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Lesson Transcript

Ece: Merhaba! Ece here.
Gina: Hi everyone, welcome back to TurkishClass101.com. I’m Gina, and this is All About Lesson 2 - Cracking the Turkish Writing System. In this lesson, Ece and I are going to give you some details about the Turkish writing system.
Ece: We’ll focus on the alphabet and describe how each letter is written compared to English letters.

Lesson focus

Gina: In the Turkish alphabet, there are 29 Latin letters - 6 extra characters that aren’t found in the English alphabet, and Q, W, X are removed. Each letter stands for only one sound, either a consonant or a vowel. So once you learn how to write it, you’ll instantly learn how to read it as well.
Ece: We’ll talk more about the pronunciation of letters in lesson 4 of this series, and together these two lessons will explain all about writing, reading and pronunciation.
Gina: Okay, let’s start with the vowels.
Ece: Alright… There are 8 vowels in the Turkish alphabet - (A), (E), (I), (İ), (O), (Ö), (U), (Ü) - in sequence.
Gina: We use five of them in English already. Here comes the first one.
Ece: It’s A. In writing, Turkish (A) corresponds to the English A.
Gina: While we are just at the beginning, let me point out one important thing - In Turkish, the pronunciation of a letter does not change according to the word, its position in the word, or its neighboring sounds.
Ece: That’s the key to how to read and write in Turkish. One letter is always pronounced the same. So listeners, when I give a description and a sample word for each letter, don’t forget that it’s universal, not specific to the sample cases provided.
Gina: Now that that’s clear, let’s move to the second vowel.
Ece: That’s (E), the English E.
Gina: The third and fourth ones deserve special attention, listeners.
Ece: Yes. Although they are found as one letter in English, we use them separately. The third vowel is (I), English I, and it’s written like the initial letter of the word “Irvin” but…
Gina: Only as the upper case. But this doesn’t mean that you should use the (I) always in uppercase.
Ece: We mean that Turkish (I) is always written without a dot on top of it, independent of case.
Gina: And the fourth vowel is still the English I, but this time with a dot on top of it.
Ece: The sound it makes is (İ).
Gina: …This Turkish I is always used with a dot on top, regardless of the case.
Ece: Please remember the distinction between these two so you don’t confuse them. They are two different letters in our alphabet which correspond to different sounds.
Gina: The fifth vowel is O.
Ece: Turkish (O) is the direct equivalent of the English O.
Gina: Then follows…
Ece: (Ö). This symbol does appear in the English alphabet though, as written with double dots or an umlaut on the top of the letter (O). Now there’s an important thing I’d like to mention about writing these dots.
Gina: Yes, if you’re writing by hand, there’s no concrete rule about the shape of these dots. A line or a crescent can represent the same function as double dots, right Ece?
Ece: Exactly! And next up is (U), the English U.
Gina: And now for the last and most interesting vowel...
Ece: …(Ü). It is written with double dots, or an umlaut, on the top of the letter (U). (Ö) and (Ü) always have their dots, in both upper and lower cases.
Gina: Okay, now we’ve covered all the vowels in the Turkish alphabet. The rest are the 21 consonants. So, what are the English consonants that are not found in the Turkish alphabet, Ece?
Ece: Q, W, and X. These letters are not in the Turkish alphabet because there is one letter per sound in Turkish. Q resembles (K), so it is unnecessary. The same goes for W, which resembles (V). As for X, it is the combined sound of (K) and (S), so it can be written with two single letters.
Gina: That makes sense! How about the consonants exclusive to the Turkish alphabet?
Ece: Those are (Ç), (Ğ), and (Ş).
Gina: Let’s study those some more. How are they written?
Ece: (Ç) is a (C), or English C, with a hook underneath it, and (Ş) is an (S), or English S, again with a hook underneath. The rule of “one sound equals one letter” applies here too. To write the sound of (Ç), in English we mostly use a C and an H together. The same goes for (Ş), but it’s an S and H in English. In Turkish this doesn’t make sense though - why use two letters in order to make one sound?
Gina: Hmm, I understand the logic! How about the other consonant, which is written as a G but with a horizontal line on the top of it?
Ece: The name for that is (Ğ)! It’s also called “soft G”. It’s a special one.
Gina: Remember listeners, we’ll focus more closely on the pronunciations in Lesson 4. So don’t worry about how to read them properly too much now. Okay, let’s see the consonants with direct equivalents in the English alphabet, in order.
Ece: As we don’t need to describe how to write them, we’ll quickly give the letter, the English version, and a word containing the letter as the initial.
Gina: Ready, set, go!
Ece: (B), English B. “Butter.” (C), English C. “Care”. (D), English D. “Day”. (F), English F. “Fire”. (G). English G. “Good”. (H), English H. “Here”. (J), English J. “Joy”.
Gina: A dot on the top can be added when used for lower case (J), in order to distinguish it from the upper case easily. Moving on...
Ece: (K), English K. “Key”. (L), English L. “Lemon”. (M), English M. “Majesty”. (N), English N. “New”. (P), English P. “Proof”. (R), English R. “Ruins”.
Gina: Almost done!
Ece: (S), English S. “Symbol”. (T), English T. “Time”. (V), English V. “Virtue”. (Y), English Y. “Year”. And finally (Z), English Z. “Zone”.
Gina: Thank you Ece, you did well! Can we hear the complete alphabet in order once, all together?
Ece: Sure! A, B, C, Ç, D, E, F, G, Ğ, H, I, İ, J, K, L, M, N, O, Ö, P, R, S, Ş, T, U, Ü, V, Y, Z).
Gina: As you’ve probably noticed listeners, all the consonants are read adding an (E) sound after them. They don’t have different titles for each.
Ece: Orderly, just like everything else in Turkish!
Gina: Okay, now we know all about writing Turkish letters.


Gina: That’s all for this lesson. Join us for the next, when we’ll talk about Turkish grammar. Until then, bye everyone!
Ece: Hoşça kalın!