Nowadays the Turkish language is written using a slightly modified Latin script. Mandated in 1928 as part of Atatürk’s Reforms, it is the current official alphabet and the latest in a series of distinct alphabets used in different eras.
There are 29 letters, seven of which (Ç, Ş, Ğ, I, İ, Ö, Ü) have been modified from their Latin originals for the phonetic requirements of the language. Three letters that exist in the Latin script (Q, X, W) do not exist in the Turkish alphabet.
Turkish orthography is highly regular and a word’s pronunciation is usually identified by its spelling. Each letter retains its individual pronunciation at all times. Some even believe the Turkish alphabet to be among the world’s 3 most phonetic alphabets.
Here are some of the other features of the Turkish alphabet.
- Dotted and dotless I are separate letters, each with its own uppercase and lowercase forms. The lowercase form of I is ı, and the lowercase form of İ is i.
- Turkish does not allow two vowels to occur together, and there are no diphthongs except in a few foreign loan words.
- There are six pairs of two similar but different letters. There is a difference in the pronunciation of each letter. These letters are: C – Ç, G – Ğ, I – İ, O – Ö, S – Ş, U – Ü.
- A notable feature of the phonology of Turkish is a system of vowel harmony that causes vowels in most words to be either front or back and either rounded or unrounded.
- The letter -Y- is considered as a consonant in Turkish. It is used as a buffer consonant to keep vowels apart during word building.
As you can see, the “unusual” letters may take some getting used to, but otherwise, the Turkish alphabet and pronunciation are relatively easy to master.