Destination Guide to Turkey

Turkish Language

turkish language

In one form or another, Turkish is spoken by around 150 million people, in an area stretching from Belgrade to Xinjiang in China. The closest European languages are Finnish and Hungarian.

One of the group of Turkic languages, it was heavily influenced by Persian and Arabic during the Ottoman period and later restructured in Ataturk’s Great Language Reform of the 1930s. It was under his direction that the Arabic alphabet was changed to Roman and many Persian and Arabic words were replaced by new Turkish ones. The result is a simplified and logical language with phonetically pronunciation.

There are twenty-nine letters in the Turkish alphabet. The letters Q, W and X are omitted. There are two versions of S, C, U, O, I and G and three different variations of A. You will be able to notice the difference, as some of the letters are plain and some have umlauts (two dots) over the top. The different letters have different sounds and each syllable is pronounced with equal stress.

Initially the language may seem complex and very different, but if you master a few essentials and a smattering of words your efforts will be appreciated. It is well worth the time and trouble to bring pleasure and certainly a few smiles to friendly Turkish faces. So practice some phrases and you’re bound to impress! One of the hardest, yet most important everyday words is Teşekkür ederim, pronounced tesh e kur e derim – thank you!

English Turkish Pronounced
Hello Merhaba Merhaba
Please Lütfen Lootfen
Thank you Teşekkür ederim Tesh e kur e derim
Where? Nerede? Nerede
Good Morning Gunaydın Goo nay din
Good Evening Iyi akşamlar Ee ak sham lar
Good Night Iyi geceler Ee gej ee ler
Goodbye – staying Güle güle Gerlay gerlay
Goodbye – leaving Hoş çakal Hoshchakal
Yes Evet Evet
No Hayır Hiyir
No thanks Yok sağol Yok sal
Hello how are you? Merhaba, nasılsiniz Merhaba nas is siniz
I’m fine thank you Iyiyim teşekkür ederim Iyim tes ekur edrim
One Bir Bir
Two Iki Iki
Three Ooch
Four Dört Dirt
Five Beş Besh
Six Altı Alti
Seven Yedi Yedi
Eight Sekiz Sekiz
Nine Dokuz Dokuz
Ten On On
Hundred Yuz Yuz
Thousand Bin Bin
Tea Çay Cheye
Milk Süt Suit
Water Su Sue
One beer please Bir bira lütfen Bir bira lutfen
Sugar Şeker Sheker
Soup Çorba Chorba
Chicken Piliç Pilich
Vegetable Sebze Sebze
How much is it? Kaç para Catch para
The bill please Hesap lütfen Hesap lutfen