Turkish is a language used in Turkey, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and other countries of the former Ottoman Empire. Turkish enjoys official language status in Turkey, Cyprus, and Northern Cyprus.
Among the common Turkish phrases, possibly the most popular is Merhaba that means Hello, which you can use to greet someone any time of the day.
From 900 to 1928, Turkish used the Arabic alphabet for written text. It was changed to the Latin alphabet by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding father and the first president of the Republic of Turkey. The move was to improve literacy. It was justified as it increased literacy from 10.5% in 1927 to 90% today.
Can you learn Turkish at home?
It is possible to learn Turkish at home provided you have the right learning tools, like grammar books, flashcards, audio courses, and CD-ROM programs.
However, many experts recommend immersion if you want to fast-track your language learning. This means moving to Turkey and living with a host family.
Immersion may work for some people, but it is not for everyone. One of the effective methods is to listen to the language regularly. You can listen to recorded lessons and Turkish music, watch Turkish movies, and use integrated audio and text online language lessons for a minimum of ten minutes each day. The daily exposure to the Turkish language will keep your brain attuned to it.
Other languages used in Turkey
Turkish is the official language in Turkey. Enjoying widespread use is Kurmanji or Northern Kurdish. It has several dialects, like Mihemedi, Silivi, Shikaki, Badini, Shemdinani, Hekari, Bayezidi, Ashiti, Marashi, and Boti (Botani).
The prevalent minority languages are Zazaki and Arabic. Zazaki is a language spoken by the Zaza people in eastern Turkey.
Other minority languages include Azerbaijani, Aramaic, Pomak, Bulgarian, Laz, Balkan Gagauz Turkish, Armenian, Judaeo-Spanish, Pontic Greek, and Greek. The immigrant languages include Kabardian, Georgian, Crimean Tatar, Bosnian, Albanian, and Adyghe.
Turkey uses two sign languages, Turkish and Mardin. Among the foreign languages, the most prevalent is English, followed by German and French.
What are the most essential Turkish phrases for travel?
There are several Turkish phrases that you should learn if you are traveling to Turkey. Since it is important to be polite, most of the essential Turkish phrases worth learning are basic greetings. You already know hello is merhaba. Here are some more.
- Good morning – Günaydın
- Good afternoon – Tünaydın
- My name is … – Benim adim …
- I’m pleased to meet you – Tanıştığıma memnun oldum
- How are you? – Nasılsın?
- Fine, thanks. And you? – İyi, teşekkürler. Siz?
- I’m sorry – Özür dilerim
- See you soon! – Yakında görüşmek üzere!
- Good bye – Güle güle
These phrases are essential for travel. But there are other phrases that you might want to add to your list.
- I’m good, how are you? – İyiyim, Sen nasılsın?
- What is your name? – Senin adın ne?
- Where are you from? – Nerelisin?
- Welcome – Hoş geldin
- Thank you (for welcoming me) – Hoş bulduk
- May it come easily (to someone who’s working) – Kolay gelsin
- See you again, goodbye – Görüşürüz
- Have a good day – Iyı günler
- Thank you – Teşekkür ederim
- Thanks (but literally means be healthy) – Sağol
- You’re welcome – Rica ederim
- Very beautiful – Çok güzel
- Health to your hands (complimenting a cook) – Elinize sağlık
- Where is the bathroom? – Tuvalet nerede?
- Where is the bus? – Otobus nerede?
- Where is the airport? – Havalimanı nerede?
- Where is the taxi? – Taksi nerede?
- How much is the taxi (fare)? – Taksi ne kadar?
- Where is the mall? – AVM nerede? (AVM is the acronym for the word that means shopping mall)
- Where is the hospital? – Hastane nerede?
- Can I have a menu? – Menu alabilir miyim?
- I’d like a beer – Bir bira isterim
- How much? – Fiyat ne kadar?
- Chicken – Tavuk
- Beef – Et
- Lamb meat – Kuzu eti
- Fish – Balik
- Vegetarian – Vejetaryen
- Allergy – Allerji
- Very delicious – Çok lezzetli
- Can I get the bill? – Hesap alabilir miyim?
The importance of the Turkish language in the global community
Turkey, which connects Asia and Europe, is now a regional power. It turned itself from being a recipient country into a donor country. It is likewise a global player, assuming various roles – as the region’s natural leader, a big brother, and protector of minority Muslim communities, to being a facilitator and mediator.
Turkey has played a role in international development cooperation since the 1950s. It helps in promoting global peace through contributions to global sustainable development.
Development assistance is a big part of the foreign policy of Turkey, to bring a more stable and peaceful environment around its neighboring countries. It exercises soft power by acting as a mediator in regional conflicts. The country offers its official development assistance to several countries suffering from the effects of natural disasters and civil conflicts.
Learning the Turkish language can be beneficial. Turkey is economically and financially stable today and can open business and employment opportunities for you. It is also a major tourist destination, as it attracts visitors to its historical buildings, natural and interesting landscapes, and beaches. Top tourist destinations are Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia), Ephesus, Cappadocia, Topkapi Palace, Pamukkale, Aspendos Theater, Bodrum Castle, Goreme Fairy Chimneys, and the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed).
The Ethnologue website lists Turkish as the 16th most spoken language in the world, with 88 million native speakers.
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