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Effects of English Usage on Turkish Language and Society - Final Paper


English and Turkish Languages
1. Introduction
It is an inevitable fact that languages keep changing throughout the history.  As they do, linguists keep asking why and how they are changing. One reason may be the wanting to be different. It is expectable that languages will change eventually (Yule 2003: 222). That’s a big problem for the whole world society in which there occurs many different languages and a lingua franca as well. According to Lass (1980, as cited in Chapman-Skousen, 2005) change of a language can be described in details but this progress cannot be explained why and how it occurs and it is always a significant challenge trying to understand and enlighten that. (p. 333).  As its being difficult to explain and understand this process, these changes in languages lead sometimes corruptions of the languages. But the thing that should be discussed that whether or not it is the lingua franca that forces languages to change and eventually to corrupt.
            In this aspect, Turkish language has a big problem with it. Using English words in media and among the people is so common nowadays that, intellectuals in Turkey have started to try to make the society be aware of it and not to use foreign words, especially English, while there are equivalent Turkish words for them.
Furthermore, language corruption may lead some changes in society as well. Every society has their own cultural relation with their own language. In that case if the language of that society happens to change, some cultural values of it may eventually vary.

1.1 Aim
It is the main goal to explain the change in Turkish language and its effects on the society through compilation of data from articles and books. At the end of the study, some assumptions and research results will be revealed and it is expected to come to a conclusion with some suggestions for the problem.

2. Languages Change
The fact that languages change is unsurprisingly a slow process and it is certain as death but at the same time it is not an overnight-process and very difficult to see the differences while it is in progress. In addition major events like wars and invasions may be the causes to social changes and the most obvious source of the change is considered to be the process of cultural transmission (Yule 2003). This changing process of a language may be sometimes explained as development of that language.
            Borrowing words from other languages is considered as a normal process of a language (Yule 2003). Even some linguists claim that it is one of the most important sources of new words for the target language, which may mean that it is a development for the language. The borrowing process is suggested to be in two different ways one of which is done directly and the other one is indirectly (Fromkin, Rodman, Hyams 2003).

2.1 Change causes corruption
It is obvious that English linguists are happy with that process. Maybe they just want to think about the positive side of it, improving the language and making it word rich. In contrast, the result is not the same for the other languages. Turkish linguists are strictly against borrowing words when Turkish language is the case. According to Aksan (2005), the change of a language with the help of borrowing foreign words shows us how far that change could go further and how big effect it could have (pp. 135-6). These thoughts of Turkish linguist show that this borrowing process is clearly considered as a corruption of language.



2.2 Corruption in Turkish Language
Borrowing words from English even if the borrowed words have equivalents in Turkish must be considered as the invasion of English, eventually the corruption of the Turkish language. From now on it is very crucial to take important precautions against this process (Aksan 2005, pp.137-8). Why do they want to use words from other languages? Muallimoğlu (1999) states that, in the years of Ottoman Empire it was because of the Islamic improvements in the country that many Arabic words were used in Turkish language. It is suggested that, using foreign words during Ottoman age was nothing than to satisfy their artist-born sides. There is also a very famous Ottoman work Osmanlı Şeyhnamesi written in Persian. Thus many writers in these times had competed to use foreign words and eventually Turkish was exposed to lots of foreign words some of which have been used since then (p. 214). Because of this, today it is almost impossible to understand a work written in Turkish even a hundred years ago.
            In that case as history repeats itself, in recent years the problem seems to be the same. Since English is the lingua franca of today’s world, Turkish people find using some English words in their speeches a distinctive feature. On the other hand, there is more than that. Upon being asked a question “whether the effect of English is because of Turkish being inadequate or not, and if not who would want Turkish language to be vanished, and why” Sinanoğlu (2006) explains this giving an example from recent history. We all know Ireland. It is invaded not by force but changing its education language. In Turkey, this process was started in 1953 by turning TED (a charity school) into a private college and has been going on rapidly since then. College means missionary school in Turkey. This changing has been supported by the media, associations, assemblies and hidden societies founded for that purpose (p.113).

2.3 Effect of Corruption on Turkish Society
The change in language means change in some values of the society. Every language has its own way of expressions and a way of explaining the happenings. The effect of language change on society may not be explained very well but it is easy to talk about the importance of it. Although Turkish people are aware of the invasion of English and its effect on them, they keep using the English words in an ironical way or for show off.
            Using English words instead of equivalent Turkish words should be considered as a big problem in terms of its influence on changing the attitudes of society. It is a very strong belief that using foreign words, especially from English, and by this the corruption of Turkish language will certainly cause corruption in Turkish cultural values, therefore in the near future we may say “bye bye” to Turkish culture, Turkish world, to honour of being Turk and also to the ambition of becoming the leader of Muslim countries if any precautions won’t be taken (Sinanoğlu 2006, p.23).

2.4 What to do
Education is always the key. With an effective way of teaching own language and own culture to the students of early age, it wouldn’t be very difficult to keep the values of society and language. Precautions should be taken, but it is not enough. It should be carried out effectively as well. For that purpose, teachers have to be educated in that purpose. The publications should be controlled by an official language community founded by the state and also be sold out for a little price so that the people could improve their reading habits and make them more aware of their own language’s beauty.

3. Conclusion
Every language has problems with the dominance of English in recent years. The only happy people with this are obviously English speakers. But they should keep in mind that, this is not a good thing for them either. If this process happens to go on there will be changes and eventually corruptions in their own language as well. In Turkey, English is used mainly for making fun of it as well as showing off. That is a huge problem for English learners and also for the English speakers, because it turns out to become a big problem to understand each other.
            In Turkish language, change has been going on since the fact that using English as a teaching language was taken wrong. That also affects the society because people don’t have any opportunities to realize why they should use only Turkish in daily life. They may know what is going on, but the important thing here is that taking precautions against this process and carrying out them in an effective way.
            Using citations from different Turkish linguists and some other famous English linguists, it is explained that how the change is considered from different points of views. While English linguists consider change in language as a very normal process and even as an improvement, Turkish linguists define it as a way of destructing the society and its values.
  
4. References

1.     Aksan, D. (2005). Türkiye Türkçesinin dünü, bugünü, yarını. Ankara: Bilgi Yayınevi.

2.     Chapman, D., & Skousen, R. (2005). Analogical modeling and morphological change: the case of the adjectival negative prefix in English. English Language and Linguistics, 9.2, 333-357.

3.     Fromkin, V., Rodman, R., & Hyams, N. (2003). An introduction to language. United States: Thomson Heinle Press.

4.     Muallimoğlu, N. (1999). Türkçe bilen aranıyor. İstanbul: Avcı Ofset Matbaacılık.

5.     Sinanoğlu, O. (2006). Büyük uyanış. İstanbul: Alfa Basım Yayım Dağıtım.

6.     Sinanoğlu, O. (2006). Bye-Bye Türkçe. İstanbul: Alfa Basım Yayım Dağıtım.

7.     Yule, G. (2003). The study of language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



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