Turkish phonology


Turkish phonology

The phonology of the Turkish language describes the set of sounds and their relationships with one another in spoken Turkish. One characteristic feature of Turkish is a system of vowel harmony that distinguishes between front and back vowels. The majority of words in Turkish adhere to a system of only having one of the two groups. Consonants are also affected, with palatal stops being present with front vowels and velar stops existing with back ones. Further details are given below.

Consonants

Vowel harmony

The Turkish vowel system can be considered as being two-dimensional, where vowels are characterised by two features: front/back and rounded/unrounded. Vowel harmony is the principle by which a native Turkish word incorporates either exclusively back vowels ("a", "ı", "o", "u") or exclusively front vowels ("e", "i", "ö", "ü"). The pattern of vowels is shown in the table below.

Grammatical affixes have "a chameleon-like quality" [Lewis (1953):21] , and obey one of the following patterns of vowel harmony:
*twofold ("-e/-a"): [For the terms "twofold" and "fourfold", as well as the superscript notation, see Lewis (1953):21-22. He later preferred to omit the superscripts, on the grounds that "there is no need for this once the principle has been grasped" (Lewis [2001] :18).] the locative suffix, for example, is "-de" after front vowels and "-da" after back vowels. The notation "-de"2 is a convenient shorthand for this pattern.
*fourfold ("-i/-ı/-ü/-u"): the genitive suffix, for example, is "-in" or "-ın" after unrounded vowels (front or back respectively); and "-ün" or "-un" after the corresponding rounded vowels. The notation "-in"4 is a convenient shorthand.

The following examples, based on the copula "-dir"4 (" [it] is"), illustrate the principles of vowel harmony in practice: "Türkiyedir" ("it is Turkey"), "kapıdır" ("it is the door"), but "gündür" ("it is the day"), "paltodur" ("it is the coat"). Compound words are considered separate words with regards to vowel harmony: vowels do not have to harmonize between the constituent words of the compound (thus forms like "bu+gün" ("today") or "baş+kent" ("capital") are permissible). In addition, vowel harmony does not apply for loanwords and some invariant suffixes, such as "-iyor", the conjugation suffix for the present tense; there are also a few native Turkish words that do not follow the rule, such as "anne" ("mother"). In such words, suffixes harmonize with the "final" vowel: thus "annedir" ("she is a mother").

tress

Stress is usually on the last syllable.cite book|author=International Phonetic Association|authorlink=International Phonetic Association|year=1999|title=Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet|location=Cambridge|publisher=Cambridge University Press|id=ISBN 0-521-65236-7 (hb); ISBN 0-521-63751-1 (pb)|chapter= Turkish|pages=155] Exceptions include some suffix combinations, and loanwords (particularly from Italian and Greek) such as IPA|/ˈmasa/ ('desk'), IPA|/loˈkanta/ ('restaurant'), or IPA|/isˈcele/ ('pier'). In many proper names the stress is transferred to the syllable before last (eg IPA|/isˈtanbul/, "İstanbul"), although there are exceptions to this (eg IPA|/ˈankaɾa/, "Ankara").

ee also

*Turkish alphabet
*Turkish grammar

References and notes


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