Charles Wells publia cette grammaire turque, "A practical grammar of the turkish language (as spoken and written), with exercises…" en 1880 chez le grand éditeur anglais Bernard Quaritch. A la description de la langue, l'auteur ajoute des citations d'auteurs turcs et, fait plus rare, de nombreux exercices. 

A practical grammar of the turkish language (as spoken and written), with exercises for translation into turkish, quotations from authors illustrating turkish syntax and composition, and such rules of the arabic and persian grammars as have been adopted by the Osmanlis, the pronunciation being given in english letters throughout… London, Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly, 1880, in-8, 271 pages, 1 page d'errata


Le mot "pratique" ne s'entend pas dans le sens habituel qui implique simplification et rapidité, il se refère aux exercices.

Cette grammaire est dédiée au général Arnold Kemball (1820-1908, participa aux guerres en Afghanistan, en Perse, dans la guerre entre la Serbie et l'empire ottoman...). Elle fut bien accueillie par la critique anglaise et l'éditeur Quaritch reproduisit les articles dithyrambiques de la presse dans l'anthologie de Charles Wells intitulée "The Literature of the Turks" parue en 1891.  Nous n'en avons trouvé aucune mention dans le Journal asiatique (Paris) qui publia un compte-rendu négatif de "The Literature of the Turks" quelques années plus tard.

Les exercices mis en avant par Charles Wells dans son introduction sont peu variés et consistent surtout en phrases à traduire de l'Anglais en Turc avec quelques indications de vocabulaire. Par contre, en particulier à partir de la page 173, la grammaire est accompagnée de longs exemples, disposés en 3 colonnes : une pour le texte turc en caractères arabes, une autre pour la transcription en caractère latins et une pour la traduction.

Nous  reproduisons ci-dessous, l'introduction en Anglais (avec un essai de traduction en Français), le sommaire et un court extrait de la grammaire.

Introduction, pages VII-IX

Charles Wells explique ici sa méthode, ses innovations : grammaire avec des exercices, citations choisies chez des auteurs turcs... Il donne également des recommandations au gouvernement britannique pour l'enseignement du Turc et le recrutement de futurs fonctionnaires envoyés en Turquie.

Texte en Anglais

WITHOUT wishing in the least to detract from the labours of my predecessors, I think I may say, without any fear of contradiction on the part of those who are really acquainted with the subject, that all Turkish Grammars which have hitherto appeared in English were extremely defective and only adapted to give the most rudimentary knowledge of colloquial Turkish. A great number of Arabic and Persian rules of grammar, which have been adopted by all educated Osmanlis, and are indispensable for writing, and even conversing correctly on abstract subjects, were entirely omitted. Moreover, these works were generally crowded with errors, some, it is true, only clerical, but even such mistakes, not to speak of fundamental ones, are very injurious and embarrassing to the student On the other hand, thoroughly correct native works, published of late years in Turkey, such as the [caractères arabes] and others, are either inaccessible or too difficult to be of any use to anyone not already possessing a very considerable knowledge of the language.

I have endeavoured to steer between these two extremes. Having adopted the simplest and plainest style possible in treating so difficult a subject, I flatter myself I am justified in calling the Grammar which I now lay before the English public a practical one ; and, having omitted nothing of any value which has been laid down by Turkish grammarians or which is necessary for reading and writing Turkish correctly, I venture to hope that it will also be found complete.

No Turkish grammar in any European language contains exercises, — great defect. It is not sufficient for the student to read or learn rules. He must practise them, or else they will quickly fade from the memory. The benefit derived from writing exercises is now so universally admitted that all grammars for learning European languages give them, and they are the best preparation for writing and speaking. This want I have endeavoured to supply, and I am convinced that the acquisition of the Turkish language will thereby be greatly facilitated.

Another new feature I have introduced into this volume is the illustration of the rules of Turkish syntax and composition by passages from native authors. Writers on Turkish grammar have hitherto contented themselves with giving one or two short sentences (generally of their own) as examples of the rules of syntax. Quotations from Turkish books are far more interesting and authoritative ; and, as they will serve the double purpose of elucidating the rules and introducing the learner to reading Turkish, I have made them long and numerous.

It is almost superfluous for me to enlarge on the vital importance of all Englishmen who proceed to the East in connection with the reforms in the Ottoman Empire which England has urged on the Porte, being acquainted with Turkish. It is self-evident, as without a proper knowledge of the language of the country their services will be of little or no avail. Ignorance of the vernacular on the part of European officials has been a fruitful source of troubles and misunderstandings in the East ; and this evil will never cease until encouragement is given to those who devote themselves to this most arduous study. Appointments in Turkey should be given to those only who have given proof of their ability to acquire Oriental languages. No one should be sent out, even as a student-interpreter, before he has shown that he has an aptitude for learning Turkish. His possessing a generally good education is no criterion of his being able to master Turkish), which is probably the most difficult language in the world except Chinese; but, if Government appointments, and, especially, student-interpreterships, were given only to those who could pass an examination in elementary Turkish, at least, the number of persons who learn the language would be immensely increased, and the probability of the Government obtaining really proficient employis would be far greater than at present. Rewarding those who have already acquired Turkish would be a far safer and more economical plan to promote the growth of Oriental scholars than paying young men to go to Turkey in the hope that they may possibly acquire the language. 

Were those who were proficient in Turkish sure of encouragement, there would be no lack of Turkish scholars. Such persons having hitherto been neglected may be one cause, and, perhaps, the chief cause, of the extreme scarcity of Englishmen who have mastered Turkish. There was a professorship of English at one of the Turkish Government colleges some years ago, and hundreds of Turkish officers studied English under me there, and those who acquired English were sure of encouragement from their government ; but, although England is as much interested in the matter as the Turks, there is no professorship of Turkish in England, and, of course, consequently the number of persons who have attempted to learn Turkish is excessively small. In this the Turks might very well suggest a little reform on our part.

Introduction, essai de traduction/adaptation

Sans vouloir le moins du monde dénigrer les travaux de mes prédécesseurs, je pense pouvoir dire, sans craindre aucune contradiction de la part de ceux qui connaissent vraiment le sujet, que toutes les grammaires turques qui ont paru jusqu'à maintenant en anglais étaient extrêmement défectueuses et uniquement adaptées à la connaissance la plus rudimentaire du turc parlé. Un grand nombre de règles de grammaire arabe et persane, adoptées par tous les Ottomans éduqués, et indispensables à l'écriture, et même à la conversation correcte sur des sujets abstraits, étaient entièrement omises. En outre, ces travaux étaient généralement encombrés d’erreurs, certaines, il est vrai, uniquement cléricales [?], mais même de telles erreurs, pour ne pas dire fondamentales, sont très préjudiciables et gênantes pour l’étudiant. D’autre part, des œuvres nationales parfaitement correctes, publiées ces dernières années en Turquie, tels que les [caractères arabes] et autres, sont soit inaccessibles, soit trop difficiles pour être utiles à quiconque ne possède pas déjà une connaissance très considérable de la langue.

Je me suis efforcé de naviguer entre ces deux extrêmes. Ayant adopté le style le plus simple et le plus clair possible pour traiter un sujet aussi difficile, je me flatte de pouvoir qualifier de pratique cette grammaire  que je présente maintenant au public anglais; et, n'ayant rien omis de quelque valeur établie par les grammairiens turcs ou nécessaire pour lire et écrire correctement le turc, j’espère que l'on la considérera comme complète.

Aucune grammaire turque dans aucune langue européenne ne contient d’exercices, ce qui est un grand défaut. Il ne suffit pas que l’élève lise ou apprenne des règles. Il doit les pratiquer, sinon elles s'effaceront rapidement de sa mémoire. L’avantage que l'on tire des exercices écrits est à présent si universellement reconnu que toutes les grammaires pour l’apprentissage des langues européennes les utilisent et ils constituent la meilleure préparation à l’écriture et à la conversation. C'est ce désir que je me suis efforcé de satisfaire, et je suis convaincu que l'acquisition de la langue turque en sera grandement facilitée .

Une autre nouveauté que j'ai introduite dans ce volume est l'illustration des règles de la syntaxe et de la composition turques par des passages d'auteurs nationaux. Les auteurs de grammaires turques se sont jusqu'ici contentés de donner une ou deux phrases courtes (généralement les leurs) comme exemples de règles de syntaxe. Les citations tirées de livres turcs sont bien plus intéressantes et font autorité ; et, comme ils serviront le double objectif d'élucider les règles et d'initier l'apprenant à la lecture du turc, je les ai choisies longues et nombreuses.

Il est presque superflu pour moi de souligner l’importance vitale de la connaissance du Turc pour tous les Anglais qui se rendent en Orient dans le cadre des réformes de l’empire ottoman que l’Angleterre a recommandées à la Porte. Il est évident que sans une bonne connaissance de la langue du pays, leurs services seront peu ou pas utiles. L'ignorance de la langue vernaculaire de la part des fonctionnaires européens a été une source de troubles et de malentendus en Orient ; et ce mal ne cessera jamais jusqu'à ce qu'on encourage ceux qui se consacrent à cette étude très ardue. Les missions en Turquie ne devraient être accordées qu'aux personnes qui ont prouvé leur capacité à acquérir des langues orientales. Personne ne devrait être envoyé, même en tant qu'étudiant-interprète, avant qu'il ait démontré qu'il était apte à apprendre le Turc. Sa formation généralement bonne n’est pas un critère de sa maîtrise du Turc, qui est probablement la langue la plus difficile du monde à l’exception du chinois; mais, si les nominations du gouvernement, et en particulier les interprètes-étudiants, n'étaient accordées qu'à ceux qui pouvaient passer un examen en Turc élémentaire, à la fin le nombre de personnes qui apprendraient cette langue augmenterait immensément et la probabilité que le gouvernement recrute des employés vraiment compétents serait bien plus importante qu'actuellement. Récompenser ceux qui ont déjà acquis le Turc constituerait un plan beaucoup plus sûr et plus économique pour promouvoir la croissance du nombre de spécialistes de l'Orient plutôt que de payer des jeunes gens pour aller en Turquie dans l'espoir qu'ils pourraient éventuellement apprendre la langue. 

Si ceux qui maîtrisaient le turc étaient encouragés, les étudiants en turc ne manqueraient pas. 

Le fait de d'avoir négligé jusque-là ces personnes peut être une des causes, et peut-être la principale cause de l'extrême rareté des Anglais qui maîtrisent le Turc. Il y a quelques années, dans l'un des collèges du gouvernement turc, on enseignait l'anglais et des centaines d'officiers turcs ont étudié cette langue sous ma direction. Ceux qui ont appris l'anglais étaient assurés d'être encouragés par leur gouvernement; mais, bien que l'Angleterre s'intéresse autant à la question qu'aux Turcs, il n'y a pas de professeur de Turc en Angleterre et, bien entendu, le nombre de personnes qui ont tenté d'apprendre le Turc est par conséquent excessivement réduit. En cela, les Turcs pourraient très bien suggérer une petite réforme de notre part.

Sommaire de Practical grammar of the turkish language

The Turkish Alphabet ... 2 
The Prononciation of Turkish in English Characters  ... 3
The Pronunciation of the Turkish Letters  ... 5
The Vowel Signs  ... 9 
The Pronunciation of the Arabic Article ... 10 
Of the Laws of Enphonj in Pronouncng Turkish ... 11 
The Gender of the Noun ... 12 
The Declension of the Noun (with Examples)  ... 18 
The Number of the Noun ... 16 
The Regular Arabic Plural ... 17 
The Irregular Arabic Plural ... 17 
The Peruan Mode of Fomung the Plural ... 17 
Exercice I ... 18 
The Use of Arabic Adjectives ... 19
The Comparative ... 19
The Superlative ... 20
Tbe Persian Comparative ... 20
Exercise II ... 21
Numeral Adjectives ... 22 
The Cardinal Numbers ... 22
Tbe Arabic Numbers ... 23
The Persian Numeral Adjectives ... 24
The Arabic Figures ... 24
The Turkish Cardinal Numbers  ... 25
The word "Four" deurt ... 25 
The Interrogative Ordinal Number hâchinji ... 26 
The Arabic Ordinal Numbers ... 26 
The Fractional Numbers ... 26 
The Difference between yarim, ... 27 
A Whole Number and a Fraction  ... 27
Distributive Numerals ... 27 
Exercise III ... 28 
Personal Pronouns 29 
hendi ... 30 
Demonstrative Pronouns ... 31 
Arabic Pronouns 31 
The InterrogatiTe Pronouns ... 32 
kim and hanghi as Nouns ... 38 
Nassl ... 38 
The Pronominal Affixes ... 33 
The Possessive Affixes ... 33 
The Euphonic Pronunciation of the Possesive Affixes
Declension of a Noun with a Pronominal Affix ... 34
The word sou ... 36
The Relative Pronominal Affix ki ... 36
Execise IV
The Relative Pronoun ... 38
The Turkish Infinitive .... 39 
The Dedenuon of the Infinitive Form ... 40 
The Causal Form of the Verb ... 41 
Reflective and Passive Verbs ... 43 
The Negative Potential Verbs ... 43 
Table of the Derivation of Turkish Verbs ... 44 
How to express "To be able" in Turkish ... 44 
The Moods of the Verb ... 45 
Conjugation of a Turkish Verb ... 46 
Remarks on the Formation of the Tenses and their Value ... 51 
The Number and Person of the Verb ... 56 
Exercise V ... 58 
The Participles ... 59 
Exercise VI  ... 63
The Gerunds  ... 63
Gerund-like Expressions ... 65 
Exercise VII ... 67
Verbal Noons ... 68
Exercise VIII ...  68 
The Dubitative Form of the Verb  ... 69 
Exercise IX  ... 69 
The Three Complex Forms of the Verb ... 70 
Conjugation of a Passive Verb ... 72 
Exercise X ... 76 
Conjugation of the Defective Verb ... 
Negative Form of the Defective Verb im  ... 78 
Exercise XI. ....... 79 
Conjugation of the Verb "To Have" ... 79 
Exercise XII ... 83 
Conjugation of a Negative Verb ... 88 
Exercise XIII ... 86 
The Interrogative Form of the Verb ... 86 
Conjugation of a Verb Interrogatively ... 87 
Exercise XIV 89 
Conjugation of "To be Able" ...  89 
Exercise XV ... 91 
Compound Verbs ... 91 
Model of the Conjugative of a 
Compound Verb Active ... 92 
Exercise XVI 95 
Conjugation of a Compound Neuter Verb ... 96
Exercise XVII ... 101
Conjugation of a Compound Passive Verb ... 101
Exercise XVIII ... 105
Adverbs of Manner ... 105 
The Particle jé... 106 
Adverbs of Number ... 107 
Adverbs of Place ... 107 
Adverbs of Time ... 108 
Adverbs of Order ... 109 
Adverbs of Interrogation ... 109 
Adverbs of Affirmation ... 109 
Negative Adverbs  ... 110 
Miscellaneous Adverbs ... 110 
Persian Words used as Turkish Adverbs ... 110 
Arabic Words used as Turkish Adverbs ... 110 
The Interrogative Particle ... 111 
Exercise XIX ... 111 
Postpositions joined to the Noun or Pronoun ...... 112
The Word sou  ... 112
the sign of the Accusative ... 112
the sign of the Dative ... 113
den or dan, "From" ... 114
siz, suz, "Without" ... 115
Postpositions not joined to the words they refer to ... 115 
The Invariable Postpositions ... 115 
ichin, "For", joined to ... 115
Nouns and Pronouns ... 115
The Variable Postpositions ... 115 
The Persian Prepositions ... 117
The Arabic Prepositions ... 118
Exercise XX ... 119 
Copulative Conjunctions ... 120
Pronunciation of j ...  121
Disjunctive Conjunctions ... 121
Contrasting Conjunctions ... 122
Conditional Conjunctions ... 122
Miscellaneous Conjunctions ... 122
Exercise XXI ... 124 
Exercise XXII ... 126 
(1) Turkish Nouns ... 126
The termination ... 127
Tbe termination ... 128
The termination ...  128
The termination ... 128
The termination  or  128
The termination  or 128
The termination ...128
Diminutive Nouns ... 129
The termination ... 129
Exercise XXIII ... 130
(2) Turkish Adjectives ... 130 
The termination ... 130
The termination ... 130 
The termination ... 131 
The termination or ... 131
The termmation ... 131
Exercise XXIV ... 131 
(3) Turkish Verbs ... 131 
The termination ... 131 
The termmation ... 132 
The termination  or ... 132 
Exercise XXV ... 133 
(1) The Persian Noun .... 133
(2) The Persian Adjective  ... 133 
(3) The Persian Participles ... 134 
Table of the Primitive Forms of an Arabic Root of Three Letters  ... 137
The Arabic Active and Passive Participles  ... 138 
(1) The Active Participle
(2) The Passive Participle
The Arabic Comparative and Superlative ... 140 
The Noun of Place ... 140 
The Noun of Instrument ... 142 
The Derivative Form of an Arabic Root of Three Letters ... 142 
Table of the Derivative Forms obtained from an Arabic Root 
of Three Letters ... 146 
The Active and Passive Participles of an Arabic Root of Four 
Letters ... 147 
Exercise XXVI ... 153
Persian Compound Words ... 154
Persian Participles 
(1) Words formed from a Noun and a Participle ... 156 
(2) Words formed of an Adjective and a Noun ... 156
(3) Words formed of Two Nous ... 157 
Words formed by the Use of Participles ... 158 
Arabic Expressions Used as Turkish Compound Words ... 162 
Exercise XXVII ... 164 
Exercise XXVIII ... 168 
The Noun  ... 169
The Construction of Nouns in Conjunction  ... 169
The Persian Mode of Connecting Noun with Noun  ... 171
The Use of Synonymous Words in Couples  ... 173
Modes of Address in Turkish ...  175
The Use of the Singular after Cardinal Numbers ... 175
Exercise XXIX  ... 176
The Adjective  ... 177
Adjectives of Turlush Origin ... 177 
The Persian Mode of Connecting Nouns and Adjectives ... 178
The Use of Arabic Adjectives ... 179
The Use of bir "A" with an Adjective ...  183
The Turkish Adjective ghibi ... 183
Adjectives requiring the Dative ...  184
Adjectives requiring the Ablative ... 186
Exercise XXX  ... 187
The Degrees of Comparison ... 187
The Comparative ... 187
The Superlative ... 189
Exercise XXXI ... 189
The Numerals ...  190
The Position of the Numerals ... 190
The Arabic Numerals ...  191
A Noun of Number with an Adjective ...  191
The word "Or" between Numerals  ... 192
The Use of ...  ... 193
Exercise XXXII. ..... 193
The Demonstrative Pronoun ... 194
The Pronominal Affixes ... 194
kendi "Own" ... 197
Exercise XXXIII ... 198
Personal Pronouns ... 198
The Omission of Prnouns ... 198 
The Employment of mezkiour, mezbour etc ... 200 
Avoidance of the Pronouns "I" and "My" ... 203 
The Use of the Second end Third Person Plural instead of the Second Person Singular ... 206 
Exercise XXXIV ... 209 
Relative Pronouns ...  210 
Exercise XXXV ... 218 
The Verb ... 218 
The Position of the Verb ... 213 
The Agreement of the Verb with the Nominative ... 215 
A Verb with Several Nominatives ... 216 
The Use of the Auziliaiy Verb ... 217 
The Omission of dir ... 218 
The Verb of Facility ... 218 
The Position of an Emphaazed Word ... 219 
The Conditional Mood ... 219 
The Optative 222 
The Optative Used for the Imperative ... 224 
The Optative Used for the Conditional ... 226 
gherek ... 226 
The Past and Present Optative when used ... 227 
The Optative Used Interrogatively ... 227 
The Use of déyou or déyé ... 228 
The Definite and Indefinite Object of the Verb ... 228 
The Use of the Past Tense for the Present ... 230 
Verbs which Govern the Dative ... 231 
Verbs which Govern the Ablative ... 234
Exercise XXXVI ... 236 
issé ... 237 
The Participles ... 237 
Arabic and Persian Participles ... 239 
Verbal Nouns and Infinitives ... 239 
Arabic Verbal Nouns .... 242 
Verbal Noons ending in "d..k" ... 242 
Infinitives Used as Nouns ... 243 
The Gerunds ... 245 
The Omission of the Auxiliary Verb ... 248 
Exercise XXXVII ... 248 
The Adverb ... 249 
Avoidance of " Yes " and " No " ... 250 
Exercise XXXVIII 250 
The Preposition ... 251 
The Conjunction ... 252 
ki ... 255 
yokhsa, "Or" ...  258 
Exercise XXXIX ... 258 
The Order of the Words b a Turkish Sentence ... 259 
Emphatic Words ... 261 
Exercise XL ... 262 
Turkish Proverbs 264 

Extrait partiel de Practical grammar of the turkish language

Page 245-246

Le texte est sur 3 colonnes avec le texte en Turc en caractères arabes, la transcription en caractères latins et la traduction en Anglais. Nous ne reproduisons que la transcription et la traduction.

630. Gerunds are very little used in conversation, but in written Turkish, on the contrary, they are continually employed. Short sentences consisting of only a few words and but one verb, are adopted in speaking; but, long sentences formed of a large number of subordinate ones, strung together by the gerunds, are preferred by the Turks when writing. An attempt was made a few years ago to introduce short sentences after the European model, but this style has never yet taken firm root. It is to be hoped it will eventually, as it is far more clear and practical than the regular old-fashioned long-winded obscure sentences. We subjoin some specimens of the use of these gerunds in the narrative and epistolary style, in which it is particularly affected. Example : —

Bir ghiun hujrésinden chïkïp shehirin etrafini séir edér ken bir baghché kénariné ghelip ichérisiné nazar edinji ghieurdu ki bou baghchiénin ortasindé bir hawouz vé kénarindé bir serin tukht kourouloup uzerindé sahibé el jemal vé bir dukhter mehk khisal otourour ki behjet vé latafetdé nâziri ghieurulmamish
Bicharé Abul'Mejd bou dilbir mah-i-jemali ghieurdikdé kim dir déyou sual éilédekdié shehirimizin padishahinin kïzï dir dédiler Abdul-Mejid akii bâshindan ghidip ol dem deroun-i-dilden ashïk oldou
Eumrum oldoukcha anin hussn-u-jemalini suwéyléssém bindé birini suwéylémek mumkin déil dir
Hind padishahlerinden bir padishahin oghlou etraf-i-memléketi ghézip séir-i-vilayet etmeghlé niché gharaïb vé ajaibé wâkïf olourken bir ghiun yolou bir poutkhanéyé oghradi...
Ei hemshiré bana bir yeri musafereté ghitmek iktiza éilédi. Shou sandïklarin ichindé olân benim zi kéimet eshyamdir. Kendi khanémdé koyoup ghitméyé khavf etdim. Ben ghelinjiyé dek bounlar senin yanindé emanet doursoun
Dér hal yiné firtina sakin oloup mulayim rousghiar essip ol séfiniyé bir shehirin kénariné gheuturdu
 One day he left his cell, and while walking around the day he came to the edge of a garden, and, on his looking in, he saw in the centre of it a pond, and on the edge of it a golden throne erected and on it a beautiful and angelic girl, whose equal in beauty and agreeableness had not been seen
On poor Abul Mejd seeing this moon of beauty, and asking who she was, they said : "She is the daughter of the king of our city." Abul Mejd's went out of his head, and that instant he fell in love from the interior (bottom) of his heart.
If I talk about the beauty and loveliness as long as I live, it is impossible to tell one-thousandth part of it
The son of one of the kings of India travelled round the country and (while) becoming acquainted with all kinds of wonderful and strange things, his road one day passed by a temple...
Oh ! sister, it is requisite for me to travel somewhere. What is in those boxes is valuable things of mine. I am frightened to put them in my own house and go. Let them remain in trust with thee until I come
At once the storm again subsiding, and a gentle wind blew and brought that ship near a city
* I sacrifice the English style in order to keep to the Turkish and make it comprehensible to the learner.
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