Turkish Lesson 

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Let's learn some Turkish... 

Generally speaking ; the commonly spoken language in city centers and the west part of the country is English; because of the high number of Germans in the south part, German more common around Antalya. In tourist areas you would not have any difficulty in communicating with people. Even people may speak French, Italian, Spanish and Dutch. In case you are traveling in the Black sea or east part of the country, to know some Turkish words would very much help you to communicate. 

Turkish people are very friendly and warm so they behave very closely and touchy ( ! by the way Turkish man kiss each other, so do not think they are Gay. This shows the closeness between people) . People may wish to have a communication with you, even some do like to show they speak a foreign language or use the possibility of doing some language practice. Do not get anxious if people start to ask questions like " Where are you from ?", "Is it the first time in Turkey ?", "Where do you stay ?" , "What is your name?". This is just the habit of trying to chat... By the way, incase a Turkish person hear a Turkish word from a foreigner they would very much like that.

Turkish is a easy language to speak and read. It is written as it is pronounced. Just read the word in your own alphabet (in case it is the Latin one), you would nearly pronounce it perfect . There are several exception letters that you need to take care while speaking:

In addition to c,g,i,o,s,u letters there are the "ç"(tche), "ğ"(hh), "ı"(ae), "ö"(?), "ş"(sche), "ü"(?).

Also the Turkish alphabet does not have the "x,q and w" letters.

There are 29 letters in the Turkish Alphabet: A-B-C-Ç-D-E-F-G-Ğ-H-I-İ-J-K-L-M-N-O-Ö-P-R-S-Ş-T-U-Ü-V-Y-Z

Below you would find some words that might help you during your stay in Turkey....


Everyday phrases and polite expressions...

The reply to  Hos Geldiniz (welcome) is Hoş bulduk (find well, thanks).


Hello : Merhaba


  Good morning : Günaydın


  Good evening : iyi akşamlar


Please: Lütfen


  Thank you : Teşekkürler or Merci



How are you: Nasılsınız 

I am fine, Thank you : iyiyim Teşekkürler


Yes : Evet


  There is : Var


  There is not : Yok


No : Hayır


  I want : istiyorum




1: Bir                        11:Onbir                 100: Yüz

2: İki                        20:Yirmi                  111:Yüzonbir

3: Üç                        25:Yirmibeş             200:ikiyüz

4: Dört                     30: Otuz                  1000: Bin

5: Beş                      40: Kırk                   10.000:Onbin

6: Altı                      50: Elli                     1.000.000:Birmilyon

7: Yedi                     60:Atmış

8: Sekiz                   70:Yetmiş

9: Dokuz                  80:Seksen

10: On                     90: Doksan


Week Days 


The Time

When?...Ne zaman?
Yesterday/today...Dün, bugün
Morning, afternoon...Sabah, Öğleden sonra
Evening/Night...Akşam, gece
One hour...Bir saat
What is the time?...Saat kaç?
At what time?...Saat kaçta?


While travelling, in Hotel or in Restaurant...

Airport.....Hava alanı
A room.....Bir oda
Two people.....iki kişi
City centre.....Şehir merkezi
Where is it?.....Nerede?
What is the price?.....Fiyatı nedir?
Is it far?.....Uzak mı?
Hot water.....Sıcak su
Tourism bureau.....Turizm bürosu
A supplementary bed.....ilave bir yatak
Repair garage.....Tamirci
Good hotel.....iyi bir otel
Light Tea.....Açık Çay
The bill.....Hesap
How much is it?.....Bu ne kadar?
It is very expensive.....Çok pahalı

It is cheap: Bu ucuz

I like it: Begendim
I do not like it.....Beğenmedim

Pharmacy: Eczane

Shopping center: Carsi

Cash machine: Bankamatik

Bank: Banka
Mutton.....Koyun eti
Mineral water.....Maden suyu
Lamb.....Kuzu eti
Fruit juice.....Meyva Suyu
Beef.....Siğir eti
Veal.....Dana eti
Chicken.....Piliç, Tavuk


Source : Richard Chambers / Chicago University

Since 1928, Turkish has been written in a slightly modified Latin alphabet which is very nearly phonetic.

The Turkish alphabet has 8 vowels (A E I İ O Ö U Ü ) and 21 consonants. The letters Q,W and X do not exist in Turkish. Most letters are pronounced pretty much as you would expect, but some are not. Once the phonetic value of all letters is known, then it is rather easy to pronounce any word one sees or to spell any word one hears.The following letters require explanation:

Aa = "a" as in "card" or "dark", never as "a" in"cat" or "back" ( kan = blood )

Cc = "J" as in "judge" ( can= life, soul, pronounced like "John" )

Çç = "ch" as in "church"( çay= tea, pronounced "chay", rhymes with "buy" )

Ee = "e" as in "bed" ( ekmek =bread )

Gg = "g" as in "get" ( gelin =bride )

Ğ ( yumuşak ge [soft g] Never appears as the first letter in a word; essentially silent; sometimes lengthens preceding vowel; sometimes pronounced like "y" in "yet"
(dağ =mountain, pronounced daa , rhymes with the "baa" of "baa baa black sheep";
diğer =other, pronounced diyer )

lı( undotted "i" ) "u" as in "radium" or "i" as in "cousin" (ışık =ligth, ırmak = river )

İi( dotted "i" ) ="i" as in "sit" ( bir = one, pronounced like "beer" )

Jj = "j" as in "azure" (garaj = garage, pronounced as in French & English )

Oo = "o" as in "fold"(okul =school )

Öö German "ö" as in "König" or French "eu" as in "peur"( göl = lake, rhymes with furl)

Ss="s" as in "sing", never pronounced like a "z" as the "s" in "his"(ses = voice)

Şş="sh"as in "ship" (şey = thing, pronounced "shey" , rhymes with "hay")

Uu "oo" as in "boot" (buz = ice, pronounced like "booze")

Üü German "ü" as in "für" or French "u" as in "tu" (gül = rose)

Zz="z" as in "zoo" (beyaz = white)

Turkish belongs to the Turkic branch of the Altaic language family. The earliest Turkic inscriptions date from the 7th century C.E. and Islamic texts written in Turkic appear in the 11th century. Turkish, the language of modern Turkey, is spoken by about 60 million people. Other important Turkic languages are Azeri (15 million speakers) and Uzbek (14 million speakers). Turkish formerly used the same alphabet as Arabic, but has been written in the Latin alphabet since 1928 as mentioned above; since 1940, Azeri and Uzbek have been written in Cyrillic but efforts are now under way to replace it with Latin.

As an Altaic language, Turkish has virtually nothing in common with English or other Indo-European languages except for some loan words, usually from French or English.

Turkish grammar is complex, but also quite regular. Its two most characteristic features are : (1) vowel harmony (vowels within a word follow certain harmonic patterns) and (2) agglutination (addition suffixes to words.) Through this process, astoundingly long word phrases can be encountered. For example, the following means, "Maybe you are one of those whom we were not able to Turkify."


Another interesting feature is that there is no gender in Turkish. The same word , "o", for example, means "he", "she" and "it".

Turks generally call each other by their given names. For example, a man whose name is Ahmet Kuran would be called Ahmet bey ( bey = Mr.), and his wife whose name is Ayse Kuran would be called Ayşe hanım ( hanim =Ms.). Good friends drop the "bey" and "hanım". But a letter would be addressed to Bay ve Bayan Ahmet Kuran (Mr. and Mrs...).


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