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Turkish

Turkish tea
Turkish: Türkçe
Language family: Turkic
Dialects: Cypriot, Karamanli
Writing System: Latin (Turkish variant)
Official in: Turkey, Cyprus, Northern Cyprus


The language

Turkish belongs to a language family that includes thirty Turkic languages spoken in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Siberia. The differences among these languages are much smaller than their close similarities.

Like Finnish and Hungarian, Turkish is an agglutinative language. Agglutination refers to the process of adding suffixes to a root-word, so that a single word can convey what English would take a complete sentence to say. For example, the English sentence “They were not coming” is a single word in Turkish: “come” is the root word, and elements meaning “not,” “-ing,” “they,” and “were” (past tense marker) are all suffixed to it: Gelmiyorlardı. The regularity and predictability in Turkish of how these suffixes are added make agglutination easier to internalize than you might think.

Turkish has postpositions rather than prepositions, and objects usually precede verbs. So the sentence “Ahmet talked about his class” would have the following word order in Turkish: “Ahmet his class about talked.” While this may seem strange at first, you’ll be surprised how quickly this new word order comes to feel natural when you’re learning Turkish.

Studying Turkish also lays a solid foundation for learning other modern Turkic languages, like Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tatar, Uzbek, and Uighur. The Turkic languages are closely related and some of them are even mutually intelligible. Many of these languages are spoken in regions like the Caucasus, the Balkans, China, and the former Soviet Union. Mastery of Turkish grammar makes learning other Turkic languages exponentially easier.

Adapted from: http://www.bu.edu/mlcl/home/why-study-turkish/



Turkish speakers worldwide

Map depicting approximate number of Turkish speakers worldwide per country

 SpeakersCountry
Official LanguageTurkey, Cyprus, Northern Cyprus ;; Kosovo, Macedonia (Both municipal Level)
1 000 000+Germany
500 000 - 1 000 000Bulgaria, Greece, Iraq
100 000 - 500 000Austria, Belgium, France, Netherlands, USA, Uzbekistan
25 000 - 100 000Australia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Denmark, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, UK
0 - 25 000Rest of World