Sun Language Theory

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A 1930s movement that claimed Turkish was the mother of all languages.

H. F. Kvergic is credited with inventing this theory in 1935, although numerous others contributed to its general formulation. The theory draws its name from Kvergic's initial proposition that a Turkish man was first inspired to create language while looking at the sun. Others, such as Ibrahim Necmi Dilmen, presented charts of concept groups drawn from the sunfor example, light/beauty, fire/excitement, and motion/time. Supporters of the theory held that since Turks inhabited the so-called cradle of civilization, central Asia, their language was the origin for later languages, such as those of the Hittites, Arabs, and Europeans.

Although criticized for fantastic speculations, the theory attracted interest in the mid-1930s for several reasons. Some supporters, including Atatürk, used it to stem the drastic expurgation from the modern Turkish language of foreign words by language reformers. Supporters argued that since foreign words were derived from Turkish, they should remain in use. Others found in the theory justification for radical nationalist Turkist ideologies in their vaunting of the Turks' ancient heritage. They also used its link to the Hittites to establish a long history for the Turks in Anatolia. By World War II, interest in the theory faded, although Atatürk's support of it is occasionally evoked today by opponents of the direction of Turkish-language reform.


Lewis, Geoffrey. Modern Turkey, 4th edition. New York: Praeger, 1974.

elizabeth thompson