Cypriot Turkish

Cypriot Turkish
Cypriot Turkish
Kıbrıs Türkçesi
Spoken in Northern Cyprus, Cyprus
(as Turkish Language)
Region Cyprus Island
Native speakers 177,000 (Cyprus) [1]  (date missing)
Language family
  • Southern Turkic or Oghuz
    • Turkish group
      • Dialect of Turkish
        • Cypriot Turkish
Writing system Latin
Official status
Regulated by No official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Cypriot Turkish, known locally as Kıbrıs Türkçesi, is a Turkish dialect spoken by Turkish Cypriots.



Cypriot Turkish is the vernacular spoken by Turkish Cypriots both in Cyprus and among its diaspora.

Emanating from Anatolia and evolved for four centuries, Cypriot Turkish is the vernacular spoken by Cypriots with Ottoman ancestry, as well as by Cypriots who converted to Islam during Ottoman rule. It is understood by expatriate Cypriots living in the UK, U.S., Australia and other parts of the world.

Cypriot Turkish consists of a blend of Ottoman Turkish and the Yörük dialect spoken to this day in the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey. In addition it has absorbed influences from Greek, Italian and English.


Differences between standard Turkish and Cypriot Turkish

Cypriot Turkish is distinguished by a number of sound alternations not found in standard Turkish, but some of which are also quite common in other Turkish vernaculars:

  • Voicing of some unvoiced stops
    • t↔d, k↔g
Standard Turkish kurt ↔ Cypriot Turkish gurt "worm"
Standard Turkish taş ↔ Cypriot Turkish daş "stone"
  • Preservation of earlier Turkic
Standard Turkish son ↔ Cypriot Turkish soñ "end, last"
Standard Turkish bin ↔ Cypriot Turkish biñ "thousand"
  • Changing 1st person plural suffix
    • z↔k
Standard Turkish isteriz ↔ Cypriot Turkish isterik "we want"
  • Unvoicing of some voiced stops
    • b↔p
Standard Turkish Kıbrıs ↔ Cypriot Turkish Kıprıs "Cyprus"
  • Lenition of final affricates
    • ç ([tʃ]) ↔ ş ([ʃ])
Standard Turkish hiç ↔ Cypriot Turkish hiş "no, none"

The last two alternations are more specific to Cypriot Turkish.


Consonant phonemes
  Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Plosive p b     k ɡ q ɢ    
Fricative f v ʃ   x ɣ     h  
Nasal m n     ŋ        
Flap/Tap     r                
Lateral     l                
Approximant       j            


front central back
unrounded rounded unrounded rounded unrounded rounded
high i y (ü)   ɯ (ı) u
mid e () œ (ö)     o
low æ (e)   ɑ̟  


Cypriot Turkish is structured as VO language as oppose to standard Turkish which is OV language. It is very typical in forming a question.

  • Standard Turkish "Okula gidecek misin?" is, in Cypriot Turkish, "Gideceñ okula?" (Will you go to school?)

Cypriot Turkish also lacks the question suffix of "mi".[2]

  • Standard Turkish "Annen evde mi?" is, in Cypriot Turkish, "Annen evdedir?" (Is your mother at home?)

In Cypriot Turkish, the reflexive pronoun in third person is different, namely "genni" (him, himself, them, themself). In Standard Turkish, kendisini.


Typical question sentences most of the time do not qualify as a standard Turkish question. See the example above. This is due to the fact that question suffixes are most of the time dropped by native Turkish Cypriots.

Another subtle difference is the emphasis on verbs.

See also


  1. ^ "Ethnologue report for Cyprus"
  2. ^ Demir, Nurettin. Kıbrıs Ağızları Üzerine Notlar (Çukurova University Journal of Turcology) Retrieved on 2011-07-14.
  • Erdoğan Saracoğlu (1992). Kıbrıs Ağzı: Sesbilgisi Özellikleri, Metin Derlemeleri, Sözlük. K.K.T.C. Millî Eğitim ve Kültür Bakanlığı. ISBN 975-17-1015-4. 
  • Yıltan Taşçı (1986). Kıbrıs Ağzı Dil Özellikleri. Lefkoşa: Akar Yayıncılık. 

External links

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