Ottoman Turkish language

Ottoman Turkish language

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The Ottoman Turkish language or Ottoman language is the variety
Variety (linguistics)
In sociolinguistics a variety, also called a lect, is a specific form of a language or language cluster. This may include languages, dialects, accents, registers, styles or other sociolinguistic variation, as well as the standard variety itself...

 of the Turkish language
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 that was used for administrative and literary
Literary language
A literary language is a register of a language that is used in literary writing. This may also include liturgical writing. The difference between literary and non-literary forms is more marked in some languages than in others...

 purposes in the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. It borrows extensively from Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 and Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, and was written in a variant of the Perso-Arabic script
Perso-Arabic script
The Persian or Perso-Arabic alphabet is a writing system based on the Arabic script. Originally used exclusively for the Arabic language, the Arabic alphabet was adapted to the Persian language, adding four letters: , , , and . Many languages which use the Perso-Arabic script add other letters...

. Consequently, Ottoman Turkish was largely unintelligible to the less-educated lower-class and rural Turks, who continued to use kaba Türkçe ("vulgar
VULGAR
Vulgar is the fourth studio album released by Dir En Grey on September 10, 2003 in Japan and on February 21, 2006 in Europe. A limited edition containing an additional DVD was also released. It featured the video of the song "Obscure", albeit a censored version...

 Turkish"), which used far fewer foreign loanword
Loanword
A loanword is a word borrowed from a donor language and incorporated into a recipient language. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept where the meaning or idiom is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort,...

s and which is the basis of the modern Turkish language. The Tanzimât
Tanzimat
The Tanzimât , meaning reorganization of the Ottoman Empire, was a period of reformation that began in 1839 and ended with the First Constitutional Era in 1876. The Tanzimât reform era was characterized by various attempts to modernize the Ottoman Empire, to secure its territorial integrity against...

 era saw the application of the term "Ottoman" when referring to the language ( or ) and the same distinction is made in Modern Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 ( and ).

Cases

  • Nominative case
    Nominative case
    The nominative case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject of a verb or the predicate noun or predicate adjective, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments...

    : ("the lake", "a lake"), ("Chorba"), ("night").
  • Accusative case
    Accusative case
    The accusative case of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb. The same case is used in many languages for the objects of prepositions...

     (definite
    Definiteness
    In grammatical theory, definiteness is a feature of noun phrases, distinguishing between entities which are specific and identifiable in a given context and entities which are not ....

    ): ("he brought a rabbit").
  • Genitive case
    Genitive case
    In grammar, genitive is the grammatical case that marks a noun as modifying another noun...

    : answers the question ("whose?"), formed with the suffix . Eg. ("the pasha's") from ("pasha
    Pasha
    Pasha or pascha, formerly bashaw, was a high rank in the Ottoman Empire political system, typically granted to governors, generals and dignitaries. As an honorary title, Pasha, in one of its various ranks, is equivalent to the British title of Lord, and was also one of the highest titles in...

    ").
  • Accusative case (indefinite): answers the question ("who?") and ("what?"), formed with the suffix . Eg. ("he brought the rabbits"). The variant suffix does not occur in Ottoman Turkish as it does in Modern Turkish due to the lack of labial
    Labial consonant
    Labial consonants are consonants in which one or both lips are the active articulator. This precludes linguolabials, in which the tip of the tongue reaches for the posterior side of the upper lip and which are considered coronals...

     consonant harmony
    Consonant harmony
    Consonant harmony is a type of "long-distance" phonological assimilation akin to the similar assimilatory process involving vowels, i.e. vowel harmony.-Examples:...

    . Thus, ( "the lake") where Modern Turkish has .
  • Locative case
    Locative case
    Locative is a grammatical case which indicates a location. It corresponds vaguely to the English prepositions "in", "on", "at", and "by"...

    : answers the question ("where?"), formed with the suffix . Eg. ("at school"), ("in a cage"), ("at the start"), ("in town"). As with the indefinite accusative case, the variant suffix does not occur as it does in Modern Turkish.
  • Ablative case
    Ablative case
    In linguistics, ablative case is a name given to cases in various languages whose common characteristic is that they mark motion away from something, though the details in each language may differ...

    : answers the questions ("from where?") and ("why?").
  • Instrumental case
    Instrumental case
    The instrumental case is a grammatical case used to indicate that a noun is the instrument or means by or with which the subject achieves or accomplishes an action...

    : answers the question ("with what?").

Structure


As in most other Turkic languages of Islamic communities, initially the Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 borrowings were not the result of a direct exposure of Ottoman Turkish to Arabic, a fact that is evidenced by the typically Persian phonological mutation of the words of Arabic origin. The conservation of archaic phonological features of the Arabic borrowings furthermore suggests that Arabic-incorporated Persian was absorbed into pre-Ottoman Turkic
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

 at an early stage, when the speakers were still located to the northeast of Persia, prior to the westward migration of the Islamic Turkic tribes. An additional argument for this is that Ottoman Turkish shares the Persian character of its Arabic borrowings with other Turkic languages that had even less interaction with Arabic, such as Tatar
Tatar language
The Tatar language , or more specifically Kazan Tatar, is a Turkic language spoken by the Tatars of historical Kazan Khanate, including modern Tatarstan and Bashkiria...

 and Uygur
Uyghur language
Uyghur , formerly known as Eastern Turk, is a Turkic language with 8 to 11 million speakers, spoken primarily by the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of Western China. Significant communities of Uyghur-speakers are located in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and various other...

.

In a social and pragmatic sense, there were (at least) three variants of Ottoman Turkish:
  • Fasih Türkçe (Eloquent Turkish): the language of poetry and administration, Ottoman Turkish in its strict sense;
  • Orta Türkçe (Middle Turkish): the language of higher classes and trade;
  • Kaba Türkçe (Rough Turkish): the language of lower classes.


A person would use each of the varieties above for different purposes. For example, a scribe would use the Arabic asel (عسل) to refer to honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

 when writing a document, but would use the native Turkish word bal when buying it.

History


Historically, Ottoman Turkish was transformed in three eras:
  • Eski Osmanlı Türkçesi (Old Ottoman Turkish): The version of Ottoman Turkish used until 16th century. It was almost identical with the Turkish used by Seljuks and Anatolian beyliks, thus often regarded as part of Eski Anadolu Türkçesi (Ancient Anatolian Turkish).
  • Orta Osmanlı Türkçesi (Middle Ottoman Turkish) or Klasik Osmanlıca (Classic
    Classic
    The word classic means something that is a perfect example of a particular style, something of lasting worth or with a timeless quality. The word can be an adjective or a noun . It denotes a particular quality in art, architecture, literature and other cultural artifacts...

    al Ottoman Turkish): Language of poetry and administration from 16th century until Tanzimat
    Tanzimat
    The Tanzimât , meaning reorganization of the Ottoman Empire, was a period of reformation that began in 1839 and ended with the First Constitutional Era in 1876. The Tanzimât reform era was characterized by various attempts to modernize the Ottoman Empire, to secure its territorial integrity against...

    . This is the version of Ottoman Turkish that comes to most people's minds.
  • Yeni Osmanlı Türkçesi (New Ottoman Turkish): Shaped from 1850s to 20th century under influence of journalism and Western-oriented literature.

Language reform


In 1928, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire
Fall of the Ottoman Empire
Some scholars argue the power of the Caliphate began waning by 1683, and without the acquisition of significant new wealth the Ottoman Empire went into a fast decline...

 after World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and the establishment of Republic of Turkey, widespread language reforms (a part in the greater framework of Atatürk's Reforms
Atatürk's Reforms
Atatürk's Reforms were a series of political, legal, cultural, social and economic reforms that were designed to modernize the new Republic of Turkey into a democratic and secular nation-state...

) instituted by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was an Ottoman and Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey....

 saw the replacement of many Persian and Arabic origin loanwords in the language with their Turkish equivalents. It also saw the replacement of the Perso-Arabic script with the extended Latin alphabet
Turkish alphabet
The Turkish alphabet is a Latin alphabet used for writing the Turkish language, consisting of 29 letters, seven of which have been modified from their Latin originals for the phonetic requirements of the language. This alphabet represents modern Turkish pronunciation with a high degree of accuracy...

. The changes were meant to encourage the growth of a new variety of written Turkish that more closely reflected the spoken vernacular, as well as to foster a new variety of spoken Turkish that more explicitly reflected Turkey's new national identity
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

 as being a post-Ottoman state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

.

Please see the list of replaced loanwords in Turkish for more examples on Ottoman Turkish words and their modern Turkish counterparts. Two examples of Arabic and two of Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 loanwords are found below.
English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 
Ottoman Modern Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

obligatory vâcib zorunlu
hardship müşkül güçlük, zorluk
city şehir kent/şehir
war cenk savaş

Legacy


Historically speaking, Ottoman Turkish is not the predecessor of modern Turkish, but rather the standard Turkish of today is essentially Yeni Osmanlı Türkçesi as written in the Latin alphabet and with an abundance of neologisms added. One major difference between modern Turkish and Ottoman Turkish is the former's abandonment of compound word formation according to Arabic and Persian grammar rules. The usage of such phrases still exists in modern Turkish, but only to a very limited extent and usually in specialist contexts
Jargon
Jargon is terminology which is especially defined in relationship to a specific activity, profession, group, or event. The philosophe Condillac observed in 1782 that "Every science requires a special language because every science has its own ideas." As a rationalist member of the Enlightenment he...

; for example, the Persian genitive construction
Genitive case
In grammar, genitive is the grammatical case that marks a noun as modifying another noun...

 takdîr-i ilâhî (which reads literally as "the preordaining of the divine", and translates as "divine dispensation" or "destiny") is used, as opposed to the normative modern Turkish construction, ilâhî takdîr (literally, "divine preordaining").

Orthography



Ottoman Turkish was primarily written in the Ottoman Turkish script (elifbâ ), a variant of the Perso-Arabic script
Perso-Arabic script
The Persian or Perso-Arabic alphabet is a writing system based on the Arabic script. Originally used exclusively for the Arabic language, the Arabic alphabet was adapted to the Persian language, adding four letters: , , , and . Many languages which use the Perso-Arabic script add other letters...

. It was not, however, unknown for Ottoman Turkish to also be written using the Armenian script
Armenian alphabet
The Armenian alphabet is an alphabet that has been used to write the Armenian language since the year 405 or 406. It was devised by Saint Mesrop Mashtots, an Armenian linguist and ecclesiastical leader, and contained originally 36 letters. Two more letters, օ and ֆ, were added in the Middle Ages...

: for instance, the first novel
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 to be written in the Ottoman Empire was 1851's Akabi, written in the Armenian script by Vartan Pasha
Vartan Pasha
Vartan Pasha was an Ottoman Armenian statesman, author and journalist of the 19th century, promoted to the rank of "Pasha" after three decades in the service of the state...

. Similarly, when the Armenian Düzoğlu family managed the Ottoman mint during the reign of Sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 Abdülmecid, they kept records in Ottoman Turkish, but used the Armenian script. Other scripts, too—such as the Greek alphabet
Greek alphabet
The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...

 and the Rashi script
Rashi script
Rashi script is a semi-cursive typeface for the Hebrew alphabet. It is named for the author of the most famous rabbinic commentary on the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud, Rashi, and is customarily used for printing his commentaries. The typeface is based on 15th century Sephardic semi-cursive...

 of Hebrew
Hebrew alphabet
The Hebrew alphabet , known variously by scholars as the Jewish script, square script, block script, or more historically, the Assyrian script, is used in the writing of the Hebrew language, as well as other Jewish languages, most notably Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic. There have been two...

—were used by non-Muslim groups to write the language, since the Arabic alphabet was identified with Islam. On the other hand, for example, Greek-speaking Muslims
Greek Muslims
Greek Muslims, also known as Greek-speaking Muslims, are Muslims of Greek ethnic origin, nowadays found mainly in Turkey, although migrations to Lebanon and Syria have been reported. Historically, Greek Orthodoxy has been associated with being Romios, i.e...

 would write Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 using the Ottoman Turkish script.
Isolated Final Middle Initial Name ALA-LC
ALA-LC Romanization
ALA-LC is a set of standards for romanization, or the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin alphabet. The initials stand for American Library Association - Library of Congress....

 Transliteration
Modern Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

elif a, â a, e
hemze ʼ ', a, e, i, u, ü
be b, p b
pe p p
te t t
se s s
cim c, ç c
çim ç ç
ha h
h
dal d d
zel z z
re r r
ze z z
je j j
sin s s
şın ş ş
sad s
dad ż, d, z
t
z
ayın ', h
gayın ġ g, ğ
fe f f
kaf k
kef k, g, ñ k, g, ğ, n
gef¹ g g, ğ
nef, sağır (deaf) kef ñ n
lam l l
mim m m
nun n n
vav v, o, ô, ö, u, û, ü v, o, ö, u, ü
he h, e, a h, e, a
lamelif la
ye y, ı, i, î y, ı, i


1A correct Ottoman variant of gef will have the "mini-kaf" of and the doubled upper stroke of . This feature is surely rare in current fonts.

Numbers

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Further reading

Online copies: http://books.google.com/books?id=eS8rAAAAYAAJ, http://books.google.com/books?id=QDlkAAAAMAAJ, http://books.google.com/books?id=j0u9Mw-TsyIC Online copies from Google books: http://books.google.com/books?id=bYqvxt5wQrcC,http://books.google.com/books?id=Jj1bAAAAQAAJ, http://books.google.com/books?id=MD1bAAAAQAAJ
  • Lewis, Geoffrey. The Jarring Lecture 2002. "The Turkish Language Reform: A Catastrophic Success".
  • Mehmet Hakkı Suçin
    Mehmet Hakkı Suçin
    Mehmet Hakkı Suçin is a Turkish author and Arabist .-Biography:He graduated from Ankara University, Faculty of Letters in 1993. He worked as a translator and interpreter in Kuwait Embassy to Turkey . He completed his master thesis on Egyptian novelist and short story writer Yahya Haqqi...

    . Qawâ'id al-Lugha al-Turkiyya li Ghair al-Natiqeen Biha (Turkish Grammar for Arabs; adapted from Mehmet Hengirmen's Yabancılara Türkçe Dilbilgisi), Engin Yayınevi, 2003).
  • Mehmet Hakkı Suçin. Atatürk'ün Okuduğu Kitaplar: Endülüs Tarihi (Books That Atatürk Read: History of Andalucia; purification from the Ottoman Turkish, published by Anıtkabir Vakfı, 2001).

External links