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Published April 1, 2020
This video was recorded by John Kazaklis in Orlando, Florida. Turkmen, which is spoken by approximately 6.7 million people, is the official language of Turkmenistan. Turkmen is an Oghuz language in the Turkic language family, and it is spoken in Turkmenistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, among other nations. Turkmen is most similar to Turkish and Azerbaijani, sharing a high degree of intelligibility with the latter. The most famous Turkmen poet is Magtymguly Pyragy, an eighteenth-century writer. His most famous poem, Türkmeniň (“Of the Turkmen”), praises the geography and culture of the Turkmen people; this poem later became very popular during the Iranian revolution. The variety of Turkmen used by Pyragy in his writing represents the historical transition from Chagatai and spoken Turkmen. There are 11 verb tenses in Turkmen, and two types of verbs. In addition, Turkmen uses a vowel harmony system, where the infinitive form of a verb governs whether front or back vowel harmony will be used. Turkmen is an agglutinative language, like many other Turkic languages, and contains no grammatical gender. Turkmen uses subject-object-verb constituent order. Historically, Turkmen used the Arabic alphabet until 1929, when a Latin alphabet was introduced. Officially, Turkmen is written with a Latin alphabet-based “New Alphabet” (Täze Elipbiý), however, some political parties in opposition to President Niyazov use the Cyrillic alphabet in their publications, as a means of resisting the alphabet he created.