8 Things that you should know about Turkish Alphabet

The Turkish alphabet consists of 29 letters, six of which (Ü, İ, Ö, Ç, Ğ, Ş<) do not exist in the English alphabet. Three letters that exist in the English alphabet (Q, X, W) do not exist in the Turkish alphabet. Since Turkish does not have diphthongs, it is easy to pronounciate correctly. Every letter has one distinct sound which is pronounced separately from the neighboring letters.

Lower and Uppercase letters in the Turkish Alphabet

Uppercase Lowercase Example
A a as in father
B b as in below
C c as in jar
Ç ç as in CHallange
D d as in dark
E e as in bed
F f as in friend
G g as in grind
Ğ ğ this letter lengthens the preceding vowel*
H h as in has
I ı as in opEN
İ i as in meet
J j as in measure
K k as in cop
L l as in length
M m as in measure
N n as in nice
O o as in pore
Ö ö German ö
P p as in piece
R r as in rice
S s as in sick
Ş ş as in SHade
T t as in tip
U u as in lOO
Ü ü as in new
V v as in vertical
Y y as in yes
Z z as in zodiac

Some history about Turkish Alphabet

Many different scripts have been used by Turks throughout history. Göktürk ( Orhun ), Uygur, Arabic, Kiril and Latin are some of the old alphabets that the turkish have used. In the Ottoman Era, Arabic script was used, which is an alphabet rich in vowels. (The Turkish Language is just the opposite) In 1928, shortly after the downfall of the Ottoman Empire, the Latin alphabet has come into use. Göktürk (Orhun) alphabet is an old Turkish alphabet used by Turkish people until the 11th century. This ancient alphabet is said to be the most suitable for the sounds in the Turkish Language. Words were written from right to left very similar to Arabic script.

1. Soft g (Yumuşak g) generally lengthens the previous letter.

e.g. “Kağnı” (eng. tumbrel) may be heard as “kaanı” or “dimağ” (eng. mind, brain) is often heard as “dimaa”

2. Letters with the circumflex accent have a similar pronunciation with a soft g but with exceptions.

3. At the end of the letter, intervocalic k is transformed into ğ. Alternations of consonants will be covered in details.

Kapak
lid

Kapak+ı < kapağı

Kapağı verebilir misin?
Can you give me the lid?

4. L has two different sounds in Turkish. One is l as in “layer”, the other as in “cool”

5. In some dialects in Anatolia, k is pronounced as g. “Kapı” (eng. door) can be heard as “gapı” However, this is very informal and not recommended.

6. “Y” is a little bit different than English “y”. For example, how you pronunciate the word “copia” in Spanish is very similar to Turkish “kopya”.

7. Most of the French borrowing starting with s take the prefix –i in Modern Turkish.

Station > istasyon

Statistique > istatistik

8. Loanwords that have c are written with k.

Category > kategori

Coiffeur > kuaför

Complex > kompleks

Do not forget that there is no “x” in the Turkish alphabet, instead “ks” is used.

For additional information about the Turkish Alphabet, check out the page of Turkish Language Society (TDK)