Turkish (Türkçe) is spoken as a first language by over 63 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Cyprus, with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania and other parts of Eastern Europe. Turkish is also spoken by several million immigrants in Western Europe, particularly in Germany.
The roots of the language can be traced to Central Asia, with the first written records dating back nearly 1,200 years. To the west, the influence of Ottoman Turkish—the variety of the Turkish language that was used as the administrative and literary language of the Ottoman Empire—spread as the Ottoman Empire expanded. In 1928, as one of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's Reforms in the early years of the Republic of Turkey, the Ottoman script was replaced with a phonetic variant of the Latin alphabet. Concurrently, the newly founded Turkish Language Association initiated a drive to reform the language by removing Persian and Arabic loanwords. Many new loanwords from French were introduced during that period, However, the Turkish Language Association favored native variants and coinages from Turkic roots, for example, the word Allah was replaced by the ancient Turkic word, Tanri.
The distinctive characteristics of Turkish are vowel harmony and extensive agglutination. The basic word order of Turkish is Subject Object Verb. Turkish has a T-V distinction: second-person plural forms can be used for individuals as a sign of respect. Turkish also has no noun classes or grammatical gender.
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