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How to avoid 5 Common Mistakes made by Beginners Learning Turkish

Beginners Learning Turkish

For some, learning a new language seems to come naturally. For others the entire process feels more like a tooth and nail struggle. However if you’ve had a negative experience learning Turkish at one point and time, don’t let that discourage you from trying again.

The truth is that learning Turkish (or any language for that matter) is never easy, but it’s definitely possible. Sometimes the difference between success and failure has less to do with your abilities or talents, and a lot more to do with the way you look at things.

In this post we’re going to look at how to dodge 5 serious mistakes often made by students learning Turkish.

listen before you speak

1. Listen before you speak

Being slow to speak and quick to listen is good life advice whether or not you’re learning a foreign language. Effective listening is essential to communication. As a beginner there is a tendency to concentrate so much on what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it, that you can completely miss the meaning or heart of what the other person is trying to communicate.

Not only will this impair your ability to listen in Turkish, but it will also stall what little conversation you had going. Remember that conversations are a two way street. If you’re speaking more than listening then you actually have more of a monologue on your hands rather than a dialogue.

The inputs of language learning (listening and reading) are just as important as the outputs (speaking and writing). For a beginner inputs are even more crucial, as they are the main way you acquire new vocabulary. I’ll even go so far to say that for new students the best method for learning Turkish involves more listening than it does speaking. Though that may change with higher proficiency levels.

embarrassed

2. Don’t be embarrassed when you do speak

Our next mistake comes from the other side of the spectrum, where new Turkish learners are too scared or embarrassed to contribute to a conversation. The fear of making mistakes and embarrassing yourself can paralyze your Turkish learning.

It’s vital to remember that everyone makes mistakes. Even native Turkish speakers had to find their way through the language when they were children. Making mistakes while learning Turkish is inevitable, but it’s also a good thing. The faster you make mistakes, the quicker you can correct them and move on with your learning.

So instead of being afraid to make mistakes, try looking at them as steps toward progress. In reality that’s what they really are.

research

3. Don’t major on minors

If taken in all at once the Turkish language can feel like an overwhelming language to learn. It’s so easy get discouraged by all your little mistakes and conversational mishaps that you lose sight of the progress you’re making.

In addition to mistakes you’ll also come across plateaus, where you study and practice consistently but don’t see any results for a significant amount of time. But whether you face errors or plateaus remember that these things are minor obstacles on the road to fluency. The major obstacle is not to give up and stick with it.

If you stay persistent your mistakes will get corrected and your abilities will improve, but if you slow down or throw in the towel completely; then you will either subvert your progress in Turkish or nix it altogether. So remember that as long as you’re still studying and learning the language you can’t lose. It might feel like you’re losing for a little while, but hang in there.

A practical way to help you stay motivated is to make small weekly goals. Research shows that goal setting has a significant impact on learning. Try picking one aspect of Turkish grammar or a collection of new words or Turkish phrases to study for the next 7 days. At the end of the week check your progress and measure your success. Setting little benchmarks like this will give you a rightful sense of accomplishment.

4. Remember that immersion isn’t magical

A lot of people think that by moving to a foreign country they will learn the language by osmosis. But whether you learn Turkish abroad or at home you still need to study and practice the language. Living in Turkey gives you way more opportunities to do this than staying at home, but if you don’t consciously take advantage of these opportunities living abroad won’t benefit your language learning.

If you’re an expat living in a foreign country there is a natural inclination to hang around other expats. Learning a language and living in a foreign culture is hard and uncomfortable. For better or worse we’re often drawn to the easier road. If you made the decision to learn Turkish abroad then you want to hang out with Turkish speaking people as much as possible. You have the rest of your life to be with English speakers. This doesn’t mean ignore your expat friends. Just be sure that you’re giving proper attention to your language learning.

open minded

5. Be open minded

Languages are better lived than they are learned. When learning Turkish your English speaking brain will want to conform Turkish grammar and vocabulary to English norms and grammar rules. Ignore your brain on this one. At first you might feel completely wrong saying a Turkish sentence that is in fact correct.

After a certain point in language learning there is a switch that goes off, when your brain finally realizes that you’re not speaking English but another language altogether. This could take a while though, especially if Turkish is your first foreign language. Until then do what you know is right in Turkish even if it feels like you’re going against the grain.

The same goes for Turkish culture. Just as you want to open to the differences in the language, don’t forget to be open to the differences in the culture too.

Final thoughts

Turkish is a wonderfully beautiful language. I hope this post helped you shift your thinking and approach learning the Turkish language in a way that will help you become fluent faster. I also hope you’ll learn to enjoy the journey toward fluency and savor the language for its own sake (that’s probably the biggest language learning secret there is!).

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