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Ottoman Turkish

Ottoman Turkish is the variant of the Turkish language used as the administrative and literary language of the Ottoman Empire, containing extensive borrowings from Arabic and Persian and written in Arabic script. The Ottoman Turkish spoken in the capital differed markedly from the Turkish spoken by farmers and villagers in the countryside, almost to such an extent that they did not understand each other.

In 1928, following the reforms of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a more popular Turkish emerged, with influences from European languages rather than from Arabic and Persian and using the Latin alphabet. The reason of the changes were because people who lived in farms and small towns could not under stand the people who lived in the big towns. The Ottoman Turkish is held by many to be a completely different language than the Turkish of today. This seems to be politically motivated and does not hold up linguistically. However, few in modern-day Turkey can understand spoken Ottoman Turkish, let alone written.


English Ottoman Turkish
yes evet
no la
hello marheba


This is how you prononice the Ottoman turkish alphbet
  • elif
  • hemze
  • be
  • pe
  • te
  • se
  • cim (jim)
  • çim (chim)
  • he
  • dal
  • zel
  • re
  • ze
  • je
  • sin
  • şın (shin)
  • sat
  • zat
  • ayın
  • gayın
  • fe
  • kaf
  • kef
  • gef
  • nef (kaf-ı nuni)
  • lam
  • mim
  • nun
  • vav
  • he
  • lamelif
  • ye

Notes: The i with no dot sounds like saying the letter E with your mouth open.The E sounds like ah.

Visit the site Omniglot: Turkish to see how Turkish characters and numbers were written in Arabic script.

Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45