As I already mentioned in the introduction to this Turkish Language for Tourists post series, Turkish is a phonetic language. This means that, by learning a few basic rules, it’s easy to pronounce the Turkish words correctly.
In order to create a phonetic language, a few changes were made to the Latin alphabet. The letters Q, W and X were disregarded and six additional letters were added: ç, ğ, ş, ö, ü and ı (undotted i). So, the Turkish alphabet is made up of eight vowels and twenty-one consonants.
- Basic rules
- each letter is pronounced – e.g. your buddy Mehmet is pronounced ‘mehh-met’ and not ‘me-met’.
- vowels don’t combine to form diphthongs – e.g. eye, boy, and cow in English
- consonants don’t combine to form other sounds – e.g. th, gh or sh in English
- Pronunciation of special characters
- c – as the j in joker
- ç – as the ch in child
- g – as the g in garlic
- ğ – this letter is not pronounced but lenghthens the preceding vowel
- i – a short i, as in sit and tip
- ı – as the u in butter
- ö – as the u in fur
- u – as the oo in book
- ü – as the e in few
- ş – as the sh in she