Thursday, September 24, 2009

Turkey and its languages

The current 29-letter Turkish alphabet, used for the Turkish language, was established in Turkey on November 1, 1928, as one of the steps of Atatürk's Reforms. Replacing the earlier Ottoman Turkish script, the script was created as an extended version of the Latin alphabet at the initiative of Atatürk who announced the alphabet change in July 1928. Ataturk wanted to get rid off all Arabic influences on Turkish social life, including the language.

However, using the ‘archaic’ Latin alphabet as basic, the letters q, w and x, which are used in Kurdish (15% of the Turkish population) but not in Turkish, have been prevented to be used by the Kurdish population of Turkey, de facto, preventing them from enjoying their language and culture. The archaic Latin alphabet includes the letter x, but not the Q and W.

When the current Turkish government proposed to include the letters q, w and x in the Turkish alphabet they simple follow the wish of the Kurdish population and keep trend with the evolved Latin alphabet which includes the letters Q and W, also called, the modern Latin Alphabet although several hundred years old.

The two opposition parties in Turkey, the CHP and MHP, were strong in condemning these steps. The first (CHP) as a betrayal of Ataturks reforms and the second (MHP) sees this move to split up Turkey in Turks and Kurds. In international politics you can compare the Turkish MHP with the ‘soft imago’ of a Fascist party and the CHP as the ‘soft imago’ of a Stalinist party. And both don’t have a clue about language & science.

Here some comments.

the Xenophobe's Guide to the Dutch a well written and amuzing book about us, the Dutch...
There are several other books full of satire and with irony written about that small country near the North Sea, but I recommend this one.
Here a part of a a review:

Who would have thought that such a short book could say so much? In just over 60 pages, the Xenophobe’s Guide to the Dutch, one of the titles in the growing Xenophobe’s series, takes the reader on an irreverent, hilarious and very accurate journey into the Dutch psyche.
On the back cover, the publisher defines xenophobia as “an irrational fear of foreigners, probably justified, always understandable.” It goes on to state that the aim of the guides is to look at the “beliefs and foibles of nations”, thereby reducing what to an outsider might seem strange and unpredictable to humorous explanations “almost guaranteed to cure xenophobia”.

Day Opening - September 24

Window with a View.
By A. Karakales