Report – Learning Turkish

Due to a professional assignment in Turkey, I have been learning Turkish words and phrases, primarily using 17-Minute Languages as my training tool.

When I normally approach a new language, I set out to learn grammar very early. I tend to be analytical with a language, and since the other languages I have learned (French, Italian, Spanish) are grammatically similar, this was not a big obstacle for me.

Turkish is, however, very different. And because I had the chance to practice what I learn in Turkey, I decided to take it a bit easy on grammar at first.

My typical procedure then has been:

  1. Do my 17-Minute Languages lesson.

I ordered the “Express” course which is more geared to travel and tourism. I figured this would go more quickly than a full basic course.

Since Turkish vocabulary is completely new to me, I chose to do only 7 words / phrases per lesson (see my page, The Rule of Seven).

  1. I then printed out the vocabulary lessons as well as the grammar exercises (consisting of additional phrases).
  2. Then, time-permitting, I would review the lesson vocabulary and grammar phrases during short work breaks.
  3. Evenings I spent in a local pub where I had made some acquaintances and tried out my phrases.

When I got into difficulty, I referred to my printed material. I also practiced substituting certain words into phrases.

A simple example of that would be:

  • The printed lesson phrase says, “I would like a cup of tee.”
  • I would substitute to form the non-lesson sentence, “He would like a glass of beer.”
  • And then I would check with my pub friends if I was formulating correctly.

This way of reviewing was fun – some of my attempts caused laughter – but it was all good-natured!

  1. After a short period of time, I began to notice certain grammatical patterns among the phrases.

Only then did I begin to review the grammar chapters – but only for answering grammatical questions that began to arise OR to confirm guesses I was beginning to make based on what I was learning.

  1. I also paid attention to signs and posters with short texts and began trying to decipher them. After a couple of weeks I was making good progress.
  2. At some point, when I feel ready, I will find a resource with short, simple stories in order to work on my reading comprehension.
  3. I will also upgrade to a more comprehensive basic course from 17-Minute Languages.
  4. I also intend to check out another approach: the PIMSLEUR language learning method, which is primarily audio (little to no text).

This will be very good for my conversational skills (hearing comprehension and speaking) once I have finished my 17-Minute Languages Express course.

The basic level Pimsleur course will undoubtedly involve many of the word / phrases that I have already been learning, so that the Pimsleur material will already be familiar to me, allowing me to really concentrate on hearing and speaking.

I will give you a review of the Pimsleur method as soon as I have begun a course.

I will also describe my approach to learning Spanish in another post.

Cheers!

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