The Cyrillic orthography was based on its Russian counterpart. The latest orthography is based on a Roman script. The following shows the two alphabets, and then the International Phonetic Alphabet symbols used to represent the sounds produced.


Latin Cyrillic IPA Notes
A a А а ɑ As in “catch” (approximately)
B b Б б b, β Becomes a fricative (softens) mid word or phrase
Ç ç Ч ч  t͡ʃ “ch” in English as in chart or chin
D d Д д d
E e Э э, Е е ɛ As in “egg”. See below for Cyrillic E, e
Ä ä Ә ә As in “air” but with hump of tongue further forward
F f Ф ф f
G g Г г g, ɣ Fricative mid-utterance. Front or back velar depending on vowels.
H h Х х x, h Usually a central fricative as in “loch“. Uvular – see “g”
I i И и i As in “feet”
J j Җ җ d͡ʒ “j” in “joke”
Ž ž Ж ж ʒ Used mostly in loan-words e.g. the Arabic sežd. Pronounced as in “vision”.
K k К к Front or back velar depending on surrounding vowels. See “p” for k vs. kʰ.
L l Л л lʲ, lˠ Palatised with front vowels, velarised with back ones.
M m М м m
N n Н н n
Ň ň Ң ң ŋ “ng” as in “sing
O o О о ɔ As in “off”
Ö ö Ө ө œ As in the French oeuf
P p П п pʰ, p At the beginning of a word it is “breathy”, mid-word not.
R r Р р ɾ, r When there are two “r”s the flap becomes a trill e.g. garry
S s С с, Ц ц θ, s Main tribes, Türkmenabat versions respectively
Ş ş Ш ш ʃ “sh” (assimilates to front and back vowels)
T t Т т tʰ, t
U u У у u As in “rule”
Ü ü Ү ү y As in German “über”
W w В в w
Y y Ы ы ɯ Further back than the Russian 61, but closer (tongue to palate)
Ý ý Й й j The first sound in “yacht”
Z z З з ð, d Main tribes, Türkmenabat versions respectively
(Ýe, ýe) Е е je, ɛ Can also be [E, e] in Latin – when not word initial or following ъ. Part of
(Ýo, ýo) Ё ё Cyrillic but not Latin alphabet, these characters are
(Ýu, ýu) Ю ю ju mostly represented by two letters in the Latin alphabet, and are
(Ýa, ýa) Я я pronounced differently from the same characters in Russian.
(Ş ş) Щ щ ʃː Pronounced (in Russian) like a long, soft ш. Hardly ever [ʃtʃ] any more.
ь ʲ Soft sign (palatalises previous consonant) e.g. -тъ is pronounced [tʲ]
ъ Hard sign (treat next vowel separately) e.g. весъет [wesjet]

See: ‘A Grammar of the Turkmen Language’ for a pdf version of this chart, including IPA equivalents.

Vowel Harmony chart:

Position Front Back
Rounding UR R UR R UR = Unrounded, R = Rounded
Close i, i: ü, ü: y, (y:) u, (u:)
Open-mid or Open e, ä: ö, (ö:) a, (a:) o, (o:)