Turkish Modes of Address

Turkısh Personal Addressing

The formal Turkısh mode of address when you do not know the person's name or title is as follows:

For males:
Beyefendi Sir
daily pronunciation is truncated to: Beyfendi

For females:
Hanımefendi Miss or Madam.

These are used in formal situations and to strangers.

Once names are known then bey and hanım are used after the first name.

These titles are written without a capital letter:

  • Mustafa bey
    Mr. Mustafa
  • Ayşe hanım
    Miss or Mrs. Ayşe

These are used in formal situations when you know the person's first name.

Also in informal situations to acquaintances, friends and even to you own family members.

Surnames are not usually used in conversational Turkish:

In formal situations:
Mustafa bey
Mr. Mustafa
Ayşe hanım
Mrs. Ayşe
OR Miss Ayşe

In informal situations it means a friendly:
Mustafa or Ayşe
with or without the title.

Turkish First names and Family names

Turkish has two words for the first name of a person:
isim [Tur.] or ad [arb.]

They can are interchangeable ; either one can be used any time.

There is no corresponding word for "surname" based in the word isim

  • İsminiz ne?
    What is your first name?
  • İsmim Ayşe.
    My name is Ayşe.

isim is a noun which loses a vowel [apocopates] ism-iniz your name and ism-im my name.

The Turkish word for "surname" is soyadı

  • Adınız ne?
    What is your first name?
  • Adım Ali
    My name is Ali.
  • Soyadınız ne?
    What is your surname?
  • Soyadım Karaca
    My surname is Karaca.

Turkish Addressing a Third Person

The third person suffix is -i or meaning his, her, its

  • Onun ismi ne?
    What is his name?
  • Onun ismi Mehmet.
    His name is Mehmet.
  • Onun adı ne?
    What is her name?
  • Onun adı Deren.
    Her name is Deren.
  • Onun soyadı ne?
    What is his surname?
  • Onun soyadı Gürses.
    His surname is Gürses.

If we are talking about a third person remote from us we may ask the question:
What is that man's name?

The words "man's name" are tranlated by by using the Possessive Relationship to show that the two words belong to each other.

  • adamın ismi
    the man's name
    [Lit: the name of the man]
  • adamın adı
    the man's name
  • adamın soyadı
    the man's surname
  • O Beyefendinin soyadı ne?
    What is that gentleman's surname?
    [Lit: the surname of the man]
  • O Beyefendinin ismi ne?
    What is that gentleman's name?

To make the sentence more conversational: I wonder what that lady's name is?

"I wonder" is translated by adding the word acaba at the beginning or end of the Turkish question.

  • O Hanımefendinin adı ne, acaba?
    I wonder what that lady's name is?
  • Acaba, Mehmet'in soyadı ne?
    I wonder what Mehmet's surname is?
  • Kız kardeşinizin ismi ne, acaba?
    What is your sister's name, I wonder?

Public Use of Names and Titles

There is an increasing use of addressing people by their surname.

This method uses the word Sayın esteemed before the surname directly.

It is especially used on television in interviews.

If the interviewee's name is Musafa Kurt

He may be addressed as:
Mustafa bey
[formal and informal]

OR directly by his surname as:
Sayın Kurt Esteemed Kurt
[formal and public]

OR Bay Kurt Mr. Kurt
[polite and official.]

Bay Mr. and Sayın Esteemed are usually spelt with capital letters, but are also found in lower case letters.

Addressing Envelopes

Turish Abbeviations used in Addresses

Sok. - SokakStreet
Neşe SokağıNeşe Street
Cad. - CaddeRoad
Liman CaddesiLiman Road
Bul. - BulvarAvenue
Atatürk BulvarıAtatürk Avenue
Yol. - YolWay, Route
Ankara YoluAnkara Way
Mah. - MahalleLocal District
Göktaşlı MahallesiGöktaşlı District
Asf. - AsfaltMotorway
Londra AsfaltıLondra Route
D. - DaireApartment, Suite
Apt. - ApartmanApartment
K. - KatFloor
No. - Numara Number
Nolu. - NumaralaNumbered

Turkish Greetings

In semi formal situations there is a four stage greeting procedure:

  • The Welcome:
    hoş geldin(iz)
  • Response is:
    hoş bulduk
    We found it well!
  • The Greeting:
    This is an exchange of:
  • The Asking after Health Stage:
    How are you?
  • The Response:
    İyiyim, teşekkür ederim
    I am well, thank you.
  • Followed by:
    a question about the other's health:
    siz nasılsın(ız)?
    You, how are you?

Turkish Greetings

  • günaydın
    good morning, good day, good afternoon
    [LIT:the day shines.]
  • iyi günler
    good day
  • iyi akşamlar
    good evening
    [said on arrival]
  • iyi geceler
    good night
    [said on leaving company]
  • görüşmek üzere
    see you soon
  • hoşça kal
    so long
    [Lit: stay joyful]

The plural is used in "Good day, Good evening, Good night" similar to the Spanish "Buenos Días"

  • Listen to: Hoşça kal "Cheerio, Goodbye"