The Turkish language (Türkçe) is a member of the Turkic language family. It is an official language in Turkey, Northern Cyprus, and Cyprus, as well as a recognized minority language in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Greece, Iraq, Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania, and other areas which were previously part of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. As the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages, there are also significant communities of Turkish speakers in Germany, Bulgaria, Greece, the Caucasus, and other parts of Europe and Central Asia, which is also home to many other related Turkic languages. In total, there are approximately 88 million total speakers of the Turkish language, making it roughly the 19th most spoken language in the world.
According to the 2010 Census, there are approximately 500,000 Turks living in the United States, which includes Turkish immigrants from places other than Turkey, such as the former Soviet Union, the Balkans, and Cyprus. The largest concentration of Turkish immigrant communities in the United States can be found in New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, Texas, Virginia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Data from the American Community Survey (ACS) also shows that a relatively significant proportion of individuals of Turkish origin still speak the Turkish language at home.
Modern Standard Turkish is based on the dialect of Istanbul. Despite the promulgation of Standard Turkish in the education system and mass media since the 1930s, there continues to be dialectical variation. The main dialect subgroups of Turkish include Western Rumelia, Eastern Rumelia, Western Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia, Northeastern Anatolia, Cyprus, Syria, and Iraq.
Among the key features of the Turkish language are vowel harmony and agglutination, wherein complex words are formed by stringing together morphemes without changing their spelling or phonetics. The basic word order of Turkish is subject-object-verb (SOV), and there is no grammatical gender or noun classes. Turkish also employs a T-V distinction wherein various forms of politeness are used when addressing conversational partners depending on their relation to the speaker, social class, age, etc. There are nine simple and 20 compound verb tenses in Turkish, and most verbs are conjugated in the same manner.
The Turkish lexicon is made up of roughly 86% of words of Turkish origin, with significant influences from Arabic, Persian, French, Italian, Greek, and English. As an agglutinative language, Turkish creates new words by attaching derivative suffixes to nouns and verbal stems, as well as compounding two existing words to form a new one, similar to German.
Prior to 1928, Turkish utilized a version of the Perso-Arabic alphabet as its writing system. As part of his broad political, social, and cultural reforms, Atatürk introduced a version of the Latin script post-1928, which is now largely phonemic. The Turkish alphabet consists of 29 letters, with q, x, w being omitted and adding ç, ş, ğ, ı, ö, ü.
FUN FACTS: Before 1932, only 35-40% of Turkish words were of Turkish origin, with the majority consisting of loanwords from other languages. After a significant language reform, more than 80% of the vocabulary is Turkish. Vowel harmony is one of the key features of Turkish, which means that suffixes use either hard or soft vowels depending on the final vowel in the root word. For example, if the final vowel in a word is soft, then the vowels in the suffixes will also be soft to preserve the harmony.
At Piedmont Global Language Solutions (PGLS), we offer document translation, interpretation, localization, and other language services in Turkish. Whether you need to translate legal documents from Turkish to English, need a Turkish interpreter for a business meeting in Istanbul, or want to localize your website into Turkish in order to market your products and services in Turkey, PGLS is here to help with all of your Turkish language needs.