Ottoman Turkish (Osmanlıca or Osmanlı Türkçesi, Ottoman Turkish: lisân-ı Osmânî) is the variety of the Turkish language that was used as the administrative and literary language of the Ottoman Empire. It contains extensive borrowings from Arabic and Persian languages and was written in a variant of the Arabic script. As a result of this process, Ottoman Turkish was largely unintelligible to the less-educated members of society . Ultimately, however, present spoken Turkish would come to be greatly influenced by Ottoman Turkish.
In a social and pragmatic sense, there were (at least) three variants of Ottoman Turkish:
A person would use each of the varieties above for different purposes. For example, a scribe would use the Arabic asel (عسل) to refer to honey when writing a document, but would use the native Turkish word bal when buying it.
Historically, Ottoman Turkish was transformed in three eras:
In 1928, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War I and the establishment of Republic of Turkey, widespread language reforms (a part in the greater framework of Atatürk's Reforms) instituted by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk saw the replacement of many Persian and Arabic origin loanwords in the language with their Turkish equivalents. It also saw the replacement of the Perso-Arabic script with the extended Latin alphabet. The changes were meant to encourage the growth of a new variety of written Turkish that more closely reflected the spoken vernacular, as well as to foster a new variety of spoken Turkish that more explicitly reflected Turkey's new national identity as being a post-Ottoman state.
Please see the list of replaced loanwords in Turkish for more examples on Ottoman Turkish words and their modern Turkish counterparts. Two examples of Arabic and two of Persian loanwords are found below.
|hardship||مشکل müşkül||güçlük, zorluk|
Historically speaking, Ottoman Turkish is not the predecessor of modern Turkish, but rather the standard Turkish of today is essentially Yeni Osmanlı Türkçesi as written in the Latin alphabet and with an abundance of neologisms added. One major difference between modern Turkish and Ottoman Turkish is the former's abandonment of compound word formation according to Arabic and Persian grammar rules. The usage of such phrases still exists in modern Turkish, but only to a very limited extent and usually in specialist contexts; for example, the Arabic genitive construction takdîr-i ilâhî (which reads literally as "the preordaining of the divine", and translates as "divine dispensation" or "destiny") is used, as opposed to the normative modern Turkish construction, ilâhî takdîr (literally, "divine preordaining").
|Isolated||Final||Middle||Initial||Name||ALA-LC Transliteration||Modern Turkish|
|ﺍ||ﺎ||—||elif||a, â||a, e|
|ﺀ||—||hemze||ˀ||', a, e, i, u, ü|
|ﺽ||ﺾ||ﻀ||ﺿ||dad||ż, ḍ||d, z|
|ﻙ||ﻚ||ﻜ||ﻛ||kef||k, g, ñ||k, g, ğ, n|
|ﯓ||ﯔ||ﯖ||ﯕ||nef, sağır (deaf) kef||ñ||n|
|ﻭ||ﻮ||—||vav||v, o, ô, ö, u, û, ü||v, o, ö, u, ü|
|ﻩ||ﻪ||ﻬ||ﻫ||he||h, e, a||h, e, a|
|ﻯ||ﻰ||ﻴ||ﻳ||ye||y, ı, i, î||y, ı, i|
1A correct Ottoman variant of gef will have the "mini-kaf" of ﻙ and the doubled upper stroke of گ. This feature is surely rare in current fonts.
Educational opportunities for Ottoman Turkish (Osmanli Turki) are too many to list. This is just an attempt to provide the list of major known sources and institutes with substantive courses and resources in this language.
Currently thousands of courses in Ottoman Turkish Literature are offered around the world. In Turkey alone it is estimated that more than thirty thousand students learning Ottoman Turkish, as a classical language with great historical significance.