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the official language of Turkey, belonging to the Turkic branch of the Altaic family
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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