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The Turkish language - influenced by many foreign languages

The Turkish language

Turkish is one of the ural-altaic languages and, within these languages, one of the Turk languages. In the course of history, Turkish was strongly influenced by Arabic, Persian, modern Greek, Latin, Italian and, in the technical area, by French.

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Grammatical differences

Compared with German or English, there are several major differences with regard to grammar. There is, for instance, no grammatical gender, no definite article and the sentence structure also deviates. The alphabet consists of 29 Latin letters with four special characters: ç (ch as in chain), ş (sh as in share), ı (foreign vowel), ğ (follows a vowel and lengthens it). Turkish is altogether characterised by a very flowery style which is rich in imagery.

Cultural differences in the use of the language

Whereas in German the emphasis in verbal communication is more on a high data content, the Turkish language is entirely opposite.
In Turkish, messages on therelationship level play a much more important role, in particular with regard to verbal communication. Thus, Turkish is often characterised as a High Context cultural language – in contrast to German, which is a Low Context cultural language.

Para-verbal characteristics

Similar to other south-European languages, for instance Italian, the Turkish language is faster, higher and louder than German or English. Thus, premature conclusions, for instance on aggression etc., should be avoided

Interpreting is a demanding task

It is because of these differences that interpreting between German or English and Turkish is a demanding task. Highly qualified interpreters and translators are of special importance in order to avoid misunderstandings and to correctly bring across culturally influenced rhetorical capabilities, exuberance, volume and tolerance for interruptions.


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