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Cypriot Turkish

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Cypriot Turkish

Cypriot Turkish
Kıbrıs Türkçesi
Native to Northern Cyprus, Cyprus
Native speakers
(this article does not contain any information regarding the number of speakers)
177,000 all varieties of Turkish in Cyprus (1995)[1]
Latin (Turkish alphabet)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None

Cypriot Turkish (Turkish: Kıbrıs Türkçesi) is a dialect of the Turkish language spoken by Turkish Cypriots both in Cyprus and among its diaspora.


Emanating from Anatolia and evolved for four centuries, Cypriot Turkish is the vernacular spoken by Cypriots with Ottoman ancestry, as well as by Cypriots who converted to Islam during Ottoman rule. It is understood by expatriate Cypriots living in the UK, United States, Australia and other parts of the world.

Cypriot Turkish consists of a blend of Ottoman Turkish and the Yörük dialect spoken to this day in the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey. In addition it has absorbed influences from Greek, Italian and English.

Cypriot Turkish can often be mutually intelligible with Standard Anatolian Turkish, however stronger, more elaborate forms of the dialect may not be understood.


Differences between standard Turkish and Cypriot Turkish

Cypriot Turkish is distinguished by a number of sound alternations not found in standard Turkish, but some of which are also quite common in other Turkish vernaculars:

  • Voicing of some unvoiced stops
    • t↔d, k↔g
Standard Turkish kurt ↔ Cypriot Turkish gurt "wolf"
Standard Turkish taş ↔ Cypriot Turkish daş "stone"
  • Preservation of earlier Turkic
Standard Turkish son ↔ Cypriot Turkish soŋ "end, last"
Standard Turkish bin ↔ Cypriot Turkish biŋ "thousand"
  • Changing 1st person plural suffix
    • z↔k
Standard Turkish isteriz ↔ Cypriot Turkish isterik "we want"
  • Unvoicing of some voiced stops
    • b↔p
Standard Turkish Kıbrıs ↔ Cypriot Turkish Gıprıs "Cyprus"
Standard Turkish hiç ↔ Cypriot Turkish hiş "no, none"

The last two alternations are more specific to Cypriot Turkish.


Consonant phonemes
  Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Plosive p b     k ɡ q ɢ    
Fricative f v ʃ   x ɣ     h  
Nasal m n     ŋ        
Flap/Tap     r                
Lateral     l                
Approximant       j            


front central back
unrounded rounded unrounded rounded unrounded rounded
high i y (ü)   ɯ (ı) u
mid e () œ (ö)     o
low æ (e)   ɑ̟  


Cypriot Turkish is structured as VO language as opposed to standard Turkish which is OV language. It is very typical in forming a question.

  • Standard Turkish "Okula gidecek misin?" is, in Cypriot Turkish, "Gideceŋ okula?" (Will you go to school?)

Cypriot Turkish uses the aorist tense instead of the present continuous tense, and very often in place of the future tense as well.

  • Standard Turkish "Okula gidiyorum" (I am going to school) or a "Okula gideceğim" are, in Cypriot Turkish, "Giderim mektebe" (I go to school / I am going to school / I will go to school)

Cypriot Turkish does not use the narrative/indefinite past, and only uses the simple past instead.

  • Standard Turkish "Eve gitmiş" (He is reported to have gone home) is, in Cypriot Turkish, not used. Instead "Eve gitti / Gitti eve" (He went home) suffices.

Cypriot Turkish also lacks the question suffix of "mi".[2]

  • Standard Turkish "Annen evde mi?" (Is your mother at home?) is, in Cypriot Turkish, "Anneŋ evdedir?" (Your mother is at home?)

In Cypriot Turkish, the reflexive pronoun in third person is different, namely genni (him, himself, them, themself). In Standard Turkish, kendisini.


Typical question sentences most of the time do not qualify as a standard Turkish question. See the example above. This is because question suffixes are most of the time dropped by native Turkish Cypriots. Another subtle difference is the emphasis on verbs.

See also


  1. ^ Turkish (Cyprus) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^


External links

  • List of Cypriot Turkish Vocabulary (in Turkish)
  • Turkish Cypriot Idioms Search Engine
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