TURKISH 408 - Elements of Ottoman Turkish I: Arabic and Persian elements in Turkish
Fall 2021, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  Online (see other Sections below)
Subject: Turkish Studies (TURKISH)
Department: LSA Middle East Studies
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Waitlist Capacity:
Class Misc Info:
Meets 09/24/21 - 10/29/21. (Drop/Add Deadline 09/30/21.).
Advisory Prerequisites:
Second year proficiency in Turkish.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


Ottoman Turkish is the common term for the Southwestern Turkic or Oghuz language used in Anatolia and other parts of West Asia from the Middle Ages until the 20th century. As the administrative language and cultural idiom of one of the longest-lasting empires in Eurasian history, it is the key to a complex history and a fascinating world of literary creativity. Its offshoot, Modern Turkish is separated from Ottoman Turkish, by two events: the Writing Reform of 1928 that replaced the Arabic alphabet with a modified Latin alphabet, and the Language Reform of the 1930s that introduced recovered or newly created Turkish words to replace Arabic and Persian vocabulary. TURKISH 408 Elements of Ottoman Turkish I is the first of a pair of courses designed to enable students with exposure to modern Middle Eastern languages to cross this double threshold by building on familiar elements, in this case, on Arabic and Persian elements in modern Turkish. Both parts provide primarily theoretical information on grammatical phenomena; familiarity with basic grammatical concepts is essential. By the same token, the courses also allow students primarily interested in linguistics to familiarize themselves with phenomena of contact, hybridization, and others.

By learning specific grammatical and syntactic features from Arabic and Persian students with prior knowledge of modern Turkish acquire critical skills to decipher and analyze Ottoman texts in Latin transliteration. Key topics include Arabic word formation, nominal and prepositional phrases, Persian syntax (the izafet) and the use of Persian verb stems in the Ottoman compound. The last section introduces the letters of the Arabic alphabet. In the end, students will be able to independently study simple Ottoman texts in transliteration and to proceed to study Ottoman in Arabic script (TURKISH 409).

The learning process is structured as a ‘flipped classroom’: students will watch instructional videos online and seek to apply them before taking their experiments to the classroom discussion. Participation and regular homework are a significant part of the grade (total of 20% each). In addition, there will be quizzes after each of the three units (10% each), and a final (30%).

Course Requirements:

Second-year or higher proficiency in modern Turkish

Intended Audience:

Students with interest and background in Turkish

Class Format:

Three 60-minute meetings weekly


TURKISH 408 - Elements of Ottoman Turkish I: Arabic and Persian elements in Turkish
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MWF 9:00AM - 10:00AM
Note: Meetings will be remote and synchronous.

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