Language Tips for Expats in Istanbul and Turkey

When you first move to a new country, you must try to learn some of the language, at least some basic greetings and pleasantries. There is no denying that Turkish is a difficult language to learn. It ranks fifth on the ten most difficult languages for English speakers to learn, list.

You will also find that a large proportion of the Turkish population does not speak English. Learning the local language gives you more abilities to make local friends, chat with neighbors and learn more about the Turkish culture. It will also assist you in your day to day activities.

About Turkish

Turkish is an agglutinative language. That is, it uses prefixes and suffixes to indicate who is speaking, negative meanings and tense. This means that some words are long. On a positive note, Turkish is a phonetic language so that once you learn the alphabet and their sounds, you won’t have a problem pronouncing words. The Turkish alphabet is a Latin-script alphabet with 29 letters, seven of which (Ç, Ş, Ğ, I, İ, Ö, Ü ) have been modified and have their own particular sounds.

Learning Turkish

Today there are many online ways to learn a language. Luckily Turkish is included in many online programs.

Click here for a list of podcasts to help you learn Turkish.

Similarly, you’ll find a lot of useful resources on You Tube such as Learn Turkish- Three Minute Turkish.

Turkish Classes

If you prefer a class environment with face to face teachers, there are many academies for formal lessons throughout Istanbul.

  • Royal Turkish School has online classes as well as in-class and residential schools. It also caters to workers with evening classes.

  • Turkish Study Center has Business Turkish, Junior Turkish and VIP Turkish classes.

  • Language International has an extensive range of Turkish language courses: Standard Turkish, Intensive Turkish, Evening Turkish, Morning Turkish, Weekend Turkish and private tutors for one to one lessons.

For more tips on learning a new language, visit our help guide on Expat Info Desk.