Ottoman Turkish

at Columbia
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Turkish (Ottoman)

Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies

Language Contact and Email Address:

Zuleyha Colak


Ottoman Turkish is the variety of the Turkish language used in the Ottoman Empire (14th to 20th centuries CE). It borrows extensively, in all aspects, from Arabic and Persian and its speakers used the Ottoman Turkish alphabet for written communications. During the peak of Ottoman power (c.‚ÄČ16th century CE), words of foreign origin in Turkish literature in the Ottoman Empire heavily outnumbered native Turkish words, with Arabic and Persian vocabulary accounting for up to 88% of the Ottoman vocabulary in some texts (source).

Elementary Ottoman Turkish at Columbia aims to focus on reading selected authentic print materials that are enjoyable and interesting, such as authentic detective novels, historical documents, and literary materials.

Please note: two years of Modern Turkish or equivalent are prerequisites for Ottoman Turkish.

Studying Ottoman Turkish does not fulfill the language requirement at Columbia.

Please check the Columbia Directory of Classes for the latest information on class times and locations