No I'm not claiming the Altaic hypothesis so try not to bring that up in answers.

Still there are grammatical similarities between Japanese and Turkish such as agglutination and use of postpositions rather than prepositions. My knowledge of Japanese helped me get some basic Korean even though they are not established to be related either so I am interested in finding some detailed comparison that may help me shoehorn my Japanese knowledge to get me started in Turkish too... and for more general understanding of both languages.

2 Answers 2


I've done some cursory searching through LLBA and have come up with a number of studies comparing the Japanese and Turkish grammars... there are undoubtedly many, many more, however. A brief selection of these studies follows (though I'm not sure how useful it will actually be, as many studies can be difficult to find copies of):

  • Allen, S., Ozyurek, A., Kita, S., Brown, A., Furman, R., Ishizuka, T., & Fujii, M. (2007). Language-specific and universal influences in children's syntactic packaging of manner and path: A comparison of english, japanese, and turkish. Cognition, 102(1), 16-48.
  • Demirci, K. (2006). Japanese compound verbs and their turkish counterparts: Verb+verb. [Japonca'daki Birlesik Fiiller ve Turkcedeki Fiillere Benzerlikleri: fiil+fiil] Bilig - Turk DunyasI Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi, 38(summer), 123-136.
  • Ido, S. (2002). An alternative description of incomplete sentences in turkish and other agglutinative languages. Turkic Languages, 6(2), 157-191.
  • Sener, S., & Takahashi, D. (2010). Argument ellipsis in japanese and turkish. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics, 61, [np].
  • Simpson, A., Hwang, H., & Ipek, C. (2009). The comparative syntax of double object constructions in japanese, korean, and turkish. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics, 58, 41-62.

I've specifically tried to leave out any studies regarding the Altaic hypothesis as you requested. As for full comparisons of Japanese and Turkish grammar, I highly doubt that such a thing exists, due to the sheer scope of it all.


I don't know much (or any) Turkish, but I can tell you this: a long time ago, my linguistics department used to offer a Turkish course, and my Japanese professor (a native speaker) used to be a student back then. He told us that the course was quite tough, since most "students" there were actually Ph.D students and other professors at the department, but he found Turkish quite similar to Japanese. So there's probably at least some truth to what people say about the similarity of both these languages. This similarity doesn't have to indicate any genetic relation, by the way: I find Quechua strikingly resembling Japanese, but it's hard to imagine any contact between the ancient Inca and the ancient Japanese.

  • 1
    This is pretty interesting, but not really an answer to hippietrail's question...perhaps it should be a comment instead?
    – Amanda S
    Commented Jun 28, 2011 at 3:05
  • @Amanda: Could be, but that question would remain open until someone who happens to speak both Japanese and Turkish would get here. And than their personal impression is not too different than my professor's impression, I guess, unless they can provide some examples. This is probably what hippietrail was looking for, but I'm afraid it would have to wait for linguistics.stackexchange.com or at least until this site grows bigger and gets some Turkish speakers (and I'm sure it eventually will).
    – Boaz Yaniv
    Commented Jul 2, 2011 at 16:06

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