Learn more about Turkmen language
|Spoken in:||Turkmenistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey (Asia)|
|Total speakers:||ca. 6 million|
|Language family:|| Altaic<ref>" Ethnologue"</ref> (controversial)|
|Official language of:||Turkmenistan|
|Regulated by:||no official regulation|
|Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. See IPA chart for English for an English-based pronunciation key.|
Turkmen (Latin script: Türkmen, Cyrillic: Түркмен, ISO 639-1: tk, ISO 639-2: tuk) is the name of the national language of Turkmenistan. It is spoken by approximately 3,430,000 people in Turkmenistan, and by an additional approximately 3,000,000 people in other countries, including Iran (2,000,000), Afghanistan (500,000), and Turkey (1,000). Up to 50% of speakers in Turkmenistan also claim a good knowledge of Russian.
 Classification and related languages
Turkmen is in the Turkic family; sometimes grouped in the larger, but disputed Altaic language family. It is a member of the southwestern Turkic language family, more specifically the East Oghuz group. This group is also comprised of Khorasan Turkic. Turkmen is related to Crimean Tatar and Salar, and less closely related to Turkish and Azerbaijani.
 Writing System
Officially, Turkmen currently is rendered in the “Täze Elipbiýi,” or “New Alphabet.” However, the old "Soviet" Cyrillic alphabet is still in wide use. Many political parties in opposition to the current authoritarian rule in Turkmenistan use the Cyrillic alphabet on websites and publications, most likely to distance themselves from the alphabet created by President Niyazov. There is a one-to-one correspondence between the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets for Turkmen that is as follows: Before 1929, Turkmen was written in a modified Arabic alphabet. In 1929–1938 a Latin alphabet replaced it and then the Cyrillic alphabet was used from 1938 to 1991. In 1991, the current Latin alphabet was re-introduced, although the transition to it has been rather slow. When it was first reintroduced it was supposed to contain some rather unusual letters, such as the pound, dollar, yen, and cent signs, but these were later replaced by more orthodox letter symbols. In 2002, the days of the week and the months were also renamed according to the ideology of Ruhnama.
The following phonemes are present in the Turkmen language:
Turkmen contains both short and long vowels. Doubling the duration of sound for a short vowel is generally how its long vowel counterpart is pronounced. Turkmen employs vowel harmony, a principle that is common in fellow Turkic languages. Vowels and their sounds are as follows:
- For purposes of vowel harmony (see below), the central vowel /a/ is considered back.
Turkmen consonant phonemes (shown in Turkmen alphabet):
- g/г represents either a voiced velar plosive or a voiced uvular fricative ([ʁ]).
- While z/з is a dental sibilant (like English z), s/с is non-sibilant, making it closer to [θ] (as in English thistle)
 Vowel Harmony
Vowel harmony is the way in which all words, at least of a non-borrowed origin, consist either entirely of front vowels (inçe çekimli sesler) or entirely of back vowels (ýogyn çekimli sesler); this includes prefixes and suffixes.
The infinitive form of a verb determines whether it will follow a front vowel harmony or back vowel harmony. Words of foreign origin, mainly Russian, Persian, or Arabic, do not follow vowel harmony.
There are both singular and plural tenses for all first, second, and third person verb conjugations. There are 11 verb tenses in Turkmen. These include: Present Comprehensive (long & short form), Present Perfect (regular and negative), Future Certain, Future Indefinite, Conditional, Past Definite, Obligatory, Imperative, and Intentional. The presence of so many tenses may intimidate native English speakers, but due to Turkmen's inherent logic in its conjugation, the task of conjugating verbs is not as daunting as it may appear.
Infinitive Forms of Verbs
There are two types of verbs in their infinitive forms in Turkmen; those ending in the suffix "-mak" and those ending in "-mek". -Mak verbs follow back vowel harmony, whereas -mek verbs follow front vowel harmony.
 Grammatical Cases
Like Latin, the Turkmen language has several cases. They are as follows: the Nominative case, the Possessive case, the Dative case, the Accusative case, the Locative case, and the Instrumental case.
Pronouns also have different case endings.
|Nominative||men / I||sen / you (sing. Inf.)||ol / he/she/it||biz / we||siz / you (pl. or for.)||olar / they|
|Possessive||meniň / my||seniň / your||onyň / his/her/its||biziň / our||siziň / your||olaryň / their|
|Dative||maňa / to me||saňa / to you||oňa / to him/her/it||bize / to us||size / to you||olara / to them|
|Accusative||meni / me||seni / you||ony / him/her/it||bizi / us||sizi / you||olary / them|
|Locative||mende / upon me||sende / upon you||onda / upon him/her/it||bizde / upon us||sizde / upon you||olarda / upon them|
|Instrumental||menden / from me||senden / from you||ondan / from him/her/it||bizden / from us||sizden / from you||olardan / from them|
Suffixes, or "goşylmalar," form a very important part of Turkmen. They can mark possession, or change a verb.
To make a verb passive: -yl/-il; -ul/-ül; -l To make a verb reflexive: -yn/-in; -un/-ün; -n To make a verb reciprocal: -yş/-iş; -uş/-üş; -ş To make a verb causitive: -dyr/-dir; -dur/-dür; -yr/-ir; -ur/-ür; -uz/-üz; -ar/-er; -der/-dar; -t
Note: the suffixes are dependent on the ending of the infinitive form of the verb.
Garrett, Jon, Meena Pallipamu, and Greg Lastowka (1996). “Turkmen Grammar”. www.chaihana.com.
 External links
- Turkmen - English Dictionary
- Turkmen - English Dictionary
- Turkmen entry in the Ethnologue
- Learn turkmen language on Tmchat Forums
- Omniglot page on Turkmen
}"> |Turkic languages
|Bolgar||Bolgar* | Chuvash | Hunnic* | Khazar*|
|Chagatay||Aini2| Chagatay* | Ili Turki | Lop | Uyghur | Uzbek|
|Kypchak||Baraba | Bashkir | Crimean Tatar1 | Cuman* | Karachay-Balkar | Karaim | Karakalpak | Kazakh | Kipchak* | Krymchak | Kumyk | Nogay | Tatar | Urum1|
|Oghuz||Afshar | Azerbaijani | Crimean Tatar1 | Gagauz | Khorasani Turkish | Ottoman Turkish* | Pecheneg* | Qashqai | Salar | Turkish | Turkmen | Urum1|
|Kyrgyz-Kypchak||Altay | Kyrgyz|
|Uyghur||Chulym | Dolgan | Fuyü Gïrgïs | Khakas | Northern Altay | Shor | Tofa | Tuvan | Western Yugur | Sakha / Yakut|
|Notes: 1 Listed in more than one group, 2 Mixed language, * Extinct|
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