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The Turkish pronunciation

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Unlike in English, Turkish words are pronounced as written. The pronunciation of the Turkish characters in the alphabet is mostly similar to the characters in English. So, pronunciation in Turkish is simpler than in English.

Pronunciation of the letters

WordPronunciation of the first letter
araba (car)as the a in 'park'
bebek (baby)as the b in 'bank'
cep (pocket)as the j in 'jam'
çikolata (chocolate)as the ch in 'cheap'
doğru (true)as the d in 'dangerous'
ekmek (bread)as the e in 'enjoy'
farklı (different)as the f in 'film'
görmek (to see)as the g in 'got'
hece (syllable)as the h in 'hush'
ıslak (wet)as the ı in 'cousin'
ilişki (relationship)as the i in 'sit'
japon (japanese)as the s in 'measure'
köpek (dog)as the k in 'keep'
lamba (lamp)as the l in 'land'
masal (fairytale)as the m in 'make'
neden (reason)as the n in 'normal'
oda (room)as the o in 'owen'
örtü (blanket)as the i in 'dirty'
pilav (rice)as the p in 'pink'
renk (colour)as the r in 'ride'
sevgi (love)as the s in 'some'
şans (chance)as the sh in 'shoe'
top (ball)as the t in 'task'
uçmak (to fly)as the u in 'put'
ümit (hope)as the ü in 'über'
vahşi (wild)as the w in 'when'
yoğurt (yoghurt)as the y in 'young'
zor (difficult)as the s in 'as'

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Double consonants

The pronunciation of double consonants and single ones are different. Double consonants are pronounced with a delayed release and has the effect of a long sound. The pronunciation can change the meaning of a word.

Example table

Single consonantDouble consonants
beli (his/her waist)belli (obvious)
eli (his/her hand)elli (fifty)
atın (your horse)attın (you threw)
yeti (faculty)yetti (enough)

Word stress rules

According to the place of the stress, words can change their meaning in the sentence. Placing the stress in the correct position in a word is very important. General rules for stress placement in Turkish words are as follows:

1. The last syllable

In most cases the last syllable is stressed.

Examples

  • sa (short)
  • kalabalık (crowded)
  • çekingen (shy)
  • kadın (woman)

    enlightened  Exception: words that don't have final stress:

  • some place names: Özbekistan (Uzbekistan), Londra (London)
  • some words which are foreign origin: banka (bank), radyo (radio)
  • some adverbs: yarın (tomorrow), hemen (immediately)

2. Stress move to the last suffix

The stress moves to the last suffix, when the words that has the final stress gets a suffix.

Example

  • pencere (window)
  • pencereler (windows)
  • pencerelerde (at the windows)
  • pencerem (my window)
  • pencerelerimin (of my windows)

3.  Unstressed suffixes

 When the word ends on one of the unstressed suffixes (-ce, -dir, -me, -madan, -se, -ken...), then the stress takes part before that suffix.

Examples

  • Sessizce bekledim. I waited quitely.
  • Keki yapmadan gitme. Don't go before making the cake.
  • Okuldadır. He must be at school.
  • Bugün eve gitmedi. She didn't go home today.

The vowel harmony in Turkish

The Turkish alphabet consists of eight vowels and these are: ''-a, -e, -ı, -i, -o, -ö, -u, -ü'' This letters are divided into two groups:

Back vowels-a, -ı, -o, -u
Front vowels-e, -i, -ö, -ü

When the word's first syllable includes one of the back/front vowels, the folowing syllables should continue with the back/front vowel too.

Examples with back vowels: yatak (bed), kapı (door), dudak (lip), burun (nose)

Examples with front vowels: çiçek (flower), böcek (bug), üzgün (sad), yemek (food)

enlightened There are however exceptions:

  1. anne (mother)
  2.  tiyatro (theatre)
  3. badem (almond)
  4. kahve (coffee)
  5. hangi (which)
  6. ...

Vowel harmony applied in the plural suffixes

There are two plural suffixes in Turkish: -ler, -lar. When the last vowel of the noun is one of the following vowels ( -a ,- ı, -o, -u ), the '-lar' suffix is used and when the last vowel of the noun is one of the vowels (-e,- i, -ö, -ü ) the '-ler' suffix is used. 

Use (-ler/-lar)the last vowel
'-lar'-a, -ı, -o, -u
'-ler'-e, -i, -ö, -ü

Examples with  the '-lar' suffix

  • oyuncaklar (toys)
  • çocuklar (children)
  • hayvanlar (animals)

Examples with the '-ler' suffix

  • çiçekler (flowers)
  • bitkiler (plants)
  • belgeler (documents)

Exercises

  1. Mark the words exercise on the pronunciation
  2. Multiple choice exercise on the vowel harmony

Mark the words exercise on the pronunciation


Multiple choice exercise on the vowel harmony


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