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Turkic languages go back 5500 to 8500 years. The oldest Turkish written records are known as Orkhun Inscriptions. They were erected to Turkish rulers Bilge Kaghan (735), Kültigin (732), and the vizier Tonyukuk (720-725?).
Turkic languages are spoken over a large geographical area in the Middle East and Central Asia. The most widely spoken Turkic language is Türkiye Türkçesi, also known as Modern Turkish. It is the major member of the Turkic language family, a subfamily of the Altaic languages, and the official language of the Republic of Turkey. It is also spoken in Cyprus, Australia, the United States, and many European countries, including Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Bulgaria, and Greece.
Through its history, Turkish has used different alphabets including the Nestorian, Sogd, Uighur, Pali, Manichean, Brahman, and Arabic. The first alphabet the Turks used was the Göktürk alphabet, which can be seen on the Orkhun Inscriptions. The Arabic alphabet was used by the Turks from the 9th century up to 1928.
Five years after the proclamation of the Republic, the Arabic alphabet was replaced with the Latin script in 1928 by Kemal Ataturk, but with special signs for Turkish vowels. In 1932, the Turkish Language Institute (Türk Dil Kurumu, TDK) was established to carry on linguistic research, regulate the development of, and publish the official dictionary of the language.
Yale Turkish Program is part of The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. The program not only offers Modern Turkish language courses from the beginning through the advanced level, but also Ottoman language courses from the beginning to advanced text reading courses. For the courses offered by the program, please visit the related page.
In addition to official language courses, Yale Turkish Program organizes cultural and academic events on Yale campus in collaboration with the Council on Middle East Studies.