You are on page 1of 3

Special features of Turkish

AGGLUTINATION
Turkish comes very close to the 'ideal' of the agglutinating type of language: that is to
say, the structure of the word is composed of a sequence of suffixes, each expressing
a grammatical category, which are added to an unchanging root.
For example, the word ellerimde, 'in my hands', is composed of el 'hand', the root,
-1er, the plural suffix, -im, the possessive suffix of the first person singular, and -de,
the locative suffix meaning 'in'.
VOWEL HARMONY
In the process of agglutination, the most distinctive feature of Turkish is vowel
harmony. The vowels used in the suffixes vary according to the principles of vowel
harmony, which control the sequence of vowels that may occur within the word.
There are two kinds of vowels. These are known as front vowels, which are produced
at the front of the mouth (e, i o, u); and back vowels, which are produced at the back
of the mouth (a, 1, o, u). As a rule, Turkish words can contain only all front or all back
vowels (e.g. torun 'grandchild', toren 'ceremony') and the vowels of suffixes added to
any word vary according to the type of vowel(s) in the root. Thus, el 'hand', eller
'hands*, ellerim 'my hands', ellerime 'to my hands'; but at 'horse', atlar 'horses',
atlanm 'my horses', atlarima 'to my horses'.
WORD ORDER
Languages are also classified in terms of three different types of word order in their
sentence structure. We find in all -languages that sentences contain a subject (S), a
verb (V), and an object (O). In some languages the basic or preferred order of these
elements is (SVO). Many familiar languages, much as French, Spanish and English are
examples. Turkish, on the other hand, like Japanese and Korean, has. as its preferred
order subject-object-verb (SOV). Others such as classical Hebrew and Welsh are (VSO)
languages.
Word order, an important aspect of grammar, has a crucial function in making a
sentence meaningful and intelligible. For example, if we jumble up the words of the
sentence, 'What are you looking for?' to read 'for are looking what •you?' then it
becomes totally unintelligible. This is due to the ordering of its words which is
unacceptable according to the laws of English sentence structure. However, there are
cases where the word order is neither very rigidly fixed nor very free but generally
fixed with a very minor degree of freedom, in English for example the common word
order as mentioned above is subject-verb-object, but it is also possible to have objectsubject-verb. The latter is very much less frequent. Moreover, it seems not at all
natural in many sentences. It is most common in a few rather stereotyped sentences
uttered for stylistic purposes, e.g. 'This I must see'.
The SOV type of Turkish word order, on the other hand, is much more flexible than the
SVO order of English. A

In Turkish pronunciation. and not someone else. In other words. which can be overcome only by paying deliberate and systematic attention to it. Therefore. the rhythmic pattern of an equal number of syllables would be: A-teş-ol-ma-yan-yer-den-du-man-çık-maz. this would signify that it was Ahmet who ate the apple. like Spanish and French. For example. and are good guessers . There are however two other word orders which would be perfectly possible: Elmayı yedi Ahmet. or Ahmet yedi elmayı. it is only the stressed syllables that occur at regular intervals of time.Turkish speaker can use the word order to draw attention to both the main topic of the sentence and the word he particularly wishes to emphasize. RHYTHM Turkish. however.what the sentence is really all about and the word immediately in front of the verb indicates the word the speaker wants to stress or emphasize. whether stressed or unstressed. the syllable-timing of Turkish may constitute a fundamental difficulty of pronunciation. This can convey either the simple statement that Ahmet ate the apple. at a steady rate with equal intervals. or particularly if there is more to come in the same sentence. which is 'stresstimed'. (There's no smoke without fire). BEING A SUCCESSFUL LEARNER Finally. ör can emphasize that Ahmet ate the apple and not the banana.are impelled by a powerful urge to communicate. vocabulary and usage . The stress-timed speech habit of English will continually interfere in speaking Turkish and it is probably more worthwhile to pay attention to the syllabletiming of Turkish than to any other pronunciation feature. the preferred order of words in Turkish is SOV: Ahmet elmayı yedi. As was earlier explained. take the simple sentence 'Ahmet ate the apple'. and the unstressed ones are made to fit in: He-says that he-wants us to-take it a-way. we would like to mention that successful language learners. as opposed to English. are never inhibited or afraid of making mistakes. is a so-called 'syllabletimed' language. while trying to figure out how the language works and find out its structure — its grammar. a clear and even an intelligible pronunciation of Turkish will not be achieved so long as the stress-timing of English is carried over into Turkish. They would probably be used for reasons of style. Even if an acceptable articulation of each individual vowel and consonant of Turkish has been acquired. In English. This is because the first word in the sentence indicates the main topic . pronunciation. the overall rhythmic pattern of Turkish pronunciation is carried out by pronouncing the sequences of syllables. If one varies the word order to Elmayı Ahmet yedi.

. frequent and persistent practice. Above all. and that it is not sufficient to pay attention only to the grammar.and risk-takers. They know that language is for communication and use. they understand that it is impossible to learn a language without regular.