Turkish/Pronunciation and Alphabet/A-I

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Pronunciation and Alphabet
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The alphabet in Turkish is based on the Latin alphabet. However, the pronunciations of the letters are a little different from English, and there are also some perhaps unfamiliar letters included, too. So, let's start learning the Turkish alphabet!

A[edit]

/ɑ/ About this sound Click for sound

Letter is named as 'a'. Pronounced like the a in arm, but shorter. It's the most common letter in Turkish. Considered as a 'back vowel'.

For example:

  • Ankara /ˈɑnkɑɾɑ/
  • akvaryum /ɑkˈvɑɾjum/
  • aktif /ɑkˈtif/
  • Asya /ˈɑsjɑ/
  • Avrupa /ɑvɾupɑ/
  • Amerika Birleşik Devletleri /ɑmeɾiˈkɑ biɾleˈʃic devletleˈɾi/

B[edit]

/b/ About this sound Click for sound

Named as be. Pronounced like the b in big. Detones to 'p' in end of the word.

For example:

  • bar /bɑɾ/
  • baba /bɑˈbɑ/
  • başarı /bɑʃɑˈɾɯ/
  • bir /biɾ/

C[edit]

// About this sound Click for sound

Named as ce. Now things have started to go different, here! Be careful, in Turkish, c is pronounced sort of like the j in jelly. Detones to 'ç' in the end of word.

For example:

  • cep telefonu /dʒep telefonu/
  • cam /dʒɑm/
  • cin /dʒin/

Ç[edit]

// About this sound Click for sound

Named as çe. This is pronounced like the ch in chocolate.

For example:

  • çan /tʃɑn/
  • çam /tʃɑm/
  • çene /tʃeˈne/
  • çay /tʃɑj/
  • çocuk /tʃoˈdʒuk/
  • Çin /tʃin/

D[edit]

/d/ About this sound Click for sound

Named as de. This is pronounced like the d in delight. Detones to 't' in the end of the word.

For example:

  • Danimarka /dɑniˈmɑɾkɑ/
  • deniz /deˈniz/
  • dergi /deɾˈɟi/
  • dün /dyn/

E[edit]

/e/ About this sound Click for sound
/ɛ/ About this sound Click for sound
/æ/ About this sound Click for sound

Named as e. This letter has three allophones (i.e. this letter can be pronunced as three different sounds under different conditions.). All of the sounds are similar sounds. The first one is more like i (i.e. it is closer), the second one is a bit like a and the last one is more like a (i.e. it is more open). Although it never changes the meaning of the word if pronounced wrongly, it is very important to pronunce /e/ and /æ/ correctly, in order to have a native-like pronunciation. /ɛ/ is a sound between (closer to /e/) them and it is not distinguished generally.

  • /æ/ sound occurs before l, m, n, r in situations where the sequences er, em, en and el are not followed by a vowel. It is similar to a in hand. For example: belki /bælcʰi/ About this sound listen , pergel /pæɾɟæl/ listen.
  • /ɛ/ occurs in wordfinal position. For example, metre /metrɛ/ About this sound listen (compare /e/ and /ɛ/ while listening this audio file, they are very similar sounds, but /æ/ and /e/ are not).
  • /e/ occurs elsewhere erkek /æɾcʰecʰ/ About this sound listen . All three occur in words such as gezegende /gezegændɛ/, defterde /deftʰæɾdɛ/ .

Examples:

  • egzersiz /eɟzæɾˈsiz/
  • ekmek /ecˈmecʰ/
  • elma /elˈmɑ/
  • enerji /enæɾˈʒi/
  • ev /ˈev/
  • el /ˈæl/ some people pronunce it as /ˈel/

F[edit]

/f/ About this sound Click for sound

Named as fe. This is pronounced like the f in forget. It's a rare sound and only in loanwords (mostly Arabic).

For example:

  • fakir /fɑˈciɾ/
  • faks /ˈfɑks/
  • fare /fɑːˈɾɛ/
  • fikir /fiˈciɾ/
  • Finlandiya /finˈlɑndijɑ/
  • Fransa /ˈfɾɑnsɑ/
  • futbol /ˈfutboɫ/

G[edit]

/g/ (with back vowels, i.e. a, ı, o and u) About this sound Click for sound
/ɟ/ (with front vowels i.e. e, i, ö and ü) About this sound Click for sound

Or ge. This is pronounced like the g in go with back vowels and like the g in guitar with front vowels. Detones to 'k' in end of the word.

For example:

  • gazete
  • gece
  • göz

Ğ[edit]

In Turkish, this is referred to as yumuşak "g" (soft "g"), because technically that's what it is! It can never be used at the beginning of a word, but simply lengthens the previous vowel. Think of it as the Turkish equivalent of the gh in through.

For example:

  • dağ
  • ağaç
  • doğum
  • yoğurt

H[edit]

/h/ About this sound Click for sound

Or he. This is pronounced like the h in heaven.

For example:

  • hafta
  • hayır
  • hata

I[edit]

/ɯ/ About this sound Click for sound

This is another one to watch out for! It's not pronounced like an i! As a matter of fact, the lowercase version of this is a dotless i (ı). It has no exact English equivalent, but is pronounced like the e in legend or i in cousin. The exact pronunciation is made by shaping your lips to say e (as in bread), but trying to say u (as in you) instead. It's hard, but no harm in trying!

For example:

  • ılık /ɯˈɫɯk/

Try and learn those off by heart, particularly c, ç, ğ and ı!

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