Note on Turkish Orthography and Arabic Transliteration(1)

With the exception of several consonants, viz. (yumuak ge, soft g), k, g, and l, the letters of Turkish script are pronounced phonetically, with one sound corresponding to one letter. In standard Turkish pronunciation and the dialect spoken in Istanbul, the letter is silent, and it lengthens the preceding vowel, adding to it a barely audible sound "y," e.g. the word deil, "no," is approximately pronounced as "dyil." However, in eastern parts of Turkey, and especially among the Kurds of Southeast Anatolia, the is audible and hard, pronounced gutturally, similar to Arabic ain.

Consonants k, g, l, when followed by circumflexed vowels â, î, û, become softened, and are pronounced with barely audible sound "y." Thus, the word gâvur, "infidel," is pronounced approximately as "gyvur" (similar to Macedonian ); ilâhi, "hymn," as "ilyhi"; and kâr, "profit," as "kyr" (similar to Macedonian ). This softening is important since it might change the meaning of the word: kar, for example, means "snow." The circumflexed vowels might also precede the k, g, l letters, with the same function. Thus, the word usûl, "rhythmic pattern," should be pronounced approximately as "usly," since usul, with hard l, means "gently, carefully."

Transliteration of Arabic script in this dissertation generally follows the system given by Kristina Nelson (1985: viii, Table 1). Other systems, which appear in quotations, are reproduced in their original. The following table gives the transliteration systems by K. Nelson, M.A. aleem Eliasii (1981: xxxiii), A. Yusuf Ali (1983: xv), and the Leyden editions of the Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam (SEI 1961) and The Encyclopaedia of Islam (EI 1960-).


Regarding the transliteration of Arabic letter , t'marbah, I follow the Library of Congress Romanization Tables: "When the noun or adjective ending in is indefinite, or is preceded by the definite article, is romanized h" (LC nd: 7). Thus, the words , , , , I transliterate with h: janbah, Fimah, alh, arqah. In compounds, such as altu'l-jumah, the first is elided to the following definite article - al- and pronounced as t, while the second , which ends the compund, is pronounced as h.

All Arabic compounds which contain the word Allh, such as Bismillh, Waliyyullh, Subnallah, al-amdulillh, I transliterate as one word, i.e. without a hyphen to indicate disjunction, and without apostrophe for the letter hamzah. All other connected words, such as kitbu'l-msq, are transliterated with a hyphen and hamzah.

In Ottoman Turkish, many Arabic nouns and adjectives have been Turkified and written as ending with instead of , such as the Arabic derived words, all in singular form, ending with -ator -et. In Ottoman Turkish such words are written and pronounced as: hakikat, eriat, millet, mükellefiyet (see NRD 1987), instead of Arabic: aqqah, arah, millah, mukallafiyyah.

All English translations from the Qur'n, unless otherwise stated, are by Marmaduke Pickthall (nd; and in Eliasii 1981). 

1. Sorry folks, but some non-English characters are lost on the WWW. Check the hard copy of my dissertation.

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