Turkish/Pronunciation and Alphabet/A-I

Pronunciation and Alphabet
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The alphabet in Turkish is based on the Latin alphabet. However, the pronunciations of the letters are a little different from English, and there are also some perhaps unfamiliar letters included, too. So, let's start learning the Turkish alphabet!


/ɑ/   Click for sound

Letter is named 'a'. Pronounced like the a in father, but shorter. It's a back vowel. (You'll see why this is important in later lessons)

For example:

  • Ankara /ˈɑnkɑɾɑ/
  • akvaryum /ɑkˈvɑɾjum/
  • aktif /ɑkˈtif/
  • Asya /ˈɑsjɑ/
  • Avrupa /ˈɑvɾupɑ/
  • Amerika Birleşik Devletleri /ˈɑmɛɾikɑ ˈbiɾlɛʃikʲ ˈdɛvlɛtlɛɾi/


/b/   Click for sound

Named be. Pronounced like the b in big. Devoices to 'p' in end of the word.

For example:

  • bar /bɑɾ/
  • baba /bɑbɑ/
  • başarı /bɑʃɑɾɯ/
  • baklava /bɑkɫɑva/
  • bir /biɾ/
  • beyaz /bɛjaz/


//   Click for sound

Named ce. Now things have started to go different, here! Be careful, in Turkish, c is pronounced sort of like the j in jelly. Devoices to 'ç' in the end of word, with very few exceptions like hac (/hadʒ/).

For example:

  • cep telefonu /dʒɛp tɛlɛfonu/
  • cam /dʒɑm/
  • cin /dʒin/
  • ceket /dʒɛkʲɛt/
  • cips /dʒips/
  • cokey /dʒokʲɛj/


//   Click for sound

Named çe. This is pronounced like the ch in chocolate.

For example:

  • çan /tʃɑn/
  • çam /tʃɑm/
  • çene /tʃɛˈnɛ/
  • çay /tʃɑj/
  • çocuk /tʃoˈdʒuk/
  • Çin /tʃin/


/d/   Click for sound

Named de. This is pronounced like the d in delight. Devoices to 't' at the end of a word, with very rare exceptions like ad (/ɑd/).

For example:

  • Danimarka /dɑniˈmɑɾkɑ/
  • deniz /dɛˈniz/
  • dün /dyn/
  • dört /dœɾt/
  • döner /dœnɛɾ/


/ɛ/   Click for sound

Named e. Sounds like "e" in "pet".


  • egzersiz /ɛɡʲzɛɾˈsiz/
  • ekmek /ɛkʲˈmɛkʲ/
  • elma /ɛlˈmɑ/
  • enerji /ɛnɛɾˈʒi/
  • ev /ˈɛv/
  • el /ˈɛl/

It is pronounced closer to the a in trap in syllables ending in r, l, m, n; and in the ending -mez. A small number of short words are an exception to this.

  • erken /æɾˈkæn/
  • eser /ɛsˈæɾ /


/f/   Click for sound

Named fe. This is pronounced like the f in forget. It's a rare sound and only occurs in loanwords.

For example:

  • faks /ˈfɑks/
  • Finlandiya /finˈlɑndijɑ/
  • Fransa /ˈfɾɑnsɑ/
  • futbol /ˈfutboɫ/


/ɡ/ (with back vowels, i.e. a, ı, o and u)   Click for sound
/ɡʲ/ (with front vowels i.e. e, i, ö and ü)   Click for sound

Or ge. This is pronounced like the g in go with back vowels and more palatal with front vowels. Detones to 'k' in end of the word. In some Arabic and Persian loanwords, it might spelled palatalized with back wovels with , as in gâvur /gʲɑwuɾ/. This pronunciation is indicated by adding a circumflex (^) over the next vowel.

For example:

  • gazete /ɡɑzɛtɛ/
  • gece /ɡʲɛdʒɛ/
  • göz /ɡʲœz/
  • gangster /ɡɑŋɡstɛɾ/
  • gram /ɡɾɑm/
  • greyfurt /ɡɾɛjfuɾt/


In Turkish, this is referred to as "yumuşak g" (/jumuʃak ɡʲɛ/), meaning soft g, because it's technically what it is. It's the most distinctive letter in Turkish, having no equivalent in many other languages. "Ğ" can be pronounced in three ways.

  • If it's followed by a vowel, it's silent, and the Ğ is only there to indicate the start of a new syllable. Do not pronounce it in that position! For example, the words ağaç /ɑ.ɑtʃ/ and meğer /mɛ.ɛɾ/ are both pronounced in two syllables, with a hiatus in between two vowels.
  • If it follows the letter "E", it sounds like a faint "Y" sound, as in the word eğri, pronounced /ɛʲɾi/.
  • If it's followed by a consonant, or Ğ is the last letter of the word, it has no sound, but the previous vowel is held for a longer duration. For example, in the word yağmur /jɑ:muɾ/ the vowel A is longer.

"Ğ" must always follow a vowel, and as such it can never be used at the beginning of a word (that's why it lacks its own name).

Some more examples:

  • dağ /da:/
  • yoğurt /yo.uɾt/
  • öğrenci /œ:ɾɛndʒi/
  • iğne /i:nɛ/
  • teğmen /tɛʲmɛn/

Nevertheless, ğ is always considired a consonant for all grammatical purposes, and suffixes are declined accordingly.


/h/   Click for sound

Or he. This is pronounced like the "h" in heaven.

For example:

  • hafta /hɑftɑ/
  • hayır /hɑjɯɾ/
  • hata /hɑtɑ:/


/ɯ/   Click for sound

This is another one to watch out for! It's not pronounced like an i! As a matter of fact, the lowercase version of this is a dotless i (ı). It has no exact English equivalent, but is pronounced like the e in legend or i in cousin. The exact pronunciation is made by shaping your lips to say e (as in bread), but trying to say u (as in you) instead. It's hard, but no harm in trying!

Some similar sounds in other languages are, ы in Russian, y in Polish and î in Romanian.

For example:

  • ılık /ɯˈɫɯk/
  • ısı /ɯˈsɯ/

Try and learn those off by heart, particularly c, ç, ğ and ı!

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