Test Driving Languages – Turkish

Flag_of_Turkey.svgI’m now moving away from Germanic and Romance languages, and onto something completely different. This time, it’s Turkish. I’m used to the grammar in English, French, and other European languages, but Turkish presents something very different. In some ways, it wasn’t difficult. In others, I had some difficulty.

Ben bir adamım.

— I am a man.

Alphabet

This is pretty simple. It’s basically the same as in English, but has a few added characters with accents and this one: ı. It’s not an i. It’s pronounced like e. There are some others, like ğ, ç, and ş, which have no sound, ch, and sh sounds respectively.

Pronunciation

Apart from a few characters that are modified from the Roman alphabet, it’s very straightforward to pronounce. Just getting used to those other characters will take a little effort, though probably minimal.

Grammar

Germanic and Romance languages use the subject-verb-object form. Turkish uses subject-object-verb, which is actually the same as Japanese. Since I have plenty of experience with Japanese, this word order is familiar to me. Verbs are conjugated according to the pronoun/noun, and are similar to French. The pronoun for he/she/it is O. They’re all the same. There are also no articles, except in some cases when we need an indefinite article. A noun without an article can be translated to a noun using definite, indefinite, or no article in English.

Overall Impression

The alphabet and pronunciation I can get used to. The grammar I can get used to. There are some similarities with other languages. The thing that’s difficult is vocabulary. They words resemble nothing in English. My word retention wasn’t bad, but I had a difficult time with spelling. It wasn’t as difficult as I originally expected, but it’ll still be a challenge.

Have you studied Turkish? Can you speak it? Are you interested in it? Let me know in the comments below.

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6 thoughts on “Test Driving Languages – Turkish”

        1. Well, it wouldn’t be said “they is.” I think one example could be this:

          What does a vegetarian eat?
          They don’t eat meat.

          Or something like that. It’s kind of annoying. Though I think it’s more related to if you don’t know someone’s gender.

          What does the new student study?
          They study politics.

          Maybe like that.

          1. That’s interesting. I seem to have missed this trend, I would be inclined in the examples you gave to avoid pronouns in the replies. The first example is easier to construe as a plural, though, giving an answer as all vegetarians. To respond to the second I would probably just say, “Politics.” That example is a specific individual rather than a representative of a larger group.

            Languages do change over time. We’ll have to see if the singular “they” becomes accepted practice or not.

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