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Lesson Transcript

Ece: Merhaba! Ben Ece!
Gina: And I’m Gina! Welcome back to TurkishClass101.com! This is Pronunciation Lesson 5, Common Turkish Pronunciation Mistakes.

Lesson focus

Ece: In this last lesson of the series, we’ll give you some hints to help you avoid mistakes with your Turkish pronunciation.
Gina: We’ll highlight some mistakes that Turkish learners often make while speaking.
Ece: It’s normal to want to speak the language perfectly right away, but don’t stress if it takes time. Making mistakes is how you learn!
Gina: So, the 1st one we’d like to mention is the stress and intonation.
Ece: If you are not sure of the perfect stress, don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it.
Gina: Be as straightforward as you can with the pronunciation of each word in a sentence, or each syllable of a word.
Ece: That way, it’s easier for the other party to understand you. Otherwise, they first have to collect and compose your stress and intonation so they can figure out what you’re saying.
Gina: Keep in mind that you’ll be fine as long as you don’t force the intonation, or use your native intonation heavily. Our 2nd suggestion is…
Ece: Don’t pronounce the sound of (H) from your throat.
Beginners do this mistake quite a lot. I guess it’s a force of habit from their native language, or an incorrect assumption that the Turkish (H) will be hard.
Gina: So simply don’t go with the extra impulse to pronounce H from your throat when you’re saying the Turkish (H). Can you give us an example, Ece?
Ece: Sure! The word for “Hello”, as you well know “Merhaba”. Some learners pronounce it as “Merhaba” (with a strong wheezed H). The correct pronunciation is a smooth “Merhaba” with no extra emphasis on “ha”.
Gina: Our 3rd suggestion is to avoid confusing vowels with and without dots.
Ece: Especially (I) and (İ). Even if you’ve mastered the alphabet, you may still have a tendency to read or pronounce the vowels ignoring the dots or associating their sounds with what you’re used to.
Gina: Learners may pronounce the vowels more open than they need to, or sometimes totally like a different vowel.
Ece: For example, it may feel a little difficult to make the sound (I), even though it exists in English too. When you say a word with an (I) in it, you may accidentally pronounce it with “İ” instead. Or when trying to make the proper sound of (I), you may accidentally say “U” instead.
Gina: The pronunciation of (Ü) is not very easy either.
Ece: You’re right – learners may have difficulty making the right sound. Sometimes even when you think you’re making the right sound, you’re still actually making a sound like (U).
Gina: Ok, our 4th point is about a special Turkish consonant that looks like it’s impossible to pronounce at the beginning.
Ece: That’s (Ğ), and it’s really not as bad as you might think! Some academics who study the Turkish language claim that (Ğ) has no sound at all, but that’s not quite right.
Gina: Although it functions like a ‘vowel combiner’ or elongater, it still has its own particular sound. Can you do that for us, Ece?
Gina: It sounds like crying when you elongate it!
Ece: Exactly! But it may take time for learners to make that sound as well.
Gina: We have suggested how to easily pronounce a word containing that sound. You can simply disregard its existence, you’ll combine the vowels before and after it anyways.
Ece: But please don’t disregard the line on top of (Ğ) and use it as a regular G. Ignoring the (Ğ) totally is better than pronouncing it as a regular (G)!
Gina: Our last suggestion is about the Turkish (R).
Ece: It’s surprising for native speakers, but learners hear a word ending with an (R) as if it ends with a (J) or (Ş)!
Gina: Why does this happen?
Ece: I promise we don’t do it on purpose! We think we are saying (R) the way it’s meant to be said, and we hear each other’s speech the same too.
Gina: So why does it happen?
Ece: Well, in daily conversation language we tend to skip or smoothen the R sound at the end of words.
Gina: So listeners, stick to the (R) as it is, don’t fall for a whisper-like (R) at the end!
Ece: Exactly! But as you can see listeners, the problems that you may encounter as beginners are not too difficult.
Gina: You’ll get over them before you even realize! Remember that to reinforce anything you’ve learned in this series, you can check the lesson notes.


Ece: Okay, this is the end of this lesson, and also this pronunciation series. We hope you enjoyed it and found it useful.
Gina: Thanks for listening, everyone! Please share your experiences and questions with us on TurkishClass101.com! And we’ll see you in the next series!
Ece: Hoşça kalın!