Vowel Harmony Reference In Turkish
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Vowel Harmony Reference In Turkish

Vowel Harmony Reference In Turkish

  • A-UnDotted Vowels follow each other.

  • E-Dotted Vowels follow each other.

All original Turkish words are pronounced either:

  • Entirely containing A-UnDotted Vowels:
    kapılar doors
    bulmacaları their crosswords

  • Entirely containing E-Dotted Vowels:
    evlerinden from their house
    köylüler the villagers.

Most suffixes follow the Rule of Vowel Harmony

Adding: -de in, on, at
ev house
evde [ev-de] in the house.

Adding: -den from
evden [ev-den] from the house.

The suffixes de and den harmonize with the final vowel in the word ev.

Similarly adding suffix -da in, on, at
oda room
odada [oda-da] in the room

Adding: -dan from
odadan [oda-dan] from the room

These suffixes harmonize with the final vowel of the word oda.

Noun and verb suffixes follow vowel harmony.

Examples to form Plural Nouns:

  • Plural Suffix -lar suffixed to kapı produces doors kapılar.

  • -ler suffixed to köylü produces villagers köylüler.



Turkish grammar is simplistic once you get used to the style. However, it can seem to be very difficult since the grammatical structure is totally different from the Indo-European languages. This is because Turkish is from a different language family called Ural-Altaic languages. Some languages similar to Turkish are ´Finnish, Hungarian, Estonian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Kazak, Uzbek, Tatar, Manchu´. Compared to English, the most fundamental differences in Turkish grammar can be listed as:

  • Ordering of sentence parts

    • A typical Turkish sentence is ordered as (subject + object + verb)

      • Arkadaşım [My friend --> subject] araba [car -->object] aldı [bought-->verb].

  • No gender

    • There are no articles in Turkish, and no gender associated with words

    • No gender in personal pronouns (the Turkish word for he, she and it is o)

  • Vowel harmony

    • Harmony of vowels is a very fundamental property of Turkish. The rules concerning vowel harmony need to be learned as one of the first steps because they affect the way almost all the other rules are applied.

  • Use of suffixes

    • Suffixes are very widely used in Turkish. The meaning of prepositions, personal pronouns and tenses are all countered by adding suffixes to word roots.

      • Kalbimdesin [You are in my heart]

Once you get to these differences and learn the basic harmony rules, the rest of the grammar is quite simple. Almost everything follows well defined, simple rules.


Another important point is the way you read a written text. There is exactly one sound for each character in Turkish. A character always represents the same sound, regardless of its position in a word or the characters next to it. Therefore, it is straightforward to pronounce a word that you see for the first time once you are familiar with the characters in the Turkish alphabet.


Once you are comfortable or at least familiar with the harmony rules, the main challenge will be the vocabulary. Turkish vocabulary can be very challenging since the words have no resemblance to the European languages except the few words adapted directly from these languages.

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