Despite the natural knack for languages that everyone claims I have, learning Turkish has been quite a challenge for me. Getting married to a Turk is what compelled me to start learning this language in the first place. “What better way to learn a language than being married to a person who speaks it?” I thought to myself. “Piece of cake! I will be conversational in no time!” The fact that Turkish belongs to a Turkic family of languages and has nothing to do with Spanish, French, English, Russian, or Japanese did not scare me but, quite the opposite, ignited my desire to learn this language precisely because it was nothing like any of the languages with which I was familiar. Being an academic learner that I am, I ordered several books on learning Turkish which were recommended to me by a Turkish teacher. I learned from books, I learned from listening to my husband talk to his friends, picking out random words and asking what they meant, and, boy, did I learn while I was in Turkey for five weeks! During those five weeks in Turkey I would amuse my husband’s family by showing off the few phrases and sentences I learned, in response to which people commented that I was çok zeki (chok zeki - very smart (yeah, right!)). After the supply of my memorized Turkish would run out, I would be surrounded by incessant chattering of aunts, cousins, distant relatives, and friends; the meaning of that chatter was not comprehensible to my ear, and it made me feel so alone in a roomful of people... It also made me determined that I WILL learn this language in order not to feel that way again. Undoubtedly, being in Turkey was the most tremendous opportunity to learn and LIVE the Turkish language and culture, and I am looking forward to another such adventure which I resolve to begin better equipped!
Here are the resources that I have been using to help me befriend the Turkish language:
Books for learning Turkish.
Gökkuşağı Türkçe is a very colorful series oriented for school children but which can also be used for adults. There is a Dil Bilgisi (grammar book), Ders Kitabi (student book), Çalişma Kitabɪ (workbook), and audio CD to accompany each level. The books are entirely in Turkish so you will need a teacher or a Turkish-speaking friend to guide you. There is also a vocabulary CD-ROM which makes learning new vocabulary such as things around the house, food, etc. fun and easy. You can order this series fromWWW.ANTSTORES.COM and they have a variety of other books for Turkish language learners.
Teach Yourself Turkish with CDs is another book that I would recommend for those who must learn with a book. Thematic dialogues in the beginning of each chapter are also recorded on the audio CD, and easy grammar explanations are followed by exercises to practice. HTTP://WWW.AMAZON.COM/TEACH-YOURSELF-BEGINNERS-TURKISH-LANGUAGES/DP/0340845376
Busuu is an online community of language learners, so you can make new friends who are native speakers of Turkish and with whom you can practice and learn. In addition to the social aspect of this website, Busuu is a wonderful resource for an audio-visual learner because it has a series of lessons, many of which are free. Lessons are organized according to topic, for example, emotions, talking on the phone, family, and level. Each unit is set up as a series of flashcards which display an image, a written phrase, word, or sentence, and the audio component which allows you to listen to it as many times as you wish. In addition to flashcards that teach you vocabulary and pronunciation, each unit also contains practice exercises and tests which rate how well you’ve learned the material. Many introductory lessons are free, and as you get to a higher level, you pay a small fee for each lesson. It is a cool app to use on your phone when you have a few extra minutes to spare and you don’t want to just kill time.
In many cases they will make you cry your eyes out, but it’s totally worth it. My favorite ones are:
Eyvah Eyvah 2: HTTP://WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/WATCH?V=0JL7RV7N-CW
Incir Reçeli (Fig Jam): HTTP://WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/WATCH?V=U6ECLBCIDIE
Aşk Tesadüfleri Sever (Love Loves Coincidences): HTTP://WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/CHICAGOTURKISHFILM/7612787854/
Mutluluk (Bliss): HTTP://WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/WATCH?V=N92UFTQUOZ4
Listening to Turkish radio in the car is entertaining and educational! I love Kral Pop, which translates as King of Pop. You can listen to it by downloading a Tunein radio app on your phone or online: HTTP://TUNEIN.COM/RADIO/KRAL-POP-947-S25210/
Good luck on your quest of conquering Turkish, or at least making it your friend!