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Basic Turkish Conversation Starters Guide

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It’s usually difficult to start a conversation no matter where you are and whom you are talking to. If you are speaking to someone you don’t know, this gets even more complicated. One step beyond that is starting a new conversation in a foreign language. Can you imagine trying to start a conversation with a stranger in another language? You might feel like you are at a dead end! Trust me; it’s not as scary as you might think, especially if you get certain tips from a native speaker.

I’m here to provide you with some examples of basic Turkish conversation starters you can use in different situations, as the sentences and questions you will use to start a conversation will differ depending on whether you are talking to someone you know or don’t know or where the conversation takes place.

Once you pull the other party into the conversation or find a common interest, then you can take the communication one step further; you get to know the other party more, socialize more, and deepen your relationships.

Afterward, you can start telling an anecdote or talking about memories, good or bad experiences, and making recommendations and compliments.

However, there are a few factors you need to take into consideration when using conversation starters. The first and the most important one is to avoid sensitive topics such as religion, race, and politics, especially when interacting with people you don’t know. Make sure not to offend anybody. The second one is to avoid “yes” and “no” questions as much as possible. If the person you are talking to is shy or not talkative, the conversation might end suddenly, and all your efforts might come to nothing. Last but not least, make sure to use your body language correctly. Don’t forget that body language is a strong tool to express or emphasize your feelings. A friendly smile might change everything.

[There is an article about “Body gestures”, which has not been posted yet at TurkishClas101. It can be referenced when it’s posted.]

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Starting a Conversation with New People
  2. Starting a Conversation with People We Know
  3. Conversation Starters for a First Date
  4. Conversation Starters to Reconnect with a Friend through Text or Email
  5. Turkish Conversation Starter Practice with TurkishClass101!

1.   Starting a Conversation with New People

I believe the best way to interact with people you don’t know is to ask for information or help. Let’s learn conversation starters in Turkish that you can use when you meet Turkish speaking people in different environments.

A- Conversation Starters at a New School

The first days at a new school are usually tough and stressful if you don’t know anyone around you. You need to relax because most probably you are not alone!

Actually, all you need to do is to pluck up the courage and set your eyes on someone who looks friendly and try to start a conversation by using the following Turkish conversation starter examples:

TurkishEnglish
Merhaba. Benim adım John. Ben okula yeni başladım. Senin adın ne?Hello. My name is John. I’ve just started school. What’s your name?
Bu sandalye boş mu? Oturabilir miyim? (*)Is this chair available? May I sit?
Kaçıncı sınıfa gidiyorsun?Which grade are you going to?
Affedersiniz, okulda yeniyim. Kütüphane nerede?Excuse me, I’m new at school. Where is the library?

(*): This is a yes/no question, but once you get the answer “yes” and sit next to the person you want to talk to, you will have a chance to make a friend.

May I Sit Here

B- Conversation Starters at a New Job

Business settings are more formal; therefore, people might feel tense during their first days at work. If you are a foreigner, you might be over cautious not to make a mistake and a bad first impression. However, working towards the same vision and mission might make the situation a little easier.

It might be a good idea to learn about Turkish business etiquette in advance to feel more comfortable in your professional relationships with others.

The weather and traffic are popular ice-breakers in Turkish. However, the following basic Turkish phrases will also give you more ideas to make small talk at work:

TurkishEnglish
Merhaba. Benim adım Mary. Bugün benim ilk iş günüm. Sizin adınız ne?Hello. My name is Mary. Today is my first day at work. What’s your name?
Hangi departmanda çalışıyorsunuz?Which department are you working at?
Ne kadar zamandır burada çalışıyorsunuz?How long have you been working here?
Affedersiniz, ben yeniyim. Kayboldum. Kafeteryanın yerini tarif edebilir misiniz?Excuse me, I’m new. I’m lost. Can you please tell me where the cafeteria is?

Conversation

C- Conversation Starters for Mingling and Socializing

If you are at a social gathering, you should have fun and enjoy every moment you are there. Don’t make a fuss about meeting new people. Take it easy, you can make small talk about simple things. Nobody is expecting you to talk about nuclear weapons, genetics, or any other serious topics. Don’t forget that others are also there to have a good time and relax!

Socializing

Below are some questions on how to start a conversation in Turkish that you can use when you want to socialize:

TurkishEnglish
Ev sahibini nereden tanıyorsunuz?How do you know the host?
Yediğiniz/içtiğiniz şey nedir? Güzel görünüyorWhat is it that you are eating/drinking? That looks good.
Çok trafik vardı. Buraya kolay gelebildiniz mi?There was a lot of traffic. Did you get here easily?
Ben biraz yiyecek alacağım. Bir şeye ihtiyacınız var mı?I’m going to get some food. Do you need anything?

2.   Starting a Conversation with People We Know

It’s easier to start a conversation with the people you know because at least you have a clue about who they are or what they do.

A- Conversation Starters at School

You can talk about school, classes, or just chit-chat if you already know the person you are talking to. Here are some ideas for you:

TurkishEnglish
Şimdi hangi dersin var?Which lesson do you have now?
Sabah hava çok yağmurlu idi. Buraya iki saatte ancak gelebildim. Senin buraya gelmen ne kadar sürdü?It was very rainy in the morning. I was able to get here in two hours. How long did it take for you to get here?
Öğle yemeğinde sana katılabilir miyim?May I join you for lunch?

B-  Conversation Starters at Work

Starting a conversation with a colleague you know requires less effort. The topics you talk about will depend on how close you are, or if you want to be with this person. If you are distant from him/her, you can pick work-related subjects. If you are closer or want to be closer, you can talk about things other than work. Below are some Turkish conversation starter examples:

TurkishEnglish
Proje için yardıma ihtiyacın var mı?Do you need help with the project?
İş çıkışı bir şeyler yapalım mı?Shall we do something after work?
Haftasonu ne yaptın?What did you do on the weekend?
Öğle yemeğini genellikle nerede yiyorsun?Where do you usually have your lunch?

C-  Conversation Starters for Mingling and Socializing

Mingling and socializing with the people you know should be a good opportunity to get to know them better. The following questions might give you an idea of what to ask.

TurkishEnglish
Yaz tatilinde nereye gittin?Where did you go on summer vacation?
Son görüşmemizden bu yana neler yaptın?What have you done since the last time we had met?
Yeni işin nasıl gidiyor?How’s your new job going?

3.   Conversation Starters for a First Date

Are you going on a date with someone for the first time? How exciting! This is a great opportunity for you to get to know them, their lifestyle, likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc. However, you should stay calm and try to be natural. You know, however, that there is a possibility of not knowing what to say next!

You can start by complimenting his/her appearance. Don’t forget that you are walking a fine line between sincerity and being disingenuous. Don’t give fake compliments, and don’t exaggerate! Remember the fact that the tone, mimics, and gestures you use when complimenting really matter!

You might want to take a look at our Turkish compliments article.

First Date

Here are some compliments and basic Turkish conversation starters you can use on your first date:

TurkishEnglish
Çok güzel görünüyorsun.You look very beautiful.
Çok şıksın.You are very chic.
Nerede büyüdün?Where did you grow up?
En sevdiğin renk/film/yemek ne?What’s your favorite color/movie/food?
En sevdiğin şarkıcı/aktör/aktris kim?Who’s your favorite singer/actor/actress?
Boş zamanlarında ne yaparsın?What do you do in your spare time?

You can go into more personal questions if you think you are a good match with him/her.

Bookmark this link for Turkish love phrases. Who knows, maybe you will need it after your first date!

4.   Conversation Starters to Reconnect with a Friend through Text or Email

It’s always good to reconnect with an old friend. As long as you are direct and show a willingness to catch up, you can start where you left off. Try some of these sincere phrases:

TurkishEnglish
Epeydir görüşemedik. Haftasonu buluşalım mı?We haven’t seen each other for a long time. Shall we meet at the weekend?
Görüşmeyeli neler oldu neler. En kısa zamanda görüşelim.A lot of things have happened during the time we have not seen each other. Let’s meet as soon as possible.
Seni çok özledim. Bir an önce buluşalım artık.I missed you very much. Let’s meet soon.
Sana mutlaka anlatmam gereken bir şey var. Yarın buluşalım mı?There’s something I must tell you. Shall we meet tomorrow?

Reconnect with a Friend

5.   Turkish Conversation Starter Practice with TurkishClass101!

Dear Turkish language learners, you have learned the basic Turkish conversation starters, and you now know how to start a conversation in Turkish. From now on, it will be easier for you to meet Turkish native speakers and keep your conversations going with your friends, colleagues, etc.

If you need more Turkish conversation starter examples and want to improve your Turkish language learning skills, then you should visit TurkishClass101, which has numerous audio recordings, tons of vocabulary lists, and free resources, including the dictionary you can refer to.

Don’t forget that there is also MyTeacher, which is the premium service of TurkishClass101 that you can use to practice with a private teacher.

Do you know what is also good about it? You can download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

Last but not the least, please continue to provide us feedback about all the resources we have to offer you at TurkishClass101!

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