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Part of the Turkic language group, Turkish is part of the Altaic language family, which has central Asian origins. The Turkish language boasts a rich, worldly history that stretches far beyond its origins. Modern Turkish's ancestor, Old Anatolian Turkish was spoken as far back as the 11th century and was the official language of the Ottoman Empire. Between the 15th and 20th centuries, the Ottoman Empire ruled the Islamic world. As a result, the Persian and Arabic cultures and dialects heavily influenced Old Anatolian Turkish, which even used Arabic script and writing conventions.
In the 20th century, the Ottoman Empire fell. In 1923, the Republic of Turkey was born. As a result, the Turkish language underwent major changes in 1928, when the country's newly established government
switched the language from using Arabic script to a slightly modified version of the Latin alphabet and eliminated most of the language's former foreign influences. In this year, modern Turkish, which is used and spoken today, was born.
Today, Turkish is the official language of Turkey and one of Cyprus's official languages. About 78 million people consider themselves native Turkish speakers, and millions more speak Turkish as a second language. In addition to Turkey and Cyprus, you'll find large populations of Turkish speakers in countries including Austria, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Uzbekistan, and throughout the Balkans.
Why Learn to Speak Turkish?
When compared to old languages that have been spoken for millennia, such as Hindi, modern Turkish's relative youth might make it seem like a fleeting element of contemporary culture. Modern Turkish, however, still carries remnants of its worldly history and introduces those who choose to learn Turkish to a rich culture.
The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) rates Turkish as a Category III language, meaning it's considered hard to for English speakers to learn. Due to significant linguistic and cultural differences, the FSI estimates an average of 44 weeks or 1,100 hours of study for students to reach proficiency. With its use of the Latin alphabet, however, it's a relatively easy Central Asian language for English speakers to learn. Turkish also shares similarities with other languages, so learning it makes picking up Kazakh and Uzbek much simpler.
The Best Way to Learn Turkish and What You'll Study
By far, the best way to learn Turkish is with a private teacher — especially when compared to studying with a larger class or using free Turkish lessons online. When studying with a private Turkish teacher, you'll receive immediate feedback, overcome challenges quickly, and learn the Turkish language fast. Plus, you'll enjoy studying with course content and materials customized to your individual abilities. For example, Turkish classes for children differ greatly from Turkish lessons for adults. You'll also learn different topics based on your personal interests, whether they be travel, culture, politics, or business.
Sample Curriculum for Beginner Turkish Classes
If you have little or no previous experience studying Turkish, then beginner classes are right for you! In beginner lessons, you'll be introduced to the Turkish language. You'll learn the basics to help you navigate a simple conversation and the skills, pronunciation, and rules necessary for establishing a strong foundation. Your Turkish teacher might choose to cover some of the following topics:
- Introduction to the Turkish alphabet
- Pronunciation rules
- Vowel and consonant harmonies
- Formal and informal addresses
- Common phrases and essential terms
- Counting and telling time
Sample Curriculum for Intermediate Turkish Lessons
Intermediate lessons are designed to build upon the basics learned in beginner classes. You'll start expanding your vocabulary and learning to form more complex sentences and questions. Your Turkish tutor might choose to cover the following topics:
- Turkish grammar
- Syntax and sentence structure
- Verb conjugations, suffixes, tenses, and moods
- Noun cases
- Manners and terms of respect
- Asking questions and forming sentences
Sample Curriculum for Advanced Turkish Classes
Advanced lessons are intended for students who already have a strong command of Turkish vocabulary and grammar. In advanced classes, you'll focus on topics that interest you most and work to overcome your own individual challenges. You'll begin to express and discuss complicated ideas, while learning to speak like a native. Your advanced instructor might choose to cover some of the following subjects:
- Hone listening and reading comprehension
- Accent reduction
- Understanding nuance and inference
- Conversing about complex subject matter
- Colloquialisms, culture, and customs
How to Find a Turkish Teacher Near You
On TakeLessons, it's easy to find an experienced, highly rated Turkish tutor near you or online. The price of Turkish classes varies between tutors, but most charge a set rate per hour, half-hour, or lesson. With a variety of teachers available, you'll be able to find a tutor and begin lessons right away. We recommend browsing several profiles and reading through student reviews before making your choice. Once you've scheduled your first lesson with a private tutor, you'll be on the fast track to speaking Turkish like a native!