Atatürk’s Language Reform

Genel kültür kategorisine 12 Temmuz, 2007 tarihinde eklendi, 10 defa okundu


Please, close your eyes and imagine. Think that if Atatürk hadn’t

changed our language! Do you think we could have the same

opportunities we have today and would you have a bright future? I don’t

think so…

By Atatürk’s magnificent intelligence and his great talent to

foresee the future, Turks started to live with their own language.As

you can guess, Atatürk strived a lot to give the Turkish language as a gift

to the turkish public. We will tell our hero’s efforts and Turkish

language’s history step by step.

For thousand of years Turks used to claim Ottoman Turkish and

Arabic Alphabet. Three languages were put together and Ottoman Turkish

was formed. These three languages were Arabic, Persian language and pure

Turkish. So Turkish started to disappear day by day.

On the other hand, this alphabet came into force by Islam’s

acceptance.It wasn’t suitable for the Turkish language which is rich in

vowels. Also printing something in the old Arabic Alphabet was a big

problem in those days, because there were six hundred and twelve

different characters in Arabic Alphabet. The average Turkish citizen

couldn’t read or write easily.It made a big difference between the

average citizens and the educated people. So naturally, rich classes were

the privileged ones.

From this point of view, Atatürk thought that the Turkish people

must have a language which is special for literature and science, like

other modern countries.The alphabet which would be chosen must be

suitable for Turkish language and must be easy to learn.At the same time it

musn’t have characters more than necessary. Thus all kinds of books

could be published, as a result the country’s culture could rise.

However there were some who were doubtful about the

proposed reform. They thought it would be very difficult to translate

all the past and print them again. Accordingly, it would hold up the

development of public education. Besides, people who had already

finished school had to learn everything again.

In spite of all these negative ideas, Atatürk believed in the

necessity of changing the alphabet and as a matter of fact on November

1st 1928 it was put into effect at the end of the voting in Turkish

Parliament. The alphabet which was accepted, has been the most

suitable one for the requiring properties, it consists of twenty-nine

letters; eight vowels and twenty-one consonants.

Now it was the time to apply this new language. Atatürk

asked the experts, ” How long would it take? ” Most of them replied:

” At least five years. ” ” We shall do it, ” Atatürk said, ” within five

months. “

After that the campaign for education became more organised

and evening classes were opened for workers. Improvised classes were

started in many places and attended by children and elderly people.

Also Atatürk joined these organizations. He carried his blackboard

everywhere and he taught the new alphabet himself.Since than people

called him the ” Teacher Chief “

As a result of all these efforts up to 1937, eighty-five percent

of people learnt this alphabet very well .

We are thankful to Atatürk for Latin alphabet. Turkey is the only

modern country among Islamic countries. If it hadn’t been for Latin alphabet

we wouldn’t have been able to catch up to the contemporary world.

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