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Turkish Alphabet Part II: M to Z

Updated on September 13, 2018

In my last article, I reviewed the first 15 letters of the Turkish Alphabet, which you should take the time to read it if you have yet done so. In this article, you will find out about the final 14 characters of the Turkish writing system with examples from English and Turkish provided to show you how each letter is pronounced. One of reasons for learning Turkish rather than any other language is its simplicity and the alphabet is a prime example to that. As you will see below, each Turkish character has one specific phonetic value so you should almost never have any difficulty reading a new word you never saw before.

Having made this introduction, let us start reviewing the characters.

Letter M

You will see M very frequently in Turkish texts as it is part of several commonly used verb conjugation suffixes. This is good because M is a very easy letter that sounds exactly like the English M. Now, we take a look at a few Turkish words that have M:

muz (banana)

tamam (OK)

selam (hi)

Letter N

Another very straightforward and very useful character in Turkish Alphabet is N, which has no difference in pronunciation whatsoever from the English N. Here are some Turkish N words:

niyet (intention)

anne (mother)

duman (smoke)

Letter O

One of the less frequently utilized vowels in Turkish, O is a letter English speakers are already acquainted with. Whereas the English O can have a number of different phonetic values, Turkish O is reserved for a very specific sound. Its pronunciation is exacly like the O in English words like core, sore and lore as well as hold, mold and sold. See the below examples of Turkish O words:

orda (there) is read "or-duh".

sor (ask) is a verb in imperative form and it sounds like the English word "sore".

alo (hello) is used only when answering a phone and nowhere else. It is a very important word.

Letter Ö

Things are getting complicated again, aren't they? Now, we've got something like an O but it has umlauts. This unique Turkish character has a sound like the English E in words such as girl, her and firm. Now, let's see some examples from Turkish:

öğretmen (teacher) is indeed a complicated word to say but I put it here to give you a challenge.

kör (blind) sounds like curry without the -ry at the end.

banliyö (banlieue) is the only Turkish word ending with Ö that I could find. It sounds like its English counterpart but with a Turkish ambience.

Letter P

I love easy letters like P. This is not at all different from the English P so let's go straight to the examples:

park (park) is a place with trees and playground for kids. It also means "parking" in Turkish.

apartman (condo) is cognate with the English word "apartment" but in Turkish it refers to the entire building.

kap sound exactly like the English "cup". The Turkish "kap" is basically any small container used to store food.

Letter R

Say this like an American as in store, core, your and door. R is one of the most frequently used consonants used in Turkish writing:

rol (role)

erik (plum)

zor (hard)

Letter S

Just like the English S, the Turkish S always gives you the same sound. Here are the Turkish examples.

sis (fod)

esas (principle, essence)

kas (muscle)

Letter Ş

This letter looks too bizarre but in fact, it is too easy. Turkish Ş is the exact equivalent of the English compund SH as in rush, ashamed, shot and bush. I think inventing a special letter for this sound is really more clever than using two letters. Here are some Ş words:

şey (thing)

kaşık (spoon)

taş (stone)

Letter T

Turkish T sounds exactly like the English T. Let's go to the examples:

tam (whole)

atmak (to throw)

soyut (abstract)

Letter U

This is a bit different from the English U. The Turkish U never sounds like "you" but instead it is pronounced like the U in rule and and rune. The Turkish U is like the "oo" is good but only shorter. To be able to do this, you need to completely forget about how U is pronounced at the start of English words and focus on its singular sound in Turkish. Let's take a look at the examples:

un (flour)

dur (stop!)

kuru (dry)

Letter Ü

This letter has a special sound that is difficult for English speakers because it is extremely rare in English. The same letter exists in German so if you know any German you can find this simple but for those who don't know German, I found a few rare examples from English. Think of the U in dude, aptitude and rectitude. Do not despair if you can't make this sound correctly because you will eventually pick it up. Here are some words that have Ü in them:

üzüm (grape)

sürü (herd)

Letter V

Turkish V is quite simple and sounds like the English V. I guess you can't wait to see the examples:

ve (and) sounds like the English word "vet" but without the T at the end.

deve (camel)

ev (house)

Letter Y

This is the same as the Y in English. Some Y words in Turkish are below:

yıl (year)

ayı (bear)

ay (moon, month)

Letter Z

The Turkish character Z is another no problem letter that sounds exactly like its English counterpart. Here are the examples:

zeytin (olive)

düzgün (proper, tidy)

az (few, little)

We have finished reviewing the alphabet. As you see, there are some intriguing sounds in Turkish but the overall difficulty of the alphabet is low because each letter produces only one specific sound without regards to where it is placed in the word. Turkish laso lacks three of the characters in English, namely Q, X and W. This is one last bonus that makes an already simple alphabet even easier to learn and use.

Now that you know the basics of the Turkish Alphabet, you should able to read any Turkish word. To hone your skills make sure you come back to this list in the next few days to review what you have learned and keep reviewing until you are fully confident with reading and writing Turkish words.


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