Circumflex accent

On this page, you will learn about circumflex accent and apostrophe and their usages in Turkish Language. Let’s begin:

The Circumflex Accent (Şapka) (^) in Turkish Language:

I can hear you saying what is that thing on top of some letters in Turkish. In Turkish, it is called “şapka” which means exactly “hat”. Most of the Indo-European alphabets don’t have it.

The circumflex is a diacritic sign usually written above a letter in some languages such as Latin, Greek, Turkish, Portuguese etc. In Turkish, It affects the pronunciation of the word to some degree whereas, in French, it indicates that the letter has been dropped over time. You do not see this sign in English but only on loanwords.

Circumflex Accent Usage in Turkish

1. In Turkish, some adjectives are made from nouns by adding –i with a circumflex accent. This rule is only valid for Arabic loanwords.

Hayat
life

Hayatî
vital

“Yaşamsal” is the Turkish encounter word for “Hayatî” which is derived from the Turkish word “Yaşam”. Hayat is an Arabic loanword but is still in use. Also, you may encounter a man named “Hayatî”.

2. In the recent years, Turkish Language Society (TDK) has restricted the use of the circumflex accent unless the absence of it leads to an uncertainty or misunderstanding.

Kar
snow

Kâr
profit

To indicate whether it is profit or snow, you need to use a circumflex accent.

NOTEShift + 3 + a” gives you â when typed on keyboard.

EXTRA: Apostrophe (Kesme işareti) in Turkish

1. Apostrophe, Apostrophy, or Keşme işareti, whatever you call, it’ll be correct. In addition to the 29 letters in Turkish, “kesme işareti” (‘) (apostrophe) is commonly used. You might also hear “ apostrof ” instead of “kesme işareti.”

Ali’nin
of Ali

Istanbul’da
in Istanbul

Türkiye’den geliyor.
S/he is coming from Turkey

2. In some cases, an omission of a letter may occur. To indicate this, you must use an apostrophe.

How to say “what’s up” in Turkish?

Ne haber? (eng. What’s up? – informal saying– ) < N’aber?

Ne yapacaksın? (eng. What will you do?) < N’apacaksın?

3. Homonyms can lead to misunderstandings. To distinguish between them, you must use an apostrophe.

Selin
a female name

Sel’in
of flood

Selin’in
of Selin

4. Abbreviations indicating size should take an apostrophe.

4-meter-long fish
tr. 4 m’lik balık

5. For the names from mythology and religion, you must also use an apostrophe and never forget to use capital letters. This is because it is believed that the capital letter at the beginning of the word shows some kind of respect.

Zeus’un oğlu
the son of Zeus

İsa’nın
of Jesus/Jesus’

Muhammed’e
to Muhammad

Note:You do not need to use an apostrophe after a phrase (or a word) in quotes.

Orhan Pamuk’un “Benim Adım Kırmızı”sını okudun mu?
Have you read Orhan Pamuk’s “My Name Is Red”?