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Turkish is a member of the Turkic language group, a branch of the Altaic language family. The language and its sister Turkic languages are spoken by over 200 million people. Turkish, the national language of the Republic of Turkey, is also spoken in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, and various communities in the Balkans and Central Asia, as well as in immigrant communities around the world.
Knowledge of modern Turkish provides access to a region in which a number of world civilizations were conceived. Works of literature, like the Turkish folktales featuring the trickster Nasreddin Hodja and the novels of Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, as well as Turkish decorative arts, cuisine, pop music and television series are well known throughout the world. The language is extremely helpful for students interested in learning Ottoman Turkish or one of the Turkic languages of Central Asia, (i.e., Uzbek, Tatar, Kazakh, Azeri, Turkmen or Uyghur). It is also useful for conducting research and/or business in Turkey, Europe, and Central Asia.
The Department of Middle Eastern Studies offers a minor in Turkish and opportunities for undergraduate students to study Turkish/Turkey within its BA degrees in Middle Eastern Studies, Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, and Islamic Studies. Students majoring in International Relations and Global Studies, Government, History and Economics often choose to study Turkish. Students interested in advanced degrees concentrating on Turkey may enroll in programs such as Middle Eastern Studies, Government, History, Ethnomusicology or Anthropology.