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Is Turkish a hard language to learn? Not necessarily!

No motorcycles allowed here.

© aNadventures

As soon as I decided to spend one and a half years in Turkey, I started to familiarize myself with the language in order to properly communicate with the people once there.  Being able to express yourself in the local language brings you closer to a culture’s core; don’t you think so, too?

I’m often asked whether the Turkish language is a hard one to learn. Turkish is by no means an easy language ― mainly because it’s so different from Germanic or Romance languages such as German, English, Spanish or Italian. There are some aspects, though, that are much simpler in Turkish than in other languages. Let’s have a look at some of its features.

No articles

There are no articles in Turkish, neither a definite nor an indefinite one. This comes in quite handy, especially compared to the German language where there are so many different article variations.

  • ev – the house or a house
  • yemek – the meal or a meal
  • köpek – the dog or a dog

Whether we are talking about something definite or rather indefinite is generally understood from the context.

Just  “o”

There is no distinction between grammatical genders in the Turkish language. He/she/it is simply “o”. Adjectives aren’t adapted either, contrary to how it is the case in Romance languages.

To be or not to be?

Not to be. There is no Turkish verb for “to be”. This is another quite practical feature.

  • Ev büyük. (House big – The house is big.)
  • Yemek güzel. (Meal nice – The meal is nice.)
  • Köpek küçük. (Dog small – The dog is small.)

Güzel, by the way, is a very multifunctional word.  You may express that something is nice, beautiful, good or that you agree with something. When in doubt, everything can be güzel [gü-seeel]. This is quite practical, once more.


Those among us who know French are a little in advance when learning Turkish. Many Turkish words have been borrowed from the French language.

Some examples:

  • kuaför – hairdresser’s (coiffeur in French)
  • hoparlör – loudspeaker (haut-parleur in French)
  • bisiklet – bike (bicyclette in French)
  • rötar – delay (retard in French)
  • supangle – chocolate pudding (soupe anglaise in French, literally meaning “English soup”)

There are many more examples. The latter one is my favourite, though.

There are also some English words that made it into the Turkish language, including miting (meeting), reyting (rating) and çekup (check up). Oh, and another favourite of mine: ketçap (ketchup).

An example of a word borrowed from the German language is şinitsel (Schnitzel).

The Lego experience

Good news for all of you who like to play with Lego: In Turkish, we build word chains with numerous suffixes containing all kinds of elements. For example:

Evindeyim. (House-your-at-I-am – I’m at your house.)

This kind of sentence structure requires, quite frankly, some getting used to and it’s part of the more complicated features of the Turkish language.

But apart from that, the Turkish language isn’t that hard to learn, is it?

Which curiosities of Turkish or other languages do YOU find interesting? I’m looking forward to your thoughts and comments.


From → Turkey

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