turkish lessons

  • The vowels of the Turkish language are, in their alphabetical order, ‹ a ›, ‹ e ›, ‹ ı ›, ‹ i ›, ‹ o ›, ‹ ö ›, ‹ u › , ‹ ü › There are no diphthongs in Turkish and when two vowels come together, which occurs in some Arabic loanwords, each vowel retains its individual sound.
Turkish vowels
                         Front                          Back
Unrounded Rounded Unrounded Rounded
High i ü ı u
Low e ö a o

There are three rules of vowel harmony:

  1. Back vowels are followed by back vowels, front vowels are followed by front vowels. Do not cross the back/front boundary.
  2. Unrounded vowels are followed by unrounded vowels.
  3. A rounded vowel may be followed by a mix of rounded closed and unrounded open vowels.


  • a or ı may be followed by a or ı
  • o or u may be followed by u or a
  • e or i may be followed by e or i
  • ö or ü may be followed by ü or e

A, a short ‘a’ as in ‘art’ or ‘star’

â faint ‘yee’ sound following preceding consonant, as in Kâhta (kee-YAHH-tah)

E, e ‘eh’ in ‘send’ or ‘tell’

İ, i [dotted i] as ‘ee’ in ‘see’

I, ı [undotted i] ‘uh’ or the vowel sound in ‘fuss’ and ‘plus’

O, o same as in English ‘phone’

Ö, ö same as in German, or like British ‘ur’, as in ‘fur’

U, u ‘oo’, as in ‘moo’ or ‘blue’

Ü, ü same as in German, or French ‘u’ in ‘tu’

Some Other Letters

C, c pronounced like English `j’ as in `jet’ and Jimmy

Ç, ç [c-cedilla] ‘ch’ as in ‘church’ and ‘chatter’

G, g always hard as in ‘go’, never soft as in ‘gentle’

Ğ, ğ – a ‘g’ with a little curved line over it: not pronounced; lengthens preceding vowel slightly; you can safely ignore it—just don’t pronounce it! (This is the only exception to Rule 1)

H, h never silent, always unvoiced, as in `half’ and ‘high’; remember: there are NO silent ‘h’s in Turkish!

J, j like French `j’, English `zh’, or the ‘z’ in ‘azure’

S, s always unvoiced as the s’s in ‘stress’, not ‘zzz’ as in ‘tease’

Ş, ş – [s-cedilla] ‘sh’ as in ‘show’ and ‘should’

V, v a soft ‘v’ sound, half-way to ‘w’

W, w same as Turkish ‘v’; found only in foreign words

X, x as in English; found only in foreign words; Turkish words use ‘ks’ instead


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