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.


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").


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

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Turkish alphabet — Turkish language Alphabet …   Wikipedia

  • Turkish grammar — This article concerns the grammar of the Turkish language. A companion to this article is Turkish vocabulary. Three features that, together, distinguish Turkish from many other languages are the following: #Turkish is highly agglutinative: its… …   Wikipedia

  • Russian phonology — For assistance in making phonetic transcriptions of Russian for Wikipedia articles, see This article discusses the phonological system of standard Russian based on the Moscow dialect (unless otherwise noted). For discussion of other dialects, see …   Wikipedia

  • English phonology — See also: Phonological history of English English phonology is the study of the sound system (phonology) of the English language. Like many languages, English has wide variation in pronunciation, both historically and from dialect to dialect. In… …   Wikipedia

  • Navajo phonology — is the study of how speech sounds pattern and interact with each other in that language. The phonology of Navajo is intimately connected to its morphology. For example, the entire range of contrastive consonants is found only at the beginning of… …   Wikipedia

  • Modern Hebrew phonology — Main article: Hebrew language For assistance with IPA transcriptions of Hebrew for Wikipedia articles, see WP:IPA for Hebrew. This article is about the phonology of the Hebrew language based on the Israeli dialect. It deals with current phonology …   Wikipedia

  • Standard Chinese phonology — The phonology of Standard Chinese is reproduced below. Actual production varies widely among speakers, as people inadvertently introduce elements of their native dialects. By contrast, television and radio announcers are chosen for their… …   Wikipedia

  • Old Chinese phonology — The phonology of Old Chinese describes the language reflected by the rhymes of the Shijing and the phonetic components of Chinese characters, corresponding to the earlier half of the 1st millennium BC. Scholars have attempted to reconstruct the… …   Wikipedia

  • Ottawa phonology — Main article: Ottawa language Ottawa (also spelled Odawa) is a dialect of the Ojibwe language spoken in a series of communities in southern Ontario and a smaller number of communities in northern Michigan. Ottawa has a phonological inventory of… …   Wikipedia

  • Dutch phonology — For assistance with IPA transcriptions of Dutch for Wikipedia articles, see WP:IPA for Dutch and Afrikaans. Dutch grammar series Dutch grammar Dutch verbs Dutch conjugation t kofschip T rules Dutch nouns Dutch declension Gender in Dutch grammar… …   Wikipedia