The alphabet

29 letters: 8 vowels and 21 consonants.

 

Compared to the English alphabet: 3 letters are absent (q, x, w), and 6 letters are added (ç, ğ, ı, ö, ş, ü).

 

Also note that the letter dotted “i” has a dot even when it is capitalised: İ. The letter undotted “I” is the capitalised form of the letter “ı".

 

Note:

  • Normally all vowels are short. Exceptions are normally words of foreign origin.
  • When telling the names of all the letters in the alphabet, the vowels are pronounced longer, and the consonants are followed by a long Turkish “e”, e.g.: aa, bee, cee, dee, ee, fee, etc. “ğ” can also be called soft (yumuşak) “g”.
  • For easy remembering: a letter with a cedilla () under it sounds like the letter followed by an “h” in English. ç=ch, ş=sh.

 

Letter

(approximate) equivalent in English

A a

·         car (thick “a” in a syllable ending in a consonant, eg: sar)

·         about (thin “a” in a syllable ending in a vowel, eg: sarı, where the syllables are sa-rı)

B b

Box

C c

Gene

Ç ç

Child

D d

Day

E e

get

(thicker in a syllable ending in a consonant,

thinner in a syllable ending in a vowel)

F f

Fox

G g

Get

Ğ ğ

no equivalent in English, but for now imagine this as a soft transition from, or extension of, the preceding vowel.

Examples: “seğirmek” (read similar to “seirmek” with a soft transition, and not as “se’irmek”); yoğurt (which is originally a Turkish word); ağır (heavy).

 

Ğ is also named “soft g” (yumuşak g). This letter never starts a word.

H h

Hot

I ı

function, away (exact equivalent of the Dutch “te”)

İ i

Bit

J j

Vision

K k

Key

L l

·         thick “l” like in English, when in a syllable with a thick vowel (see section 5 “ First rule of vowel harmony” below), eg: alım (attractiveness).

·         thin “l” like in French and German, when in a syllable with a thin vowel (see section 5 “ First rule of vowel harmony” below), eg: elim (my hand).

M m

Met

N n

Net

O o

Loft

Ö ö

Girl

P p

Pie

R r

Rid

S s

Sell

Ş ş

Shell

T t

Tell

U u

Put

Ü ü

exactly as in German müller and French vue, somewhat similar to English pure, a somewhat difficult sound for English native speakers

V v

Very

Y y

Yet

Z z

Zen

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