: لِسَانِ عُثْمَانِى
, lisân-ı Osmânî
, Turkish pronunciation: [liːsan'ɯ oθ'maniː]
: Osmanlı Türkçesi
) was the standardized register
of the Turkish language
used in the Ottoman Empire
(14th to 20th centuries CE). It borrowed extensively, in all aspects, from Arabic
, and its speakers used the Ottoman Turkish alphabet
for written communication. During the peak of Ottoman power (c.
16th century CE), words of foreign origin in Turkish literature in the Ottoman Empire heavily outnumbered native Turkish words,
with Arabic and Persian vocabulary accounting for up to 88% of the Ottoman vocabulary in some texts.
Consequently, Ottoman Turkish was largely unintelligible to the less-educated lower-class and to rural Turks, who continued to use kaba Türkçe
("raw/vulgar Turkish"; compare Vulgar Latin
), which used far fewer foreign loanwords
and is the basis of the modern standard.
era (1839–1876) saw the application of the term "Ottoman" when referring to the language
); Modern Turkish
uses the same terms when referring to the language of that era (Osmanlıca
and Osmanlı Türkçesi
). More generically, the Turkish language was called تركچه
A poem about Rumi
in Ottoman Turkish.
- Nominative and Indefiniteaccusative/objective): -∅, no suffix. گول göl 'the lake' 'a lake', چوربه çorba 'soup', گیجه gece 'night'; طاوشان گترمش ṭavşan getirmiş 'he/she brought a rabbit'.
- Genitive: suffix ڭ/نڭ –(n)ıñ, –(n)iñ, –(n)uñ, –(n)üñ. پاشانڭ paşanıñ 'of the pasha'; كتابڭ kitabıñ 'of the book'.
- Definite accusative: suffix ى –ı, -i: طاوشانى گترمشṭavşanı getürmiş 'he/she brought the rabbit'. The variant suffix –u, –ü does not occur in Ottoman Turkish orthography unlike in Modern Turkish, although it's pronounced with the vowel harmony. Thus, كولى göli 'the lake' vs. Modern Turkish gölü.
- Locative: suffix ده –de, –da: مكتبده mektebde 'at school', قفصده ḳafeṣde 'in (the/a) cage', باشدهbaşda 'at a/the start', شهرده şehirde 'in town'. The variant suffix used in Modern Turkish –te, –ta does not occur.
- Instrumental: suffix or postposition ايله ile. Generally not counted as a grammatical case in modern grammars.
The conjugation for the aorist tense is as follows:
's Turkish Dictionary, Second Edition (1880)
Ottoman Turkish was highly influenced by Arabic and Persian. Arabic and Persian words in the language accounted for up to 88% of its vocabulary.
As in most other Turkic and other foreign languages of Islamic communities, the Arabic borrowings
were borrowed through Persian, not through 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
at an early stage, when the speakers were still located to the north-east 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
, and Uyghur
. From the early ages of the Ottoman Empire, borrowings from Arabic and Persian were so abundant that original Turkish words were hard to find.
In Ottoman, one may find whole passages in Arabic and Persian incorporated into the text.
It was however not only extensive loaning of words, but along with them much of the grammatical systems of Persian and Arabic.
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, with the fasih
variant being the most heavily suffused with Arabic and Persian words and kaba
the least. For example, a scribe would use the Arabic asel
) to refer to honey
when writing a document but would use the native Turkish word bal
when buying it.
Historically, Ottoman Turkish was transformed in three eras:
- Eski Osmanlı Türkçesi (Old Ottoman Turkish): the version of Ottoman Turkish used until the 16th century. It was almost identical with the Turkish used by Seljuk empire and Anatolian beyliks and was often regarded as part of Eski Anadolu Türkçesi (Old Anatolian Turkish).
- Orta Osmanlı Türkçesi (Middle Ottoman Turkish) or Klasik Osmanlıca (Classical Ottoman Turkish): the language of poetry and administration from the 16th century until Tanzimat. It is the version of Ottoman Turkish that comes to most people's minds.
- Yeni Osmanlı Türkçesi (New Ottoman Turkish): the version shaped from the 1850s to the 20th century under the influence of journalism and Western-oriented literature.
Historically speaking, Ottoman Turkish is the predecessor of modern Turkish. However, the standard Turkish of today is essentially Türkiye Türkçesi
(Turkish of Turkey) as written in the Latin alphabet and with an abundance of neologisms
added, which means there are now far fewer loan words from other languages, and Ottoman Turkish was not instantly transformed into the Turkish of today. At first, it was only the script that was changed, and while some households continued to use the Arabic system in private, most of the Turkish population was illiterate at the time, making the switch to the Latin alphabet much easier. Then, loan words were taken out, and new words fitting the growing amount of technology were introduced. Until the 1960s, Ottoman Turkish was at least partially intelligible with the Turkish of that day. 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
; for example, the Persian genitive construction 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").
In 2014, Turkey's Education Council decided that Ottoman Turkish should be taught in Islamic high schools and as an elective in other schools, a decision backed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
, who said the language should be taught in schools so younger generations do not lose touch with their cultural heritage.
Calendar in Thessaloniki
1896, a cosmopolitan city; the first three lines in Ottoman script
The transliteration system of the İslâm Ansiklopedisi
has become a de facto
standard in Oriental studies
for the transliteration of Ottoman Turkish texts.
the New Redhouse, Karl Steuerwald and Ferit Develioğlu dictionaries have become standard.
Another transliteration system is the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft
(DMG), which provides a transliteration system for any Turkic language written in Arabic script.
There are not many differences between the İA and the DMG transliteration systems.
The national language was called "Turkish" in the 1921 and 1924 constitutions of the Republic of Turkey.
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- ^ 
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- ^ Percy Ellen Algernon Frederick William Smythe Strangford, Percy Clinton Sydney Smythe Strangford, Emily Anne Beaufort Smythe Strangford, “Original Letters and Papers of the late Viscount Strangford upon Philological and Kindred Subjects”, Published by Trübner, 1878. pg 46: “The Arabic words in Turkish have all decidedly come through a Persian channel. I can hardly think of an exception, except in quite late days, when Arabic words have been used in Turkish in a different sense from that borne by them in Persian.”
- ^ M. Sukru Hanioglu, “A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire”, Published by Princeton University Press, 2008. p. 34: “It employed a predominant Turkish syntax, but was heavily influenced by Persian and (initially through Persian) Arabic.
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- ^ a b c Korkut Bugday. An Introduction to Literary Ottoman Routledge, 5 dec. 2014 ISBN 978-1134006557 p XV.
- ^ Pamuk, Humeyra (December 9, 2014). "Erdogan's Ottoman language drive faces backlash in Turkey". Reuters. Istanbul. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
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- ^ Korkut Buğday Osmanisch, p. 2
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- ^ Transkriptionskommission der DMG Die Transliteration der arabischen Schrift in ihrer Anwendung auf die Hauptliteratursprachen der islamischen Welt, p. 9 Archived 2012-07-22 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ Korkut Buğday Osmanisch, p. 2f.
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Last edited on 8 May 2021, at 07:47
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