Vowels in Turkish Language

As we have mentioned earlier, there exist 8 vowels in Turkish Alphabet. Review the alphabet page here. These Turkish vowels are “a, e, ı, i, o, ö, u, ü” of which two do not exist in English language.


1. “ a, e, ı, i, o, ö, u, ü “ are the vowels in the Turkish Alphabet. There are no gliding vowels in Turkish.Vowels can be at the beginning and the end of the words. Vowel proceed consonant and vice versa in natural Turkish.

e.g. Kaos (eng. Chaos)

2. Roundness of lips and frontness of tongue shape the sounds of these vowels.

Turkish vowels can be categorized according to three criteria:

  • The position of the lips decides whether a vowel is “rounded” or “unrounded”.
  • The space in your mouth decides whether a vowel is “open” or “closed”.
  • “Front” or “Back”, according to the position of your tongue.


Rounded  Rounded Unrounded Unrounded
Open Close Open Close
BACK a ı o u
FRONT e I ö ü


NOTE: If you labialise the letters, you easily realize which one is rounded or unrounded, back or front from the shape of your lips.

Most of the long Turkish vowels occur in the borrowings from Arabic . However, some of the borrowings that originally had long vowels may be shortened. For example, the English borrowing “Jean” exists in Turkish as “cin”.

In Uludağ sözlük -an online dictionary written by internet users with an informal style-, you can find more loanwords and check how they are shaped by time.

On the other hand, some long vowels represent emphasis.

e.g. Şimdiiiii, (eng. Now) Çooook (eng. Very)


3. One thing you should not forget is that two vowels never proceed in Turkish. There has to be a consonant separating them apart. If you see a word containing two proceeding vowels, you can say that it has been borrowed from another language.


As we have mentioned earlier, “ğ” lengthens the previous letter. There are no words starting with “ğ” because “ğ” must always follow a vowel.