Is Turkish Hard To Learn: Everything You Need To Know

Turkish is not hard to learn if you give it your all. To become fluent in Turkish, you must learn the right way and apply the best methods. 

This and every other step you need to take to master Turkish are what this article contains.

What Makes Turkish Easy to Learn?

Turkish Language - LMSHero

1. Turkish characters are Latin-based

Turkish is made of Latin-based characters. Since more than 6000 languages in the world use Latin-based characters, the process of mastering Turkish contains a limited amount of discoveries.

Although the language may feature extra letters, all that matters is knowing how each character sounds.

2. No gender-bias 

There is no gender in Turkish grammar. Hence, for people whose native language has no bias for gender or gender-related conjugation, learning Turkish will be a smooth process.

3. “The” does not exist in Turkish

The article “the” also does not exist in Turkish grammar for nouns that serve as subjects. However, if a noun serves as a predicate or object in a sentence, a suffix is required.

Let’s see a subject and object case example:

  • Subject case: *The notebook *is my bag.
  • Turkish translation: Defter çantamin içinde.

In Turkish, “the notebook” is described as “Defter” without the article “the”).

  • Object case: I put *the notebook* in my bag
  • Turkish translation: Defteri çantamin içine koydum.

Notice how the Turkish form of “the notebook” changes from “Defter” instead of “Defteri”? 

The “i” in “Defteri” represents the article “the” and must not be in a separate form from the noun–notebook.

4. You don’t have to worry about accents

Unlike English and French, you don’t have to worry about accents when learning Turkish. All you need to learn is how to use circumflex for loanwords, which is very straightforward.

5. The word order is very flexible

Turkish sentences follow an SOV (Subject-Object-Verb) pattern but not all the time. As you progress in your study, you will begin to identify how you can place an object or verb at the beginning of a sentence. 

When modifying this order, nothing changes except the word you choose to emphasize. You must also be very good at placing the suffixes correctly. 

Let’s see a few examples:

  • Buraya gel! – “Come here!”
  • Gel buraya! – “Come here!”
  • Ne yapacaksın bugün? – “What will you do today?”
  • Bugün ne yapacaksın? – “What will you do today?”
  • Bugün çok yorgunum. – “I’m very tired today.”
  • Çok yorgunum bugün. – “I’m very tired today.”

SEE: The Top Easiest Languages You Can Learn

What Makes Turkish a Bit Challenging?

Learning a language has its simple and challenging aspects. These challenges are not difficult to overcome, they just require time and regular practice.

That said, let’s see some of them:

1. Suffixes and vowel harmony

Suffixes are a crucial part of Turkish that you must master as a learner. This is because most of the suffixes in Turkish cannot be found in other languages and are often combined with a noun or pronoun.

When definite nouns and pronouns represent the object of a sentence, they take any of the suffixes “-ı, -i, -u, -ü” according to the vowel harmony rules.

However, when using possessive pronouns, the suffixes “-m, -ım, -im, -um,-üm” are involved. There are extra rules that apply to tenses and interrogative words but the primary ones are that of nouns and pronouns. 

A solid background in the use of suffixes means you are more than halfway there in your journey. 

2. The pronunciation of letters that don’t exist in English

There are Turkish alphabets that do not have an English representation. They include -ç, -ğ, -ı, -ö, -ş, and -ü. A beginner often struggles with their pronunciations except for -ç and -ş.

Let’s see how each special character is pronounced:

  • ç is pronounced as “ch” as in “change” in English
  • ş is pronounced as “sh” as in “shame” in English
  • ğ is pronounced as “ou” as in “our” in English
  • ı is pronounced as “o” as in “color” in English
  • ö is pronounced as “u” as in “turn” in English
  • ü is pronounced as “u” as in “pure” in English

Regular practice is all you need to become fluent in the pronunciation of these special alphabets.

3. Conjugation

Learning conjugation in Turkish basically means understanding the factors that affect verbs. These factors include:

  • Subject or person
  • The number of subjects (is it singular or plural?)
  • Politeness level
  • Tense
  • Passive voice
  • Causative verbs 
  • Reflective verbs 
  • Verbs of mutual action in addition to verb conjugation

Best Way to Start Learning Turkish

Now that you know the sweet and challenging part of learning Turkish, Let’s see some of the amazing steps you should take to get started:

1. Have the right motivation

Learning Turkish becomes easier if there is a reason for it. This may range from writing an exam for a job or migrating to a Turkish-speaking country.

No matter how simple your reason is, understanding more than one language will always open the doors to a lot of opportunities. This alone should be enough motivation to commit a few hours daily to learning Turkish.

SEE: Benefits of Learning a Second Language

2. Begin with the basics – the alphabet

Starting with the alphabet is the way to go for most languages, Turkish inclusive. Things you need to take note of when learning these alphabets are how they look and their pronunciations.

To fully understand their pronunciations, you must understand consonant and vowel sounds. The true challenge lies in learning how to pronounce letters that do not exist in your native language.

3. Breakdown Turkish vocabulary

Turkish vocabulary is made up of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and other parts of speech. The earlier you build up your vocabulary knowledge, the better you get at grammar.

Reading “a Turkish beginner guide” and listening to podcasts or radio teaching are ways you can improve your vocabulary. Simply jot down the words and their meanings in a book and practice them daily.

SEE: Tips To Meeting Your Learning Needs 

4. Basic grammar

Once you understand Turkish vocabulary and the rules guiding them, you need to start learning basic grammar. Start with creating simple sentences.

It is always a good idea to start with pronouns before moving to word orders, sentence structure, and eventually conjugation.

SEE: Turkish Language – LMSHero

5. Learn Turkish with the right resources

For self-learners, learning via language apps like Duolingo and OptiLingo and beginner books are great ways to begin your journey. 

These resources come with a pathway every beginner needs to get started. They also feature practice questions and quizzes that can speed up your growth.

Other learning methods include learning with a friend and listening to programs or podcasts. If you are also the type who prefers physical lessons, immersion classes can make you fluent in no time.

SEE: Why Online Learning Is Good

6. Practice regularly

Practice is the most important step of all. Without practice, you cannot make mistakes or grow as a beginner. 

Apart from practicing by yourself, there are a lot of fun ways to do it. They include:

  • Practicing with a friend who is also learning Turkish or is a native of the language
  • Practicing during radio or TV programs
  • Solving practice questions in your language books

SEE: The Most Effective Way To Learn

FAQs

How long does it take to learn Turkish?

On average, it may take about 44 weeks to attain Turkish fluency. 

This also depends on your study method, the level of fluency you are interested in, and the number of hours you can devote daily.

Is it worth learning Turkish?

Yes, learning Turkish is worth it

This is because it provides a good foundation for learning other (modern) Turkic languages like Tatar, Uzbek, and Kazakh.

Is Turkish harder than Arabic?

Turkish is way easier to learn than Arabic and other non-western languages.

All you need to understand is the logic behind sentence creation and suffix placement.

SEE: Best Way To Learn Spanish On Your Own

Final Thought

Constant practice is the way to go for learning and becoming better at anything. Leaning Turkish also requires time and effort but is worth it in the long run.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you would like to know more about other languages, see the best languages you can learn with ease.

Thanks for reading.