wikiHow to Learn Turkish

Modern Turkish (Türkçe, İstanbul Türkçesi, Türkiye Türkçesi) is a beautiful and rich language spoken by roughly 76 million people in Turkey and Northern Cyprus as well as minority communities in Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece, Germany, Kosovo, Romania, Syria, and Iraq. Knowing Turkish opens doors into the cultures and subtleties of the Turks, the Balkans, and the Silk Road of Turkic Central Asia where the cultures, peoples, and landscapes will enthrall, enchant, and enlighten you.

Take the opportunity to learn the language so that your visit can be more enjoyable. If you are doing business with Turks, it will be a big help and a welcomed gesture to understand the basics.

Modern Turkish is the successor of Ottoman Turkish, distinguished by alphabet and vocabulary. Turkish belongs to the "Oğuz" branch of Turkic languages, sharing a close relationship and mutual intelligiblity with Azeri (Azerbaijani), Turkmen, Gagauz, and to some extent, Crimean Tatar. Turkish speakers can also understand, to limited extents, most Central Asian and Siberian Turkic languages as well like Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Uyghur, Yakhut, and others.


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    Accept that it is one of the most flexible languages in the world, that words make sense even if you don't put them in the correct order. This is a great bonus when you find logical order the difficult part of language learning.
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    Always put the verb at the end of the sentence. Easy to remember but it does require a lot of practice.
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    Try to contact Turkish people, face to face if possible. You may speak to Turkish speakers over msn, skype, etc. They will also be in chat rooms and on the Turkish wikiHow.
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    Try online lessons. There are many choices available with speakers who have added their voices to the lessons for you to copy. Imitation over and over again is an excellent way to learn.
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    Install Turkish operating systems. This forces you to learn the words of programs and activities that you perform on your computer every day. A great brain-tricking way to learn!
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    Visit Turkey and Northern Cyprus. This will inspire you to accelerate your learning, especially in relation to accommodations, shopping, hygiene, and food.
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    Watch Turkish soap operas. These are not only a great way to learn more but they're a lot of fun and very glamorous too.
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    Read Turkish books. Start with children's books and work your way up to more advanced books.
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    Listen to Turkish pop and folk music. Music is a perfect way to improve intonation and repetitive choruses are great for getting phrases stuck in your mind.


  • Listening is extremely important to learn speaking Turkish because the verbs are very tricky and very hard to learn. Try to pronounce the verbs before you dive into Turkish grammar.
  • The Turkish spoken outside of Istanbul comes in a broad mosaic of colourful accents and dialects. Don't be alarmed at first if you can't understand anything being spoken at you. Give things time, and spend most of your time just listening to the speaker's dialect. Before you know it, your ear will get used to it and you'll understand everything crystal clear!
  • Turkish is a "spoken as written" language. Every sound is expressed with a letter. So pronunciation is quite easy. Also it is similar to Finnish by that way.
  • You can use TTS (text-to-speech) services to improve your pronunciation.


  • Turkish can take a lot of time to learn if you are not used to the nature of Turkic languages. Turkish is a language of suffixes and can create very long, complex words by suffix after suffix to a root word to create new words and verbs with new meanings.
  • Don't be put off if young Turks want to practice their English with you while you try to speak Turkish to them. Keep insisting on speaking Turkish, and eventually, the speaker will accommodate you! Two useful expressions that can work in your favour include:
    • "Hadi Türkçe konuşalım." - Let's speak Turkish.
    • "İngilizce bilmiyorum" - I don't know (any) English.

Things You'll Need

  • Native Turkish speaker
  • DFH Satellite TV for soap operas

Article Info

Categories: Turkish