The current official Turkmen alphabet as used in Turkmenistan is a modified Latin alphabet based on the Turkish alphabet, but with notable differences: J is used instead of the Turkish C; Ž is used instead of the Turkish J; Y is used instead of the dotless i (I/ı); Ý is used instead of the Turkish consonantal Y; and the letters Ä and Ň have been added to represent the phonetic values [æ] and [ŋ], respectively. At the start of the 20th century, when Turkmen first started to be written, it used the Arabic script, but in 1928 the Latin alphabet was adopted. In 1940, the Russian influence in Soviet Turkmenistan prompted a switch to a Cyrillic alphabet, and a modified Turkmen Cyrillic alphabet (shown below in the table alongside the Latin) was created. When Turkmenistan first became independent in 1991, president Saparmurat Niyazov immediately instigated a return to the Latin alphabet. When it was first reintroduced it was supposed to contain some rather unusual letters, such as the pound, dollar, yen, and cent signs, but these were later replaced by more orthodox letter symbols. Turkmen is still often written with an adapted Arabic alphabet in other countries where the language is spoken and where the Arabic script is dominant (such as Afghanistan). Due to the unusual pronunciation of the letter s as [θ] (th), the language has a distinctive lisping sound.
Turkmen is a Turkic language spoken by about 6.4 million people in Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia (Asia), Tajikistan, Turkey (Asia), USA and Uzbekistan.
Turkmen only started to appear in writing at the beginning of the 20th century, when it was written with the Arabic script. Between 1928 and 1940 it was written with the Latin alphabet, and from 1940 it was written with the Cyrillic alphabet. Since Turkmenistan declared independence in 1991, Turkmen has been written with a version of the Latin alphabet based on Turkish. Cyrillic alphabet for Turkmen (түркмен элипбийи)
Latin alphabet for Turkmen (Türkmen elipbiýi)
Sample text in Turkmen
Хемме адамлар өз мертебеси ве хукуклары бюнча дең ягдайда дүнйә инйәрлер. Олара аң хем выждан берлендир ве олар бир-бирлери билен доганлык рухундакы гарайышда болмалыдырлар.
Hemme adamlar öz mertebesi we hukuklary boýunça deň ýagdaýda dünýä inyärler. Olara aň hem wyždan berlendir we olar bir-birleri bilen doganlyk ruhundaky garaýyşda bolmalydyrlar.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
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