Reasons for Learning Turkish


Merhaba! My name is Rachel, and I’m just setting out to learn Turkish.

I’m no sun-seeker. I burn easily and get dehydrated, so I usually pick cooler destinations for my holidays: places like Iceland and Sweden, Russia and Greenland. Going south just seems weird.

And then my dad bought a house in Turkey.

I went over just to see what the fuss was all about—he’s been visiting for years, so there had to be something special. But I wasn’t really expecting to fall in love with the olive groves and citrus trees, my feet crunching over carob pods and pomegranate seeds as we hiked in the mountains. The wonderful food, full of fresh Mediterranean vegetables, certainly helped me feel at home. And the charming, friendly people surprised me by always wanting to introduce themselves to passing strangers, often proffering fresh oranges from their trees. They didn’t expect anything in return, but it’s nice to at least say “thanks” in Turkish.

And, well, the weather in England has been miserable this year. Maybe I can get used to a little more sunshine after all. By picking up the language, I’ll encourage myself to go back regularly, and I’ll enjoy myself even more when I do.

turkish-flagAs a linguist by trade, I also find Turkish an intriguing language. Vowel harmony is something I’ve studied in the abstract, but never internalised. Turkish is also highly agglutinative—you can add a lot of suffixes to a single word, instead of adding extra words to the sentence, which is a completely different approach to that taken by English.

The things that make a language interesting are also serious challenges, but the Rosetta Stone method looks promising for natural language learning. I’ve only done the demo so far, but I’ve tried more traditional methods (like poring over Ancient Greek texts), and I know it’s much easier to learn in a practical manner. I can’t wait to take it further.

Rachel is studying for her PhD in computational sociolinguistics, and writes a vegetarian food and travel blog as she slowly eats her way around the world. The amazing cuisine is only part of the reason she's learning Turkish - honest! You can also find her on Google+


  1. April - May 9, 2013

    Hi Rachel, Good luck with your Turkish!

  2. Ozlem's Turkish Table - May 9, 2013

    Enjoyed your post Rachel, I know there are many folks out there who would like to learn Turkish- Rosetta stone maybe the answer!

  3. Jeanne - May 9, 2013

    I work with a lovely Turkish woman. If you want a chance to practice, I can hook you up!

  4. Gill Wyatt - May 9, 2013

    This sounds really interesting. I love Turkey and am off on my holiday there again this year. I’ve only ever learned enough phrases to be polite. Good luck with the course and I hope you enjoy Turkey all the more for it.

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