Western Turkish

From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty
Western Turkish
Native toOttoman Empire
Language family
  • Ohus
    • Western Turkish

Western Turkish (Bati Türktšesi, بَتۡ تٰرك٘سِ) , also known as Common Ohus (ٯ۟وز), is a language or dialect continuum of the Turkic language family spoken throughout eastern Europe, Anatolia, and the Near East. It is a pluricentric language with two standard registers known as Ottoman (Osmânlidša, عثمانلۡچَ) and Rumelian (Rumelidša, Румелиџа). Both varieties, under the influence of modern Orkhonist language policies, are versions of 19th-century Imperial Ottoman that had underwent significant de-Persianisation, simplification, and other reform processes.




From medieval times to the early 19th century, Anatolian Turkish and related Ohus varieties were mostly written with the traditional Perso-Arabic script, though the practice of writing the language in Cyrillic, Greek, or Armenian became increasingly common. After the Augustine Wars, heightened levels of literacy and cultural exchange with foreign powers led to the proliferation of Turkish written in alternative orthographies, weakening the position of traditional Perso-Arabic, which was criticized due to its superfluous letters and lack of proper vowel representation.

The early 20th century brought with it a renewed interest in the reformation of Western Turkish. In 1924, the Žamakowić romanization system devised by a team of Austrian and Ottoman linguists gained official status in the Ottoman Empire. From 1939–1945, the creation of an independent Rumelian state saw the adoption of Cyrillic as an official script alongside Latin; all forms of Perso-Arabic were heavily censored.

Deeply concerned for the position of Perso-Arabic script in Ottoman society, Osman IV established an orthographic commission in 1957 seeking to reform the script. The Selimiya script (Skrittura Selimije, سكرِتُّرَ س٘لِيمایگه‎), announced publicly in 1960, though based off the Perso-Arabic writing system, included several new letters and diacritics in order to accurately represent the phonology of Western Turkish.

Letter name Perso-Arabic Latin Cyrillic IPA
elif م m м m
nun ن n н n
peh پ p п p
beh ب b б b
teh ت t т t
dal د d д d
feh ف f ф f
waw ۏ w / v в v
sin س s с s
zeh ز z з z
tšeh چ tš / tsch ч t͡ʃ
dšeh ج dš / dsch џ d͡ʒ
šeh ش š / sch ш ʃ
žeh ژ ž / zh ж ʒ
reh ر r р r
lam ل l л l
kef ك k к k
gef گ g г g
kel ٯ u / h / j ғ ∅, ◌ː, j
heh ه h h h
ij ِ◌ / ی i / j и / я i
üj ◌ٰ / وٰ ü / ue ұ y
ej ◌٘ / ى٘ e э e
öj ٖ◌ / وٖ ö / oe ө ø
in ◌ۡ / ىۡ i ы ɨ
uj ُ◌ / و u у u
aj َ◌ / ا a a a
oj ْ◌ / وْ o о o

See also