The Circumflex Accent (Şapka) (^) in Turkish Language:
I can hear you saying what is that hat-like thing on top of some letters in Turkish. In Turkish, it is called “şapka” which means “hat”.
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.
- In Turkish, some adjectives are made from nouns by adding –i with a circumflex accent. This rule is only valid for Arabic loanwords.
e.g. Hayat (eng. life) Hayatî (eng. 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”.
- In recent years, the Turkish Language Society (TDK) has restricted the use of the circumflex accent unless the absence of it leads to an uncertainty or misunderstanding.
e.g. Kar (eng. snow) Kâr (eng. profit)
To indicate whether it is profit or snow, you need to use a circumflex accent.
EXTRA: Apostrophe (Kesme işareti) in Turkish
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.”
e.g. Ali’nin (eng. of Ali)
Istanbul’da (eng. in Istanbul)
Türkiye’den geliyor. (eng. S/he is coming from Turkey)
*This will be covered in more detail in the following chapters.
- In some cases, an omission of a letter may occur. To indicate this, you must use an apostrophe.
Ne haber? (eng. What’s up? – informal saying– ) < N’aber?
Ne yapacaksın? (eng. What will you do?) < N’apacaksın?
- Homonyms can lead to misunderstandings. To distinguish between them, you must use an apostrophe.
e.g. Selin (a female name) Sel’in (eng. of flood) Selin’in (eng. of Selin)
- Abbreviations indicating size should take an apostrophe.
e.g. 4-meter-long fish (tr. 4 m’lik balık)
- 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.
e.g. Allah’ın mucizeleri (eng. the miracles of God) İsa’nın (eng. of Jesus) Muhammed’e (eng. to Muhammad)
:You do not need to use an apostrophe after a phrase (or a word) in quotes.
e.g. Orhan Pamuk’un “Benim Adım Kırmızı”sını okudun mu?
Translation: Have you read Orhan Pamuk’s “My Name Is Red”?