Knowing Turkish

How important knowing Turkish is ? :)) Turkish is a key for accessing Turkic languages spoken by millions of people in the Near East. Turkey is a major power in the Middle East with a population of more than 70 million. Uniquely positioned between Europe and Asia geographically, culturally and politically.
It is possible to acquire basic conversational fluency in six months. It all depends on how much time you’re able to put into your studies.I think, no spoken language is significantly more difficult to learn than any other in absolute terms :))

Tell us a bit about Turkish literature. :slight_smile:

@ Elric
The literature of the Turks is among the oldest of living literatures. From Orhon inscriptions to Orhan Pamuk ( from the eighth century a.d. to the present day). Yunus Emre, Mevlana, Sait Faik, Nazım Hikmet, Yaşar Kemal, Orhan Pamuk…

Here’s some examples;

MEVLANA : He is popularly known as Mevlana in Turkey, but known to the English speaking world simply as " Rumi". He was a great philosopher, poet, and mystic. His doctrine advocates unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity, and awareness through love. Unesco has maked 2007 as the “Mevlana Year” to celebrate 800 th anniversary of the birth of Rumi. His work and ideas remain universally relevant today in our world.
A quote from one of his poem:

Come whoever you are
Doesn’t matter if you are an unbeliever
Doesn’t matter if you have fallen a thousand times.

Come whoever you are. For this is not the door of hopelessness.
Just as you are!

The Age of Beloveds. Love and the Beloved in Early-Modern Ottoman and European Culture and Society (with translations of Ottoman poetry) Walter G. Andrews and Mehmet Kalpaklı, Durham & London: Duke University Press.

Orhan Pamuk ; winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature. Beyaz Kale (“The White Castle”) and Kara Kitap (“The Black Book”) and Benim Adım Kırmızı (“My Name is Red”)

Yaşar Kemal ; Memed, My Hawk (1955),

Twelve hundred years of literary tradition is nothing to sneeze at.

It seems that up until the 19th century, Turkish literature was mostly poetry. I like poetry too, but I prefer prose. Can you please recommend a few writers that you know from personal experience, Ozne? Are you a fan of literature, btw?

I’ve been thinking of learning Turkish in the future, and the fact that there’s a large literary tradition to tackle definitely makes it more enticing.

I have never read any Turk writers at all, even Pamuk.

I hope I will be able to read Turkish literature in some years. I have some of Pamuk’s books in Italian but still have to read them. On the other hand, Hikmet is one of my favourite poets.

I would say, if you are fluent in Turkish, it opens many doors linguistically. In general, I have never been a reader of literature. But I had a glance at Turkish popular astronomy websites in the internet which made my very curious. By the way, as a winner of the literature Nobel Prize in 2006, Orhan Parmuk is wellknown in Germany.

Basic conversational fluency of Turkish in six months? I have spent years on studying Turkish (outside of LingQ) by attending VHS language courses, 1 1/2 years with a private study - group but without reaching any basic conversational fluency. To be fair I must say that I haven’t reached basic conversational fluency in Danish after six months of studies either. But for me it’s perfectly OK, if I need more years of time.

My study plan: 10 years of Danish (I have already 3 years of Danish studies behind me). My descision is that afterwards I will rather focus on uplevelling my Spanish instead (I have now a B1 / B2 level of Spanish), I expect that such a project will bring me more success than SO many years of Turkish studies without achieving a real ACTIVE language level of the language.


You’re in the right place :slight_smile: I like poetry too. Some of Hikmet’s poetries has been in my memory. I’ll give more details about Turkish literature, but have to go now.
I absolutely adore his poetries too.

P.S. Considering basic conversational fluency in six months one of our Lingq fellow did!

Ozne, no problem. Thanks for the info so far.

Fasulye, what can be considered conversational fluency is subject to lots of debate, but I think we shouldn’t compare ourselves and what each one can achieve in 6 months to anyone else. We make whatever progress we can with the time we have, and what matters is that we stick with it as long as it takes to get where we want. The journey itself is just as exciting as the destination, if indeed we ever reach one, considering there’s always more to learn.

Elric, believe me Mevlana’s ideas are not to be sneezed at. Here’s a contemporary touch to his ideas:The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi ;Elif Shafak
Elif Shafak (Author) , Laural Merlington (Narrator)
I would also recommend great poet Orhan Veli Kanık , who is known for his unique voice. Orhan Veli has loads of poems written in an easy-reading style but full of meaning. He is also one of my favorite too.
Attila İlhan and Cemal Süreya…

Hi Elric,

There are endless discussions about “fluency” on the HTLAL- forum, I am rather tired of that. What happened with Turkish in my case is that I aquired only PASSIVE knowledge. Both active skills in Turkish (writing freely and speaking) are really difficult for me and during my Turkish studies I have never aquired a “thinking level” of Turkish, with all my other languages I can switch my thoughts from one language to the other. For example I can switch my thoughts from Dutch to Italian or from English to Danish but with Turkish this has never worked. For me it’s not a big deal to understand explanations of Turkish grammar (therefore I like to read the “Ask your Turkish tutor” subforum) or to do the exercises of a textbook Turkish, but when it comes to creating my own sentences or trying to speak with my own Turkish words, I have enough problems.

With Danish I am more fortunate because I can assimilate the language in the Danish lessons and by means of this I have learned to think in Danish. On HTLAL I have been writing my own log in Danish since January 2012 and I have got feedback from Danish native speakers so far: They say that my Danish is understandable, so they understand what I want to express.


Ozne, thanks for the recommendations. I’ll note them down for future reference, since I can’t really start studying Turkish right now.


Yes, the fluency wars have gotten really old for me too.
In my case, the less a language is related to my own, the longer I take to get to think in said language. I have been studying Russian for a year, and even though I can read reasonably well, I still can’t think in the language. It’s all a matter of practice, I guess. Have you tried a deeper immersion technique for Turkish, something like Turkish-all-the-time? I’m going to try that for Russian as soon as I get a large enough vocabulary.

Hi Elric,

This may be the point that it is more difficult to a “thinking level” in languages which are less related. But I also needed two years to learn to think in Danish. For me the key to think in a foreign language is “assimilation”, I have the talent to assimilate languages well, but without a proper surrounding I don’t have a chance. For example in my VHS courses Turkish I had only teachers speaking German all the time in the lessons, so I could not assimilate anything in these lessons. So I can attend such language courses for years and years without being able to assimilate anything. I was really lucky with my Danish teacher who allowed me as a beginner to take part in her advanced level Danish course where only Danish is spoken.

I think immersion techniques would work to enhance a “thinking level”. But I will not continue studying Turkish. So my focus is on Danish for the coming many(!) years and will later be on Spanish, because I would like to have a B2/C1 - level in this language.


I think “basic” conversational fluency is something like A2 - of course, you need a lot of vocabulary even at that stage, but you can understand more than you can say yourself. That’s normal. The next step for me at least will be to read more and more even without understanding everything.

I have been using a lot of LingQ lessons but concentrated on Who Is She for about 4 months. I followed Moses McCormick’s advice of writing out the lessons 7 times while keeping listening to them maybe a hundred times (I used to write lessons only once before I found LingQ; now I see the advantage of writing them more often). That way I could assimilate a lot of patterns. It helped me a lot to write some texts on my own. I’ve started doing the same with Eating Out, simply because it’s easier to understand a story that you already know.

Today I found a very good book: The Routledge Intermediate Turkish Reader, Political and Cultural Articles, by Şenel Symons (2012). It’s quite a challenge, but there are explanations of vocabulary and grammar notes, cultural and political background in English and suggestions for writing tasks and even speaking. That’s for the future, but I can study the texts on LingQ and use text-to-speech on my iPhone. I only have to type them, which may be good practice too.

As far as evening classes (VHS) are concerned, they may be a way to slowly acquaint yourself with a language, but I think they can’t replace studying on your own, doing an occasional ‘research’ on grammar and above all listening, reading and writing. I don’t usually spend too much time on Turkish, but I try to study consistently, if possible every day, even if only 10 or 15 minutes. Write the lesson(s) and you’re done. You’re more active than if you use flashcards but of course I also use flashcards.

Well, best wishes to all members who study Turkish!