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 a back vowel. (You'll see why this is important in later lessons)

For example:

  • Ankara /ˈɑnkɑɾɑ/
  • akvaryum /ɑkˈvɑɾjum/
  • aktif /ɑkˈtif/
  • Asya /ˈɑsjɑ/
  • Avrupa /ˈɑvɾupɑ/
  • Amerika Birleşik Devletleri /ˈɑmeɾikɑ ˈbiɾleʃic ˈdevletleɾi/

B[edit]

/b/ About this sound Click for sound

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

For example:

  • bar /bɑɾ/
  • baba /bɑbɑ/
  • başarı /bɑʃɑɾɯ/
  • baklava /bɑkɫɑwa/
  • bir /biɾ/
  • beyaz /bejaz/

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. Devoices to 'ç' in the end of word, with very few exceptions like hac (/hadʒ/).

For example:

  • cep telefonu /dʒep telefonu/
  • cam /dʒɑm/
  • cin /dʒin/
  • ceket /dʒecet/
  • cips /dʒips/
  • cokey /dʒoceɪ/

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. Devoices to 't' at the end of a word, with very rare exceptions like ad (/ɑd/).

For example:

  • Danimarka /dɑniˈmɑɾkɑ/
  • deniz /deˈniz/
  • dün /dyn/
  • dört /døɾt/
  • döner /døneɾ/

E[edit]

/e/ About this sound Click for sound

Named as e. Sounds like "e" in "pet".

Examples:

  • egzersiz /eɟzeɾˈsiz/
  • ekmek /ecˈmec/
  • elma /elˈmɑ/
  • enerji /eneɾˈʒi/
  • ev /ˈev/
  • el /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 occurs in loanwords.

For example:

  • faks /ˈfɑks/
  • 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 more palatal with front vowels. Detones to 'k' in end of the word. In some Arabic and Persian loanwords, it might spelled palatalized with back wovels with , as in gâvur /ɟawuɾ/. This pronunciation is indicated by adding a circumflex (^) over the next vowel.

For example:

  • gazete /gɑzete/
  • gece /ɟedʒe/
  • göz /ɟøz/
  • gangster /gɑŋksteɾ/
  • gram /gɾɑm/
  • greyfurt /gɾeɪfuɾt/

Ğ[edit]

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

In Turkish, this is referred to as "yumuşak g" (/jumuʃak ɟe/), meaning soft g, because it's technically what it is. It's the most distinctive letter in Turkish, having no equivalent in many other languages. Pronunciation is made by shaping your tongue to say k (as in kite), but trying to say y (as in you) instead. It's not a stop consonant, therefore you could spell it without stopping the air flow in your mouth, like in the sound example above. Hard, right? But no harm in trying.

"Ğ" can never be used at the beginning of a word (that's why it lacks an original name), and palatalized like the "hard" g. It's often pronounced as a hiatus in between two vowels.

For example:

  • dağ /daɰ/
  • yağmur /jaɰmuɾ/
  • ağaç /ɑ.ɑtʃ/
  • yoğurt /yo.uɾt/
  • öğrenci /øʝɾendʒi/
  • iğne /iʝne/

H[edit]

/h/ About this sound Click for sound

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

For example:

  • hafta /hɑftɑ/
  • hayır /hɑjɯɾ/
  • hata /hɑtɑ:/

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!

← Previous: Introduction A-I Next: İ-R →
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