The Turkish language is spread over a large geographical area in Europe and Asia ; recent studies show that this language goes back 5500 years,and perhaps even 8500. At the same time, it is one of the most widely spoken tongues in the world - the sixth most widely spoken , to be precise. It is spoken in the Azeri, the Türkmen, the Tartar, the Uzbek, the Baskurti, the Nogay, the Kyrgyz, the Kazakh, the Yakuti, the Cuvas and other dialects. Turkish belongs to the Altaic branch of the Ural-Altaic family of languages, and thus is closely related to Mongolian, Manchu-Tungus, Korean, and perhaps Japanese. Some scholars have maintained that these resemblances are not fundamental, but rather the result of borrowings, however comparative Altaistic studies in recent years demonstrate that the languages we have listed all go back to a common Ur-Altaic.
Turkish is a very ancient language, with a flawless phonetic, morphological and syntactic structure, and at the same time possesses a wealth of vocabulary. The fundamental features which distinguish the Ural-Altaic languages from the Indo-European are as follows:
- Vowel harmony, a feature of all Ural-Altaic tongues.
- The absence of gender.
- Adjectives precede nouns.
- Verbs come at the end of the sentence.
The name of the script of the language spoken in Turkey proper, the dialect falls into the southwestern dialects of the Western Turkish language family and also into the dialects of the Oguz Türkmen language group. When the Turkish spoken in Turkey is considered in a historical context, it can be classified according to three separate periods because of the inherent characteristics of each of the periods:
- Old Anatolian Turkish (old Ottoman - between the 13th and the 15th centuries)
- Ottoman Turkish (from the 16th to the 19th century)
- 20th century Turkish
The language being spoken in Turkey now is accepted to be the standard Turkish and it is the descendant of Ottoman Turkish and its predecessor, so-called Old Anatolian Turkish, which was introduced into Anatolia by the Seljuk Turks in the late 11th century AD. It basically differs from that of other Turkic origin groups in dialects and accents.