Turkish language belongs to the same language group as e.g. Hungarian, Finish, Azerbaijani, Turkmen and other. Nowadays, over 83 million people around the world speak Turkish as their native language. They are not only Turkish people living in Turkey but also numerous Turkish-speaking minorities in countries which belonged to the Ottoman Empire in the past. Examples of those can be Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus, Macedonia, Greece, Serbia. In Germany there are more than 2 million Turkish speakers, smaller but still important communities can be found in the USA, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands or in Austria. Not all Turkish speakers outside of Turkey speak the language properly and fluently as they had to adopt to the language and culture of the country they live in.
The first written record of Turkish reaches back to 13. century to Central Asia. The language was influenced by many dialects during the Ottoman Empire expansion. Especially Arabic and Persian words were integrated into Turkish and they were used on everyday basis. In 1928 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, made a reform of the Turkish language. Ottoman script was replaced with Latin alphabet. He also initiated foundation of the Turkish Language Association which was responsible for standardization of the language and for finding Turkish equivalents for foreign originated words (e.g. Computer was replaced by Bilgisayar = „Information counter“).
Turkish language still has many local dialects but Istanbul Turkish is considered to be the official standard. Some of the characteristic features of Turkish are vowel harmony (in a Turkish word there are either back vowels (a, ı, o, u) or front vowels (e, i, ö, ü) not both groups), lack of gramatical genders and agglutination (using suffixes to the original word to express time, person, negative, plural, place etc.). For example the word „tatildeyim“ comprises of:
Tatil (holiday) + de (on) + yim (I am) = I am on holiday.
There is actually barely any limit as to the no. of suffixes. The longest word of Turkish language used to be Çekoslovakyalılaştıramadıklarımızdanmışsınız (44 letters) , which means „You are said to be one of those who we couldn’t manage to convert to a Czechoslovak“
Read the short list of useful expressions below which you can need during your holiday in Alanya. Generally, Turkish people appreciate when a foreigner speaks a little Turkish (good base for getting a better price J ). Do not forget that Turkish is a phonetic language, i.e. what you see is what you say.
How are you?
I am fine.
How much ?
Yes - No
Evet – Hayir
Teşekkür ederim / Sağol