The Turkish language is a phonetic language, so you speak the words as they are written. The global community now recognizes the many contributions Turkey has given to the world, including financial aid. The country has a fast developing economy, which helps put Turkey in the international business map. As such, learning the Turkish language is more important now, especially for individuals and corporations interested in doing business in Turkey.
The Turkish language is the 12th most spoken language in the world. In Turkey alone it is spoken by 74.2 million people. All over the world, about 78.9 million people speak Turkish.
Going beyond Turkey
As a country, Turkey is in an enviable and strategic spot, as it spans two continents, Europe and Asia. The Turkish Straits comprising the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosporus separate Europe and Asia. Turkey’s capital is Ankara and Istanbul is its largest city, classified as a global city and the main economic and cultural center.
Turkey is home to an estimated population of 80.8 million. 91.8% of which speak Turkish, which is the official language of the country. The rest of the population speaks Zaza, Arabic and Kurmanji, which is a Kurdish dialect.
Aside from Turkey, large groups of people living in Western Europe, the Caucasus and the Balkans speak Turkish. In Germany the second most widely spoken language is Turkish as this is where you’ll find the largest immigrant community of Turks.
Various old lamps on the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul
A variety of reasons to study Turkish
It is often said that learning a language broadens your view of the world. It helps you to understand other cultures and be more accepting of the differences among people. Turkish is a fascinating language that has enriched the English vocabulary, with its many loanwords.
1. Faster way to learn other Turkic languages
If you study Turkish, it will be easier for you to learn other Turkic languages such as Uighur, Tatar, Kazakh, Uzbek and Kyrgyz. These languages are getting important as well because they are spoken in several strategic regions such as the former Soviet Union, China, the Balkans and the Caucasus.
3. Influential language
Turkey is the 16th largest economy in the world and its middle class consumer base is growing steadily. Turkey is also getting more influential politically and economically, and knowing Turkish makes you an asset to research institutions, government agencies, NGOs and various corporations operating in the region.
3. Various career opportunities
Career opportunities in different fields are quite diverse – from government to business to law, cybersecurity, technology, finance and hospitality among others. The U.S. government classified Turkish as a critical language and several careers in the military, intelligence and diplomacy are available. Several fellowships and scholarships are offered to students interested in learning the language to work in the public sector.
4. Historical haven
If you are student of history, archeology or anthropology, knowing Turkish is going to be very valuable to you. It will open up a cradle of human civilization for you in Anatolia. You’ll find exciting archeological sites here, such as Istanbul, Noah’s Ark, Troy, the ruins of the oldest human settlement in the world. The historical archives in Turkey have a huge amount of historical information and documents that will astound you. The documents pertain to various ancient civilizations from Ottoman-Turkish, Islamic, Byzantine, Roman, Persian, Hellenistic, Assyrian to Hittite civilizations.
Antique set for Turkish coffee
5. Mingle with the locals
If you are an English speaker, you’ll be at an advantageous position if you know Turkish. The English language is not commonly used in Turkey. Would you believe that only a very small percentage of Turks obtain passports? They rarely travel overseas. If you speak Turkish, you’ll be able to engage with the locals and even conduct business if that is what you’re after.
6. Modern country
Turkey is not a backward nation. In fact its modern culture is thriving. Its TV soap operas are available in many neighboring countries. It has its own film industry and a lively music industry. Turkey’s popular music is borrowed by some of the Western pop icons.
7. Less competition
You’ll be unique if you have Turkish language skills as very few are currently interested in the language. This means more career opportunities for you as there is less competition and the jobs available are very exciting.
8. Challenging but fun
Learning the Turkish language can be quite challenging but it does have several characteristics that are interesting and fun. It is an agglutinative language, which means that to produce new words new particles are added to the base word form. Likewise it is a phonetic language. Once you have learned the alphabet, pronunciation will be easier. The letters are pronounced exactly the same way in each word. You do not have to contend with articles either. Moreover, if you know the pronunciation of the letters you will be able to read and write them in Turkish.
9. Variety of pronunciation
10. Access to Turkish literature
It is very rare to find translated Turkish literature in English. It is a pity because its literature is very rich and fascinating. Learning the language means you can enjoy a wide array of Turkey’s literary works in their original form.
11. Flexible grammar
Turkish grammar is flexible although it is quite different from what English speakers are used to. The structure is different but its flexibility makes the language capable of expressing things briefly. For example, the Turkish saying, “Bal dök de yala!” means that the floor is very clean that eating off it is possible. Its literal translation is ”pour honey and lick (it up)!”
12. Easy word building
Suffixes allow Turkish words to build up and expressed in just one word. “Gerçek” is an adjective that means ”real” in English. When suffixes are added to form a sentence consisting of one word, you can come up with “Gerçekleştirilemeyenlerdir.” This short sentence becomes “those are the things which could not be put into practice (or realized)” [sic] when translated into English. However, it is not usual in Turkish to form long words, a characteristic that is quite common in the German language.
13. SOV structure
Some features of other languages are found in Turkish. Its structure is subject-object-verb (SOV), which is like that of Japanese or German. It has vowel harmony that is common in Korean, Hungarian and several other languages. Turkish words do not have gender.
14. Travel to exotic destinations
Knowing the Turkish language gives you a pass to see a stunning destination with breathtaking and diverse landscape with ancient castle, historical ruins, mountains, hills, lakes, hidden coves and wonderful beaches.
English words of Turkic origin
You’ll learn that many words in English are of Turkic origin, such as:
Useful words and phrases
Learning Turkish will allow you to converse with the locals. The Turks are very hospitable and they’ll be able to help you with your language learning. If you are still a beginner and intend to visit Turley, here are some useful words and phrases.
Welcome Hoş geldin
How are you? Nasılsınız? (formal) / Nasılsın? (informal)
What’s your name? İsminiz nedir? (formal) / İsmin ne? (informal)
Pleased to meet you Tanıştıǧımıza memnun oldum / Memnun oldum
Good morning Günaydın
Good afternoon Tünaydın
Good evening İyi akşamlar
Good night İyi geceler
Have a nice day İyi günler!
I don’t know Bilmiyorum
I understand Anlıyorum
I don’t understand Anlamıyorum
Sorry Pardon (informal) / Özür dilerim (formal)
Thank you Teşekkür ederim / Çok teşekkür ederim
Just like some languages such as Chinese, Korean and Japanese, some words in Turkish may look similar but may sound different. The pronunciation depends on the context.
Here are a few examples:
Hâlâ – yet, still
Hala – aunt (from the father’s side)
In Turkish, the father is called ”Baba” while the mother is called ”Anne.” The maternal and paternal relatives have different terms. Maternal aunt is ”Teyze” and the maternal uncle is ”Dayı.” The maternal grandmother is called ”Anneanne.” The paternal aunt is ”Hala,” the uncle is ”Amca” and the grandmother is ”Babaanne.”
Kar – snow
Kâr – profit
Note: The addition of suffixes alters the meaning of the words, so ”Karın” could mean ”wife,” ”stomach” or ”of the snow.”
In Turkish, a ”prezervatif” is a condom. Preservatives in food are called ”katkı maddesi.”
Turkey is an important nation due to its strategic cultural and geographical connection to the Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Knowledge of the country and its language are beneficial to those who are interested in politics or international business in these locations. It is rapidly rising as a global economic power and business opportunities are quickly opening up.
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