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A Brief Overview of Turkish Culture and Traditions

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Turkey is a country straight from the depths of history, with empires dating back 4000 years. The course of time and events has introduced Turkey to a range of peoples and cultures, lending this great country a rich culture full of unique traditions and customs.

In this lesson, you’re going to learn all about Turkish culture and traditions. We promise this will be a very colorful, out-of-the-ordinary experience for you!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Core Values
  2. Ethnicity and Religion
  3. Traditions in the Flow of Life
  4. Social and Business Life
  5. Handcrafts and Art
  6. Traditional Turkish Holidays
  7. Other Cultural Highlights
  8. Final Thoughts

1. Core Values

I believe every culture promotes core values such as honesty, justice, fairness, equality, and so on. However, most of these values are dependent upon the conscience, one’s inner person—there will always be people who stick to these values and those who don’t. Of course, these are only exceptions to the rule.

In addition to these common core values, there are others that may be unique within a country or central to its identity.

For example, elderly people have a special place in Turkish people’s lives and are treated with great respect. The concept of family is considered sacred and neighborliness is very important. Relations with neighbors are so close and sincere that it’s very common for a neighbor to knock on another’s door and ask if they have a cup of sugar or flour to give him or her. 

In Turkish culture, hospitality is another distinguished value. Especially in rural areas, the host or hostess will share their last slice of bread with a stranger. They love offering food and drinks to friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and even strangers. They also love to help people in need, whether individually or as a nation. When a disaster happens somewhere, people start donating money, sending equipment, and so on, without hesitation.

Most Turkish women are obsessed with the cleanliness of their houses. They have to be clean all the time. If you ever visit a Turkish home, don’t forget to take your shoes off. Most families will expect you to do so!

There is a strong sense of patriotism in the country. This shouldn’t be a surprise, since we have a great role model: Atatürk, one of the best leaders of all time. Turks always try to be loyal to their historical heritage.

The Turkish flag and the national anthem are highly respected. The flag is never put on the floor or the ground and whenever the national anthem is sung somewhere, people passing by will stop, stand by attention, sing along, and continue on their way when it’s over.

The Turkish Flag

2. Ethnicity and Religion

Turkish culture and customs are largely influenced by the country’s ethnic diversity, as well as the strong religious nature of the Turkish people. Take a look.

A- Ethnicity

Considering that Turkish history goes back thousands of years—and that the Ottoman Empire, which controlled Southeastern Europe, some parts of Eastern Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa, played a role in recent history—it’s not surprising that Turkey is home to many ethnicities. 75% of its population consists of Turks, 18% consists of Kurds, and the remaining 17% consists of other ethnic groups, which include:

  • Afghans
  • Albanians
  • Arabs
  • Armenians
  • Australians
  • Azerbaijanis
  • Bosniaks
  • Bulgarians
  • Circassians
  • Crimean Tatars
  • Dutch
  • Georgians
  • Germans
  • Greeks
  • Iranians
  • Kazakhs
  • Kyrgyz
  • Levantines
  • Russians
  • Serbs
  • Turkmens
  • Uzbeks 

There have been many marriages between Turks and these ethnic groups. Therefore, some aspects of these different cultures have become intertwined with the fibers of traditional Turkish culture.

B- Religion

99% of the country is Muslim. Christianity, Judaism, Yezidism, and others make up the remaining 1%.

The diversity of ethnic groups and religions play an important role in our culture. This cultural diversity in Turkey has led Turkish people to have more respect for other cultures, traditions, religions, and ideas.

    → Does this topic interest you? Then head over to our Religion vocabulary list to learn the names of different religions in Turkish!

3. Traditions in the Flow of Life

There are several Turkish traditions regarding major life events. Let’s take a look at how the Turkish treat such events as marriage, birth, and death.

A- Marriage

In the past, marriage was considered sacred and arranged marriages were popular. However, due to the increasing number of divorces, this sacred view of marriage is questionable these days. As for arranged marriages, they may still be popular in smaller cities or rural areas but not so much in big cities.

There are formalities to go through before one can get married.

First of all, the groom and his family have to visit the bride’s family to receive permission for the marriage. They bring flowers and a box or bowl of chocolate, and the bride makes them Turkish coffee. Then, the groom’s father or an elderly male from the family asks the bride’s father if he would approve the marriage. 

The answer is “Yes” most of the time, unless it’s an arranged marriage. In that case, the answer may be “We will think about it,” because in an arranged marriage, the bride’s family may not know the groom and his family. Because the proposal might have been somebody’s recommendation or referral, the father might need time to check on the groom before deciding whether to approve the marriage or not.

If the answer is “Yes,” then it’s considered a “promise” and “promise rings” are put on the fingers of the couple by somebody from the bride’s family. This is followed by an engagement ceremony at a later date.

The trousseau concept is also popular in Turkish culture. The trousseau is usually exhibited to the guests for a few days in the bride’s home and then about a week prior to the wedding, it’s taken from there to the groom’s house.

Bridal Bath

There is an ancient tradition called “bridal bath” (gelin hamamı), which is not that common these days, though it may still be performed in some parts of Turkey. According to this tradition, the bride and her female relatives and friends go to a Turkish bath (Türk hamamı). The bride sits in a higher position while her maidens walk in a circle around her carrying candles. They sing and spend the day there.

Henna Night

This is usually held the night before the wedding. It’s kind of like a bachelorette party, also celebrated by the bride and her female relatives and friends. It’s usually held at the bride’s parents’ house, though some people prefer to rent a place if they plan to invite quite a number of people. 

You may be wondering what it has to do with “henna.” Well, henna is applied to the bride’s hands and guests who are eager to have it will also put henna on their palms.

Wedding

In Turkish culture, wedding traditions vary based on region. Here, I’ll only talk about the most common ones. 

On the wedding day, the car for the soon-to-be newlyweds is decorated. The groom, along with his family, goes to the bride’s house to pick her up. This event is usually accompanied by a few instrumentalists playing the drum and the zurna. 

The solemnization of the marriage can be performed at one of the municipality’s wedding halls with guests. After that, there can be a dinner party or an after-dinner party someplace else. Or, both the solemnization and party can be at a venue other than a wedding hall. 

After the couple is announced as husband and wife, there is a gift-giving ceremony. Guests give gold coins, gold bracelets, and other types of jewelry as a gift to the couple.

B- Birth

As in other cultures, Turkish culture perceives birth as an event for joyous celebration. After the baby is born, people come to see the baby and bring presents or gold coins that have a blue or pink bow attached to them. Close family members also bring presents and gold bracelets for the mother.

C- Death

If the deceased person is Muslim, the first farewell will take place in a mosque. Then, people go to the cemetery for the burial. Those who go to the cemetery are invited to the house of the person who died and are offered lunch or dinner depending on the time of day. Neighbors, family members, and acquaintances bring food to the family who suffered the loss.

4. Social and Business Life

What does the average day look like in Turkish society? Here’s some practical information on what to expect from day-to-day social interactions and work life in Turkey.

A- Social Life

Turkish people are social and they love doing things together. Because the Turkish enjoy sharing life’s experiences with others, you’ll often find large groups of people out hiking, dining, or engaging in any number of activities. This is especially true in the summertime. This is when you can see a lot of people socializing at cafes, restaurants, and bars until late hours, even during the week.

Turks require less personal space than most people do. So if a Turk stands close to you while conversing, don’t be surprised.

B- Business Life

Business relationships are usually formal. Turks prefer to work with people they know and trust. Therefore, if you need to do business with a Turkish company, you need to establish a good relationship with them.

If you’re having a meeting with Turkish people, make sure not to use their first names. Rather, call them Mr. X or Ms. Y. Furthermore, men should wear a suit and tie; women should also wear a professional-looking outfit. Especially in smaller cities, you need to be careful about what you wear as some places are conservative.

Several Business People Dressed in Formal Business Attire

Here are a few other aspects to note about Turkish work culture:

    ★ Decision-making can be slow sometimes
    ★ Family owned and run businesses are usually more conservative
    ★ Turkish people love negotiating, not only in business, but also individually when shopping

If you plan on working in Turkey, you will need some basic vocabulary down first. To get a head start, you can visit our vocabulary lists on Jobs / Work and The Workplace

5. Handcrafts and Art

After food, perhaps one of the most exciting things about Turkish culture for tourists is the vast array of artforms to view. Let’s briefly look at the most popular types of handcrafts and art forms in Turkey! 

A- Handcrafts

Throughout history, Turkish people have learned to create many different handcrafts. Here are a few that have sprouted from the cultural diversity in Turkey:

  • Carpet and rug weaving
  • Mother of pearl inlaid
  • Filigree
  • Ceramics and tiles
  • Pottery-making
  • Marbling (ebru)
  • Calligraphy
  • Coppersmithing
  • Miniature work
  • Glass work
  • Embroidery
  • Leather tanning
  • Meerschaum
  • Xylography

B- Art

Turkey has world-renowned artists in almost every branch of art. For example: 

Yasar Kemal is a famous author whose novels have been translated into numerous languages. Orhan Pamuk is a Nobel Prize-winning author. Nuri Bilge Ceylan is a world-renowned movie director who has many awards. Tan Sağtürk is an internationally acknowledged dancer. 

Here are some other artists who are well-known globally: 

    ★ Fazıl Say (pianist and composer)
    ★ Genco Erkal (stage actor)
    ★ İdil Biret (pianist)
    ★ Güher-Süher Pekinel (pianist)
    ★ Abidin Dino (artist and painter)

someone forming a pottery bowl

6. Traditional Turkish Holidays

Like in other cultures, holidays are a huge part of the Turkish culture and lifestyle. Turkish people celebrate two types of holidays: national and religious.

A- National Holidays

There are several national holidays in Turkey throughout the year, including:

  • Republic Day (October 29)
  • Youth and Sports Day (May 19)
  • National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (April 23)
  • Victory Day (August 30)

During the national holidays, all official offices are closed and the cities are decorated with Turkish flags. You can also see flags hanging from the windows and balconies of houses and offices.

B- Religious Holidays

There are two moveable religious holidays every year.

Ramadan

Ramadan is the month when Muslims fast for thirty days, between the sunrise and the sunset of each day. A three-day holiday follows the month of Ramadan. During this holiday, people visit other family members, friends, etc. Younger ones kiss older ones’ right hand and then put it on their own foreheads; this is a symbol of respect. Candy, chocolate, and Turkish coffee are offered to visitors, and children are given money as allowance.

The Feast of Sacrifice

This holiday is four days long. Most households, if they can afford it financially, sacrifice an animal (usually a sheep) in a special ritual. The meat is shared with relatives and neighbors, with one third of the meat usually given to those who are in need. In addition to these special traditions, the same features of the Ramadan holiday apply to this one.

7. Other Cultural Highlights

To conclude, let’s go over a few more Turkish culture characteristics you should be familiar with before visiting the country!  

A- Food and Beverages

Turkey’s food culture is a major component of both daily life and special occasions. I’m sure you’re already well aware of the grand reputation Turkish cuisine has made for itself, so I’ll only list some of the most outstanding food and drink items here. But if you would like to know more about Turkish food, you can visit our lesson “How is the Turkish Food?

  • Döner kebap. This is seasoned meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie.
  • Yaprak sarma. This consists of grape leaves stuffed with spicy rice or spicy ground meat. 
  • Baklava. This famous Turkish dessert is something that I highly recommend.

As for beverages, rakı is an alcoholic beverage which is consumed quite a bit in Turkey. It is similar to ouzo. 

Another thing I should mention is that Turkish tea culture is alive and well! Turkish people drink tea many times a day, and anytime of day!

Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee is another big part of the culture. It’s usually preferred after meals. While talking about Turkish coffee, I must also mention coffee cup reading: usually, when women get together and drink coffee, they ask each other to do the cup reading. It’s a lot of fun to make sense of the shapes formed from the coffee grout.

B- Gestures

Turkish people use quite a number of gestures. Let me just give you a few examples:

1. If a person puts his/her fingers together with the thumb and moves the hand back and forth, it means “good” or “delicious.”

2. Raising the chin up, sometimes with the eyebrows up, means “no.”

3. If a person holds his/her hand next to his/her head and moves the hand like they’re unscrewing a light bulb, then he/she is calling someone “crazy.”

C- Superstitions

Here are just a few Turkish superstitions:

1. Turkish people are usually concerned about being coveted. However, people believe that a blue bead called nazar boncuğu protects them from ‘evil eyes.’ These beads are used in homes, offices, and cars, and are also used as a decorative object. Furthermore, they are used on earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and other forms of jewelry.

Evil Eye

2. Some people believe seeing a black cat brings bad luck.

3. Some think a broken mirror brings seven years of bad luck.

8. Final Thoughts

In this lesson, you learned a variety of useful Turkish culture facts. But there’s a lot more to know!

To get a better grasp of the Turkish language and culture, visit TurkishClass101.com. We provide numerous audio recordings, tons of vocabulary lists, and other free resources including a Turkish-English dictionary for easy reference.

By signing up for a Premium PLUS account, you can also take advantage of our MyTeacher service. You’ll be able to study and practice with your own private tutor, who will give you assignments, answer questions, and help you improve your pronunciation.

Download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

Before you go, let us know in the comments how Turkish culture compares to that in your country. We look forward to hearing from you!

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A Tasty Guide to Traditional Turkish Food

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If you’re interested in different flavors and after some really delicious food, then you must be aware of Turkish food’s reputation as one of the tastiest cuisines worldwide.

Turkish cuisine is influenced by the Ottoman Empire. It’s known for its variety and its amazing flavor, and the foods you can expect to find varies based on region. While some regions have their own unique dishes, there are plenty of cases where those same dishes are made with different ingredients (or even different techniques) in other regions.

In this article, we’ll cover several Turkish foods that are worth tasting as well as a simple recipe you might want to try at home. Keep in mind that due to the cultural richness of Turkish cuisine, it’s impossible to mention all of the traditional Turkish foods here. You should consider finding a good Turkish cuisine restaurant near you to see—and try!—an even greater variety of dishes.

Are you ready to hear about all the mouthwatering food that awaits you?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. The 5 Best Turkish Foods to Try
  2. A Typical Turkish Breakfast
  3. Delicious Turkish Pastries
  4. Kebabs and Meat Dishes
  5. A Variety of Appetizers
  6. Vegetable Dishes
  7. Yummy Desserts
  8. Food-Related Vocabulary
  9. A Delicious Turkish Food Recipe
  10. Final Thoughts

1. The 5 Best Turkish Foods to Try

I had to think hard about what to include here—not because there aren’t many good foods to pick from, but because there are so many wonderful Turkish cuisine dishes out there!

A- Mantı

This is the specialty of Central Turkey, and it’s originally from a city called Kayseri. 

Mantı is like miniature ravioli stuffed with meat, but it tastes a bit different. It consists of small boiled handmade dumplings filled with ground meat. It’s served topped with yogurt, garlic, chili powder, and melted butter. Some people prefer to add ground sumac and dried mint, as well.

B- Döner Kebap

This consists of seasoned meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie (also called a rotating spit). Actually, döner means “rotates.” The meat is sliced into long, thin strips and can be served in different forms:

  • Served on a plate on top of sliced pita bread with melted butter over it.
  • Served on a plate on top of sliced pita bread with tomato sauce, yogurt, and melted butter over it. This is called İskender Kebap.
  • Wrapped in a lavash with tomatoes, lettuce, and onion. This is called dürüm.

Döner
Photo by Shoestring, under CC BY-SA 4.0

C- Yaprak Sarma

Sarma means “wrapping,” and this popular Turkish dish is basically grape leaves stuffed with spicy rice or spicy ground meat. The rice version is cooked with olive oil and served cold, while the ground meat version is served hot. It’s usually accompanied by yogurt at the table.

Preparation of yaprak sarma takes quite a bit of time, but it’s definitely worth it.

D- Çiğ Köfte

Çiğ köfte consists of spicy patties made of ground beef, fine ground bulgur, onion, pepper, tomato paste, spices, and herbs. The vegetarian version is made without meat. This dish is popular in the southern part of Turkey.

E- Künefe

This is a very rich dessert. Fortunately, it’s pretty difficult to make at home, so it’s not something you can eat all the time!

It’s made of shredded pastry dough (bread crumbs) and cheese, then topped with pistachio nuts.

2. A Typical Turkish Breakfast

Now, here comes my favorite meal. Would you like to join me in setting the table for breakfast?

Turkish Breakfast

Let’s open the fridge and take out the following:

  • Butter
  • Cheese 
    • There are three preferred types of Turkish cheese: white (feta) cheese, tulum cheese, and kaşar cheese.
  • Olives 
    • Black and/or green olives can be found at most Turkish breakfast tables.
  • Tomatoes and cucumbers
  • Jam 
    • Most people make their jams at home. You can’t imagine the variety of jams we have: sour cherry, peach, apricot, orange, strawberry, quince, fig, bergamot…we even have watermelon, walnut, eggplant, and rose jams!
  • Eggs 
    • They can be boiled, omelet-style, or menemen. Menemen is basically scrambled eggs cooked lightly with tomatoes, onions, and peppers.

Bread—usually toasted or freshly baked—is another popular Turkish food for breakfast, though some people prefer different pastries. For example, simit (round dough covered with sesame seeds) and poğaça (containing cheese, olives, potatoes, etc.) are two other common pastries in Turkey.

Another ‘must’ at the table: Tea. Tea is definitely a huge part of Turkish food culture!

3. Delicious Turkish Pastries

Here are some Turkish pastries most people have a hard time saying no to:

A- Börek

Börek is the generic name for pastries made with yufka, which is like filo dough. 

This pastry is made up of thin layers of dough. The yufka for börek can be handmade or bought from a Turkish food market. Börek can have different ingredients in it (such as cheese, ground meat, spinach, or potatoes) and it can also come in different shapes (rolled, layered, etc.). Depending on its form, its ingredients, and the way it’s baked, it might have different names. For example:

  • sigara böreği
  • çiğ börek
  • su böreği
  • kol böreği 

This pastry can be served during any meal, as a snack, or at tea time.

B- Gözleme

First, a lavash bread is made. Then, fillings such as cheese, spinach, ground meat, and potatoes are placed on it and the bread is folded over the filling. It’s then baked on a large metal sheet, called a sac.

C- Pide

Pide is made of dough and filled with cheese, ground meat, or small cubes of seasoned meat. Some people describe it as being boat-shaped, which is a good way to picture it. This pastry is usually eaten in a restaurant, not made at home. 

D- Lahmacun

This is thin dough covered with a layer of spiced ground meat, tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Again, this is something we usually eat at a restaurant.

Lahmacun

E- Katmer

Katmer is a rolled-out dough which can be sweet or salty depending on its filling.

4. Kebabs and Meat Dishes

Do you enjoy the succulent flavors of meat dishes? If so, here are some foods in Turkey you absolutely need to try! 

A- Kebabs

Attention meat-lovers: Get ready for all of these delicious kebabs.

There are many different types of kebabs, originating from all over Turkey. Each type is made with meat, but the similarities end there. The seasonings, cooking methods, and non-meat ingredients all differ, and they can come in various shapes. Here are the most popular ones:

  • Adana kebap
  • Beyti
  • Çağ kebabı
  • Çöp şiş
  • Kağıt kebabı
  • Orman kebabı
  • Talaş kebabı
  • Tandır kebabı
  • Tas kebabı
  • Urfa kebabı 

B- Meatballs

“Meatball” is köfte in Turkish. Meatballs are made of ground meat, and there are several unique varieties named after their city of origin. For example: 

  • İzmir köfte
  • Manisa köfte
  • İnegöl köfte

Other types of meatballs include:

  • Kasap köftesi
  • Dalyan köfte
  • Misket köfte 

C- Veggies with Meat

Here are a few Turkish dishes that contain a hearty dose of veggies along with the tasty meat. 

Karnıyarık

This consists of baked eggplants filled with ground meat, seasonings, and parsley, then covered in a tomato sauce.

Hünkar beğendi

This dish was inherited from the Ottoman Empire. It’s basically soft, marinated lamb cubes served on top of an eggplant, which is pureed with butter and melted kashar cheese.

Etli dolma

Dolma is a dish where vegetables such as bell peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, and zucchinis are stuffed. They may also be stuffed with spicy rice or ground meat. This is another dish inherited from the Ottoman Empire.

Etli taze fasulye

This is basically green beans cooked with tomato paste, ground meat, and onions.

And that’s not all! There are plenty of Turkish meat-and-veggie dishes you can try. Just search online for some Turkish food recipes to discover more dishes like these.

5. A Variety of Appetizers

“Appetizer” is meze in Turkish, and Turkish cuisine features a very rich appetizer selection. I’ll mention just a few of them here. 

  • Acılı ezme: Made with mashed tomato with hot spices, onion, and green herbs
  • Patlıcan salatası: Made with roasted eggplants, yogurt, and garlic
  • Fava: Made with fava beans
  • Kısır: Made with fine ground bulgur, tomato paste, onion, parsley, garlic, sour pomegranate juice, and spices
  • Piyaz: Made with white beans, onions, and vinegar
  • Cevizli biber: Made with red peppers, onions, pepper paste, and walnut

6. Vegetable Dishes

Vegetarians, are you still with me? Don’t miss out on these yummy veggie dishes.

Let me start with a very generic recipe. There’s a general term used to describe vegetables cooked with olive oil: zeytinyağlılar. To make this, green beans, peas, zucchinis, and kidney beans are cooked with tomatoes, onions, and olive oil. It’s served cold.

Now, let me list some more Turkish food for vegetarians:

  • Baklalı enginar: Made with artichokes and fava beans; usually made in the summer
  • Pırasa yemeği: Made with leeks, carrots, and rice
  • Borani: Made with spinach, onions, yogurt, and garlic

7. Yummy Desserts

Now, here comes my favorite topic: delicious desserts!

A- Baklava

Baklava is probably the most popular and internationally recognized Turkish dessert. It’s made with handmade filo dough and consists of several layers. It contains chopped walnuts or pistachios, as well as syrup.

B- Güllaç

The history of güllaç goes back to the Ottoman Empire, and it’s usually served during Ramadan. It consists of thin and large dough layers, which are soaked in milk and rose water, and served with walnuts and pomegranate seeds.

C- Kazandibi

This is like a milk pudding, but the bottom part of it is burnt. This is another dessert inherited from the Ottoman Empire.

D- Aşure

This one is like a dense, sweet soup. It contains boiled beans, wheat, dried fruits, nuts, cinnamon, chestnuts, and rose water. There’s a legend about this dessert, according to which it was made for the first time on Noah’s Ark with seven different ingredients.

Aşure

8. Food-Related Vocabulary

After learning about so many dishes, how about diving into a little Turkish food vocabulary? 

A- Talking About Food

  • En sevdiğim yemek köftedir. (“My favorite food is meatballs.”)
  • Ben maydanoz sevmem. (“I don’t like parsley.”)
  • Ben vejeteryanım. (“I’m a vegetarian.”)
  • Çileğe alerjim var. (“I’m allergic to strawberries.”)
  • Karnım acıktı. / Ben açım. (“I’m hungry.”)
  • Karnım tok. / Ben tokum. (“I’m full.”)
  • Açlıktan ölüyorum. (“I’m starving.”)

B- Terms for Cooking

Here are some words used during food preparation! 

Actions

  • Pişirmek (“To cook”)
  • Fırında pişirmek (“To bake”)
  • Kızartmak (“To fry”)
  • Kesmek (“To cut”)
  • Dilimlemek (“To slice”)
  • Soymak (“To peel”)
  • Doğramak (“To chop”)
  • Rendelemek (“To grate”)
  • Karıştırmak (“To mix”)

Ingredients

  • Et (“Meat”)
  • Sebze (“Vegetable”)
  • Meyve (“Fruit”)
  • Yağ (“Oil”)
  • Su (“Water”)
  • Tuz (“Salt”)
  • Baharat (“Spice”)
  • Un (“Flour”)
  • Şeker (“Sugar”)

Utensils

  • Çatal (“Fork”)
  • Kaşık (“Spoon”)
  • Bıçak (“Knife”)
  • Tencere (“Cooking pot”)
  • Tava (“Frying pan”)
  • Ocak (“Range”)
  • Fırın (“Oven”)

Utensils

C- How to Order at a Restaurant

Finally, here’s how to order Turkish food at a restaurant:

  • Menüyü görebilir miyim? (“May I see the menu?”)
  • Ne önerirsiniz? (“What would you recommend?”)
  • Su alabilir miyim lütfen? (“May I have water, please?”)
  • Bu sos acı mı? (“Is this sauce spicy?”)

9. A Delicious Turkish Food Recipe

Hold on now, here comes a simple recipe for you to try making at home!

Let’s make a quick appetizer called havuçlu meze:

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium carrots (peeled and grated)
  • 500g yogurt
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (peeled and grated)
  • ¼ bunch dill (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • Salt (eyeball it)

Instructions:

1. First, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and then add the grated carrots.

2. Sauté them on medium heat until they soften.

3. Then add salt and stir.

4. Remove it from the range and let it cool.

5. Mix garlic and yogurt.

6. When the grated carrots are cooled, add your garlic yogurt and dill to it. Mix it altogether.

7. You can decorate it with parsley leaves before serving.

10. Final Thoughts

In this article, you learned about traditional Turkish food and some practical food-related vocabulary. 

Which Turkish food do you want to try most, and why? Have you already tried some of the foods we mentioned? We look forward to hearing from you! 

To get a better grasp of the Turkish language and culture, explore TurkishClass101.com and take advantage of our numerous audio and video lessons, themed vocabulary lists, and free resources (including this dictionary). If you have a Premium PLUS account, you can also learn and practice with a personal tutor using our MyTeacher service! And don’t forget to download the app for free so you can study anywhere, anytime. 

Until next time, happy eating!

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A Quick Turkish Grammar Guide

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Let me look into my magic crystal ball and tell you what I see… You’re interested in learning Turkish or have just started working on it. You’re curious to know what Turkish grammar looks like and whether it’s similar to English grammar. And actually, you’re dying to learn what kind of an adventure you’re getting yourself into.

Of course, I’m not a fortune teller. But if I guessed correctly, you’re at the right address. This page serves as an overview of Turkish, an essential grammar guide, and a quick reference for those who want to brush up on specific grammar topics.

Our quick guide will show you the similarities and dissimilarities between Turkish and English as well as the basic structure of Turkish grammar, from vowel harmony to conjugation.

Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. General Overview
  2. Word Order
  3. Word Structure and Agglutination
  4. Suffixes, Vowel Harmony, and Buffers
  5. Possessives
  6. Verbs and Conjugation
  7. Access More Turkish Grammar Content on TurkishClass101.com

1. General Overview

Before we get into the details, it’s important that we cover the basic Turkish grammar rules and how they compare to those you’re familiar with in English. 

Similarities

First of all, both languages use the Latin alphabet. The Turkish alphabet, however, consists of 29 letters, 6 of which don’t exist in English ( , , , , , ). There are also 3 letters in English (-q, -w, -x) that don’t exist in the Turkish alphabet.

There are a few words that exist in both Turkish and English that have the same meaning:

    ➢ TV
    ➢ Plan
    ➢ Program
    ➢ Market
    ➢ Silo
    ➢ Video

Like English, Turkish also uses the indefinite article in front of nouns as a separate word: 

    Bir araba (“A car”)
    Bir otel (“A hotel”)

In addition, neither Turkish nor English uses grammatical gender for objects.

It’s safe to say that there are no accent marks in English, since the words that have them are taken from other languages. There are no accent marks in Turkish, either. 

However, the circumflex is used for some loanwords. It affects the pronunciation of a word by implying that the word’s pronunciation should be longer or that there should be palletization of the consonant that comes before the vowel.

For example: “Âmâ” is an Arabic word that means “blind.” The circumflex here makes both of the “a” sounds longer. There’s another word, “ama,” which means “but.” Although they are spelled the same way (except for the circumflex), those two words are pronounced differently.

Dissimilarities

Now let’s take a look at the features of Turkish grammar that differ from English.

Pronouns

There’s just one word used in Turkish for “he,” “she,” and “it,” which is o.

In Turkish, the plural “you” is not only used as it is in English, but also as a polite, formal way of addressing someone. The same set of rules apply to both the plural “you” and the polite “you” in Turkish.

The Definite Article

Turkish has no definite article (“the”) as a separate word. When definite nouns or pronouns are used as an object, then they take the “, -i, -u, ” suffixes based on the vowel harmony rules. Let me give you an example:

    Anahtarlar çantamın içinde. (“The keys are in my purse.”) 

Here, “keys” is used without an article.

    Anahtarları çantamın içine koydum. (“I put the keys in my purse.”)

Here, “keys” takes the suffix to indicate the definite article.

Numbers as Adjectives

When numbers are used as adjectives to count nouns, the noun does not become plural based on the number. Rather, it stays in the singular form. Here’s an example:

    Bir elma (“One apple”)
    Beş elma (“Five apples”)

Word Order

The Turkish word order is Subject-Object-Verb. This topic will be covered in more detail later.

Vowel Harmony and Suffixes

Vowel harmony is another feature that doesn’t exist in English. You can see the details about this in the “Suffixes, Vowel Harmony, and Buffers” section of this page.

Conjugations

The conjugation in Turkish is much different from that in English, which we’ll discuss in more detail later on in the “Verbs and Conjugation” section. But to give you an example, there’s a tense called “reported past tense,” which doesn’t exist in most languages. 

2. Word Order 

In Turkish grammar, word order typically follows the SOV (Subject-Object-Verb) structure. In other words, the sentence begins with the subject, which is followed by the object (if any), and then the verb. 

However, this is not a strict rule and there’s some flexibility, meaning that you can put an object or a verb at the beginning of a sentence. Doing so won’t change the meaning of the sentence, but the word you’re emphasizing will definitely change. 

The word that you want to stress should be placed as close to the verb as possible, and if you want to emphasize the verb, then you should place it at the beginning of the sentence.

Subject-Object-VerbBen okulumu seviyorum.“I love my school.”
Object-Subject-VerbOkulumu ben seviyorum.“I love my school.”
Object-Verb-SubjectOkulumu seviyorum ben.“I love my school.”
Verb-Subject-ObjectSeviyorum ben okulumu.“I love my school.”

All of the sentences above have the same meaning, but the emphasis is on the words highlighted in blue.


A List of Subject and Object Pronouns in English

3. Word Structure and Agglutination

In Turkish grammar, suffixes and vowel harmony play a huge role in how words are formed and used. In this section, we’ll introduce you to word structure and agglutination in Turkish. 

Structure of Words

In the structure of a Turkish word, a vowel always follows a consonant and a consonant always follows a vowel:

    bebek (“baby”)
    araba (“car”)

Therefore, if you see a word where one consonant follows another, you can tell that it’s a loanword: 

    pratik (“practical”) 
    armut (“pear”)

In order to keep the “vowel + consonant” rule, buffers are used. Those buffers are “y, n, s.” 

You can see some relevant examples of this in our section on vowel harmony and buffers.

An Image of Atom Structures

Agglutination of Words

Turkish is called an agglutinative language, meaning that new words are formed by adding suffixes to the root words. To give you an idea, a suffix can be added to a noun to 1) make it another noun, or 2) turn it into a verb. It can also be added to a verb to make it a noun or another verb.

Are you confused? Here are some examples to help you understand these Turkish suffix rules better:

    Yolcu (Noun)                                          –       “Passenger”

         Yolcu+luk = Yolculuk (Noun)                –       “Trip”
    Göz (Noun)                                             –        “Eye”

         Göz+le = Gözle (Verb)                           –       “Observe,” “Monitor”
    Bil (Verb)                                                 –         “Know”

         Bil+mece = Bilmece (Noun)                  –       “Puzzle”
    Kal (Verb)                                                –       “Stay”

         Kal+dır = Kaldır (Verb)                          –       “Lift,” “Remove”

4. Suffixes, Vowel Harmony, and Buffers

People who want to learn Turkish grammar and vocabulary usually think that these characteristics are really interesting, probably because they don’t exist in most other languages. I wonder if you’ll agree with them!

That said, these are some of the most important Turkish language grammar rules, so pay attention.

Vowel Harmony

In Turkish, words are structured so that vowels follow a certain pattern, and this pattern is called vowel harmony. It’s used to determine which vowel will be used when adding a suffix to a word. Here’s a table showing the vowel types:

 FRONTBACK
 UNROUNDEDROUNDEDUNROUNDEDROUNDED
OPEN-e-a-o
CLOSED-i-u

And here are the vowel harmony rules:

  • Back vowels follow back vowels and front vowels follow front vowels.
  • Unrounded vowels follow unrounded vowels.
  • A rounded vowel can be followed by a mix of rounded closed and unrounded open vowels.

Suffixes

Let’s see when suffixes are added:

  • Suffixes are based on the person/subject that a verb alludes to.
  • Suffixes are used when the subject is plural.
  • Suffixes are used based on the tenses.
  • Suffixes are used if there is negativity.
  • Suffixes are used if interrogative particles will be used.
  • Suffixes are used when passive, reflexive, causative, or a verb of mutual action will be formed.
  • When definite nouns or pronouns are used as an object, then they take the “, -i, -u, ” suffixes, based on the vowel harmony rules.
  • Suffixes are used when using possessive pronouns, since there are no separate words for them in Turkish. The suffixes “-m, -ım, -im, -um, -üm” (in conjugated forms) come after the pronoun to make it possessive.
  • Suffixes are used when motion towards an object (to), motion from an object (from), and static location (on, at) is to be specified.

It’s a great thing to be able to use the right suffix! However, you also need to make sure that you choose the right vowels for those suffixes based on the vowel harmony.

Buffers

As mentioned earlier, there are three buffers (y, n, s). These are used to maintain the “vowel + consonant” rule when adding suffixes.

  • Usage of “y“:
    • Used with an accusative suffix

      Example: Silgi+y+i = Silgiyi (“The eraser”)

    • Used with dative. (Movement towards something)

      Example: Parti+y+e = Partiye (“To the party”)
  • Usage of “n“:
    • Used with genitive case [Ownership]

      Example: Ayna+n+ın = Aynanın (“The mirror’s”)

                     Aynası+n+ın = Aynasının (“His/her/its mirror”)

    • Used for nouns that already have suffixes

      Example: Boya+lar+ı+n+a = Boyalarına (“To their paints”)

                     Oda+sı+n+dan = Odasından (“From his/her/its room”)
  • Usage of “s“:
    • Only used with the third person suffixes (, -i, -u,)

      Example: Elma+s= Elması (“His/her/its apple”)

5. Possessives

In Turkish grammar, possessives are formed much differently from how English speakers are used to. In this section, we’ll cover two topics: how to form possessive pronouns and how to use the possessive (genitive) case.

Possessive Pronouns

In the Turkish language, there aren’t separate words that stand for possessive pronouns. However, suffixes (-m, -ım, -im, -um, -üm), in conjugated forms, come after a pronoun to make it possessive. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:

    Sen+in = Senin (“Your”)
    Biz+im = Bizim (“Our”)

Possessive pronouns can be omitted because the nouns they are modifying also take suffixes, which imply the possessive pronoun. However, if you want to stress the possessive pronoun, then you can use it in the sentence. Here are some examples:

    Benim valizim çok küçük. (“My suitcase is very small.”)
        Valizim çok küçük. (“My suitcase is very small.”)
    Sizin aileniz nerede? (“Where is your family?”)
        Aileniz nerede? (“Where is your family?”)

Possessive (Genitive) Case

In the possessive case, both the “possessor” and “possessed” are suffixed. Here are a couple of examples:

    Araba+nın anahtar+ı (“The car’s key”)
    Elbise+nin düğme+si (“The button of the dress”)

6. Verbs and Conjugation

The final points we’ll cover today have to do with verbs and conjugation. 


How to Form Different Types of Verbs

  • Passive verbs are formed by adding the affixes -n, -il, or -in. Here are some examples:

         Okumak (“To read”)

         Oku+n+mak (“To be read”)

         Germek (“To stretch”)

         Ger+il+mek (“To be stretched”)

         Silmek (“To erase”)

         Sil+in+mek (“To be erased”)
  • Causative verbs are formed by adding the affixes -dir, -t, or -ir. Below are some examples:

         Yemek (“To eat”)

         Ye+dir+mek (“To make somebody eat”)

         Pişirmek (“To cook”)

         Pişir+t+mek (“To have something cooked”)

         İçmek (“To drink”)

         İç+ir+mek (“To make someone drink”)
  • Reflexive verbs are formed by adding the -in affix. Here is an example:

         Giymek (“To wear clothes”)

         Giy+in+mek (“To dress oneself”)
  • Verbs of mutual action are formed by adding the -iş affix. For example:

         Çarpmak (“To hit”)

         Çarp+ış+mak (“To collide”)

Reported Past Tense

I can hear you asking, “Reported tense? What is that?” 

You’re absolutely right in asking this question because it’s not a very common tense.

A Mother Reading Her Laughing Baby a Story

It’s used:

  • when the speaker is explaining something that he/she hasn’t witnessed, but heard from someone else

         Annem bana hediye almış. (“My mother bought me a gift.”)

         [My mother told me she did, but I didn’t see her buying it.]
  •  when telling a story

         Güzel bir kız varmış. (“There was a beautiful girl.”)

         [I haven’t seen the girl, it’s just a character in a story.]
  •  when the speaker is telling someone that he/she (the speaker) has done something without noticing it

         Durakta uyumuşum ve otobüsü kaçırmışım. (“I slept at the bus stop and missed the bus.”)

         [I didn’t realize I slept and missed the bus.]

         Ben kitabı daha önce okumuşum. (“I have read this book before.”)

         [I started reading a book, but realized that I read it before and forgot until now.]
  • when you’re telling someone about your dream

         Rüyamda çok zenginmişim. (“I was very rich in my dream.”)

         [It’s like storytelling; you’re telling someone about your dream, which is not reality.]
  • when imagining something and telling someone

         Mesela, benim iki çocuğum varmış. (“For example, I had two kids.”)

         [This is again not reality; you’re imagining that you had two kids.]

Verb Conjugation

In Turkish grammar, verb conjugation is based on the following factors:

  • Person / Subject: In Turkish, different suffixes are added to a verb based on the person/subject it alludes to. Vowels in the suffixes change based on the vowel harmony rules.
  • Number of Subjects: Whether the subject is singular or plural impacts the suffix that the verb will get.
  • Politeness Level: As mentioned above, the plural “you” is also the polite “you” and the same rules are applied to both.
  • Tense: Based on the tense, verbs take different suffixes.

7. Access More Turkish Grammar Content on TurkishClass101.com

In this article, we presented you with information on the major topics of Turkish grammar. Which aspects seem the most difficult to you, and why? Let us know in the comments! 

Now that you have a better idea of what to expect from the language, you should have little trouble as you continue learning Turkish grammar online with us. 

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Well-Known Turkish Quotes That Learners Should Know

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I don’t know how you feel, but quotes always make me excited, no matter their country of origin. They open my eyes and my heart. It’s intriguing to ponder what people lived and experienced, whether good or bad, that inspired their words of wisdom! Some of these quotes inspire us, some motivate us, some make us think, and some teach us something!

We believe that quotes can also give you greater insight into a country’s language and culture. 

Are you ready to discover some great Turkish quotes with me? In this article, we’ll look at several Turkish quotes with translations in English, as well as some popular quotes from other languages translated into Turkish. This will give you the best of both worlds! 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Quotes About Trust
  2. Quotes About Hope
  3. Quotes About Time
  4. Quotes About Knowledge and Ignorance
  5. Quotes About Money
  6. Quotes About Other Topics
  7. Rumi Quotes in Turkish
  8. Learn More With TurkishClass101

1. Quotes About Trust

What does trust mean to you? Here are some Turkish trust quotes to help you gain cultural insight into how the Turkish perceive it. 

   1Quote in TurkishKadınlar beğenince değil, güvenince âşık olur. 
Literal Translation in EnglishWomen fall in love when they trust, not when they like.
 This is an anonymous quote which shows the importance of trust for women. 
   2
Quote in Turkish
Bir ölümün bir de kaybolan güvenin telafisi yok bu dünyada.
Literal Translation in English“There is no compensation for either death or lost trust in this world.”
 This is another anonymous quote. It implies that losing trust in someone is as bad as death; just as trust cannot be recovered, neither can death be cured.  
   3Quote in Turkishİşin içine bir kere güvensizlik girdi mi, hiç bir şey eskisi gibi olmuyor.
Literal Translation in English“When there is distrust, nothing is as it was in the past.”
This is another anonymous quote. It means that distrust damages relationships.

2. Quotes About Hope

Feeling discouraged or afraid of the future? Maybe one of these Turkish quotes about hope will motivate you to keep moving forward!

Hope

   4Quote in TurkishEn geveze kuş ümittir. Kalbimizde hiç susmaz.
Literal Translation in English“The most talkative bird is hope. It never stops in our hearts.”
This is a quote by Cenap Şahabettin, who was a Turkish writer and poet. It means that our hearts are full of hope.
   5Quote in TurkishHer kışın bir baharı, her gecenin bir sabahı vardır.
Literal Translation in English“Every winter has its spring and every night has its morning.”
This is a quote by Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, who was an Ottoman scholar and the founder of the Nurism movement.

Corresponding quote in English: “Every cloud has a silver lining.” 
   6Quote in TurkishTünelin ucunda ışık görünmese bile, ışık varmış gibi yürümek ve ışığın görüneceğine inanmak gerekir.
Literal Translation in English“Even if there is no light at the end of the tunnel, it is necessary to walk as if there is light and believe that the light will appear.”
This quote is by Amin Maalouf, who was a Lebanese-born French author. This quote encourages you to be hopeful even in hopeless situations.

3. Quotes About Time

Time plays an important role in our lives. The following Turkish quotes on life focus on the concept of time and how it applies to us.

   7Quote in TurkishBoş zaman yoktur, boşa geçen zaman vardır.
Literal Translation in English“There is no free time, there is wasted time.”
This is a quote by Tagore, who was a Bengali poet, short-story writer, playwright, essayist, painter, and composer. This quote points out the fact that making good use of our time is important.
   8Quote in TurkishBir insanın bir insana verebileceği en güzel hediye, ona ayırabileceği zamandır.
Literal Translation in English“The best gift a person can give to a person is the time he/she can devote to him/her.”
This is a quote by Dale Carnegie, who was an American writer and lecturer. It reminds us how valuable it is to spend time with our loved ones.

Time

4. Quotes About Knowledge and Ignorance

Knowledge

The world over, great thinkers have much to say regarding knowledge and ignorance. Following are some quotes in Turkish that touch on these topics.

   9Quote in TurkishBildiğim tek şey hiçbir şey bilmediğimdir. 
Literal Translation in English“All I know is that I know nothing.”
This deep quote is from the Greek philosopher Socrates. It tells us that no matter how much we know, there is always much more to learn, and we should never stop searching and learning.
   10Quote in TurkishCahile söz anlatmak, köre renk tarifi gibidir.
Literal Translation in English“To persuade an ignorant is like describing colors to a blind person.”
This is a quote from İmam Evzai, who was a scholar and writer. The quote implies that it’s very difficult to deal with ignorant people.
   11Quote in TurkishDünyada her kötülük, daima cehaletten gelir.
Literal Translation in English“Every evil in the world always comes from ignorance.”
This quote is from Albert Camus, who was a French Algerian philosopher, author, and journalist. It emphasizes how bad and dangerous ignorance is.
   12Quote in TurkishEylem halindeki cehaletten, daha korkunç bir şey olamaz.
Literal Translation in English“Nothing is scarier than ignorance in action.”
 This is a quote by Goethe, who was a German poet, novelist, playwright, critic, theatre director, scientist, and statesman. This quote also underlines the danger of ignorance.
   13Quote in TurkishCehalet, gönüllü talihsizliktir. 
Literal Translation in English“Ignorance is voluntary misfortune.”
This is a quote from De Segur, who was a French general and historian. With this quote, he meant that people choose to be ignorant, and that it’s a bad choice because it leads to misfortune.

5. Quotes About Money

Money is a crucial element of modern life, making it essential to manage it well. Here are a couple of quotes about money to shed some light on the topic.

Quotes about Money
   14Quote in TurkishPara iyi bir hizmetçi, kötü bir efendidir.
Literal Translation in English“Money is a great servant, but a bad master.”
This is a quote from Francis Bacon, who was an English philosopher and statesman. In saying it, he meant that those who know how to use and manage their money are those who make their money work for them. If people are not good masters of their money, then their money will start controlling them.
   15Quote in Turkishİnsanın kazandığı paradan değil, paranın kazandığı insandan korkulur.
Literal Translation in English“It’s not to be scared of the money that man earns, but the man who is earned by money.”
This quote is from Necip Fazıl Kısakürek, who was a Turkish novelist, playwright, poet, and Islamist ideologue. If someone is making money by spending some effort, that’s good; but if he or she is being bought by money, then it’s dangerous.

6. Quotes About Other Topics

Below are a few more Turkish quotes about life that didn’t quite fit into the other categories. Enjoy!

   16Quote in TurkishBiz ayrı dünyaların insanlarıyız.
Literal Translation in English“We are from different worlds.”
This quote has been used in many Turkish movies, usually between two lovers. It’s also used as a joke between friends in daily life.
   17Quote in TurkishAçıklamalarla zamanınızı boşa harcamayın: insanlar sadece duymak istediklerini duyarlar.
Literal Translation in English“Don’t waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear.”
This is a quote from Paulo Coelho, a Brazilian lyricist and novelist. He wanted to point out that some people are prejudiced, egocentric, and not open to new ideas or thoughts; if they’re not willing to listen, no matter what, they won’t hear you.
   18Quote in TurkishSevelim, sevilelim, bu dünya kimseye kalmaz.
Literal Translation in English“Let’s love, be loved, this world shall be left to no one.”
This is by Yunus Emre, a poet and mystic who had a considerable impact on Turkish literature. He had great poems and quotes about love and human destiny. With this quote, he emphasized the fact that life is short and nobody is permanent in the world; he suggested not wasting the limited time we have and to love each other instead.
   19Quote in TurkishHerkesin haksız olması, senin haklı olduğunu göstermez. 
Literal Translation in English“The fact that everyone is wrong does not show that you are right.”
Some people say this quote belongs to Aristotle, and some say it belongs to Camus. Based on my internet research, it seems to be anonymous. 

This is a quote to awaken those who always consider themselves right.
   20Quote in TurkishHerkes kalbinin ekmeğini yer. 
Literal Translation in English“Everyone eats the bread of his/her bread.”
Corresponding quote in English: “One reaps what one sows.” 

This is a quote used by Seda Sayan, a Turkish singer and actress.
   21Quote in Turkishİmkânın sınırını görmek için imkânsızı denemek lazım. 
Literal Translation in English“It’s necessary to try the impossible, to see the limitations of the possibility.”
This quote is from Fatih Sultan Mehmet, who was one of the well-known sultans in the Ottoman Empire and the Conqueror of Istanbul. 

This is a very motivational quote about not giving up.

7. Rumi Quotes in Turkish

Some of the most famous Turkish quotes are those from Rumi, a poet, theologian, scholar, and Sufi mystic. He influenced many cultures, and today he’s considered a symbol of peace and tolerance.

I personally think that each and every one of his quotes is very valuable, but I’ll only include a few for the sake of this article. 

I’m curious to know if you’ve also found these Rumi quotes in Turkish inspiring and motivational. Let me know in the comments!

   22Quote in Turkishİyi dostu olanın aynaya gereksinimi yoktur.
Literal Translation in English“The one who has a good friend does not need a mirror.” 
The meaning of this quote is a little deeper than it sounds. If your friend is good, you don’t need a mirror to see your imperfections. He or she will warn you about your imperfections and help you overcome them.
   23Quote in TurkishYa olduğun gibi görün, ya göründüğün gibi ol.
Literal Translation in English“Either look as you are or be as you look.”
This quote is about being yourself and being honest about who you are.
   24Quote in TurkishBilmez misin ki cevap vermemek de cevaptır. 
Literal Translation in English“Don’t you know that not answering is also the answer?”
Sometimes silence means a lot. This quote suggests being wise with how you use your silence and your words.
   25Quote in TurkishNe kadar bilirsen bil, söylediklerin karşındakilerin anlayabileceği kadardır.
Literal Translation in English“No matter how much you know, what you say is as much as anyone can understand.” 
When communicating with others, we should consider the knowledge and experience of the other person and try to be as clear as possible. Otherwise, the knowledge we have won’t be conveyed or get us to the point.
   26Quote in TurkishBazı insanlar bize armağandır, bazıları ise ders.  
Literal Translation in English“Some people are gifts to us, others are lessons.” 
Some people are like gifts; they make us happy and we treasure them. Others teach us lessons related to the bad experiences they bring to our lives.
   27Quote in TurkishGönülden dile yol olduğu gibi, dilden de gönüle yol vardır.
Literal Translation in English“As there is a path from heart to the tongue, there is also a path from tongue to the heart.”
Rumi used this phrase at the end of a conversation with his son. He said: “If you don’t want anybody to harm you, then don’t say bad things and don’t have bad thoughts about him/her.” In essence, it means: “Kindness opens all the doors.”

8. Learn More With TurkishClass101

In this article, we presented you with several Turkish language quotes from Turkey and from around the world. From now on, you can impress your Turkish friends, colleagues, or even your boss, by using these quotes at just the right time.

Which one was your favorite, and why? 

Do you want to go even deeper into the Turkish language and culture? Then create your free lifetime account on TurkishClass101.com! We offer numerous audio lessons, tons of vocabulary lists, and free resources such as our Turkish-English dictionary.

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Happy learning, and stay safe out there.

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Your Guide to the Business Language of Turkey

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Will you be having a job interview with a Turkish company? Are you getting ready to work in Turkey or travel there for a business trip? If you answered “yes” to one of these questions, then here comes the next question: Do you think you’re ready for the challenge?

If not, don’t panic. Today, we’ll cover some basic business terms in Turkish and common Turkish business phrases. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to greet your colleagues or your future boss, introduce yourself, make travel arrangements, participate in meetings, and take care of correspondence in Turkish.

Let’s get started and make your transition to the Turkish business environment that much smoother!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Turkish Terms Used in Business
  2. Greetings and Introductions in Business
  3. Interacting with Coworkers
  4. Participating in a Meeting
  5. Taking Care of Business Communications
  6. Going on a Business Trip
  7. Learn More Words, Terms, and Phrases with TurkishClass101

1. Turkish Terms Used in Business

First, let’s cover the very basics:

  • İş (“Business”)
  • İş adamı (“Businessman”)
  • İş kadını (“Businesswoman”)

From this point on, we’ll classify the basic business terms in Turkish based on category so that you can remember them easily.

Company-related words

Here are some useful terms you can use when talking about a company:

TurkishEnglish
ŞirketCompany
KuruluşEnterprise
KurumCorporation
FirmaFirm
HissedarShareholder
Küçük ve orta ölçekli işletmeSmall- or medium-sized business
Kâr amacı gütmeyen kuruluşNon-profit organization
Anonim şirketJoint-stock company
Çok uluslu şirketMulti-national company
Uluslararası şirketInternational company
Kurumsal firmaCorporate firm
PerakendeRetail
ToptanWholesale
Ana merkezHeadquarter
ŞubeBranch
Yan kuruluşSubsidiary
BayiDealer
OfisOffice
BüroOffice / Bureau
DepartmanDepartment

You may also find our vocabulary list of Words and Phrases for HR and the Recruitment Process useful! 

Work-related terms

Here are some useful words for talking about jobs and work:

TurkishEnglish
ÇalışmakTo work
İşBusiness / Work / Job
PozisyonPosition
İşverenEmployer
PersonelPersonnel
ÇalışanEmployee
İşçiWorker
PatronBoss
İş arkadaşıColleague
KariyerCareer
YönetimManagement
ÜstSuperior
MüdürManager
DirektörDirector
Alt kademeSubordinate
StajInternship / Apprenticeship
StajyerIntern / Apprentice
SözleşmeAgreement
KontratContract
VardiyaShift
Fazla mesaiOvertime

Make sure to check out our Workplace vocabulary list to learn even more words along with their pronunciation.

Words about money 

Money is a very important instrument in nearly every aspect of life, especially in business. Let’s take a look at money-related terms in Turkish:

TurkishEnglish
ParaMoney
MaaşSalary
ÜcretWage
En düşük ücret (Asgari ücret)Minimum wage
GelirIncome / Revenue
Net gelirNet income / Net revenue
Brüt gelirGross income / Gross revenue
İkramiyeBonus
KârProfit
BordroPayroll
HisseShare
VergiTax
Ön ödemeAdvance payment
BankaBank
Banka hesabıBank account

Want to learn more? Head over to our list of Money-Related Expressions for Everyday Life

2. Greetings and Introductions in Business

Greetings and introductions are very important in both business and social life. When doing business with Turkish companies, first impressions matter, so you need to have a good and impressive start!

Greetings

When greeting someone, you can use any of the following words, regardless of how formal the situation is.

  • Merhaba. (“Hello.”)
  • Günaydın. (“Good morning.”)
  • İyi günler. (“Good day.”) *
  • İyi akşamlar. (“Good evening.”) *

(*): You can also use these to say goodbye in both formal and informal situations.

If the situation is very informal, you can say:

  • Selam. (“Hi.”)

Greeting

To say goodbye in a formal manner, you can use one of these phrases:

  • Hoşçakalın. (“Goodbye.”) [Literally: “Stay pleasantly.”]
  • Görüşmek üzere. (“See you.”) [Literally: “Hope to see you.”]

To say goodbye to a coworker you’re close with, you can use any of the following words:

  • Bay bay. / Bay. (“Bye bye.” / “Bye.”)
  • Hoşçakal. (“Goodbye.”) [Literally: “Stay pleasantly.”]
  • Görüşürüz. (“See you.”)

You can see our vocabulary lists on Common Ways to Say Hello and the Most Common Ways to Say Goodbye for more info!

Self-introductions

Giving a proper self-introduction is just as important as greeting. Here are some useful phrases you can use to introduce yourself when socializing, networking, or engaging in other business situations. 

  • Ben Mary. (“I’m Mary.”)
  • Benim adım Mary. (“My name is Mary.”)
  • Benim ismim Mary. (“My name is Mary.”)
  • Otuz yaşındayım. (“I’m thirty years old.”)
  • Amerikalıyım ama artık Türkiye’de yaşıyorum. (“I’m American, but I live in Turkey now.”)
  • Yale Üniversitesi’nden mezun oldum. (“I have graduated from Yale University.”)
  • Ben yeni Satın Alma Müdürüyüm. (“I’m the new Purchasing Manager.”)

Don’t forget to read our article Turkish Greetings: How to Introduce Yourself in Turkish for more-detailed information and more useful phrases.

Job interviews

The job interview is a significant aspect of business life and might even have an impact on your future. It’s relatively easy to fill in a job application, pass a test, and even carry out a conversation over the phone, but what will happen when you’re having a face-to-face job interview in Turkish? 

Don’t worry! Below are some examples of questions that may be asked during the interview and some useful business phrases in Turkish one could use to answer them.

1. Bana eğitiminizden bahseder misiniz? (“Can you tell me about your education?”)

  • Harvard üniversitesinden mezun oldum. (“I graduated from Harvard University.”)
  • Finans okudum. (“I studied finance.”)
  • Harvard Üniversitesi’nde işletme yüksek lisansı yaptım. (“I have an MBA degree from Harvard University.”)                                                         

2. Daha önce nerelerde çalıştınız? (“Where have you worked before?”)

  • 4 yıl Unilever’de muhasebe departmanında çalıştım. (“I have worked at Unilever for four years in the accounting department.”)
  • Şu an P&G’de finans müdürü olarak çalışıyorum. (“Currently, I’m working as a financial manager at P&G.”)

3. Kaç dil biliyorsunuz? Bunlar neler? (“How many languages do you speak? What are they?”)

  • Ana dilim İngilizce. (“My mother tongue is English.”)
  • Almanca biliyorum. (“I know German.”)
  • Ve biraz da Türkçe. (“And also a little bit of Turkish.”)

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t understand something. Feel free to ask them to repeat what they said.

  • Sorunuzu tekrar edebilir misiniz lütfen? (“Could you please repeat your question?”)
  • Pardon anlayamadım. (“Pardon me, I couldn’t understand.”)

3. Interacting with Coworkers

Did you ace your job interview? Congratulations! Now it’s time to meet your new coworkers. Here are some practical Turkish business phrases you can use to communicate with your new work team.

Asking for help

Here are some business Turkish phrases that you can use to get help. Note that when the letters in parentheses are added, the questions become formal.

  • Bana yardım edebilir misin(iz) lütfen? / Bana yardımcı olabilir misin(iz) lütfen? (“Can you help me, please?”)
  • Bunu bana anlatabilir misin(iz) lütfen? (“Can you explain this to me, please?”)
  • Bu sistemi nasıl kullanacağımı gösterebilir misin(iz)? (“Can you show me how to use this system, please?”)
  • Bahsettiğin(iz) dokümana nasıl ulaşabilirim? (“How can I access the document you mentioned?”)
  • Bilgisayarın şifresini verebilir misin(iz)? (“Can you give the password of the computer?”)

Showing appreciation 

No matter where you are in the organizational hierarchy, showing appreciation toward your colleagues and subordinates is an important element of motivation.

  • Tebrikler! / Tebrik ederim! (“Congratulations!”)
  • Katkılarınız için teşekkürler. (“Thanks for your contribution.”)
  • Bu büyük bir başarı. (“This is a great success.”)
  • Başarılarınızın devamını dilerim. (“I wish you continued success.”)
  • İyi iş çıkardınız! (“Good job!”)

Expressing concerns

Of course, things in the garden aren’t always rosy! There will be times when you’ll have concerns you want to express. Here are some Turkish phrases for business to give you a voice in the matter:

  • Ben bunu anlamadım. (“I didn’t understand this.”)
  • Bana bu konuda bir bilgi verilmedi. (“I wasn’t informed about this.”)
  • Bana bu konuda bir eğitim verilmedi. (“I wasn’t trained on this topic.”)
  • Bunun için bütçemiz yok. (“We don’t have a budget for this.”)
  • Bu kadar zamanda bu işi yetiştiremeyiz. (“We can’t get this job done within this time frame.”)
  • Bu dokümanda bir hata var. (“There is an error in this document.”)
  • Bununla ilgili bir veri yok. (“There is no data related to this.”)
  • Bu toplantıyı ertelemeliyiz/öne çekmeliyiz. (“We must postpone/bring forward this meeting.”)
Overly Busy

There are also a couple of idioms that you can use. Be careful not to sound like you’re complaining, though! 

  • İşim başımdan aşkın. (“I’m overly busy.”)
  • Başımı kaşıyacak vaktim yok. (“I don’t have time to catch my breath.”)

You can find more Essential Idioms to Make You Sound Like a Native Speaker on our website! 

Making apologies

Everyone makes mistakes, and the best way to stay on good terms with your colleagues or boss is to offer the proper apology. Here are some phrases you can use to do so:

  • Özür dilerim, fevri davrandım. (“I apologize, I acted impulsively.”)
  • Üzgünüm. (“I’m sorry.”)
  • Yardımcı olamadığım için üzgünüm. (“I’m sorry, I couldn’t help.”)
  • Bugün olanlar için üzgünüm. (“I’m sorry for what happened today.”)

If you want to learn more apology phrases, read our blog post on How to Say Sorry in Turkish

Making plans for after-work social activities 

If you want to ask your colleagues to go out after work, you can use any of the phrases below. Note that when the letters in parentheses are added, the questions become formal.

  • İş çıkışı bir bira içmeye gidelim mi? (“Shall we go for a beer after work?”)
  • Mesai sonrası bize katılmak ister misin(iz)? (“Would you like to join us after work?”)

Here are some questions you can ask to get to know your colleagues better during after-work activities:

  • Hangi departmanda çalışıyorsun(uz)? (“Which department are you working in?”)
  • Hangi proje üzerinde çalışıyorsun(uz)? (“Which project are you working on?”)
  • Kaç yıldır burada çalışıyorsun(uz)? (“How many years have you been working here?”)

Make sure you check out our list of the Top 15 Questions You Should Know for Conversations to get more ideas!

4. Participating in a Meeting

Meetings are an indispensable aspect of business life. Let’s review some practical Turkish phrases for business meetings!

  • Toplantı (“Meeting”)
  • Toplantı ne zaman? (“When is the meeting?”)
  • Toplantı nerede? (“Where is the meeting?”)
  • Toplantı hangi odada? (“In which room is the meeting?”)
  • Toplantı ne kadar sürer? (“How long will the meeting take?”)
  • Herkes buradaysa, toplantıya başlayalım. (“If everyone is here, let’s start the meeting.”)
  • Başka fikri olan var mı? (“Does anybody have any other ideas?”)
  • Size katılıyorum. (“I agree with you.”)
  • Ne yazık ki size katılmıyorum. (“Unfortunately, I don’t agree with you.”)
  • Herhangi bir önerisi olan var mı? (“Does anybody have any suggestions?”)
  • Sanırım bir sonraki konuya geçebiliriz. (“I think we can move on to the next topic.”)
  • Çok verimli bir toplantı oldu. (“It was a very productive meeting.”)
Business Meeting

5. Taking Care of Business Communications

Communication is an essential element of business. In this section, we’ll look at phrases you can use in Turkish business emails and over the phone.

Emails or letters

Nowadays, electronic correspondence is often used in place of traditional business letters. However, there are still situations where letters are sent out to public authorities or other businesses.

Anyhow, whether you’re writing a Turkish business letter or an email, there will be a:

Salutation Sentence

  • Sayın Yetkili (“To whom it may concern”)
  • Sayın Pam Carlton (“Dear Pam Carlton”)
  • P&G Satın Alma Müdürlüğü’ne (“To the Purchasing Manager of P&G”)
  • Merhaba Mehmet Bey (“Hello, Mr. Mehmet”) * 
  • Bay Johnson merhaba (“Hello, Mr. Johnson”) **                   

(*) This is mostly used in email. Note that Mehmet is the person’s first name.

(**) This is mostly used in email. This time, the person’s last name is used.

Body and Conclusion of the Email

  • Parting words
    • Saygılarımla (“Sincerely yours”)
      Sevgiler (“Sincere/warm regards”)
      Selamlar (“Greetings” / “We salute you”) **
  • Name, last name, and signature

(*) This is informal.

(**) This is neither formal nor informal. It’s somewhere in-between.

Business calls

While audio conference tools are very popular these days, phone calls are still an active part of worklife in Turkey.

Alo (“Hello”) is the most popular way to answer the phone in Turkish. You can use it when talking to your colleagues, but a receptionist wouldn’t normally answer the phone that way. In Turkey, business receptionists would probably start by saying the company name, and then ask:

  • Size nasıl yardımcı olabilirim? (“How may I help you?”)

Here’s a possible answer:

  • Mehmet bey ile görüşmek istiyorum. (“I want to talk to Mr. Mehmet.”)

Or:

  • Beni muhasebe departmanına bağlayabilir misiniz? (“Can you connect me to the accounting department?”)

Business Calls

Here are a few more Turkish business phrases a receptionist might use:

  • Hatta kalın lütfen. (“Please stay on the line.”)
  • Sizi bir dakika bekleteceğim. (“I will have you wait for a minute.”)
  • Mehmet Bey’in hattı meşgul. (“Mr. Mehmet’s line is busy.”)
  • Mehmet Bey şu anda toplantıda. (“Mr. Mehmet is in a meeting now.”)
  • Herhangi bir mesajınız var mı? (“Do you have any messages?”)
  • Daha sonra tekrar arayabilir misiniz? (“Can you call again later?”)
  • Notunuzu ileteceğim. (“I will forward your note.”)

Want to be prepared for your next Turkish phone call? Check out our list of Useful Phrases for a Phone Call to learn more phrases and hear their pronunciation.

6. Going on a Business Trip

Here are a few phrases you can use when buying a ticket or checking in at a hotel:

  • Merhaba. 23 Nisan için İstanbul’a bir uçak bileti istiyorum. (“Hello. I want a flight ticket to Istanbul for April 23.”)
  • Cam kenarında bir koltuk istiyorum. (“I want a seat by the window.”)
  • Tek kişilik bir oda istiyorum. (“I want a single room.”)
  • Akşam yemeği saat kaçta? (“What time is dinner?”)
Business Trip

Prepare for your travels well in advance with our list of the Top 30 Travel Phrases You Should Know!

7. Learn More Words, Terms, and Phrases with TurkishClass101

By now, you’ve learned many Turkish business phrases that you can start practicing today. Do you think you’re ready to participate in a meeting or go through your job interview in Turkish? 

If you think you need more practice with Turkish phrases for business, visit TurkishClass101.com! We provide numerous audio recordings, tons of vocabulary lists, and free resources (including our Turkish-English dictionary), all of which you can refer to for detailed information about the Turkish language and culture.

Note that we also provide the Premium PLUS service MyTeacher, which allows you to practice with a private tutor. If you’re busy or prefer learning on your own time, you can download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

Happy Turkish learning, and good luck with your business endeavors!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Turkish

Want to Learn Turkish Online? YouTube is the Key.

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Learning a new language is a challenge, and let’s face it—it can be pretty boring at times.

Sitting at a table, buried in textbooks, trying to understand the finer points of grammar… This way of learning can be very difficult, especially for those who are auditory or visual learners. But did you know that you can balance out your learning experience and make it more fun? Just watch some videos! 

If you’re bored with the traditional way of learning Turkish, YouTube can make all the difference! Turkish YouTube videos will expose you to the language and culture, and help you learn grammar and vocabulary in a way that’s more fun and natural. In addition, watching videos is a great way to improve your listening comprehension skills.

Interested? In this article, we’ll present our picks for the top ten Turkish YouTube channels for learners. We’ve made sure to include channels in a variety of categories and levels, so you’re sure to find something that interests you!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Learn Turkish with Mehtap
  2. Yasin Durak
  3. Türkçe
  4. Ruhi Çenet
  5. Evrim Ağacı
  6. Netd Müzik
  7. Cem Yılmaz
  8. Mösyö Taha
  9. Nefis Yemek Tarifleri
  10. Learn Turkish with TurkishClass101.com on YouTube
  11. TurkishClass101 – A Single Resource for All!

1. Learn Turkish with Mehtap

Category: Language
Level: All levels

On this Turkish YouTube channel, Mehtap offers friendly and fun videos where she teaches viewers about the language and culture. But that’s not all! She also has a few videos about Turkish cuisine, so don’t miss out on the chance to get some recipes for delicious Turkish food. 

To give you an idea of what to expect, here’s a video from her channel:

While you learn Turkish online, YouTube channels like this one will help you reach fluency before you know it! Mehtap caters to all learner levels, so regardless of where you are on your language learning journey, she has some great content for you.

2. Yasin Durak

Category: Language
Level: Beginner & Intermediate

Yasin Durak teaches Turkish with simple examples, and he provides some of the best lessons about Turkish grammar on YouTube. What I like about his videos is that, when introducing new words, he repeats their pronunciation once or twice to make sure it’s clear. His videos are good for beginners and intermediate level learners.

You can watch the following video to get a better idea about Yasin Durak’s videos:

3. Türkçe

Category: Language
Level: Beginner

This channel is a little different from the others. While it provides the same type of Turkish lessons, the ones on this channel are offered in two different languages: Russian and English. This means that Russian speakers who don’t speak English can learn Turkish more easily.

Below is an A1 level video from the channel:

4. Ruhi Çenet

Category: Informative
Level: Advanced

Ruhi describes his channel as “The adventure of reading yourself, the world and the universe …”

He talks about a lot of different and interesting topics, usually offering a number of facts on a given topic. For example, he has videos about animal-built structures, an artificial sun, and facts about English people. This Turkish language YouTube channel covers so many different things that you’ll never get bored! 

Below is a sample video you can watch:

This channel will not only teach you new words, but also demonstrate how they’re used in context—perfect for the advanced learner! 

5. Evrim Ağacı

Category: Scientific
Level: Advanced

This is one of the largest, most visited, and most popular science channels in Turkey. There are a lot of videos, covering a range of topics. To give you an idea, here are some video titles that might draw your attention:

  • Ay Tutulmasına Dair Bilmeniz Gereken Her Şey! – “Everything You Need To Know About Lunar Eclipse!”
  • Hemofobi: İnsanları Neden Kan Tutar? Bazıları Kan Görünce Neden Bayılır? – “Hemophobia: Why Does Blood Affect People? Why Do Some People Pass out When Seeing Blood?”
  • Bakteri ve Virüs: Sizi Hasta Eden Hangisi? Aralarındaki Farklar Neler? – “Bacteria and Virus: Which One Makes You Sick? What are the Differences between Them?”
  • Houston Doğa Tarihi ve Bilim Müzesi’ne Bir Yolculuk! – “A Journey to the Houston Museum of Natural History and Science!”
  • NASA’nın Uzaylıların Görmesini İstediği 115 Fotoğraf! – “115 Photos NASA Wants Aliens to See!”

Here’s a sample video that you can refer to:

By keeping up with this channel, you’ll not only improve your Turkish, but also gain some general knowledge.

6. Netd Müzik

Category: Music
Level: Intermediate & Advanced

Ready to learn Turkish and jam out to popular Turkish songs? YouTube channel Netd Müzik is the official broadcasting platform of music video clips in a variety of genres, from Turkish pop music to alternative music. These videos are provided from contracted music production companies.

This channel is very popular, with about 17 million followers. It’s not hard to see why: You can find music videos from both new singers and old favorites (like superstars Ajda Pekkan and Tarkan).

Here’s a video clip of Tarkan to cheer you up and give you an idea of the platform’s offerings:

Who knows? After a while, you may be able to sing a couple of lines from a Turkish song for your friends!

7. Cem Yılmaz

Category: Comedy
Level: Advanced

Cem Yılmaz is one of the most popular comedians in Turkey. This is his official YouTube channel, where he shares up-to-date posts about his ideas and art. There are also videos of his stand-up shows.

Advanced learners can gain insight into what makes Turkish people laugh, learn more vocabulary, and improve their listening skills. And best of all, your Turkish jokes may just bring down the house one day; I wouldn’t be surprised! 

Below is a sample video of Cem Yılmaz. You can see for yourself that watching his videos is a fun way to improve your Turkish: 

8. Mösyö Taha

Category: Entertainment
Level: Intermediate & Advanced

If you’re a Potterhead (for those who don’t know: a true Harry Potter fan), Mösyö Taha has your name written all over it. He has a good-sized Harry Potter collection, which he shares in his videos. On his channel, you can also expect:

  • Concert clips featuring Harry Potter music
  • Contests related to Harry Potter
  • Videos about the films’ locations
  • Other interesting Harry Potter-related videos

Here’s a sample video that you might find interesting: 

9. Nefis Yemek Tarifleri

Category: Food
Level: Intermediate & Advanced

This Turkish cooking YouTube channel is also very popular, with followers from all over the world. Each video shares practical, easy, and delicious recipes from Turkey (and the world). 

You can gain a lot of insight into Turkish culture through these videos, as well. Turkish cuisine is largely influenced by the Ottoman Empire, and every region in Turkey has different culinary traditions. 

Let’s have a look at one of the videos, and see which recipe they shared with us:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYyP0vwkV4g

If your meal planning has been getting dull, you now know where to find tons of yummy recipes while improving your Turkish. You can even impress your friends by inviting them over for a Turkish meal! 

 10. Learn Turkish with TurkishClass101.com on YouTube

Category: Language
Level: All levels

The TurkishClass101 YouTube channel is the best, quickest, simplest, and most fun way to learn Turkish. We offer quite a number of videos designed to help you benefit from all the methods of learning Turkish.

We teach you grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, and help you build your listening comprehension, writing, and speaking skills. We even introduce you to Turkish culture and traditions!

Here’s a sample video that will give you an idea of what you’ll find on our channel:

Make sure to bookmark our channel for later! You’ll be amazed with all the progress you make.

11. TurkishClass101 – A Single Resource for All!

In this article, I presented you with the best YouTube channels for learning Turkish and having fun at the same time. I hope you enjoyed sampling the different channel flavors, from comedy to scientific information.

When you set out to learn Turkish, YouTube is undoubtedly a very useful and effective tool. What’s more? It reinforces your learning and enhances your Turkish skills in a number of areas. 

However, don’t forget that TurkishClass101.com is a single resource that has all the tools you need to learn Turkish. We provide numerous audio recordings, tons of vocabulary lists, and free resources (such as our Turkish-English dictionary), to help you get a better grasp of Turkish. And in the event that you have questions or concerns, you can always contact us and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. 

Note that we also have a MyTeacher service for Premium PLUS members, which allows you to practice with a private teacher.

Finally, you can download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

Which of these YouTube channels are you most excited to check out, and why? Are there any good ones we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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How to Say Goodbye in Turkish

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Do you think first impressions matter? I think they definitely do! Never underestimate the power of a friendly hello and a sincere goodbye! 

In one of our previous articles, we covered different ways of saying hello in Turkish. Now, let’s move forward and discuss how to give the perfect Turkish goodbye in any situation. Like in any other language, there are numerous ways to say goodbye in Turkish, and the one you use depends on the context.

In this article, we’ll teach you many different ways to say goodbye in Turkish so you can leave a good impression. We’ll start with the most common ones! Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE!(Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. The Most Common Ways of Saying Goodbye in Turkish
  2. More Specific Ways to Say Goodbye
  3. Gestures Used to Say Goodbye in Turkey
  4. Practice Your Turkish Language Goodbyes with TurkishClass101!

1. The Most Common Ways of Saying Goodbye in Turkish

Most Common Goodbyes

In Turkish, there are both formal and informal ways of saying goodbye. In the following sections, we’ll show you the most common ones in each category so you can be sure you’re using the best Turkish word for goodbye in any situation!

A- Informal 

You can use the following Turkish goodbye phrases with friends, family, and other people you’re close to.

TurkishEnglishTips
Baybay.“Bye-bye.”This is the easiest one, and it can save you in a pinch if you forget the other ones.
Bay.“Bye.”This is usually used among teenagers.
Hoşçakal.“Goodbye.”Literally, it means “Stay pleasantly.”
Görüşürüz.“See you.”Literally, it means “We see each other.”
Sonra görüşürüz.“See you later.”Literally, it means “We see each other later.”
Kendine iyi bak.“Take care.”The exact meaning is “Take care of yourself.”

B- Formal 

You can use these expressions when saying goodbye to older people or people you don’t know very well. 

TurkishEnglishTips
Hoşçakalın.“Goodbye.”Literally, it means “Stay pleasantly.”
Görüşmek üzere.“See you.”Literally, it means “Hope to see you.”
Tekrar görüşmek üzere.“See you again.”Literally, it means “Hope to see you again.”
Kendinize iyi bakın.“Take care.”Literally, it means “Take care of yourself.”

2. More Specific Ways to Say Goodbye

Now, let’s look at how to say goodbye in Turkish when a generic phrase just won’t do. 

A- Bye until ___. / See you ___.

Here are some useful phrases to use when you know you’ll be seeing the person again: 

Turkish (Informal)Turkish (Formal)English
Şimdilik hoşçakal.Şimdilik hoşçakalın.“Bye for now.”
Perşembe görüşürüz.Perşembe görüşmek üzere.“See you on Thursday.”
Haftaya görüşmek üzere.Haftaya görüşmek üzere.“See you next week.”
Salıya dek hoşçakal.Salıya dek hoşçakalın.“Bye until Tuesday.”
Cumaya kadar hoşçakal.Cumaya kadar hoşçakalın.“Bye until Friday.”

B- When someone is traveling

Bye and Have Fun

When you’re seeing someone off, it’s always nice to wish them well during their travels. 

Turkish (Informal)Turkish (Formal)English
İyi yolculuklar.İyi yolculuklar.“Have a good trip.”
Güle güle git, güle güle gel.Güle güle gidin, güle güle gelin.The literal translation is “Go by laughing, come by laughing.”
Yolun açık olsun.Yolunuz açık olsun.“May your way be open.”
Allah’a emanet ol.Allah’a emanet olun.“May Allah be with you.”

C- Saying goodbye on the phone

When you’re ending a phone call, you can use any of these phrases to say goodbye, regardless of how formal or informal the situation is:

  • İyi günler. (“Have a good day.” / Literally: “Good days”)
  • İyi akşamlar. (“Have a good evening.” / Literally: “Good evenings”)
  • İyi geceler. (“Goodnight.” / Literally: “Good nights”)

Keep in mind that these phrases aren’t limited to phone calls; you can also use them when saying goodbye in other situations.

And here are two phrases you can only use in informal situations:

  • Öptüm. (“I kissed you.”)
  • Öpüyorum. (“I kiss you.”)

D- Saying goodbye forever 

If you’re saying goodbye to someone you may never see again, there are a few ways you can wish them well for the last time:

  • Elveda. (“Farewell.”)
  • Yolun açık olsun. (“May your way be open.”)
  • Allah’a emanet ol. (“May Allah be with you.”)

E- When you have to leave

If you have to head off somewhere, but someone else is staying behind, you can use this phrase:

If you’ve been invited to someone’s home and it’s time to leave, you can say goodbye with one of these phrases:

  • Bize de bekleriz. (“Visit us, too.” / Literally: “We wait for you to our place as well.”)
  • Bize de buyrun. (“Visit us, too.” / Literally: “We wait for you to our place as well.”)

F- When someone else is leaving

If you’re seeing someone off, you can say: 

  • Güle güle. (“Goodbye.”)

If someone has visited you at your house, and they need to leave now, you can say:

  • Yine bekleriz. (“Come again.” / Literally: “We wait for you again.”)

G- Other situations

When someone is going on vacation or leaving for a holiday, you can say:

  • İyi tatiller. (“Have a good vacation.”)

When someone is going to a social event such as a party, a concert, or a movie, you can say:

  • İyi eğlenceler. (“Have fun.”)

When you, or the person you’re talking to, is going to bed, you can say:

  • İyi geceler. (“Goodnight.” / Literally: “good nights”)
  • İyi uykular. (“Sleep well.” / Literally: “good sleeps”)
  • Allah rahatlık versin. (“Goodnight.” / Literally: “May Allah give you comfort.”)
Goodnight Kiss

When saying goodbye in the Turkish language, don’t forget to throw in some slang if you’re with friends! 

  • Kaçmam lazım. (“I have to run.” / Literally: “I have to escape.”)
  • Ben çıktım. (“I’m leaving.” / Literally: “I’m out.”)
  • Ben gittim. (“I’m gone.” / Literally: “I went.”)

We covered a lot of words and phrases! To hear and practice their pronunciation, please refer to the audio recordings in our “Goodbye in Turkish” vocabulary list. 

3. Gestures Used to Say Goodbye in Turkey

In most cultures, people have certain gestures they use when saying goodbye, and Turkey is no different

There are many gestures that you’re likely familiar with already: 

  • Waving to a friend or family member
  • Blowing a kiss to someone you’re close to
  • Giving someone you’re close to a kiss on the cheek or a hug 
  • Shaking hands with people you don’t know well
Handshake

But there are quite a few gestures that are unique to Turkey!

For example, in Turkish culture, it’s completely normal for men to kiss each other on the cheeks when greeting or saying goodbye. To better illustrate why this is so important, let me share one of my memories with you: 

I was living in the U.S., and my parents came to visit me. I had a Turkish friend whose husband was American, and my parents and I got together with them many times. After a while, my dad kissed this gentleman on the cheeks when seeing them off, thinking that they were becoming friends. Guess what? The next day, my friend’s husband kindly asked me to tell my dad not to kiss him again. Although he was familiar with Turkish culture, this parting gesture was very bothersome for him. Of course, we respected his opinion and my dad shook hands with him from then on. If you experience something similar while in Turkey, don’t be surprised!

Another gesture that’s common in Turkey, but not in the U.S., is to kiss someone’s hand and then put that person’s hand on your own forehead. This is done as a symbol of respect when you’re saying hello or goodbye to older people. Some people might prefer not to kiss the hand, and will instead put the hand on their chin and then on their forehead.

Kissing His Hand

4. Practice Your Turkish Language Goodbyes with TurkishClass101!

After reading all of this information on how to say goodbye in Turkish, will you be able to say “goodbye” to me once you reach the end of this article? (I’m sure you can do it!)

If you think you still need to practice your goodbyes, though, you can explore TurkishClass101.com for relevant lessons and materials. And don’t forget our premium MyTeacher program, which allows you to practice one-on-one with a private teacher. 

Is that all? Of course not! TurkishClass101 also has tons of vocabulary lists and other free resources (like this Turkish-English dictionary) to help you get a better grasp of Turkish.

And better still, you can download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

Last but not least, please continue to provide us with feedback about all of the resources provided at TurkishClass101.com!

Hoşçakalın, görüşmek üzere…

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Is Turkish Hard to Learn?

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Any time we set out to learn something new—whether it be cooking, sewing, ballet, or biology—it intimidates us. Not knowing what we’ll face makes us worry. Furthermore, we question our ability to learn that specific thing because we’ve never done it before. These same concerns pop up when someone starts learning another language. 

But is Turkish hard to learn? Or is it easier than you think? 

The answer is simple: It might be different from the languages you know and speak, but it’s not difficult.

Yes or No

Yes, it will take some time and effort to learn Turkish, but as we all know, nobody becomes an expert right away. 

In this article, we’ll show you the easy parts of Turkish and help you understand the more challenging parts. This way, you’ll know what areas to really focus on when studying. TurkishClass101 will help you eliminate any prejudice you may have about the Turkish language and answer the question “How easy is Turkish to learn?”

Now, let’s start by talking about the easy features of Turkish.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Turkish Table of Contents
  1. What Makes Turkish Easy to Learn?
  2. So What Makes Turkish Hard to Learn?
  3. How to Start Learning Turkish
  4. TurkishClass101 is Awesome for Learning Turkish!
  5. Utilize TurkishClass101 to Learn Turkish Today!

1. What Makes Turkish Easy to Learn?

Turkish uses the Latin alphabet, which gives most learners an advantage because more than 6000 languages worldwide use the Latin-based alphabet. There might be additional letters (or even missing letters) compared to other Latin-based languages, but still, it’s not like you’ll need to rediscover America! You’ll just need to learn how the letters sound.

Great news for those who aren’t familiar with genders or gender-related conjugations: Turkish doesn’t have any grammatical gender. That’s one less thing to worry about! 

Can you guess what else you won’t have to worry about? The article “the” doesn’t exist in Turkish. This means you don’t have to do anything special for nouns that function as subjects in a sentence. However, if a sentence has a noun that functions as an object, it will require a suffix:

  • “The notebook is in my bag.” (Defter çantamın içinde.

“Notebook” is used without an article in Turkish.

  • “I put the notebook in my bag.” (Defteri çantamın içine koydum.)

Here, “notebook” takes the suffix “i” in Turkish to indicate the article “the,” which is not a separate word in Turkish.

Let’s continue with another convenience. There are no accents in Turkish as there are in some languages (like French), so you won’t have to constantly ask yourself whether the accent is to the left or to the right! We only use the circumflex for loanwords, which is not a big deal!

The convenience doesn’t end there: Turkish also has a flexible word order. Turkish does use the SOV (Subject-Object-Verb) order, which is different from English, but you don’t need to use this order all the time. For example, you can put an object or a verb at the beginning of a sentence without changing its meaning; you’ll only be changing which word is emphasized. Therefore, changing the word order a little bit isn’t usually a problem. However, you have to place the suffixes correctly when you change the order of the words.

Here are some pairs of sentences which are all correct despite having a different word order. 

  • Ne yapacaksın bugün? – “What will you do today?”
  • Bugün ne yapacaksın? – “What will you do today?”
  • Buraya gel! – “Come here!”
  • Gel buraya! – “Come here!”
  • Bugün çok yorgunum. – “I’m very tired today.”
  • Çok yorgunum bugün. – “I’m very tired today.”

2. So What Makes Turkish Hard to Learn?

Whenever a student asks me why Turkish is hard to learn, I always tell them that the question needs to be rephrased: “Is Turkish hard to learn?” I try to break the prejudices first. Then, I answer by letting them know that while there will be challenges, the language itself is not hard. 

That said, let’s look at some characteristics that make Turkish difficult to learn for foreigners.

Suffixes and vowel harmony

Suffixes are one of the most challenging aspects of the language for new Turkish-learners, because these suffixes don’t exist in most other languages.

Suffixes are added;

  • based on the person/subject that a verb alludes to.
  • if the subject is plural.
  • when definite nouns or pronouns are used as an object. Then, they take the “-ı, -i, -u, -ü” suffixes based on the vowel harmony rules.
  • when using possessive pronouns, because there aren’t separate words for them in Turkish. However, the “-m, -ım, -im, -um,-üm” suffixes (in conjugated forms) come after the pronoun to make it possessive.
  • based on the tenses.
  • when negativity is used.
  • when interrogative particles are used.

Once you learn when to use suffixes, the rules for their application, and the vowel harmony, it won’t seem nearly as difficult as it does now.

The pronunciation of letters that don’t exist in English

There are six letters in the Turkish alphabet that don’t exist in English: -ç, -ğ, -ı, -ö, -ş, -ü.

Pronunciation

The letter ç, which is the “ch” sound in English (as in “challenge” or “chair”), and the letter ş, which is the “sh” sound in English (as in “shell” or “shame”) are usually pronounced correctly. However, new learners often struggle with the other four.

  • ğ is pronounced like the “ou” syllable in the words “ounce” and “our.” 
  • ı is pronounced like the second “o” in the word “color.”
  • ö is pronounced like the “u” in the word “turn.”
  • ü is pronounced like the “u” in the word “pure.”

Practicing the pronunciation of words that contain these letters will help you overcome any initial difficulties you might have with them.

Conjugation

Conjugation can make Turkish difficult when you first start studying the language. However, as you learn the rules and practice, you’ll be much less intimidated by it.

You need to know the factors that affect verb conjugation in Turkish, which are:

  • Person / Subject
  • Number of subject (singular or plural)
  • Politeness level
  • Tense

You should also note that there are passive voice, causative verbs (verbs formed by adding the causative suffix after the verb root), reflexive verbs, and a verb of mutual action in addition to verb conjugation.

3. How to Start Learning Turkish

Have you decided Turkish isn’t so bad after all? Here are some tips from TurkishClass101.com on how to get started with your Turkish studies! 

Alphabet

I’d recommend starting with the alphabet. As I mentioned earlier, not only do some of the letters look different, but they’re also pronounced differently. Make sure to learn how the consonants and vowels sound. Then, additional effort may be required to learn how the letters that don’t exist in your mother tongue are pronounced.

Vocabulary

Learning vocabulary is also essential. You need to start building up your vocabulary (nouns, adjectives, verbs), so once you start learning basic grammar, you can start applying the vocabulary you’ve learned.

Vocabulary

You can expand your vocabulary by reading and listening. Make sure to write down the words you don’t know, and always use a dictionary. You can also make flashcards to help you remember words and their meanings. Remember that you need to repeat and use a word many times to memorize it.

Basic Grammar

Once that’s out of the way, start learning basic grammar so you can start making sentences. It might be a good idea to start with pronouns, then word order, sentence structure, and conjugation.

Practice

Finally, you need to put together all you’ve learned and put it to practice. I put “practice” at the end, but that doesn’t mean you have to learn everything before you start practicing. You have to practice as you go, and don’t shy away from making mistakes. On the contrary, be bold and use every opportunity to use the new things you’ve learned:

  • You should listen to Turkish radio channels and Turkish music. This will help expand your vocabulary, improve your pronunciation, and give you better overall language comprehension.
  • You should read Turkish blogs, articles, and books. This will expand your vocabulary even further and improve your comprehension.
  • You should watch Turkish TV shows or videos to improve your vocabulary, pronunciation, and language comprehension.
  • Try practicing with native Turkish-speakers whenever possible, as they can help point out and correct your mistakes. This will definitely boost your speaking ability! 

4. TurkishClass101 is Awesome for Learning Turkish!

Would you like to learn and practice Turkish in the quickest, easiest, and most fun way? If yes, all you need to do is visit TurkishClass101.com.

TurkishClass101

Here are some fantastic benefits you can expect when you sign up:

All-in-one resource

Our website teaches you everything you need to know about Turkish and gives you endless opportunities to practice. It teaches you grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, and helps you build your listening, writing, reading, and speaking skills. We even teach you about the country’s culture!

Free resources

TurkishClass101.com has many free resources you can use. 

Here, you can learn the Turkish language basics, practice your Turkish pronunciation, and study the entire Turkish alphabet. Furthermore, you can learn about Turkish grammar, memorize the 100 Most Common Words, and master a few Key Turkish Phrases.

To learn more vocabulary, you get free access to our themed vocabulary lists, receive a word of the day, and can utilize our Turkish-English dictionary

Premium services

There’s also MyTeacher, a Premium PLUS service of TurkishClass101 that you can use to practice with a private teacher.

This service provides:

  • One-on-one interaction with your personal teacher
  • Guidance and ongoing assessment 
  • Weekly assignments 
  • Constructive feedback
  • Badges for the assignments you complete

Mobility when learning

Don’t fall behind! Keep learning Turkish wherever you are, and never let you location be a barrier in your language-learning. 

How? Download the app for free and use it anywhere, anytime.

Mobile App

5. Utilize TurkishClass101 to Learn Turkish Today! 

Now you know the easiest and the most challenging parts of learning Turkish! We’ve given you advice on where to start and how to facilitate your learning with TurkishClass101.

Don’t lose any time; check out TurkishClass101 and utilize all of the resources mentioned above. Also, make sure to provide us with feedback about your experience with TurkishClass101!

Before you go, we’re curious: Do you find the Turkish language easy or hard so far? Let us know in the comments, and feel free to ask any questions you still have!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Turkish

Common Mistakes in Learning Turkish

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Making mistakes while learning a language is inevitable. Every language has its own unique linguistic features such as phonology, grammar, and vocabulary to take into account. In addition, the habit of comparing the new language to one’s mother tongue can impact one’s use of the new language and lead to mistakes.

I Shouldn’t Have Made This Mistake!

In this article, we’ll talk about the most common Turkish mistakes that learners make when speaking, writing, and listening! We’ll cover a range of common Turkish grammar mistakes and mistakes in pronunciation and spelling, so that you can better avoid them.

Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Pronunciation Mistakes
  2. Word Order Mistakes
  3. Grammar Mistakes
  4. Other Common Mistakes
  5. How to Avoid Making Mistakes in Turkish
  6. Avoid Mistakes in Turkish with the Help of TurkishClass101

1. Pronunciation Mistakes

In Turkish, words are read the way they’re written and written the way they’re read. However, there are a lot of words that come from other languages, and in most cases, their pronunciation is different from the Turkish words’ pronunciation.

We can categorize the most common pronunciation mistakes for Turkish learners as follows:

1. Mispronunciation of the letters that don’t exist in English

2. Mispronunciation of words with a circumflex

3. Tones and intonation

Man Trying to Pronounce Words

A- Mispronunciation of the letters that don’t exist in English

As you’ll recall, the Turkish alphabet consists of 29 letters, six of which don’t exist in English: 

The letter ç, which is the “ch” sound in the English words “chin” or “chimney,” and the letter ş, which is the “sh” sound in the English words “shock” or “shout,” are usually pronounced correctly. However, the other four are troublesome, for sure.

Turkish learners usually have a tendency to:

  • Pronounce ğ like a “g”

However, it’s supposed to be pronounced like the “ou” syllable in the words “ouch” or “out.” Actually, it just elongates the preceding vowel. 

It should be noted that no words in Turkish start with a ğ. Take, for example: ağ (“network”), yağmur (“rain”).

  •  Pronounce ı like an “i”

It should be pronounced like the second “o” in the word “color,” or like the “e” in the word “cooker.” Remember that when you pronounce this letter like an “i,” it will impact the meaning of the word. For example:

Ilım (“Moderation”)

İlim (“Science”)

  • Pronounce ö like an “o”

It should be pronounced like the “i” in the word “bird,” or like the “u” in the word “curtain.” When you pronounce this letter like an “o,” it will impact the meaning of the word. For example:

Ön (“Front”)

On (“Ten”)

  • Pronounce ü like a “u”

It should be pronounced like the “u” in the words “pure” and “mute.” When you pronounce this letter like a “u,” it will change the meaning of the word. For example:

Üç (“Three”)

(“Edge”)

B- Mispronunciation of words with a circumflex

The circumflex is a diacritic sign written above a letter that affects the pronunciation of a word. It’s used in loanwords.

A letter with a circumflex above it is pronounced differently than the same letter without a circumflex. It implies a longer pronunciation of the letter or the palletization of the consonant that comes before it.

Mispronouncing words with a circumflex is one of the most common pronunciation mistakes for Turkish learners.

Here are some words that contain a circumflex and what they mean if they’re pronounced incorrectly:

  • “Hâlâ” is an Arabic word that means “still” or “yet.” The circumflex here makes the “a” longer and performs the palletization of the letter “l.” Pronouncing the word without the circumflex would make it sound like the word hala, which is a Turkish word meaning “sister of father.” Although they’re spelled the same way except for the circumflex, they’re pronounced differently.
  • “Kâr” is a Persian word that means “profit.” The circumflex performs the same actions as in the previous word. Pronouncing this word without the circumflex would make it sound like the word kar, which means “snow.” Even though they’re spelled the same way except for the circumflex, they’re pronounced differently.
  • “Âmâ” is an Arabic word that means “blind.” The circumflex here makes both the first and last “a” longer. Pronouncing this word without the circumflex would make it sound like the word ama, which means “but.” As seen in the example, although they’re spelled the same way except for the circumflex, these two words are pronounced differently.

C- Tones and intonation

Tones are used to express certain feelings, such as excitement, fear, anger, and hope. Depending on the emotion we want to express, we pronounce the letters or words in a hard, soft, short, or long way, or with a low or high pitch.

Intonation puts an emphasis on the syllables or words that we want to highlight. 

How a person uses tones and intonation is likely to be influenced by that speaker’s mother tongue. 

Foreigners usually…

  • …put an emphasis on the last letter of one-syllable words. However, there’s no intonation on one-syllable words in Turkish.
  • …don’t use intonation on the last syllable if the word consists of multiple syllables. However, the intonation is usually on the last syllable if the word is made up of multiple syllables, except for two-syllable names of places and intensive adjectives, such as: İzmir [name of a city in Turkey] and Kapkara [“Coal-black”] where the intonation is on the first syllable.
  • …get confused when a word gets a suffix. In Turkish, a suffix gets the intonation of the last syllable.

When it comes to sentences, you need to keep in mind that:

  • In simple sentences, verbs are stressed. (Ex: Ben geliyorum. – “I’m coming.”)
  • In more complex sentences, the word that’s before the verb is usually stressed. (Ex: İşten şimdi geldim. – “I just came from work.”)

Here are some other tips for you:

  • In Turkish, in order to emphasize a word, you can change the place of an object with a subject (or vice-versa).
  • As you’ll recall, the suffixes that verbs take imply the personal pronoun already, so you don’t have to use them in sentences unless you want to emphasize the pronoun.
  • You can also elongate a certain word in a sentence to stress it.

2. Word Order Mistakes

When learning Turkish, foreigners whose mother tongue uses the SVO (Subject-Verb-Object) word order usually put the verb after the subject in Turkish. However, the typical Turkish word order is SOV (Subject-Object-Verb), which means that the subject precedes the object, and the object precedes the verb. Furthermore, suffixes will always be at the end, agglutinated to the words.

To avoid this kind of error in Turkish, you also need to keep the following in mind:

  • Turkish personal pronouns are usually omitted since the suffix of a verb implies the pronoun already.
  • Some of the time-related words become adverbs of time when grouped together with other words. These adverbs are located at the beginning of a sentence unless a subject is used in that sentence. (Ex: Sabaha kadar dans ettik. – “We danced until the morning.”)

Turkish word order is more flexible than that of English! For example, you can put an object or a verb at the beginning of a sentence in Turkish. It won’t change the meaning, but the word you’re stressing will definitely change. You can use this flexibility once you’re more comfortable with Turkish, but not in the early stages of your learning.

3. Grammar Mistakes

Common Turkish grammar mistakes tend to fall under these categories:

  • Suffixes
  • Tenses
  • Conjugation

A- Suffixes

Suffixes are one of the most problematic topics for Turkish learners, since they don’t exist in most other languages. Knowing which suffix to use is not sufficient if you want to use it correctly. You also have to know the vowel harmony rules to choose the right vowels in the suffixes.

The most common mistakes in learning Turkish suffixes are made…

  • …when adding a suffix to a verb based on the person/subject it alludes to.
  • …when determining the suffix required for a singular vs. plural subject.
  • …when using the definite article “the” (because there isn’t a separate word for it in the Turkish language). When definite nouns or pronouns are used as an object, they take the “-ı, -i, -u, -ü” suffixes based on the vowel harmony rules.
  • …when using possessive pronouns (because there aren’t separate words for them in Turkish). However, the “-m, -ım, -im, -um,-üm” suffixes (in conjugated forms) come after the pronoun to make it possessive.

Turkish learners find it even more complicated to make a negative or interrogative sentence. Here are some common Turkish mistakes in these areas:

Incorrect usageCorrect usageWhat it means in English
İyiyim değil.İyi değilim.“I’m not well.”
Yok değil.Var.“There is/are.”
Geliyor değilim.Gelmiyorum.“I’m not coming.”
Gidiyorsun mu?Gidiyor musun?“Are you going?”

B- Tenses

Foreigners learning Turkish also find tenses very confusing. This is because verbs get:

  • suffixes according to the tense
  • suffixes based on the plural subject
  • suffixes according to the personal pronoun
  • sometimes buffers

When negativity or interrogation is added, it gets even more complicated. Forming a negative sentence requires that another suffix is added to the verb. To make a question, interrogative particles get personal suffixes and are written separately.

There’s one more thing concerning tenses that really trips learners up: the “reported past tense,” which doesn’t exist in most other languages.

Reported past tense is used for past events that we haven’t witnessed ourselves, but heard about from someone else. It’s also used when we’re not completely sure whether a specific event has taken place or not. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Babam iki kez ABD’ye gitmiş. (“My father has gone to the USA twice.”)
  • Ödevlerini yapmamışlar. (“They haven’t done their homework.”)

Unfortunately, most foreigners refuse to use this tense because it doesn’t make much sense to them. They insist on using the definite past tense instead of this tense, even if they haven’t witnessed what they’re talking about.

C- Conjugation

The factors that affect verb conjugation in Turkish are:

  • Person/subject
  • Number
  • Politeness level
  • Tense

We’ve covered all of these factors above, except for the politeness level. In Turkish, we use the plural “you” both as it’s used in English, and also as a formal way of addressing someone. The polite “you” follows the same rules as the plural “you” in Turkish.

Most foreigners tend not to use the polite “you.”

Woman Pointing Her Finger at Someone

Keep in mind that, in addition to verb conjugation, there are also passive voice, causative verbs (verbs formed by adding the causative suffix after the verb root), reflexive verbs, and verbs of mutual action.

Let’s see some examples of them:

Correct usageIncorrect usageWhat it means in EnglishNote
YerilmekYerelmek“To be criticized”This is an example of passive voice. Foreigners usually conjugate the word yermek (“to criticize”) incorrectly.
Çıkarmak (yukarı)Çıktırmak“To make someone go up”This is a causative case. Foreigners usually conjugate the word çıkmak (“to go up,” “to climb”) incorrectly.
YormakYordurmak“To make someone tired” 
GöstermekGördürmek“To show”This is an irregular causative case where the word görmek (“to see”) is conjugated.
Birbirine vermekVerişmek“To give each other”There aren’t any verbs of mutual action for the verb vermek (“to give”). However, foreigners have a tendency to conjugate it, which is not correct.

4. Other Common Mistakes

Here are a few more common Turkish mistakes that learners tend to make! 

A- More pronunciation mistakes

The “h” sound can lead to pronunciation problems, because “h” in the middle or at the end of a word is pronounced in Turkish (unlike in English). For example, Mehmet, which is a name, is pronounced as “Mehhh-met,” not “Me-met.”

Also remember that the Turkish “c” is pronounced as “j” or “g” in English. It’s not pronounced like the “c” in “cereal.” For example, Can, which is a name, is pronounced as “John.”

B- Words that need to be written separately

Interrogative particles, which are used to form “yes-or-no” questions, are written separately in Turkish even though they don’t mean anything when used alone. Even native speakers sometimes make this mistake in Turkish!

C- The words de and da, which mean “also,” need to be written separately as well. De and da are also used as the prepositions “at” and “in,” in which case, they’re supposed to be written together with the word. The suffixes -de and -da are often confused with the words de and da.

Here are some examples:

  • Bu gece annemde kalacağım. (“I am going to stay at my mom’s tonight.”)
  • Bu gece annem de kalacak. (“My mother will also stay tonight.”)
  • Kitabın benim çantamda. (“Your book is in my bag.”)
  • Telefonun da benim çantamda. (“Your phone is also in my bag.”)
Yes and No Questions

D- Words even Turkish people pronounce incorrectly

 Here are some words that even Turkish people can’t pronounce correctly! 

Correct pronunciationMeaning of the wordIncorrect pronunciation
Aferin“Good job,” “Well done”Aferim
Arabesk“Arabesque”Arabeks
Bağırsak“Intestine”Barsak
Bıçak“Knife”Pıçak
Ekşi“Sour”Eşki
Herkes“Everybody”Herkez
İddia“Bet”İddaa
Kibrit“Match”Kirbit
Pasaj“Passage”Paşaz
Sürpriz“Surprise”Süpriz
Şarj“Charge”Şarz
Şemsiye“Umbrella”Şemşiye
Tuvalet“Toilet”Tualet
Yalnız“Alone”Yanlız
Yanlış“Wrong”Yalnış

5. How to Avoid Making Mistakes in Turkish

Wondering how you can avoid making an embarrassing mistake in Turkish? Here are a few pointers! 

1. Forget about your native language.

Your mother tongue will have an impact on your Turkish, from grammar habits to phonology. Therefore, you need to put your native language on the shelf for a while. Otherwise, your habits of using your own language will lead to mistakes in Turkish. After a while, you’ll be able to handle both languages separately, but until then, you should forget about your native language.

2. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.

Every one of us makes mistakes in different areas of life. Those mistakes help us learn not to make more mistakes. There’s an anonymous quote that I saw on the internet. I liked it a lot and wanted to share with you: “A mistake should be your teacher, not your attacker. A mistake is a lesson, not a loss. It is a temporary, necessary detour, not a dead end.”      

Remember this quote and don’t be afraid of speaking Turkish. No one will judge you if you make mistakes. On the contrary, they’ll appreciate your courage. Even if you make mistakes in Turkish, those mistakes will help you avoid making more mistakes in the future.

Don’t Tape Your Mouth!

3. Use every opportunity to speak with native Turkish speakers.

There’s always a lot to learn from native speakers, so you should try practicing with Turkish people whenever possible. This way, you can also learn idioms and slang! Native speakers can also show you your mistakes and tell you how to correct them.

4. Be determined.

Don’t let the mistakes you make discourage you. Learning a new language isn’t easy. It requires time. The beginning stages can be tough. But if you don’t give up, you’ll see that it’s possible to learn the language and use it well! 

6. Avoid Mistakes in Turkish with the Help of TurkishClass101

After learning about all of these common Turkish mistakes, do you still feel that Turkish is difficult? I don’t think so. I’m sure that these tips will help you stay away from those mistakes, and that as you make fewer mistakes, you’ll get the prejudice that it’s difficult out of your mind.

Visit TurkishClass101.com and check out our numerous audio recordings, themed vocabulary lists, and free resources (including a handy dictionary you can refer to), in order to get a better grasp of Turkish.

Don’t forget that there’s also MyTeacher, a Premium service of TurkishClass101 that you can use to practice with a private teacher.

What’s more? You can download the app for free and use it wherever you are!

Last but not least, please continue to provide us with feedback about all the resources provided at TurkishClass101.

Before you go, let us know in the comments which Turkish mistakes you struggle with the most!

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Using Turkish Questions and Answers is a Piece of Cake Now!

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Questions are everywhere! We ask questions when shopping, when having a conversation with a friend, when we interview someone, and when we’re at school, work, or a restaurant.

Where is the Hospital?

Questions become even more critical when you’re in a foreign country. While in Turkey, you might need to ask for the time, or where a certain place is, like a hospital or restroom. You might also find yourself in a position where you need to ask permission to do something.

Knowing how to ask basic questions in the Turkish language, and understanding the Turkish question patterns, is essential if you want your needs fulfilled faster. You should also be able to answer simple questions easily and express yourself in a clear manner.

In this article, you’ll learn the Turkish question words and how to make questions in Turkish. You’ll see that forming questions in Turkish is easier than you thought!

Let’s start with how to say “question” in Turkish:

  • Soru (“Question”)
  • Cevap / Yanıt (“Answer”)

Keep in mind that there are both “regular” questions that use Turkish question words and yes-no questions in Turkish, like in English. Now, let’s see how these two types of questions in Turkish are used.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Regular Questions in Turkish
  2. Yes-No Questions in Turkish
  3. What Can You Ask?
  4. Practice Turkish Questions and Answers with TurkishClass101!

1. Regular Questions in Turkish

Regular questions are those we ask using “what,” “when,” “where,” “how,” “why,” and other types of question words.

Below is a table of the Turkish question words that are commonly used:

#TurkishEnglish
1Ne?“What?”
2Kim?“Who?”
3Kimi?“Whom?”
4Kime?“To whom?”
5Kimin?“Whose?”
6Hangi?“Which?”
7Hangisi?“Which one?”
8Ne zaman?“When?”
9Nerede?“Where?”
10Nereden?“From where?”
11Nereye?“To where?”
12Ne kadar?“How much?” / How long?”
13Kaç tane?“How many?”
14Nasıl?“How?”
15Niçin? / Neden?“Why?”

2. Yes-No Questions in Turkish

Yes-no questions are formed by using interrogative particles (-mı,-mi, -mu, -mü, and their conjugated forms). They’re placed at the end of a sentence right after the verb. Although they don’t mean anything on their own, they’re still used as separate words. Here are a few examples of yes-no Turkish questions:

  • Bugün üzgün müsün? (“Are you sad today?”)
  • Yarın hastaneye gidecek misin? (“Will you go to the hospital tomorrow?”)
  • Okul bugün başladı ? (“Did school start today?”)

3. What Can You Ask?

Life is full of questions, as we mentioned earlier. Who knows how many questions we ask in a day? Of course, it’s not possible to cover all of the questions in the Turkish language, or any language for that matter.

A Woman Questioning and Wondering about Things

Below, we’ve categorized the most common Turkish questions and answers, based on the types of situations they’re used in.

Please note that all of the questions and answers covered here use the second singular person (informal “you”).

1. General Information

The chart below will outline what you should know for asking questions in Turkish about more general information.

#Question in TurkishAnswer in TurkishQuestion in EnglishAnswer in English
1Bu ne? / Ne bu? / Bu nedir? / Nedir bu?Bu bir kamera.“What is this?”“This is a camera.”
2Bu kim? / Kim bu?Bu benim kuzenim.“Who is this?”“This is my cousin.”
3Postane nerede?Caddenin sonunda.“Where is the post office?”“At the end of the street.”
4Saat kaç? / Saatin kaç?Saat beşi on geçiyor.“What time is it?”“It’s ten past five.”
5Yarın hava nasıl?Yağmurlu olacak.“How is the weather tomorrow?”“It will be rainy.”
6Bu havlu kaç para? / Bu havlu ne kadar?On beş Lira“How much is this towel?”“Fifteen Liras.”
7İzmir Ankara’dan ne kadar uzakta?Yaklaşık 600 km.“How far is İzmir from Ankara?” “Approximately 600 km.”
8Sana yardım edebilir miyim? / Sana yardımcı olabilir miyim?Evet, lütfen.
Hayır, teşekkürler.
“Can I help you?” “Yes, please.”
“No, thanks.”
9Bana yardım edebilir misin? / Bana yardımcı olabilir misin?Tabi.
Yok, kusura bakma; gitmem lazım.
“Can you help me?” “Sure.”
“No offense; I have to go.”

2. Personal Information

First Encounter

The following Turkish questions and answers will help you exchange personal information in Turkey:

#Question in TurkishAnswer in TurkishQuestion in EnglishAnswer in English
1Adın ne? / İsmin ne?Adım Mary.
İsmim Mary.
“What is your name?”“My name is Mary.”
2Kaç yaşındasın?Otuz yaşındayım.“How old are you?” “I’m thirty years old.”
3Nerelisin? / Neredensin?Amerikalıyım.“Where are you from?” “I’m from the USA.”
4Nerede yaşıyorsun? / Nerede oturuyorsun?San Diego’da yaşıyorum.
San Diego’da oturuyorum.
“Where do you live?” “I live in San Diego.”
5Hobilerin neler?Seyahat etmek ve yüzmek.
Seyahat etmeyi ve yüzmeyi severim.
“What are your hobbies?” “To travel and to swim.”
“I like traveling and swimming.”
6Evli misin?Evet, evliyim.
Hayır, değilim.
“Are you married?” “Yes, I’m married.”
“No, I’m not.”
7Çocuğun var mı?Evet, 1 tane var.
Hayır, yok.
“Do you have a kid?”“Yes, I have one.”
“No, I don’t.”
8Kardeşlerin var mı?Evet, 3 kardeşim var.
Hayır, yok.
“Do you have siblings?”“Yes, I have three siblings.”
“No, I don’t.”
9İngilizce biliyor musun? / İngilizce konuşuyor musun?Evet, biraz.
Maalesef hayır.
“Do you speak English?”“Yes, a little bit.”
“Unfortunately, no.”

3. School-Related Questions

Aa Question Mark Drawn on a Chalkboard

The examples below will guide you in how to ask questions in Turkish about topics related to school.

#Question in TurkishAnswer in TurkishQuestion in EnglishAnswer in English
1Öğrenci misin?Evet, öğrenciyim.
Hayır, değilim.
“Are you a student?” “Yes, I’m a student.”
“No, I’m not.”
2Kaçıncı sınıftasın? / Kaçıncı sınıfa gidiyorsun?7. sınıftayım.
7. sınıfa gidiyorum.
“What grade are you in?” “I’m in seventh grade.”
3Hangi üniversitede okuyorsun?San Diego Üniversitesi’nde okuyorum.“In which university are you studying?” “I’m studying at the University of San Diego.”
4Okulun nerede?  San Diego’da.“Where is your school?”“In San Diego.”
5En sevdiğin ders ne?Tarih.“What is your favorite class?” “History.”
6Ne zaman mezun olacaksın?2 yıl sonra.
2 yıl var daha.
“When will you graduate?” “In two years.”
“In more than two years.”
7Mezun olunca ne olacaksın?Arkeolog.“What will you be when you graduate?” “An archaeologist.”
8Matematiği seviyor musun?Evet, seviyorum.
Hayır, hiç sevmem.
“Do you like math?” “Yes, I like it.”
“No, I don’t like it at all.”
9Ödevini yaptın mı? / Ev ödevini yaptın mı?Evet, yaptım.
Hayır, henüz yapmadım.
“Did you do your homework?”“Yes, I did.”
“No, not yet.”

4. Business-Related Questions

Business Associates Sitting at a Circular Table Together

Here are some Turkish questions and answers you can use when carrying out conversations relevant to business: 

#Question in TurkishAnswer in TurkishQuestion in EnglishAnswer in English
1Mesleğin ne?Endüstri mühendisiyim.“What is your profession?” “I’m an industrial engineer.”
2Ne okudun?Mühendislik okudum.“What did you study?” “I studied engineering.”
3Hangi dilleri biliyorsun? / Hangi dilleri konuşuyorsun?Sadece İngilizce biliyorum.“Which languages do you speak?” “I only speak English.”
4Hangi üniversitede okudun?Stanford’da.“Which university did you graduate from?” “Stanford.”
5Daha önce nerede çalıştın?Dole’da çalıştım.“Where did you work before?” “I worked at Dole.”
6___ olarak ne kadar çalıştın?___ olarak 5 yıl çalıştım.“How long have you worked as a ___?” “I have worked as a ___ for five years.”
73 yıl içinde kendini nerede görüyorsun?3 yıl içinde kendimi Üretim Departmanının yöneticisi olarak görüyorum.“Where do you see yourself in three years?” “I see myself as the manager of the Production Department in three years.”
8Özgeçmişin var mı? / CV’in var mı?Evet, var.
Hayır, yok.
“Do you have a CV?” “Yes, I do.”
“No, I don’t.”
9___ konusunda tecrübeli misin? / ___ konusunda deneyimli misin?Evet, tecrübeliyim.
Hayır deneyimli değilim.
“Are you experienced in ___?”“Yes, I’m experienced.”
“No, I’m not experienced.”

5. What if You Need Clarification or More Explanation?

A Woman Struggling to Understand What a Man Is Saying

The following questions in Turkish and their answers can help you get clarity if you didn’t quite understand something you’ve just heard.

#Question in TurkishAnswer in TurkishQuestion in EnglishAnswer in English
1Tekrarlayabilir misin lütfen?Tabi.
Elbette.
“Can you repeat please?” “Sure.”
“Of course.”
2Yavaş konuşabilir misin lütfen?Tabi.
Elbette.
“Can you speak slowly please?” “Sure.”
“Of course.”
3Tekrar anlatabilir misin lütfen?Olur.
Hayır, anlatamam.
“Can you explain it again please?” “Alright.”
“No, I can’t.”
4Benim için yazabilir misin lütfen?Tabi.
Elbette.
“Can you write it down for me please?” “Sure.”
“Of course.”
5Pardon?You can repeat what you said as an answer to this question.“Excuse me?” You can repeat what you said as an answer to this question.
6Bu gerçek mi? / Gerçek mi bu?Evet, gerçek.
Yok, hayır, şaka.
“Is that true?” “Yes, it’s true.”
“No, it’s not; it’s a joke.”
7Bu doğru mu? / Doğru mu bu?Evet, doğru.
Hayır, yanlış.
“Is that correct?” “Yes, it’s correct.”
“No, it’s wrong.”
8Bu yanlış mı? / Yanlış mı bu?Evet, yanlış.
Hayır, doğru.
“Is that wrong?” “Yes, it’s wrong.”
“No, it’s correct.”
9Türkçe de “___” nasıl dersin?“Türkçe’de “___” denir.“How do you say ‘___’ in Turkish?” “It’s said ‘___’ in Turkish.”

4. Practice Turkish Questions and Answers with TurkishClass101!

Wow, you’ve really gone over a lot of info today!

We started with how to say “question” in Turkish and then went on to learn the Turkish question words and the most common Turkish questions and answers. But there’s still so much more to learn. To practice, you can visit TurkishClass101.com and take advantage of our numerous audio recordings, vocabulary lists, dictionary entries, and other free resources.

Don’t forget that you can also use MyTeacher, a Premium service of TurkishClass101 that allows you to practice with a private teacher.

What’s more? You can download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

As usual, we’d be happy to hear your feedback about your experience with the services offered at TurkishClass101! And don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments section with any questions you have about today’s lesson. 

Happy learning! 

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