SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Ottoman Turkish Language (PG)

Module Code:
Taught in:
Full Year


Successful completion of Intensive Turkish language (PG) (T1) or equivalent standard in Turkish.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate…

  1. to have acquired competence in the reading of printed texts in Ottoman
  2. progress in the translation and interpretation of Ottoman texts in the genres studied
  3. a better understanding of the written legacy of the Ottoman empire
  4. a good understanding of the Turkish language reform
  5. appropriate knowledge of the philological and methodological issues with which Ottomanists engage
  6. knowledge and understanding of the role of language in general, and Turkish in particular, in language-based scholarship and research (specific learning outcome for PG students)


This course will be taught over 22 weeks with 2 hours classroom contact per week in language classes. 10 research seminars to be taken within SOAS.  Attendance to be proven by signature from chair and to be submitted to the Associate Dean for Masters by the last day of term 2.

Scope and syllabus

The course comprises mainly the reading and discussion of a selection of set printed texts in Ottoman It also involves study of the principal orthographic, grammatical and stylistic features  through comparison of style and usage in selected texts.   

The texts to be read will normally be printed sources in the Ottoman script, and will be selected mostly from various prose (newspapers, historiography, travel literature, reference works, treatises and letters/documents) and poetry genres.  Material is prepared in transcription for analysis and discussion in class.

A series of special PG lectures with associated seminars structured around the six themes Structure, Texts, Identity, Society, Translation and Transformation (provided for PG students studying different languages) introduces students to general questions of the role of language in language-based scholarship and research and provides them with the critical and methodological skills to relate their language acquisition to the thematic aspects of their studies.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (70%); a translation project to be completed over the academic year of a suitable length to be submitted on the first day of term 3 (30%).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules