Western Turkish

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Western Turkish
Native toOttoman Empire
EthnicityTurkish people
  • Ohus
    • Western Turkish
Standard forms
Writing system
Official status
Official language in
Ottoman Sultanate

Western Turkish (Bati Tuerkisi or Tuerki-e Garp, Баты Тꙟркиси, تركی باتیسی‎; /bɑˈtɯ.ˈtyɾcisi/) is an Ohus Turkic language spoken in western Asia, eastern Europe, and northern Africa. It is the primary official language of the Ottoman Sultanate and Rumelia, with each having established their own standardized variety named Ottoman (Osmanlidša, عثمانلوجه) and Rumelian (Rumelidša, Румелиџа) respectively. Both, though with their own characteristics, are based on the Constantinople dialect.

As a member of the Ohus family, Western Turkish is remarkably similar to its sister languages in Persia, southern Russia, and southwestern Turkestan. Due to Orkhonist rule in the Ottoman Empire during the early 20th century, the language underwent partial de-Persianization, leading to its modern form more closely resembling Turkic languages further east.


Geographic distribution




There are three distinct scripts used to write Western Turkish; Perso-Arabic, Latin, and Cyrillic.

Perso-Arabic script has been used to write Turkic languages since medieval times and has been the chief script of the Ottoman state since its establishment in the 13th century. It is often considered to have several issues representing the Turkish language, with its low orthographic transperancy being comparable to that of French. The script was outlawed in Rumelia in 1945 under the rule of Azize Halilkizi Schumnulu, but remains the dominant script of the Ottoman Sultanate to this day.

The Latin script, also known as the Manastir romanization, was created in 1923 by a group of Austrian and Ottoman linguists for Ottoman Turkish. It draws heavily from German and Slavic orthography. While originally beginning as a romanization system, it was eventually adapted as a script by several Ohus communities across Eurasia. In the 1930s, it was adapted in order to write related languages in Persia, Turkestan, and Serindia. It may also be called the Zhamakowić system, after Rumelian linguist and scholar Celal Zhamakowić.

Cyrillic has been formally used to write Western Turkish since the early 20th century, when Rumelia adopted the writing system in the early 1940s. The letters used in Rumelian's Cyrillic alphabet are based upon those of Illyria, the Greek script, and the 19th century Cyrillic scripts which had been briefly used in Russian-occupied Turkestan and Serindia.


IPA /b/ /p/ /v/ /d/ /t/ /s/ /z/ /ʃ/ /ʤ/ /ʧ/ /ʒ/ /ɣ/ /g/ /h/ /ɾ/ /f/ /k/, /c/ /l/ /ŋ/ /m/ /n/ /j/
Perso-Arabic ب پ و غ د ط ت ث س ص ظ ذ ز ض ش ج چ ژ غ غ گ ح خ ر ف ق ك ل ڭ م ن ى
Latin b p w d t s š ž h g h r f k l ng m n j
v sch dsch tsch zh j
Cyrillic б п в д т с з ш џ ч ж ғ г р ф к л ң м н я
OTL b p v d t s z ş c ç j ğ g r f k l ng m n y


IPA /a/ /ӕ/ /e/ /i/ /ɯ/ /o/ /u/ /œ/ /y/
Perso-Arabic ا ه ى و
Latin a e i o u oe ue
Cyrillic ӕ э и ы о у ө
OTL e i ı o u ö ü

See also