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Cross-published on Fair Languages.
Language learning apps might soon have another language to cover: Ottoman. Turkey’s president Tayyip Erdogan declared on Monday at a press conference that the Ottoman language should be taught in schools to prevent younger generations from losing touch with their cultural heritage, reports Reuters.
Politicians in the opposition as well as teachers and academics see this as an attack on the secularist principles of the Turkish republic and accuse Erdogan and Turkey’s religious council of trying to reshape the school system along religious lines.
Ottoman is an old form of Turkish which uses a version of the Arabic script and was replaced by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923 with the current version of Turkish which uses the Latin alphabet.
According to Reuters Erdogan told Turkey’s religious council in a recent meeting that
“There are people who do not wish Ottoman to be taught and learned. Regardless of whether they want it or not, Ottoman will be taught and learnt in this country.”
Political and ideological conflicts aside, if this push by the Turkish president becomes reality there is quite some ground to cover for startups and established companies in the language learning space. Besides the material needed in schools there will be demand for apps and other products teaching Ottoman to children and adults similar to what we see happen in other languages.
Picture via Presidency of the Republic of Turkey