Turkish language

Pronunciation [ˈtyɾct͡ʃɛ]
Native to Turkey (official), Northern Cyprus (official), Cyprus (official), Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, Iran, [1] Azerbaijan, [2] Kosovo, Romania, Iraq, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Syria [3]
Region Anatolia, Balkans, Cyprus, Mesopotamia, Levant, Transcaucasia
Ethnicity Turkish
Native speakers
88 million [4] [5] (2014) [6]
Early forms
Standard forms
Ottoman Turkish (defunct)
Latin ( Turkish alphabet)
Turkish Braille
Official status
Official language in
  Northern Cyprus [7]
  Cyprus [8]
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated by Turkish Language Association
Language codes
ISO 639-1 tr
ISO 639-2 tur
ISO 639-3 tur
Glottolog nucl1301 [17]
Linguasphere part of 44-AAB-a
Map of Turkish Language.png
  Countries where Turkish is an official language
  Countries where it is recognized as a minority language
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Turkish ( About this sound  Türkçe ), also referred to as Istanbul Turkish, [18] is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages, with around 10–15 million native speakers in Southeast Europe (mostly in East and Western Thrace) and 60–65 million native speakers in Western Asia (mostly in Anatolia). Outside of Turkey, significant smaller groups of speakers exist in Germany, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Northern Cyprus (only recognized by Turkey), Greece, the Caucasus, and other parts of Europe and Central Asia.

To the west, the influence of Ottoman Turkish—the variety of the Turkish language that was used as the administrative and literary language of the Ottoman Empire—spread as the Ottoman Empire expanded. In 1928, as one of Atatürk's Reforms in the early years of the Republic of Turkey, the Ottoman Turkish alphabet was replaced with a Latin alphabet.

The distinctive characteristics of Turkish are vowel harmony and extensive agglutination. The basic word order of Turkish is subject–object–verb. Turkish has no noun classes or grammatical gender. Turkish has a strong T–V distinction and usage of honorifics. Turkish uses second-person pronouns that distinguish varying levels of politeness, social distance, age, courtesy or familiarity toward the addressee. The plural second-person pronoun and verb forms are used referring to a single person out of respect.


Old Turkic inscription with the Old Turkic alphabet (c. 8th century). Kyzyl, Russia

Turkish is a member of the Oghuz group of languages, a subgroup of the Turkic language family. There is a high degree of mutual intelligibility between Turkish and the other Oghuz Turkic languages, including Azerbaijani, Turkmen, Qashqai, Gagauz, and Balkan Gagauz Turkish. [19] The Turkic family comprises some 30 living languages spoken across Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Siberia. Some linguists believe the Turkic languages to be a part of a larger Altaic language family. [20] About 40% of all speakers of Turkic languages are native Turkish speakers. [21] The characteristic features of Turkish, such as vowel harmony, agglutination, and lack of grammatical gender, are universal within the Turkic family. [21]