Replacement of loanwords in Turkish
The TDK, established by Atatürk
in 1932 to research the Turkish language, also sought to replace foreign loanwords (mainly Arabic) with their Turkish counterparts. The Association succeeded in removing several hundred Arabic words from the language. While most of the words introduced into the language in this process were newly derived from existing Turkish verbal roots, TDK also suggested using old Turkish words which had not been used in the language for centuries; like yanıt
. Most of these words are used today widely while their predecessors are not used in daily language anymore. Some words were used before language reform too but they were used much less than the Persian ones. Some words were taken from rural areas but most of them had different meanings, like ürün
. Mongolian also played an important role too, because Mongolian preserved the old Turkic borrowings, such as ulus
There are generational differences in vocabulary preference. While those born before the 1940s tend to use the old Arabic-origin words (even the obsolete ones), younger generations commonly use the newer expressions. Some new words have not been widely adopted, in part because they failed to convey the intrinsic meanings of their old equivalents. Many new words have taken up somewhat different meanings, and cannot necessarily be used interchangeably with their old counterpart.
Origin of the words in Turkish vocabulary, which contains 104,481 words, of which about 86% are Turkish and 14% are of foreign origin
Many of the loanwords (especially the Arabic, Persian and French ones) are still widely used today, though decreasing in tendency.
Connotations and implications of word choice
Historically, Arabic was the language of the mosque and Persian was the language of education and poetry. Its deliberate usage (eschewing the usage of a "western" word) often implies romanticism or a religious subtext, respectively. Similarly, the use of European words may be favored to impart a perceived "modern" character. The use of "pure Turkic" words may be employed as an expression of nationalism or as a linguistic "simplification".
Origin of the words in Turkish vocabulary
Most of the new Turkish words are derived from other words with thematic suffixes. For example:
bat- is the root of the verb batmak, which means "to sink" or "to set". The derived word batı means "west" or the cardinal direction in which the sun "sinks". Another example would be aylık, which means "salary" as well as monthly. This is derived from the word ay, which means "moon, month".
Here are some other examples of derivations:
- gün means "day" → günce means "agenda", güncel means "current", gündem means "current events and news", güncellemek means "to update", günay means "date", güney means "south", güneş means "sun", günlük means "diary" or "daily", gündüz means "daytime" (opposite of night) or "morning",
- kes- is the root of the verb "to cut" → kesi means "incision", kesici means "cutter", kesin means "accurate", kesinlikle means "definitely", kesinleşmek means "to become definite", kesinsizlik means "the state of indefinity", keskenmek means "to pretend to hit with a hand motion", kesmece is a saying that means "the agreement of cutting a fruit before buying it", keser means "adze", kesiklik means "sudden feeling of tiredness, lethargy", kesilmek means "to act like something", kesir means "fraction", kesirli means "fractional", kesit means "cross section", keski means "chisel", keskin means "sharp", keskinlik means "acuity" and "sharpness", kesim means "segment", kesimlik means "animal (or tree) fit or ready to be slaughtered/cut", kesinti means "interruption", kesintili means "on and off", kesintisiz means "uninterrupted" and "seamless", kesme means "an object cut in the form of a geometrical shape", kestirme means "short-cut", kesik means "interrupted", kestirmek means "to forecast" and "to nap", kestirim means "guess", kesen means "a line that intersects a geometrical entity", kesenek means "deduction", kesişmek means "to intersect", kesişim means "intersection",
- sap- is the root of the verb "to deviate" → sapık means "pervert", sapak means "turn" (as in roads, traffic),
- duy- is the root of the verb "to hear", "to feel" → duyu means "sensory", duyarlı means "sensitive", duyarlılık means "sensitivity", duygu means "feeling", duyarga(ç) means "sensor", duyargan means "allergen", duyarca means "allergy", duyum means "hearsay", duyumsamazlık means "apathy",
- yet- is the root of the verb "to suffice" → yeter means "sufficient", yetki means "authority", yetenek means "talent",
- başka means "other" → başkalaşım means "metamorphosis",
- tek means "single" → tekel means "monopoly", tekdüze means "monotonous",
- ev means "home" → evlilik means "marriage", evcil means "domestic",
- seç- is the root of the verb "to choose" → seçenek means "choice", seçkin means "elite", seçim means "election",
- düş- is the root of the verb "to fall" → düşük means "miscarriage",
- sür- is the root of the verb "to last", "to put forward" → süreğen means "chronic", sürüm means "version",
- yaz- is the root of the verb "to write" → yazar means "writer", yazgı means "fate", yazılım means "software", yazanak means "report", yazıt means "inscription", yazman means "secretary", yazıcı means "printer", yazın means "literature", yazım means "orthography", yazışma means "correspondence", yazdırım means "dictation",
- ver- is the root of the verb "to give" → veri means "data", vergi means "tax", verim means "efficiency",
- öz means "self", "real" → özel means "special", özen means "attention", özgü means "peculiar", özgül means "specific", özge means "other", özne means "subject", özgün means "original", özgür means "free", özümleme means "assimilation", öznel means "subjective". The verb özle- (meaning "to miss", "to long for") is also derived from this word, and özlem is a noun that means "longing".
Some of the Turkish words are also compound words, such as:
- Başvuru means "application". It is derived from baş (meaning "head") and vuru (meaning "hitting"), so the literal English translation of this compound word would be "head-hitting"
- Ayak means "foot", and kap means "container", and the compound word ayakkabı means foot-container, "shoe".
- Ana means "main", and yasa means "law", and the compound word anayasa means "constitution".
- Öz means "self", and veri means "giving", and the compound word özveri means "altruism, self-sacrifice".
- Büyük means "big", and elçi means "messenger", and the compound word büyükelçi means "ambassador".
- Kesim means "cutting", ev means "house", and kesimevi means "slaughterhouse".
Lists of replaced loanwords
Loanwords of Arabic origin
The list gives the Ottoman Turkish word, the modern spelling of the word in Turkish (as suggested by TDK), the modern Turkish equivalent, and its meaning in English. Arabs also used the following words as loanwords for their language.
* Old words that are still used in modern Turkish together with their new Turkish counterparts.
** New words that are not as frequently used as the old words.
Loanwords of French origin
French words started to infiltrate the Turkish language in the 1800s, when administrative reforms (Tanzimat
) started taking place in the Ottoman Empire. The extent of French influence was such that the number of French loanwords was close to 5,000.
Most of the French loanwords are still widely used in Turkish today.
* Words that are still used in modern Turkish together with their new Turkish counterparts.
Loanwords of Persian origin
The list gives the Ottoman Turkish word, the modern spelling of the word in Turkish (as suggested by TDK), the modern Turkish equivalent, and its meaning in English.
Most of the original Persian words are still widely used in modern Turkish. In fact, there are over 1,500 Persian words in Turkish. However, for many of the Persian words (unlike Arabic words
), there is no TDK-prescribed equivalent. TDK did not put as much effort into replacing Persian words as it did for Arabic words
, largely because the Persian words were better assimilated into the language.
Arabic language and culture is general perceived by Turks to be more "foreign" than Persian language and culture, which had a native presence in Anatolia
since the time of the Achaemenids
, and was patronised for millennia afterwards by other dynasties with a presence in Anatolia such as the Sasanians
, Sultanate of Rum
, and lastly, the Ottomans, amongst others.
* New words that are not as frequently used as the old words.
Loanwords of other origin
* Words that are still used in modern Turkish together with their new Turkish counterparts.
- ^ "Güncel Türkçe Sözlük" (in Turkish). Turkish Language Association. 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-03-21. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
- ^ "Türkçe Sözlük (2005)'teki Sözlerin Kökenlerine Ait Sayısal Döküm" [Numerical list on the origin of words in Türkçe Sözlük (2005)] (in Turkish). Turkish Language Association. 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-03-01. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aaab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar asat au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bjbk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz cacb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr csct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di djdk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt du Lewis, Geoffrey (2000). Turkish Grammar (Second ed.). Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-870036-9.
- ^ TDK Online Dictionary - konsonantArchived 2007-08-22 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ TDK Online Dictionary - vokal Archived 2007-08-22 at the Wayback Machine
, the official spelling guide of the Turkish language on TDK website
Last edited on 4 May 2021, at 12:17
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