Turkey’s president wants to purge Western words from its language

TURKEY’S president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, responded to last summer’s attempted coup by sacking or suspending 160,000 public servants and arresting 60,000 more. But his latest purge has a more abstract target. Mr Erdogan wants to rid Turkish of unsightly Western loan-words. Turkey faces a mortal threat from foreign “affectations”, Mr Erdogan declared on May 23rd. “Where do attacks against cultures and civilisations begin? With language.”

Mr Erdogan started by ordering the word “arena”, which reminded him of ancient Roman depravity, removed from sports venues across the country. Turkey’s biggest teams complied overnight. Vodafone Arena, home of the Besiktas football club, woke up as “Vodafone Stadyumu”. Critics wondered what the Turkish language had gained by replacing one foreign-derived word with another.

Like other languages, Turkish has struggled to check the advance of Western words. Some, like sovmen (showman) and <em…Continue reading
Source: Europe Economic News