Learning Turkish in Turkey

Updated 2017-05-29 11:47

So you have decided to move to Turkey.  Congratulations! You are in for a wonderful adventure. Turkey will not let you down.  But now that you have made the decision to come - Turkish awaits!  You have googled "Turkish" and read words like agglutinating, and vowel harmony and SOV word order - and its all Greek to you!  So where do you begin.  In this brief article I would like to introduce you to a few of the resources that are available for Turkish language learners.  Most are free. Most are available on the internet.  All will be helpful.  I won't try and explain anything about Turkish or teach you any phrases.  I just want to point you to some of the resources I wish that I had heard of before I came to Turkey.  The links are embedded and are blue.

I prefer to use a dictionary by Redhouse which is available through most major book retailers and widely available in Turkey as it seems to be the dictionary of choice for Turks. For an online Dictionary, check out the Tureng dictionary. Google translate can also be a useful tool though please understand that it is translating word for word and often doesn't quite get the meanings.

Turkish Language Resources (print)
There are a lot of great resources for helping you get started with Turkish. One really great resource is a book called Teach Yourself Turkish by Pollard and Pollard. This is a great resource which you can work through by yourself to get a basic understanding of the language and an introduction to the culture. Couple this book with The Lonely Planet Turkish Phrasebook and you will have the tools to begin building a firm foundation in Turkish.

Grammar Books
Turkish Grammar by Geoffry Lewis
A Basic Course in Modern Turkish by Peter Pikkert

Turkish Language Resources (web)
The internet has made a vast quantity of quality resources available in Turkish that even five years ago were not available. Many are free. Here is a basic run down of those that will be the most helpful to beginners.

Manisa Turkish: A great site filled with information about Turkish and Turkey.

Totally Turkish: Another great site with extensive help with Turkish Grammar.

Turkish Listening Resources
A great way to prepare for learning Turkish is to begin to listen to the language everyday. This will allow your ear to begin to become accustomed to the sounds and rhythms of the language as well as allow you to begin to familiarize yourself with the common words and phrases of the language. These are a few sites you will enjoy.

TT cocuk: This site includes nineteen children's books that you can both listen to and follow along. They are also all both in English and in Turkish so you can listen to them in English first and then listen to them a few times in Turkish.

Turkish Tutor: This is a great site that uses a longstanding Turkish television show as its source of content and introduces basic greetings, leave takings and other social expressions.

This is a basic introduction to a few of the great resources that I have found and used as I have learned Turkish. Outside of the books, all of these resources are free and available on the internet. I hope you will find them a useful starting point for your Turkish language learning journey. Turkish is a wonderful language and I know that with a little hard work, you can learn it. Language educator Greg Thompson once said, "Outside of the obvious difficulties of learning another language, there are two main challenges in learning any language. The first is to get started. The second is to not quit." So I encourage you to get started with Turkish today. If you have any questions, feel free to visit my Turkish resource, The Turkish Listening Library and leave a comment. And as we say in Turkey, Kolay Gelsin!

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