Pronounce Turkish Vowels and Their Classification

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There are some rules about the use of vowels in Turkish. For example, which letter we will use and when or how the letters change depends on some rules. We will let you know these rules but whether you can understand all of this depends on this subject and Turkish vowels harmonies. These two subjects are basic Turkish grammar.

This is the vowel classification chart below. They may intimidate you at first, but don’t worry, we are going to explain it all to you, with tips.

We have also detailed the whole subject in a video. If you want to listen and learn with its pronunciation, you can also check out the video.

First, we have 8 vowel letters. Aa, Ee, Iı, İi, Oo, Öö, Uu, Üü.

We will consider these letters in 3 separate sections. That’s mean will classify in 3 different groups;

  1. Vowels according to the shape of the throat,
  2. Vowels according to the shape of the lip
  3. And where vowels come out of the chin.
voyel harmony
voyel harmony

1. Where Vowels Come Out of The throat

  • Kalın Ünlüler (Back vowels); a, ı, o u
  • İnce Ünlüler (Front vowels); e, i, öü

Depending on where the vowels come out of the throat. Some are back and some are front. Sounds coming from the back of the throat are harder and it is deeper. It’s harder to say. That’s why we call these letters “kalın ünlüler“. We can translate thick vowels in English.  Also, you can call them art ünlüler. It means back vowels. Because they are coming from the back of the throat. For example; a, ı, o, u.

What about vowels that come out from the front of the throat? They are softer sounds. That’s why we call them “ince ünlüler“. It means thin vowels. Because they are softer. Also, you can call them ön ünlüler. It means front vowels. Cause they’re coming from the front of the throat. For example; e, i, ö, ü.

ATTENTION HERE!!!! I want you to pay attention here. When you look at the back letters, I mean kalın ünlüler is you can notice that a and the letters without dot on them. Also, when you look at the front letters, I mean ince or ön ünlüler is you can notice that e and the letters there are dots on them.

2. Vowels According to The Shape of The Lip

voyel harmony prounociation
  • Yuvarlak Ünlüler (Rounded vowels); o, ö, u, ü
  • DüÜnlüler (Unrounded vowels); a, e, ı, i

If our lips become round while we are pronouncing vowels, we call them yuvarlak ünlüler. It means rounded vowels. For example; o, ö, u, ü.

If my lip does not take a rounded shape when pronouncing the vowel, they are düz ünlüler. It means unrounded vowels. For example; a, e, ı, i.

ATTENTION HERE!!!! The shape of all-around vowels is also round or similar to round.

3. Vowels According to The Shape of The Chin

Merged document
  • Geniş/Açık Ünlüler (Open vowels); a, e, o, ö
  • Dar/Kapalı Ünlüler (Closed vowels); ı, i, u, ü

We have one last title. Vowel letters according to the shape of the chin. For example, our chin opens big when we say some vowels. We open our chin huge, completely. So, if we open our mouths big when we say a vowel, it is geniş ünlü. It means large or we call it açık ünlü; it means open vowel. Because at that time my jaw is large and open completely. For example; a, e, o, ö.

Well, and sometimes the opposite happens, if our jaw doesn’t open fully, which vowel will it be? Of course, if these are the opposite, they will be tight, in Turkish we call them dar ünlüler because of the shape of our chin again. Also known as closed vowels, in Turkish kapalı ünlüler. Because our chin is more closed. For example; ı, i, u, ü.

voyel harmony

As you can see, we analyzed vowels under 3 separate sub-titles. If we collect all the subjects, we can create this table at last. Now let’s examine vowels in 3 different sections to learn well.

  1.  Vowels according to the shape of the lip: Where is it come out from the throat? It’s come from the back and deep. So it is kalın ünlü (back vowel).
  2. Vowels according to the shape of the chin: You can see our chin opens fully while pronouncing it. It is geniş ünlü or açık ünlü (open vowels).
  3. And when vowels come out of the throat: Look at this time to the shape of the lip. When we pronounce a, our lip is not in the shape of a circle. It’s not rounded. So, A is düz ünlü (unrounded).

If you want to learn more clearly or if you have problems with pronunciation, you can also check out our video where we explain the whole subject of the classification of vowels. We know that the letters you have the most difficulty pronouncing are ı, ö and ü. In addition, at the end of our video, we also touched on these letters that you have the most difficulty pronouncing.

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