Turkish grammar

Yep, I haven’t updated for a while due to various school stuff (only 1 week of school left!). In this busy time, I decided to tackle some rudimentary Turkish grammer, and it was surprisingly easy and a lot of things make sense to me now!

I learn grammer from this site, which provides some excellent lesson. Even though my philosophy is that the best way to practice is to use the language, I think it’s necessary to first understand some rudimentary grammer so you can form your own sentences. Once you know how to form sentnces, you can then go to LiveMocha and chat with Turks!

Turkish Class


Day 17: Story time!

Today’s mission:

  • FSI unit 7
  • Write a story using stuff I learned!
I’m finding the FSI courses more and more helpful. Even though I don’t know the grammatical rules that some of these sentences, I can nevertheless pull out ideas because I’ve memorized these sentences.
For example, I can easily tell someone where my school is:
Doğru gildiniz, sağ tarafta, köse başinda iyi bir okul var. (Straight ahead, around the corner on the right, there is a good school).
I can also create my own little story. WARNING: there may be mistakes in my Turkish 😀 Update: Everything is now fixed, thanks to the nice people on LiveMocha!
Kadın: Affedersiniz efendim, buralarda okul var mı?
Adam: Hangi okul?
Kadın: Cornell Üniversitesi.
Adam: Evet, sol tarafta köşe başında.
Kadın: Offffff
Adam: Anladınız mı?
Kadın: Hayır. Türkçe iyi konuşamıyor. Tekrarlayın lütfen.
Adam: Biraz para verir misin?
Kadın: Kaç lira?
Adam: Yüz lira lütfen.
Kadın: Acaba buralarda karakol var mı?
Adam: Güle güle…
Woman: Excuse me sir, is there a school around here?
Man: Which school?
Woman: Cornell University
Man: Yes, around the corner on the left.
Woman: arghhhh
Man: Do you understand?
Woman. No. I don’t speak Turkish very well. Please repeat.
Man: Will you give me some money?
Woman: How much liras?
Man: 100 liras please.
Woman: If wonder if there’s a police station around here?
Man: Good bye…
I’m gonna try to create more of these stories everyday. It’s a great practice!

10 minutes of daily listening

A few posts ago, I shared a link that stressed the importance of listening. To meet the suggested 10 minutes of listening per day, I started subscribing to some BBC News audio podcasts in Turkish. Each podcast is about 6-8 minutes long, so I try to listen to two per day. At this point, I can only catch words like “tammam“, but it doesn’t matter because the point of the listening is to get used to the sound of Turkish.

10 minutes really isn’t a lot of time.

You can easily add the link to iTunes, Zune, Google Reader, whatever you use.




Day 16: The comeback

Today’s missions:

  • Unit 6 of FSI Language course
  • study song lyrics
I am finally done with the busy-ness of last week, and now on track back to learning Turkish!
Phew it has been quite a while, but surprisingly my Turkish is still fresh in memory. I started the day off with listening to Unit 6 of FSI, and then I found a Turkish song I really like.
Learning song lyrics is a method I learned from blogger Andrew, who helped me learned Spanish with Shakira lyrics.
The following song is called Suya Hapsettim. Suya means in water, hapsettim kinda means (as my Turkish friend tried to explain) “I trap”, or “I imprison”. explain). So Suya Hapsettim = I Trapped You In the Water.
I found Turkish and English version of lyrics from allthelyrics.com. Over the next few days, I’m going to try to memorize the lyrics and sing it constantly. Also, be sure to keep listening, as this will help you familiarize with the Turkish accents.
Ne aşklar ne de itiraflar
There is no love, no confession
Ne adres ne boş sokaklar
There is no address, how empty streets are
Sormadan bulamadım
Without looking for (something), I could not find (it)
Belki de ben yolumu kaybettim
Perhaps I have lost my way
Okusam da söyleyemem adını
Even though I read, I am unable to say your name
Çünkü ben seni suya hapsettim
Because I have confined you to the water
Ezberledim ben okuya okuya
I have memorised (my lessons in life) by reading and reading
Bir türlü sana öğretemedim
(but) I could not teach you in any possible way
Geceler boyu dizlerinin dibinde
All the nights, right beside you
Uykum kaçsa bile uyanamadım
Even though the sleep ran away (my eyes), I could not wake up either
Ne kuşlar ne de o ağaçlar
There is no bird, no tree
Görmeden geçirdiğim o sabah var
(but) There is that morning when I have passed without seeing (you or anything)
Aşk diye diye kendimden bile bile
Vazgeçtim derken yolu kaybettim
For the sake of love, I have given up on myself, just then I have lost the way
Ağlasam da söyleyemem derdimi
Even if I cry, I cannot say (anything) about my pain
Çünkü ben seni suya hapsettim
Because I have confined you to the water

Day 9: Listen, Listen, Listen

Today’s mission:

  • listen to FSI unit 5
Today I had a ton of work, so I did not spend that much time on Turkish. However, I did find time to listen repeatedly to unit 5 of FSI language course.
Also, I found a very interesting post on the importance of listening. It’s made by a guy who has studied many languages, and promotes listening as the main way to achieve fluency.

Get free Turkish lessons from nearby Turkish Cultural Centers

My friend, Yusuf, recently told me there’s a nearby Turkish Cultural Center that gives out free lessons.

Theres actually a turkish course for free at the TCC every friday. It’s free, they just teach Turkish. Its “hizmet” or “service”. Basically any state you go, you’ll find the group I was mentioning earlier called “hizmet”, they do it for the sake of God and our community
I did a little research, and found this hizmet, or service, given freely by Turks are part of the Gülen movement, started by a Turkish Ismal Theologist Fethullah Gülen to promote service from Muslims to the world (teşekkür ederim, efendim!). According to Wiki, this movement is “faith-based but not faith-limited”, meaning I don’t have to be Muslim to get free Turkish lessons. (Of course, hizmet is not limited JUST to teaching Turkish).
Check if there are any Turkish cultural centers near you.
Anyways, I’m planning to check out the Turkish Cultural Center near my house this Friday and I’ll write an entry about my experience. Really looking forward to it!

Day 8: Reaching for fluency

Today’s mission:

  • Master unit 4 in the Foreign Institute Service (FSI) Language Courses
I thought the free FSI courses were so good that I decided I’m going to dedicate myself to the course. For each unit, I will master the content and pretty much memorize all the phrases.

That’s why I decided to spend some more time on Unit 4, instead of moving on the Unit 5

Today, I spent quite a while listening to Unit 4 over and over again (on the bus, when I’m not doing much), and have all the phrases dedicated to my mind. And I gotta admit, it’s an AWESOME feeling! It really makes me feel that my Türkçe is rapidly improving because I can pull out phrases such as “Tekrar edin, lütfen ” (please repeat) and  “terçüme edin, lütfen” (please translate) instantly!

But…. I am still planning on doing one unit a day, starting again tomorrow. But this time, I’ll follow the suggestion given in the FSI student handbook for Türkçe, and that is to repeatedly listen to the audio until you can memorize all the phrases, and THEN look at the text to see the translations.

I have also loaded the audios into my phone, so I can bring a headphone and listen to them anytime I want.