n Ekklesiastikos Pharos - Language problems in the Ottoman empire

Volume 91, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1018-9556



The Ottoman Empire was an imperial power that existed from 1299 to 1923 (624 years) and was one of the largest empires to rule the borders of the Mediterranean Sea. Ottoman Turkish was used especially between the 16th and 19th centuries. This ornamented artificial language separated ordinary people from palace people, which caused a communication problem. The minorities of the Ottoman Empire were free to use their language amongst themselves; however, if they needed to communicate with the government they had to use Ottoman Turkish. This paper explains the language differences and the resulting problems created in the Ottoman Empire. Examples of original correspondence are used to highlight these difficulties and communication differences. The author concludes that Ottoman Turkish was not a separate language from Turkish; it was a 600 year period of a particular usage of the Turkish language.

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