed" ( ekmek =bread )
Gg = "g" as in "get" ( gelin =bride )
g ( yumuşak Never appears as the first letter in a word; essentially silent; sometimes lengthens preceding vowel; sometimes pronounced like "y" in "yet" (dag =mountain, pronounced daa , rhymes with the "baa" of "baa baa black sheep"; diger =other, pronounced diyer )
lı( undotted "i" ) "u" as in "radium" or "i" as in "cousin" (ışık =ligth, ırmak = river )
İi( dotted "i" ) ="i" as in "sit" ( bir = one, pronounced like "beer" )
Jj = "j" as in "azure" (garaj = garage, pronounced as in French & English )
Oo = "o" as in "fold"(okul =school )
Öö German "ö" as in "König" or French "eu" as in "peur"( göl = lake, rhymes with furl)
Ss="s" as in "sing", never pronounced like a "z" as the "s" in "his"(ses = voice)
Şş="sh"as in "ship" (şey = thing, pronounced "shey" , rhymes with "hay")
Uu "oo" as in "boot" (buz = ice, pronounced like "booze")
Üü German "ü" as in "für" or French "u" as in "tu" (gül = rose)
Zz="z" as in "zoo" (beyaz = white)
Turkish belongs to the Turkic branch of the Altaic language family.The earliest Turkic inscriptions date from the 7th century C.E. and Islamic texts written in Turkic appear in the 11th century. Turkish, the language of modern Turkey, is spoken by about 60 million people. Other important Turkic languages are Azeri (15 million speakers) and Uzbek (14 million speakers). Turkish formerly used the same alphabet as Arabic, but has been written in the Latin alphabet since 1928 as mentioned above; since 1940, Azeri and Uzbek have been written in Cyrillic but efforts are now under way to replace it with Latin.
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.) Through this process, astoundingly long word phrases can be encountered. For example, the following means, "Maybe you are one of those whom we were not able to Turkify."
Another interesting feature is that there is no gender in Turkish. The same word , "o", for example, means "he", "she" and "it".
Turks generally call each other by their given names.For example, a man whose name is Ahmet Kuran would be called Ahmet bey( bey = Mr.), and his wife whose name is Ayşe Kuran would be called Ayşe hanım ( hanım =Ms.). Good friends drop the "bey" and "hanım". But a letter would be addressed to Bay ve Bayan Ahmet Kuran (Mr. and Mrs...).