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Introduction

Grammar

Turkish grammar is simplistic once you get used to the style. However, it can seem to be very difficult since the grammatical structure is totally different from the Indo-European languages. This is because Turkish is from a different language family called Ural-Altaic languages. Some languages similar to Turkish are ´Finnish, Hungarian, Estonian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Kazak, Uzbek, Tatar, Manchu´. Compared to English, the most fundamental differences in Turkish grammar can be listed as:

  • Ordering of sentence parts

    • A typical Turkish sentence is ordered as (subject + object + verb)

      • Arkadaşım [My friend --> subject] araba [car -->object] aldı [bought-->verb].

  • No gender

    • There are no articles in Turkish, and no gender associated with words

    • No gender in personal pronouns (the Turkish word for he, she and it is o)

  • Vowel harmony

    • Harmony of vowels is a very fundamental property of Turkish. The rules concerning vowel harmony need to be learned as one of the first steps because they affect the way almost all the other rules are applied.

  • Use of suffixes

    • Suffixes are very widely used in Turkish. The meaning of prepositions, personal pronouns and tenses are all countered by adding suffixes to word roots.

      • Kalbimdesin [You are in my heart]

Once you get to these differences and learn the basic harmony rules, the rest of the grammar is quite simple. Almost everything follows well defined, simple rules.

Sounds

Another important point is the way you read a written text. There is exactly one sound for each character in Turkish. A character always represents the same sound, regardless of its position in a word or the characters next to it. Therefore, it is straightforward to pronounce a word that you see for the first time once you are familiar with the characters in the Turkish alphabet. 

Vocabulary

Once you are comfortable or at least familiar with the harmony rules, the main challenge will be the vocabulary. Turkish vocabulary can be very challenging since the words have no resemblance to the European languages except the few words adapted directly from these languages.


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