HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: FOLLOWING THE TURKISH LANGUAGE ACROSS THE MAP
Like the people for whom the country is named, the language of Turkey originated in Mongolia and migrated to Turkey during the Persian Empire. Linguists have identified roots of the language from as early as 8500 years ago. Some linguists believe the languages of Korean and Japanese also may have the same roots. Linguists call those roots the Ural-Altaic language.
Though the roots of the language are ancient, it is very much alive today. Dialects of it include Azerbaijani, Turkmen, Tartar, Uzbek, Baskurti, Nogay, Kyryz, Kazakh, Yakuti, Cuvas, and others. Add a “stan” to the end of some of these modern day languages and you’ll have the names of many of our target countries.
We rejoice at this Ural-Altaic root, because it makes our job here at GHM a little easier. While our goals include dubbing all of our programs into the various heart languages of The Middle East and Central Asia, where the Persian culture of our programs is shared, many Turkish-speaking people in these regions have already tasted the joy of the Gospel through our broadcasts. They can do this because national boundaries in the area do not necessarily follow the same pattern as the use of languages and/or their own languages share enough similarities with Uzbek or Azerbaijani (the languages in which we create original programming) for them to understand the message.
Borrowing from Others, But Valuing Its Own Integrity
Over the millennia of its existence, the Turkish language has been an important one for the regions of Mongolia, Central Asia, and The Middle East. Much literature–poetic, pious, philosophical and scientific–has been produced in it. The Turkish language vocabulary has been enriched over the centuries, by both the Arabic and Persian (Farsi) languages. At the same time, there have been conscious efforts to keep Turkish a separate language and not let it be swept up into either of its neighboring tongues.
Sitting at the crossroads of world, Central Asia and The Middle East have a rich history embracing the Great Empires of the Past: Persian, Greek, Roman, Ottoman, and more. The languages of all these cultures have had some influence on the Turkish language, giving it a rich vocabulary, but Turks resisted having their native tongue obscured to the point of its disappearance.
In early writings, Turks would borrow from neighboring languages and place the foreign words next to their own versions in the text. However as early as 1072 the fight for their own language had begun. In that year, a Turkish dictionary was produced to assist Arabs in understanding Turkish. This effort, along with other measures, helped Turkish remain a language independent of those around it. However, by the 16th century, as with many languages, the written language of the intelligentsia became separated from the common tongue of the people and renewed efforts were required.
This struggle to keep the Turkish language intact continued into the 19th century, when suddenly there was also an onslaught by western cultures as well. The Turkish Republic was declared in 1923 and integrated the Turkish language in practical ways into the nation over the next five years. During this period, President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Latin-ized the Turkish writing system and in 1932 the Turkish Language Society was created. Before 1932, the use of authentic Turkish words in written texts was 35-40%, but today that number is 75-80%, proving their efforts to save the language has been successful.
Help Reap the Harvest
You can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation in countries like Turkey. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.
We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor. Contact us today by phone or email. Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.