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How Fast Can You Learn Turkish?

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Learning a new language is a process that requires time and effort; it can’t be completed overnight. 

As an aspiring Turkish learner, you’re likely wondering at this point: Okay, so how long does it take to learn Turkish? 

I can understand why you want to know the length of your learning journey in advance. This information can help you decide whether to take the plunge or not, make plans, and get prepared for your upcoming studies. 

But you know what? There’s no formula where you can plug in a few variables and calculate the time right away! It’s not that simple. 

However, there are a few factors that can be taken into consideration.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Factors That Affect Your Language Learning Progress
  2. Proficiency Levels
  3. Useful Tools to Help You Learn Turkish Effectively
  4. Learn Turkish Online with TurkishClass101!
  5. Utilize TurkishClass101 to Learn Turkish the Easy Way!

Factors That Affect Your Language Learning Progress

A number of factors are involved in determining how long it takes to learn Turkish. Following is a breakdown of each one and how it will affect your ability to learn the Turkish language. 

Your Reason for Learning 

The first thing you need to do is determine your reason for learning Turkish. 

Will you use it for managing a business relationship or for social conversations? Will you be writing academic papers in Turkish or do you need it to search for information on the internet? Or maybe you need it because you’ll be traveling or studying in Turkey? 

Your objective will determine the proficiency level you need to achieve, which in turn will tell you how long you’ll need to study. 

In addition, your goal can clue you in on how to use your time. If there’s some urgency to attain a certain level of Turkish, you have to plan accordingly and be more systematic. If there’s no urgency, you can extend your studies over a longer period of time. 

Your Learning Environment

What are your learning methods? What resource(s) are you using? Are you attending a college course, seeing a private tutor, or learning online? And how intensive are your courses? 

These are all factors that can speed up or slow down your progress! 

Your Native Language

If your native language is structured very differently from Turkish in terms of alphabet/script, grammar, phonology, syntax, etc., it will take longer for you to learn Turkish. 

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the United States has categorized all world languages into four groups, according to their linguistic and/or cultural differences from English. Category I languages are the easiest for English speakers to pick up, while Category IV languages are the most difficult. Turkish is considered a Category III language. To give you an idea, a few other languages in this category include: 

  • Bulgarian
  • Czech
  • Finnish
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hungarian
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Tagalog

Now, how long does it take to learn the Turkish language based on the estimations of the FSI? They’ve estimated that it takes 44 weeks or 1100 hours to reach a professional working level in Category III languages.

Your Previous Language Learning Experience

If you have prior language learning experience or were raised bilingual, it will take you less time to learn a new language. This is because you’ve been down that road before. You already know the best methods for studying, memorizing vocabulary, and practicing your skills, so you’ll find the process much easier than a monolingual would. 

Your Capability and Talent

I think we have to accept that some people are more talented at learning new languages than others. Those who have natural ability or are inclined to learn new languages are definitely at an advantage.

A Speedometer Reading 0 MPH

Learning pace

Proficiency Levels

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR or CEFRL) is the international standard for determining one’s proficiency level in a language. It has six levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2.

Let’s take a look at these levels and go over what you can accomplish in Turkish at each stage.

Beginner Level

The beginner stage encompasses levels A1 and A2 of the CEFR scale, and it’s also referred to as the “Basic User” level. 

Once you complete the beginner level:

  • You can carry out daily conversations and perform tasks such as introducing yourself, shopping, asking and answering simple questions, and meeting your urgent requirements.
  • You will know some basic nouns, adjectives, and verbs.

To get a better idea of what you’ll be learning as you approach this level, check out the beginner lesson 5 Sentence Patterns for Beginners on TurkishClass101.com. 

100-120 hours of study will be required to reach this level. Flashcards will be useful at this stage.

You can take the A1 or A2 TOMER test at Istanbul University or Anadolu University in order to prove your proficiency. 

Intermediate Level

CEFR refers to this stage as “Independent User,” which consists of the B1 and B2 levels. 

Once you complete the intermediate level:

  • You can (to a certain degree) speak and understand Turkish, read newspapers and articles in Turkish, and even think in Turkish.
  • You will know even more vocabulary, including pronouns, adverbs, and conjunction words.
  • You will also be familiar with some of the tenses used in Turkish. 

Are you curious what intermediate-level lessons will look like? Then head over to our lesson 25 Must-Know Intermediate Phrases!

450-490 hours will be required to get to this level. Talking with native speakers, reading Turkish content, and watching Turkish television shows will be very helpful in getting to this stage.

You can test for the B1 or B2 level through TOMER at Istanbul University or Anadolu University. You can also get B2-level certification if you take and pass the TYS (Türkçe Yeterlik Sınavı) / TPE (Turkish Proficiency Exam).

A Certificate of Achievement Paper

Advanced Level

CEFR refers to this stage as “Proficient User” and it consists of the C1 and C2 levels. 

Once you complete the advanced level:

  • You can carry out deeper conversations about culture, science, art, literature, and politics. 
  • You can engage in more complex situations, such as trade or business-related exchanges. 

To get an idea of what you’re dealing with at this point in your learning journey, have a look at our lesson 25 Must-Know Advanced Phrases

1000-1100 hours will be required to get to this level. In addition to watching, listening to, and reading Turkish content, being able to live or study in Turkey for a while will help you attain this level of fluency much faster.

You can get C1 and C2 certification if you take and pass the TYS (Türkçe Yeterlik Sınavı) / TPE (Turkish Proficiency Exam).

A Woman Thinking in Front of a Blackboard with Thought Bubbles Drawn in Chalk

Useful Tools to Help You Learn Turkish Effectively

Now that you have a better idea of how long it takes to learn the Turkish language, you can start preparing yourself accordingly. To give you a headstart, here are a few tips on how to study Turkish for the best results. 

  • Schools and private lessons. 

    These are two of the best and quickest ways to learn Turkish. However, both are quite expensive and offer little (if any) flexibility timewise.
  • Learning on your own

    If traditional classes are not a practical option for you, you might be wondering how to learn Turkish by yourself. While the idea may seem daunting, there are plenty of effective ways to learn from home!

    For example, you can learn Turkish online (oftentimes, for free). TurkishClass101 is a great resource you can use, but we’ll talk more about us later. 😉
  • Real-life application. 

    Whichever path you take, the most important thing is to put together and apply everything you’ve learned. You can do this by…

    …reading Turkish blogs, articles, books, and newspapers.
    …listening to Turkish radio channels or podcasts.
    …watching TV shows, videos, and movies in Turkish.
    speakers

    Of course, you should also consider moving to Turkey and living there for a while. This will help you improve in all aspects of your learning!
A Man Reading at a Cafe

Just a reminder: Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Be brave and try to use the things you’ve learned.

Learn Turkish Online with TurkishClass101!

Would you like to learn Turkish online in a fun and effective way? If yes, all you need to do is visit TurkishClass101.com and create your free lifetime account. 

So, what great resources do we offer our learners? How can we benefit your studies? 

A Single Resource for All

TurkishClass101.com provides lessons and other learning materials that cover all aspects of the Turkish language, for learners at every level. You can find tons of written, audio, and video materials covering Turkish grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, as well as exercises to improve your listening, writing, and speaking skills. We also have plenty of lessons about Turkish culture, so you can get the full experience! 

Free Resources

Many of the resources we offer are free, and they’re a great place to start if you need to pick up the Turkish-language basics. Here are just a few examples of what you can expect from our free content: 

We also have numerous vocabulary lists, a Word of the Day feature, and a Turkish dictionary to help you build up your vocabulary base! 

Premium and Premium PLUS Services

Upgrading to a Premium account will give you access to even more content not accessible with a basic account. While this upgrade isn’t necessary to learn the language or use our site, it will help you learn more efficiently with a broader range of resources. 

To speed up your progress and further enhance your learning, you can upgrade to Premium PLUS. The most notable feature of this subscription is our MyTeacher service, which allows you to study and practice with a private teacher. 

This service will also give you: 

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

Learn On the Go 

Location is no longer a roadblock in your Turkish studies! With today’s technology, you can continue learning wherever you are. Download the free InnovativeLanguage101 app and use it anywhere, anytime.

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Utilize TurkishClass101 to Learn Turkish the Easy Way!

In this article, we answered the question: How fast can you learn Turkish? We also guided you concerning the best ways to learn Turkish both online and offline, so that you can make the most of your study time. 

Don’t lose any more time—start utilizing all of the resources TurkishClass101.com has to offer. 

Already a member? Feel free to leave us feedback on your experiences so we can continue to get better, and make your learning journey even more enjoyable. 

Before you go: How likely are you to start learning Turkish after reading this article? Is there anything still holding you back? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish

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!

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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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Turkish Keyboard: How to Install and Type in Turkish

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You asked, so we provided—easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up your electronic devices to write in Turkish! We’ll also give you a few excellent tips on how to use this keyboard, as well as some online and app alternatives if you prefer not to set up a Turkish keyboard.

Log in to Download Your Free Turkish Alphabet Worksheet Table of Contents
  1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Turkish
  2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Turkish
  3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer
  4. How to Change the Language Settings to Turkish on Your Computer
  5. Activating the Turkish Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet
  6. Turkish Keyboard Typing Tips
  7. How to Practice Typing Turkish

1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Turkish

A keyboard

Learning a new language is made so much easier when you’re able to read and write/type it. This way, you will:

  • Get the most out of any dictionary and Turkish language apps on your devices
  • Expand your ability to find Turkish websites and use the various search engines
  • Be able to communicate much better online with your Turkish teachers and friends, and look super cool in the process! 

2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Turkish

A phone charging on a dock

It takes only a few steps to set up any of your devices to read and type in Turkish. It’s super-easy on your mobile phone and tablet, and a simple process on your computer.

On your computer, you’ll first activate the onscreen keyboard to work with. You’ll only be using your mouse or touchpad/pointer for this keyboard. Then, you’ll need to change the language setting to Turkish, so all text will appear in Turkish. You could also opt to use online keyboards instead. Read on for the links!

On your mobile devices, it’s even easier—you only have to change the keyboard. We also provide a few alternatives in the form of online keyboards and downloadable apps.

3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer

1- Mac

1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Check the option “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in Menu Bar.”

3. You’ll see a new icon on the right side of the main bar; click on it and select “Show Keyboard Viewer.”

A screenshot of the keyboard viewer screen

2- Windows

1. Go to Start > Settings > Easy Access > Keyboard.

2. Turn on the option for “Onscreen Keyboard.”

3- Online Keyboards

If you don’t want to activate your computer’s onscreen keyboard, you also have the option to use online keyboards. Here are some good options:

4- Add-ons of Extensions for Browsers

Instead of an online keyboard, you could also choose to download a Google extension to your browser for a language input tool. The Google Input Tools extension allows users to use input tools in Chrome web pages, for example.

4. How to Change the Language Settings to Turkish on Your Computer

Man looking at his computer

Now that you’re all set to work with an onscreen keyboard on your computer, it’s time to download the Turkish language pack for your operating system of choice:

  • Windows 8 (and higher)
  • Windows 7
  • Mac (OS X and higher)

1- Windows 8 (and higher)

  1. Go to “Settings” > “Change PC Settings” > “Time & Language” > “Region & Language.”
  2. Click on “Add a Language” and select “Turkish.” This will add it to your list of languages. It will appear as Turkish with the note “language pack available.”
  3. Click on “Turkish” > “Options” > “Download.” It’ll take a few minutes to download and install the language pack.
  4. As a keyboard layout, you’ll only need the one marked as “Turkish Q Keyboard.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts.

2- Windows 7

  1. Go to “Start” > “Control Panel” > “Clock, Language, and Region.”
  2. On the “Region and Language” option, click on “Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods.”
  3. On the “Keyboards and Languages” tab, click on “Change Keyboards” > “Add” > “Turkish”.
  4. Expand the option of “Turkish” and then expand the option “Keyboard.” Select the keyboard layout marked as “Turkish Q Keyboard.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts. Click “OK” and then “Apply.”

3- Mac (OS X and higher)

If you can’t see the language listed, please make sure to select the right option from System Preferences > Language and Region

1. From the Apple Menu (top left corner of the screen) go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Click the Input Sources tab and a list of available keyboards and input methods will appear.

3. Click on the plus button, select “Turkish,” and add the “Turkish – QWERTY PC” keyboard.

Adding a system language

5. Activating the Turkish Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet

Texting and searching in Turkish will greatly help you master the language! Adding a Turkish keyboard on your mobile phone and/or tablet is super-easy.

You could also opt to download an app instead of adding a keyboard. Read on for our suggestions.

Below are the instructions for both iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets.

1- iOS

1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

2. Tap “Keyboards” and then “Add New Keyboard.”

3. Select “Turkish” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by tapping and holding on the icon to reveal the keyboard language menu.

2- Android

1. Go to Settings > General Management > Language and Input > On-screen Keyboard (or “Virtual Keyboard” on some devices) > Samsung Keyboard.

2. Tap “Language and Types” or “ + Select Input Languages” depending on the device and then “MANAGE INPUT LANGUAGES” if available.

3. Select “Turkish” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by swiping the space bar.

3- Applications for Mobile Phones

If you don’t want to add a keyboard on your mobile phone or tablet, this is a good app to consider:

6. Turkish Keyboard Typing Tips

Typing in Turkish can be very challenging at first! Therefore, we added here a few useful tips to make it easier to use your Turkish keyboard.

A man typing on a computer

1- Computer

  • Remember that the capital form of the letter “i” is “İ” and the lower case form of “I” is “ı.”
  • The letters with dots and lines over them aren’t accentised letters, but different letters entirely. They all have seperate keys on the keyboard.
  • There are two widely used Turkish keyboard layouts that are identified by the letter on the upper left corner, which are Q and F keyboards. F keyboards are mosty in decline but they are still listed in settings.
  • “@” can be typed by pressing “AltGR” and “Q” together.

2- Mobile Phones

  • Most of the letters that have dots or lines on them can be typed by pressing the letter that resembles them until the other options appear, and then choosing from the alternatives. (E.g. Keeping your finger on “g” to type “ğ” or “s” to type “ş.”)
  • Some native speakers ignore the Turkish letters while typing from their phones. This can lead to misunderstandings.

7. How to Practice Typing Turkish

As you probably know by now, learning Turkish is all about practice, practice, and more practice! Strengthen your Turkish typing skills by writing comments on any of our lesson pages, and our teacher will answer. If you’re a TurkishClass101 Premium PLUS member, you can directly text our teacher via the My Teacher app—use your Turkish keyboard to do this!

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Learn How to Talk About Your Family in Turkish

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Did you know that only some reptiles and birds don’t parent their offspring? Except for crocodiles, all reptiles (and one family of bird species called megapodes) hatch from eggs and grow up alone, without any family.

The rest of us need family if we are to survive and thrive – humans and animals alike!

At TurkishClass101, we know how important family is. Therefore, we take care to teach you all the important vocabulary and phrases pertaining to family.

Table of Contents

  1. Why Is It Important to Know Turkish Vocabulary about Family?
  2. Learn a New Culture? Learn its Family Vocab first
  3. How TurkishClass101 Can Help You Learn Turkish Family Terms

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1. Why Is It Important to Know Turkish Vocabulary about Family?

Lioness with Cub

Well, if you’re serious about studying any new language, then learning about the most important social unit in Turkish culture would be a crucial part of your education.

What is family, though? Strictly speaking, it’s a group of people who live together and are supposed to take care of one another. Some of them are genetically linked.

Family isn’t just about who we’re related to by blood, of course. It’s also one of the main influences in shaping every child’s life.

Family is Important for Children’s Healthy Development

Phrases Parents Say

Family is the single most important influence in a child’s life. Children depend on parents and family to protect them and provide for their needs from the day they were born.

Primary caregivers, which usually comprise parents and family, form a child’s first relationships. They are a child’s first teachers and are role models that show kids how to act and experience the world around them.

By nurturing and teaching children during their early years, families play an important role in making sure children are ready to learn when they enter school.

Families Can Take All Shapes and Sizes

However, the way families are put together is by no means standard.

Mom and Daughter

Single-parent and same-gender households have become a new norm the past few decades, and there’s no shame in this. When there is love, connection and proper care, a child can thrive anywhere.

Everyone also knows that sometimes friends can become like family and remain with us for life, because it’s all about human connection.

After all, we share many commonalities simply because we’re human, and we are programmed to connect with one another and belong to a group. This is very important for our well-being and survival.

It’s All About Feeling Connected

As John Northman, a psychologist from Buffalo, NY, told WebMD – feeling connected to others contributes to mental as well as physical health.

He pointed out that when people feel connected, they feel better physically, and they’re also less likely to feel depressed.

Couples Chatting

Or, if they do feel depressed, they’d be in a better position to get out of it when they feel they are connecting with others. This is because they would be psychologically supported too, Northman said.

There has even been some links drawn between addiction and feeling disconnected from others. According to an article in Psychology Today, research indicates that addiction is not solely a substance disorder, but also affected by people feeling insecurely attached to others.

It showed that securely attached individuals tend to feel comfortable in and enjoy life, while insecurely attached people typically struggle to fit in and connect.

2. Learn a New Culture? Learn its Family Vocab first

So, it’s clear that for most of us, family is our entry point into connection and belonging. This is true of every culture, so in every country, family takes prominence.

For this reason, TurkishClass101 offers culturally-relevant lessons that will equip you well to understand families in Turkey.

Here are some of the most important Turkish vocabulary and quotes about family and parenting!

A) Turkish Family Vocabulary

Let’s start with the basic vocabulary. Without this collection of words, you’ll have a hard time describing any member of your family at all.

Family Terms
Family
aile
Great grandfather
büyük büyükbaba
Mother
anne
Grandmother
büyük büyükanne
Father
baba
Grandfather
dede
Wife
Grandchild
torun
Husband
koca
Granddaughter
kız torun
Parent
ebeveyn
Grandson
erkek torun
Child
çocuk
Aunt
teyze
Daughter
kız
Uncle
amca
Sister
kız kardeşler
Niece
yeğen
Brother
erkek kardeş
Nephew
yeğen
Younger sister
kız kardeş
Younger brother
erkek kardeş
Older brother
ağabey
Great grandmother
büyük büyükanne
Cousin
kuzen
Mother-in-law
kayınvalide
Father-in-law
kayınpeder
Sister-in-law
baldız
Brother-in-law
kayınbirader
Partner

Family of Three

B) Quotes About Family

Turkish Family Quotes

One of the ways to improve your Turkish language skills is by memorizing quotes from books, or poems.

Either source some from Turkish literature, or make use of ours!

Aileni seçemezsin. Onlar Tanrı’nın sana hediyeleridir; tıpkı senin onlara olduğun gibi.

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” – Desmond Tutu

Aile önemli bir şey değildir. O, her şeydir.

“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” – Michael J. Fox

Aile demek kimsenin geride kalmaması veya unutulmaması demektir.

“Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” – David Ogden Stiers

Ailem benim hem gücüm hem zayıf noktam.

“My family is my strength and my weakness.” – Aishwarya Rai

Aile doğanın başyapıtlarından biridir.

“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.” – George Santayana

Bela gelince, sizi destekleyen ailenizdir.

“When trouble comes, it’s your family that supports you.” – Guy Lafleur

Insan toplumunun ilk temel hücresi ailedir.

“The family is the first essential cell of human society.” – Pope John XXIII

Tüm aile için eğlenceli bir şey yoktur.

“There is no such thing as fun for the whole family.” – Jerry Seinfeld

Onurunu savunmak zorundasın. Ve aileni de.

“You have to defend your honor. And your family.” – Suzanne Vega

Bütün mutlu aileler birbirine benzer; mutsuz her aile kendine göre mutsuzdur.

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” – Leo Tolstoy

C) Test Your Knowledge!

Do you feel you have learned a lot in this blog? Let’s quickly test that!

In the table below, match the Turkish vocabulary on the left with the definition of the relative in the right column.

MY RELATIVES
Relative Name Definition
1. aile a. My male child
2. anne b. My older male sibling
3. baba c. My female sibling
4. eş d. My child’s child
5. koca e. My child’s female child
6. ebeveyn f. My female parent
7. çocuk g. My grandparent’s mother
8. kız h. Mother to one of my parents
9. erkek evlat i. Relatives
10. kız kardeşler j. My female child
11. erkek kardeş k. My younger male sibling
12. kız kardeş l. Male spouse
13. erkek kardeş m. The father of one of my parents
14. ağabey n. My child’s male child
15. büyük büyükanne o. My children’s father or mother
16. büyük büyükbaba p. The sister of one of my parents
17. büyükanne q. The brother of one of my parents
18. dede r. My male parent
19. torun s. My sibling’s female child
20. kız torun t. My sibling’s male child
21. erkek torun u. My male sibling
22. teyze v. My parents’ sibling’s child
23. amca w. Female spouse
24. yeğen x. The grandfather of one of my parents
25. yeğen y. The person I am a parent to
26. kuzen z. My younger female sibling

How did it go? Don’t worry if you had trouble with it – you’ll get there! With a bit of practice, and our help at TurkishClass101, you’ll soon have these family terms under the belt.

Family Shopping

3. How TurkishClass101 Can Help You Learn Turkish Family Terms

We hope that we helped you expand your family in Turkish vocabulary!

TurkishClass101, with its innovative online learning system, stands out among online learning platforms to help you master Turkish easily.

Our lessons are tailored not only to increase your language skills, but to also inform you of Turkish culture, including the Turkish family structure.

When you sign up, you will get instant access to tools like:

1 – An extensive vocabulary list, regularly updated
2 – A new Turkish word to learn every day
3 – Quick access to the Turkish Key Phrase List
4 – A free Turkish online dictionary
5 – The excellent 100 Core Turkish Word List
6 – An almost limitless Lesson Library for learners of all levels

Further speed up your learning with the help of a personal tutor, who will first assess your current Turkish language abilities to personalize your training and tailor it to your needs.

Hard work always pays off, and to help you in this, TurkishClass101 will be there every step of the way toward your Turkish mastery!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Family Phrases in Turkish

Answers: 1.i. 2.f. 3.r. 4.w. 5.l. 6.o. 7.y. 8.j. 9.a. 10.c. 11.u. 12.z. 13.k. 14.b. 15.g 16.x. 17.h. 18.m. 19.d. 20.e. 21.n. 22.p. 23.q. 24.s. 25.t. 26.v.