Turkmen alphabet

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The Turkmen alphabet used for official purposes in Turkmenistan is a Latin alphabet based on the Turkish alphabet, but with notable differences: J is used instead of the Turkish C; W is used instead of the Turkish V; Ž is used instead of the Turkish J; Y is used instead of the dotless i (I/ı); Ý is used instead of the Turkish consonantal Y; and the letters Ä and Ň have been added to represent the phonetic values [æ] and [ŋ], respectively.

At the start of the 20th century, when Turkmen started to be written, it used the Arabic script, but in 1928 the Latin script was adopted; in 1940, the Russian influence in Soviet Turkmenistan prompted a switch to a Cyrillic alphabet, and a Turkmen Cyrillic alphabet (shown below in the table alongside the Latin) was created. When Turkmenistan became independent in 1991, President Saparmurat Niyazov immediately instigated a return to the Latin script. When it was reintroduced it was supposed to use some unusual letters, such as the pound (£), dollar ($), yen (¥), and cent signs (¢), but these were replaced by more conventional letter symbols. The political and social forces that have combined to bring about these changes of script, then modifications of the Latin script, have been documented by Victoria Clement (2008).

Turkmen is still often written with an Arabic alphabet in other countries where the language is spoken and where the Arabic script is dominant (such as Iran and Afghanistan).

Evolution of Latin script[edit]

Cyrillic IPA Latin, 1993 Latin, 1992–1993 Latin 1927–1940
A a А а [a] A a A a A a
B b Б б [b] B b B b B b
Ç ç Ч ч [tʃ] Ç ç C c C c
D d Д д [d] D d D d D d
E e Е е [e] initial Э э
non-init. E e
E e E e
Ä ä Ә ә [æ] Ä ä Ea ea Ә ә
F f Ф ф [ɸ] F f F f F f
G g Г г [g~ʁ] G g G g G g
H h Х х [h~x] H h H h H/X h/x
I i И и [i] I i I i I i
J j Җ җ [dʒ] J j J j Ç ç
Ž ž Ж ж [ʒ] £ ſ Jh jh Ƶ ƶ
K k К к [k~q] K k K k K/Q k/q
L l Л л [l] L l L l L l
M m М м [m] M m M m M m
N n Н н [n] N n N n N n
Ň ň Ң ң [ŋ] Ñ ñ Ng ng Ŋ ŋ
O o О о [o] O o O o O o
Ö ö Ө ө [ø] Ö ö Q q Ө ө
P p П п [p] P p P p P p
R r Р р [r] R r R r R r
S s С с [θ] S s S s S s
Ş ş Ш ш [ʃ] $ ¢ Sh sh Ş ş
T t Т т [t] T t T t T t
U u У у [u] U u U u U u
Ü ü Ү ү [y] Ü ü V v Y y
W w В в [β] W w W w V v
Y y Ы ы [ɯ] Y y X x -
Ý ý Й й [j] ¥ ÿ Y y J j
Z z З з [ð] Z z Z z Z z

Sample text (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)[edit]

  • Hemme adamlar öz mertebesi we hukuklary boýunça deň ýagdaýda dünýä inýärler. Olara aň hem wyždan berlendir we olar bir-birleri bilen doganlyk ruhundaky garaýyşda bolmalydyrlar. (Latin 1995-present)
  • Hemme adamlar öz mertebesi we hukuklary boÿunça deň ÿagdaÿda dünÿä inÿärler. Olara aň hem wyſdan berlendir we olar bir-birleri bilen doganlyk ruhundaky garaÿy¢da bolmalydyrlar. (Latin 1993-1995)
  • Hemme adamlar qz mertebesi we hukuklarx boyunca deng yagdayda dvnyea inyearler. Olara ang hem wxjhdan berlendir we olar bir-birleri bilen doganlxk ruhundakx garayxshda bolmalxdxrlar. (Latin 1992-1993)
  • Хемме адамлар өз мертебеси ве хукуклары бюнча дең ягдайда дүнйә инйәрлер. Олара аң хем выждан берлендир ве олар бир-бирлери билен доганлык рухундакы гарайышда болмалыдырлар. (Cyrillic)

Correspondence chart[edit]

English Approximation
A a А а ا [a, aː] Father
B b Б б ب [b] Ball
Ç ç Ч ч چ [t͡ʃ] Cheek
D d Д д د [d] Dean
E e Е е اِ– ە [je], [e] Yes, Egg
Ä ä Ә ә أ [æ, æː] Hat, Had
F f Ф ф ف [ɸ] Face
G g Г г غ - گ - ق [ɡ~ʁ] Get
H h Х х ح - خ - هـ [h~x] Hat, Loch
I i И и ای [i, iː] Mini
J j Җ җ ج [d͡ʒ] Joke
Ž ž Ж ж ژ [ʒ] Treasure
K k К к ق - ك [k~q] Look
L l Л л ل [l] Lake
M m М м م [m] Mole
N n Н н ن [n] Nest
Ň ň Ң ң نگ [ŋ] Sing
O o О о اوْ [o, oː] Horse
Ö ö Ө ө اؤ [ø, øː] Measure
P p П п پ [p] Loop
R r Р р ر [r] Rim
S s С с ث - س - ص [θ, s] Thick, Sick
Ş ş Ш ш ش [ʃ] Shimmer
T t Т т ت - ط [t] Austin
U u У у اوُ [u, uː] Fluent
Ü ü Ү ү اۆ [y, yː] Pure
W w В в و [β] Valley
Y y Ы ы اؽ [ɯ, ɯː] Roses
Ý ý Й й ی [j] Yacht
Z z З з ز - ذ - ض - ظ [ð, z] There, Zoo

Letter names and pronunciation[edit]

Pronunciation of the Latin alphabet[edit]

Türkmen elipbiýi

Letter Name IPA Letter Name IPA
A, a a /a, aː/ N, n en /n/
B, b be /b/ Ň, ň /ŋ/
Ç, ç çe /tʃ/ O, o o /o, oː/
D, d de /d/ Ö, ö ö /ø, øː/
E, e e /e/ P, p pe /p/
Ä, ä ä /æ, æː/ R, r er /r/
F, f fe /ɸ/ S, s es /θ, s/
G, g ge /ɡ~ʁ/ Ş, ş şe /ʃ/
H, h he /h~x/ T, t te /t/
I, i i /i, iː/ U, u u /u, uː/
J, j je /dʒ/ Ü, ü ü /y, yː/
Ž, ž že /ʒ/ W, w we /β/
K, k ka /k~q/ Y, y y /ɯ, ɯː/
L, l el /l/ Ý, ý ýe /j/
M, m em /m/ Z, z ze /ð, z/


түркмен элипбийи

Common in Russia


توركمن الیپبایی

Common in Iran and Afghanistan



Letter IPA Latin equivalent
آ /a, aː/ a
أ /æ, æː/ ä
اِ /e/ e
اوْ /o, oː/ o
اؤ /ø, øː/ ö
اوُ /u, uː/ u
اۆ /y, yː/ ü
ای /i, iː/ i
اؽ /ɯ, ɯː/ y


Letter IPA Latin equivalent Letter IPA Latin equivalent
ب /b/ b ض /ð/ z
پ /p/ p ط /t/ t
ت /t/ t ظ /ð/ z
ث /θ/ s ع /ʔ/
ج /dʒ/ j غ /ɡ~ʁ/ g
چ /t͡ʃ/ ç ف /f/ f
ح /h/ h ق /ɡ~ʁ~q/ g-k
خ /x/ h ك /k/ k
د /d/ d گ /g/ g
ذ /z/ z ل /l/ l
ر /r/ r م /m/ m
ز /z/ z ن /n/ n
ژ /ʒ/ ž ڭ /ŋ/ ň
س /θ/ s و /β/ w
ش /ʃ/ ş هـ /h/ h
ص /θ/ s ی /j/ ý

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  • Clement, Victoria. 2008. Emblems of independence: script choice in post-Soviet Turkmenistan in the 1990s. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 192: 171-185

External links[edit]