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the official language of Turkey, belonging to the Turkic branch of the Altaic family



the language of the Turks; formerly called Osmanli. Turkish is the official language of the Republic of Turkey, and it is also spoken in the eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans. There are approximately 40 million speakers of Turkish (1975, estimate).

Turkish belongs to the Oghuz group of Turkic languages and has two main dialect groups. The western, or Danube Turkish, group includes the Adakale, Adrianople, Bosnian, and Macedonian dialects. The eastern Anatolian group includes the Aydin, Izmir, Karaman, Konya, and Sivas dialects. This second group also includes the Cyprian dialect and the Ankara urban dialect; the latter provided the basis for the modern norms of the Turkish literary language.

Turkish shares a number of features with other Turkic languages. The phonology is marked by vowel harmony and consonant assimilation, and the morphology is governed by agglutination in word formation and inflection. The formation of word combinations and sentences is determined by a fixed order of elements. Turkish shares a core vocabulary with other Turkic languages.

The literary language began developing in the mid-19th century, replacing the Osmanli literary language, which included a great many Arabic and Persian loan words. Literary Turkish acquired its modern norms between the 1930’s and 1950’s. The first written texts in Turkish date from the 13th century. Turkish was written in Arabic script until 1928, when the Latin alphabet was introduced.


Kononov, A. N. Grammatika sovremennogo turetskogo literaturnogo iazyka. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
Deny, J. Grammaire de la langue turque (dialecte osmanli). Paris, 1921.
Dilaçar, A. Türk diline genel bir bakis.. Ankara, 1964.
Türkçe sözlük, 6th ed. Ankara, 1974.


References in classic literature ?
I will take it in the Turkish style," replied Franz.
I suppose he meant me to understand that the institution was there before the Turkish occupation, and I thought he made a remark to that effect; but he must have had an impediment in his speech, for I did not understand him.
It is full of life, and stir, and business, dirt, beggars, asses, yelling peddlers, porters, dervishes, high-born Turkish female shoppers, Greeks, and weird-looking and weirdly dressed Mohammedans from the mountains and the far provinces --and the only solitary thing one does not smell when he is in the Great Bazaar, is something which smells good.
A pair of Turkish slippers adorned her feet, and necklaces of amber, coral, and filigree hung about her neck, while one hand held a smelling-bottle, and the other the spicy box of oriental sweetmeats.
The dressmaker was a buxom person, handsomely dressed and rather good-looking, but much older than the gentleman in the Turkish trousers, whom she had wedded some six months before.
A Turkish officer with an immense plume of feathers (the Janizaries were supposed to be still in existence, and the tarboosh had not as yet displaced the ancient and majestic head-dress of the true believers) was seen couched on a divan, and making believe to puff at a narghile, in which, however, for the sake of the ladies, only a fragrant pastille was allowed to smoke.
Bid the slave-merchant enter," says the Turkish voluptuary with a wave of his hand.
Maybe it is set up by the Sultan's orders for the impaling of a horde of Turkish robbers, one by one.
He was a Turkish merchant and had inhabited Paris for many years, when, for some reason which I could not learn, he became obnoxious to the government.
Felix conducted the fugitives through France to Lyons and across Mont Cenis to Leghorn, where the merchant had decided to wait a favourable opportunity of passing into some part of the Turkish dominions.
In the same manner, his twenty-five cent coffee was diluted with milk, her eighty cent Turkish with cream.
He was roused by Mr Fledgeby's appearing erect at the foot of the bed, in Turkish slippers, rose-coloured Turkish trousers (got cheap from somebody who had cheated some other somebody out of them), and a gown and cap to correspond.