Ottoman Turkish: Term of endearment for a little boy


Senior Member
English (US)

So I am well aware that the Turkish language has changed a great deal in the past 100 years (and acquired an entirely new alphabet) and that this may be a futile question to ask here. However, I am wondering if anyone happens to know some terms of endearment that might have been used for a little boy back during the Ottoman era, sometime around 1900. (Background: This is for a novel, and the characters are from a wealthy İstanbullu family.) A few specific questions:

  1. In this era, would an older brother still address his little brother as kardeş? (Older brother is 12, little brother is 4.)
  2. How might the parents address their sons?
  3. How might a servant (a maid in charge of taking care of the boys, for example) address the 4-year-old?

Any help or insight is much appreciated. :) Teşekkür ederiz!
  • tekgozlusoytari

    1- Yep, probably "kardeş, kardeşim". I dont know anything else.
    2 - "oğlum", "evladım" (also for girls),

    "mahdum" benim mahdumum. (benim oğlum) (this used for other people, for example a man give a knockdown to his son to people "mahdumum hasan")
    3- I guess "küçük bey"


    Senior Member
    English (US)
    Teşekkür ederiz! A couple follow-up questions, if you have the time:

    tekgozlusoytari---Do you think a servant would always address the little boy as "küçük bey"? Or would s/he ever address him by his name? Or would s/he address him by his name with a title attached to it? (For instance: in an upper-class English household during this era, a little boy would be referred to---and addressed---as "Master [name]" or "Young Master [Name]". Thus, a little boy named George might be called "Young Master George".)

    dilandlanguage---I just want to be sure I understand what you're saying: are you suggesting "birader" as a synonym for "kardeş"? Or are you saying that a speaker of Osmanlıca would say "birader" instead of "kardeş"?

    Thank you again for the help! :)
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