Turkish Language Association

Turkish Language Association

The Turkish Language Association ( _tr. Türk Dil Kurumu - TDK) is the official regulatory body of the Turkish language, founded on July 12, 1932 and headquartered in Ankara, Turkey. The association acts as the official authority on the language (without any enforcement power), contributes to linguistic research on Turkish and other Turkic languages, and is charged with publishing the official dictionary of the language, "Güncel Türkçe Sözlük".


The association was established on July 12, 1932 under the name "Türk Dili Tetkik Cemiyeti" (Society for Research on the Turkish Language) by the initiative of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey, by Samih Rıfat, Ruşen Eşref Ünaydın, Celâl Sahir Erozan and Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu, all prominent names in the literature of the period and members of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The head specialist and Secretary General of the association was the Armenian linguist Agop Dilaçar starting from 1934, who continued to work in the association until his death in 1979.


The association heads the academic efforts for linguistic research on the Turkish language and its sister Turkic languages of Central Asia. Another primary mission of the association is to maintain and publish "Türkçe Sözlük", the official Turkish dictionary, and "Yazım Kılavuzu", the Turkish writing guide, in addition to many other specialized dictionaries, linguistics books and several periodicals.

The association strives to protect the integrity of the Turkish language and was a key institution in the struggle of the Republic of Turkey to re-position itself as a secular nation-state after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. During the 1930s and 1940s, it has led massive campaigns to replace the many Arabic, Persian, Greek and French loanwords whose immense use in the Turkish language during the centuries preceding the foundation of the Republic had created a literary language considerably different from the spoken Turkish of the time, which is now called Ottoman Turkish.

Recently however, the attention of the association has been turned towards the persistent infiltration of Turkish, like many other languages, with English words, as a result of the globalization process. Since the 1980s, TDK constantly campaigns for the use of the Turkish equivalents of these new English loanwords. It also has the task of linguistically deriving such words from existing Turkish roots if no such equivalents exist, and actively promoting the adoption of these new coinages instead of their English equivalents in the daily lives of the Turkish people. Some successful examples of suggestions for Information Technology terms include:

There have been criticisms of the association domestically—mostly for some of the new coinages which sound overly artificial—and internationally such as the linguist H.C. Hony, writing in 1947, describing the organisation as "composed almost entirely of politicians" and its proceedings full of "arrant nonsense" and "absurdities". Hony described the three aims underlying the workings of the association as "the desire to make a complete cut with the past", "the desire to be considered a member of the European society of nations" and "a narrow and rabid nationalism". [cite book| last =Hony| first =H. C.| title =The New Turkish| publisher =Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society| month =December | year =1947]

Turkey currently doesn't have a legal framework to enforce by law the recommendations of TDK in public life (contrary to Académie française in France, for example). On the other hand, there is a bill that is in consideration in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey at the moment that would give TDK and the Ministries of Education and Culture the tools to enforce legally the labelling of Turkish equivalents of these words next to their foreign counterparts, particularly in the news media, advertising, and commercial communications.


The association, in addition to maintaining "Türkçe Sözlük" and "Yazım Kılavuzu" has published more than 850 linguistics related books, mainly consisting of studies on Turkic languages, specialized dictionaries, philological books, and works of literature.

TDK also publishes "Türk Dili", a journal on Turkish literature, since 1951, "Belleten", the annual journal on Turkic languages, since 1953, and "Türk Dünyası", another periodical published twice a year on Turkish language and literature since 1996.

ee also

* Seslisozluk


External links

* [http://www.tdk.gov.tr Türk Dil Kurumu] , the official site of the association
* [http://tdk.org.tr/kitaplar.html Kitaplar] , the list of published books by TDK
* [http://tdk.org.tr/sureliyayinlar.html Süreli Yayınlar] , the list of periodicals published by TDK

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