Turkish Language Association

Türk Dil Kurumu

Logo of the Turkish Language Institution
Abbreviation TDK
Formation July 12, 1932 (1932-07-12)
Purpose regulatory body of the Turkish language
Headquarters Ankara, Turkey
Website www.tdk.gov.tr

The Turkish Language Institution (Turkish: Türk Dil Kurumu, TDK) is the official regulatory body of the Turkish language, founded on July 12, 1932 by the initiative of Atatürk and headquartered in Ankara, Turkey. The Institution acts as the official authority on the language (without any enforcement power), contributes to linguistic research on Turkish and other Turkic languages, and is charged with publishing the official dictionary of the language, Güncel Türkçe Sözlük.


1933 meeting of the Association

The institution was established on July 12, 1932, under the name Türk Dili Tetkik Cemiyeti (Society for Research on the Turkish Language) by the initiative of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey, by Samih Rıfat, Ruşen Eşref Ünaydın, Celâl Sahir Erozan and Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu, all prominent names in the literature of the period and members of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The head specialist and Secretary General of the institution was the Turkish Armenian linguist Agop Dilaçar starting from 1934, who continued to work in the institution until his death in 1979.

The institution's name was changed to Turkish Language Research Institute in 1934, and it became the Turkish Language Institution in 1936.[1]


Turkish word origins, 2007

The institution heads academic linguistic research in Turkey into the Turkish language and its sister Turkic languages of Central Asia. It publishes Türkçe Sözlük, the official Turkish dictionary, and Yazım Kılavuzu, the Turkish writing guide, in addition to many other specialized dictionaries, linguistics books and several periodicals.

During the 1930s and 1940s, the Turkish Language Association led massive campaigns to replace the many Arabic, Persian, Greek and French loanwords whose widespread use in the Turkish language during the centuries preceding the foundation of the Republic had created a literary language considerably different from the spoken Turkish of the time, which is now called Ottoman Turkish.

Recently however, the attention of the institution has been turned towards the persistent infiltration of Turkish, like many other languages, with English words, as a result of the globalization process. Since the 1980s, TDK campaigns for the use of Turkish equivalents of these new English loanwords. It also has the task of coining such words from existing Turkish roots if no such equivalents exist, and actively promoting the adoption of these new coinages instead of their English equivalents in the daily lives of the Turkish population.

Turkey currently doesn't have a legal framework to enforce by law the recommendations of TDK in public life (contrary to Académie française in France, for example). On the other hand, there is a bill that is in consideration in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey at the moment that would give TDK and the Ministries of Education and Culture the tools to enforce legally the labelling of Turkish equivalents of these words next to their foreign counterparts, particularly in the news media, advertising, and commercial communications.

There have been criticisms of the association domestically — mostly for some of the new coinages which sound overly artificial — and internationally, such as by the linguist H.C. Hony. Hony, writing in 1947, described the organization as "composed almost entirely of politicians" and its proceedings full of "arrant nonsense" and "absurdities". Hony considered the three aims underlying the workings of the association to be "the desire to make a complete cut with the past", "the desire to be considered a member of the European society of nations" and "a narrow and rabid nationalism".[2]


Turkish Language Association building, Ankara

The institution, in addition to maintaining Güncel Türkçe Sözlük and Yazım Kılavuzu has published more than 850 linguistics related books, mainly consisting of studies on Turkic languages, specialized dictionaries, philological books, and works of literature.

TDK also publishes Türk Dili, a journal on Turkish literature, since 1951, Belleten, the annual journal on Turkic languages, since 1953, and Türk Dünyası, another periodical published twice a year on Turkish language and literature since 1996.


The 2005 edition of Güncel Türkçe Sözlük, the official dictionary of the Turkish language published by Turkish Language Association, contains 104,481 entries, of which about 86% are Turkish and 14% are of foreign origin.[3] Among the most significant foreign contributors to Turkish vocabulary are Arabic, French, Persian, Italian, English, and Greek.[4]

See also


  1. TDK, Tarihçe
  2. Hony, H. C. (December 1947). The New Turkish. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.
  3. "Güncel Türkçe Sözlük" (in Turkish). Turkish Language Association. 2005. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
  4. "Türkçe Sözlük (2005)'teki Sözlerin Kökenlerine Ait Sayısal Döküm (Numerical list on the origin of words in Türkçe Sözlük (2005))" (in Turkish). Turkish Language Association. 2005. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
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