Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: June 2012

Chapter 1 - Introduction


Turkish is a member of the Southwestern branch (Oghuz) of the Turkic language family. It is the most commonly spoken Turkic language, acquired as a native language by more than 77 million people worldwide. The variety of Turkish presented in this book is the standard variety of the modern Turkish spoken in Turkey today. Here are some quick facts about the modern Turkish language:

Turkish is an agglutinating language. In Turkish, you add a number of suffixes to a word to make a sentence. Gidiyorum is one single word in Turkish, which means ‘I am going.’ It is made up of the verb git ‘go’ and two suffixes iyor (the progressive marker) and um (first person ‘I’). Kitaplarınızdan means ‘from your books’: kitap + lar + ınız + dan (book + s + your + from). This is called agglutination, a term which means ‘glue together’ in Latin. Due to the agglutinating nature of the language, it is possible to form very long words. A very well-known example is

Avrupalılaştıramadıklarımızdan mısınız

‘Are you one of those whom we cannot make European’?

However, in everyday speech, you almost never hear such super-long words. On average, a speaker adds about two or three suffixes to a verbal or nominal stem.