Saturday, September 18, 2021

Language & Phrasebook in Turkey

EuropeTurkeyLanguage & Phrasebook in Turkey

The only official language of Turkey is Turkish. Turkish is an Altaic language and its closest living relatives are other Turkic languages spoken in Southwest, Central and North Asia; and to a lesser extent by large communities in the Balkans. Since Turkish is an agglutinative language, native speakers of Indo-European languages usually have difficulty learning it. Since 1928, Turkish has been written in a variant of the Latin alphabet (after so many centuries of using the Arabic alphabet, which can be seen in many historical texts and documents), with the additions of ç/Ç, Ş/Ğ, ı, İ, ö/Ö, ş/Ş and ü/Ü, and with the exclusions of Q, W and X.

Kurdish is also spoken by about 7-10% of the population. There are several other languages, such as Laz in the northeast (also spoken in neighbouring Georgia), and in general people living near the borders often speak the language on the other side, such as Arabic in the southeast.

Thanks to migration, there is at least one person in most villages, even in the countryside, who has worked in Germany and therefore speaks German. The same applies to other Western European languages such as Dutch (often wrongly called “Flemish” there) or French. With recent immigration from the Balkans, it is also possible to meet native speakers of Serbo-Croatian, Bulgarian and Albanian, especially in the big cities in western Turkey, but don’t count on it. English is also becoming increasingly popular among the younger generation. The “universities” that train students for a career in tourism are churning out thousands of young people eager to put their knowledge of the tourist into practice, with varying degrees of success. Language universities produce students who are nowadays quite good in their chosen language.