Ottoman Turkish is the variety of  the Turkish language that was used in the Ottoman Empire.  Ottoman Turkish was based on Anatolian Turkish and used in the Ottoman Empire for administrative and literary language between 1299 to 1923. It is not a spoken language. It is primarily a written language. A language of historical tests, literature and official correspondence. The language is still seen quite a lot in written form in older books, periodicals, documents and letters. Arabic and Persian accounted for up to more than % 80 of its vocabulary. Grammatical systems of Arabic and Persian were also used. But the general rule is Turkish vocabulary can only be used with Turkish grammar, Persian vocabulary can be used with Turkish and Persian grammar and Arabic vocabulary can be used with Arabic, Persian and Turkish Grammar. Exception to this rule is when, Turkish words are used in a Persian Izafet construction. This course will be an introduction to basics of Ottoman Turkish through readings in printed selections. The Routledge Introduction to Literary Ottoman, Korkut Bugday will be the course text book and hand-outs will be distributed to practice.



  • Develioğlu, Ferit. Osmanlıca-Türkçe Ansiklopedik Lûgat: Eski ve yeni harflerle. Ankara: Aydın Kitabevi, 2000.

Devellioğlu’s dictionary lists entries in their Turkish transliteration. The words in original Ottoman Turkish follow the transliterations. It is useful if you want to check the right vocalization of a word or find the equivalent of a word you know in Arabic script].

[Although it is easier to access the latest editions i.e., 20th and 21st century editions, of this dictionary, I recommend the 19th century edition to my students. The 19th century Redhouse, unlike the more recent editions, lists words in Ottoman Turkish followed by their Turkish transliterations. It is quite useful especially if one has hard time reading the words in Arabic script. The very first edition of Redhouse from 1856 is available and free through google books, here]

  • Frasheri, Şemsettin Sami. Kamus-ı Türki. Dersaadet: Ikdam Matbaasi, 1317.

[Any graduate student learning and studying Ottoman Turkish should be familiar with Şemsettin Sami’s dictionary, which is fortunately available online:]

Grammar Books

  • Buğday, Korkut. The Routledge Introduction to Literary Ottoman. NY: Routledge, 2009.
  • Develi, Hayati. Osmanlı Türkçesi Kılavuzu. Vol. 1. İstanbul: Kitabevi, 2004. (available @Green Library)
  • Osmanlı Türkçesi Kılavuzu. Vol. 2. İstanbul: Kitabevi, 2004. (available @Green Library)
  • Ergin, Muharrem. Osmanlıca Dersleri. İstanbul: Boğaziçi Yayınları, 1995, 2000.
  • Timurtaş, Faruk K. Osmanlı Türkçesine Giriş: Eski Yazı, Gramer, Aruz, Metinler. İstanbul: İstanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi Yayınları, 1987.
  • Osmanlı Türkçesi Grameri: Eski Yazı ve İmla, Arapça, Farsça, Eski Anadolu Türkçesi. İstanbul: Alfa Basım Yayın, 1999.
  • William Burckhardt Barker, A Practical Grammar of the Turkish Language: With Dialogues and Vocabulary, London: B. Quaritch, 1854