Learning Turkish: Can You Learn in One Month?

By OptiLingo

Turkish may seem daunting to some at first. Unfortunately, it has a reputation for being a difficult language to learn from English. The largest difficulty is overcoming the linguistic gap. Turkish is not at all related to English. This means when you learn Turkish you will have to learn lots of new vocabulary and grammar. If you ever thought about the best way on how to learn Turkish in one month, well, it’s not easy. Fluency is not possible. It is possible to learn Turkish quickly. You will be able to achieve a conversational level.

Turkish belongs to the Turkic language family which spreads itself across Central Asia and Eastern Europe. It is also an agglutinative language, which explains the importance of suffixes in Turkish. Turkish is so logical that you will be able to quickly understand how these suffixes are used. Once you learn Turkish, it will be easy to learn other Turkic languages like Kazakh, Uzbek, or Uighur. Some of these languages are even mutually intelligible.

You can find commonalities with some European languages. The Ottoman Empire stretched far for so long. If you have some knowledge of Hungarian or Arabic, you may find some similarities. For example, the absence of prepositions in favor of postpositions.

The vocabulary may be easier than you thought. Turkish uses a lot of loan words from other languages. And with the popularity of American popular culture and technology, you can find familiar English terms in Turkish. Turkish has a large number of loan words from French. It is said there are over 5,000 words from French. This is second only to Arabic, which has 6,500. For many loan words there is a direct Turkish translation, however, the use depends on region and the speaker.

Turkish is incredibly easy to read. You’ll find the phonetic script to be advantageous. Since it’s written phonetically, each letter corresponds with one sound and is pronounced separately. There are 35 letters in the Turkish alphabet. There are no double consonants in Turkish. There are a few irregularities. They are:

  •  Vowels with an umlaut work as they do in German.
  •  Ş is ‘sh’.
  •  Ç is an English ‘ch’.
  •  C is an English ‘j’.

Great! Now you can read Turkish like a local. Well… Sort of. You will be able to read the language, but there are some differences in pronunciation that you’ll hear in speech. The ‘e’ sounds will sound more like an ‘a’.

It also utilizes Latin script. This change only happened in the past century. Prior to that, Arabic script was used.

 

Grammar

Turkish grammar is logical and comes with few irregularities. Conjugation is consistent, and verb tenses aren’t as varied as in a language like Spanish. The language requires no gender either. There are also no articles. No words that are considered irregular plurals. However, an issue that English speakers face is the use of accusatives.

The accusative case marks the direct object when using a transitive verb. For example, they vs them. They is the nominative while them is accusative. Hopefully, this clears up some confusion.

 

Suffixes

The structure of Turkish uses a set of standardized suffixes. These suffixes are used to change nouns into adjectives or verbs or to describe a person’s profession. Once you familiarize yourself with these, it’ll be easier to break down sentences and words. Turkish also uses a possessive suffix in word combinations. The language also utilizes vowel harmony in its suffixes.

This is something new for English speakers and may be something you find difficult at first. Don’t worry, just keep practicing. Locals are very helpful and will still understand you even if you make a few mistakes.

Turkish has no ‘to be’ or ‘to have’. All this requires for you to do is some rephrasing. Instead of saying “I have a car”, you will say “my car exists”. This occurs in other languages as well. Word order in Turkish is also different.

Verbs, unlike in English, will come at the end of sentences. For example, the phrase, “where are you from?” Translates to “nerelisin”. When you break it down it becomes quite simple. Ne-re-li-sin.

  •  Ne = What
  •  Re = Suffix for place
  •  Nere = Where
  •  Li = from
  •  Sin = you

 

Recommended Resources

A recommended textbook to use for learning Turkish quickly is Colloquial Turkish: The Complete Course for Beginners. It provides you with the most useful vocabulary to reach a conversational point as quickly as possible.

You can also check out Turkishclass101 and Turkish Tea Time. Both are excellent audio style lessons that come in a podcast format. They’re recommended for beginners and intermediate speakers.

Also, check out the following free sites. Manisa Turkish, Turkish language Class, and Turkish Basics all do a nice job of breaking the language down. Unfortunately, these are only in text form. I recommend using these sites as supplemental material or a reference guide.

It’s also great to practice with a native speaker. If you have any Turkish friends, great! Practice with them. If you live in an area with few Turkish speakers, don’t worry. There are plenty of opportunities online to speak with a local. You can find professional teachers or just Turkish people that are interested in speaking to a foreigner.

A great dictionary to use is the Sesli Sozluk Dictionary. You can find it online here. It is considered the best around.

Additionally, if you’re pressed for time and have an upcoming trip to Turkey that’s coming fast. Check out this Conversation Countdown which is proven to give you the skills necessary for a conversation in only one week!

Turkish is a beautiful language with a rich history. The Ottoman Empire was once a global superpower, and the remnants of this prestige can be seen in Turkish culture. Turkish people are very warm and will definitely step in to help once they see you trying to learn their language. Turkey is also filled with amazing food options. You can’t go wrong! Hopefully, you’ve been inspired to learn and immerse yourself in this incredible language. If you’re looking on how to learn Turkish in one month, I hope I haven’t dismayed you. It’s an immersive process. Using the resources above, you can definitely reach a strong conversational level within a month. Learning Turkish is no chore, but a pleasure.