Thursday, June 28, 2012


Does that title look a little strange? What’s that dot doing atop a capital ‘I’? Well, it’s Turkish. We recently took a Rick Steves walking tour of Istanbul (which I should write “İstanbul”), where our tour guide told us there are 29 letters in the Turkish alphabet. Here’s the deal: from the 26 in the American alphabet, subtract three letters:
  • Q
  • W (except in signs pointing the way to “W.C.”)
  • X
Then add:
  • Ç/ç (sounds like our ‘ch’)
  • Ğ/ğ (lengthens previous vowel sound)
  • “İ” vs “I” / “ı” vs “i” (without the dot, like the ‘e’ in ‘the’; with it, like the ‘ee’ in ‘bee’)
  • Ö/ö (like German)
  • Ş/ş (like our ‘sh’)
  • Ü/ü (like German)
The result is something more phonetic than we have in English with our ‘ph’ (except in shepherd) and ‘ough’ (as in cough, rough, though, through), etc.

An old Wikipedia article adds more detail.

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