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Turkish for Beginners

Introduction

Turkish is the national language of Turkey and Turkish community of Northern Cyprus (who has a not-recognized state named Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus), and is also spoken by native minority groups in Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, and by immigrant groups in Germany, England, Nederlands, France, Austria, Belgium, Australia and other countries. It is the most important member of the Turkic group of languages which form a branch of the Altaic family. There are about 80 million speakers.

Turkish was originally written in the Arabic script which, though poorly suited to the language, had been in use since the conversion of the Turks to Islam. In 1928 President Atatürk decreed the introduction of a slightly modified version of the Roman alphabet, consisting of twenty-one consonants and eight vowels. In Turkish, the letters q, w, and x are absent, while the letter c is pronounced like the English j (e.g., cep-pocket), j like the French j (jale-dew), ç is pronounced ch (çiçek-flower).

The English words "caviar", "yogurt", and "shish kebab" are of Turkish origin. The word "tulip" comes from a Turkish word for turban, because its flower was thought to resemble a turban. The word "meander" comes from the ancient name of the Menderes River of western Turkey, which was noted for its winding course.

Turkish is spoken/used in the following countries: Bulgaria, Cyprus (Northern), Greece, Macedonia, and Turkey.

Language Family
Family: Altaic
Subgroup: Turkic
Branch: Southwestern (Oghuz)

Part One - The Basics

Lesson 1: To Be

Welcome to the Turkish course here at UniLang. We want to help you learn foreign languages and we hope this little course can help you. These courses in part one are intended for absolute beginners who need a little assistance with starting to learn some basics. This is not a complete course.

Introductions

We'll start by teaching you how to introduce yourself in Turkish. Take a look at the following Turkish sentence and it's English translation. All Turkish text will be written in blue and the English translation in green.

"Ben Ahmet'im."

"I am Ahmet"

Turkish sentence structure is different from English's. "ben" means "I", but we can't see an equivalent word of "am" in Turkish. Instead of it, we see a suffix "-im" after Ahmet. "-im" is the conjugational suffix of verb "to be" for the first, singular person "ben". When you introduce yourself with your name, it's optional to use this suffix. You can say only "Ben Ahmet".

 (Ben) Ahmet'im.   I am Ahmet.
 (Sen) Ahmet'sin.  You are Ahmet.
 (O) Ahmet'dir.  He is Ahmet.
 (O) Ayşe'dir.  She is Ayşe.
 (O) (bir) kedidir.  It is a cat.
 (Biz) Ahmet ve Ayşe'yiz.  We are Ahmet and Ayşe.
 (Siz) Ahmet ve Ayşe'siniz.  You are Ahmet and Ayşe.
 (Onlar) Ahmet ve Ayşe'dirler.  They are Ahmet and Ayşe.

NOTES:

  • Turkish has no gender.
  • kedi = the cat
  • bir = a/an, one
  • There is no article in Turkish like the/der,die,das/el, la...
  • Don't forget apostrophes between proper nouns and suffixes.
  • Suffix "-im" changes according to vowel harmony.

 Ben Ahmet'im  Ben Hasan'ım  Ben Gül'üm  Ben Uğur'um
 Ben  -(y)im  -(y)ım  -(y)üm  -(y)um
 Sen  -sin  -sın  -sün  -sun
 O  -dir  -dır  -dür  -dur
 Biz  -(y)iz  -(y)ız  -(y)üz  -(y)uz
 Siz  -siniz  -sınız  -sünüz  -sunuz
 Onlar  -dirler  -dırlar  -dürler  -durlar

Vocabulary

We'll ask you to study a number of words in each lesson.


Vocabulary

 baba  father
 anne, ana  mother
 büyükanne, nıne  grandmother
 büyükbaba, dede  grandfather
 doktor  the doctor
 kedı  the cat
 bır  a/an, one
 ve  and

Exercises

Exercise A: Translate to English:
1) Ben Ali'yim.
2) O (bir) babadır.
3) Onlar Ali ve Gül'dürler.
4) O (bir) annedir.
5) Sen (bir) büyükannesin.
6) Siz Ayşe ve Cem'siniz.
7) Biz Ahmet ve Hasan'ız.

Exercise B: Translate to Turkish:
1) We are Mehmet and Özgür.
2) I am a mother.
3) She is a grandmother.
4) They are İsmail and Elif.
5) You are Hasan and Murat.
6) You are a grandfather.

Solutions

Solution of Exercise A:
1) I am Ali.
2) He is a father.
3) they are Ali and Gül.
4) She is a mother.
5) You are a grandmother.
6) You are Ayşe and Cem.
7) we are Ahmet and Hasan.

Solution of Exercise B:
1) Biz Mehmet ve Özgür'üz.
2) Ben (bir) anneyim.
3) O (bir) büyükannedir.
4) Onlar İsmail ve Elif'tir.
5) Siz Hasan ve Murat'sınız.
6) Sen (bir) büyükbabasın.


Lesson 2: Articles, Gender, To Have

Articles

Apparently you've successfully finished lesson one, so now we can continue with the second lesson. In this lesson, you'll learn how to describe certain objects. First of all,Turkish has no definite article (like; "the", "der, die, das", "el,la"...) and the indefinite article is "bir" (equivalent of English's "a/an". ( And it is not so essential; you can omit "bir").Take a look at these Turkish sentences:

 He is a father.  O bir babadır.
 I am a student.  Ben bir öğrenciyim.  Ben öğrenciyim.  Öğrenciyim.

(These three sentences have the same meaning. You can change the meaning by stressing.)

Gender

Now, we have a good news: Turkish has no different gender!! The third singular person "o""he/she/it".

To Have

In this lesson we'll also introduce the verb "sahip olmak", which means "to have". Take a look at the full conjugation and translation of this verb:

 Ben (birşeye) sahibim.  I have (sthg.)
 Sen (birşeye) sahipsin.  You have (sthg.)
 O (birşeye) sahiptir.  He/she/it has (sthg.)
 Biz (birşeye) sahibiz.  We have (sthg.)
 Siz (birşeye) sahipsiniz.  You have (sthg.)
 Onlar (birşeye) sahiptirler.  They have (sthg.)

(This usage is grammatically correct but we usually use it as "benim bir evim var" instead of "ben bir eve sahibim".) It means "there is a house that belongs to me."

Vocabulary

Learn the following words. The words of the previous lesson are mentioned again, but this time we also show what definite article to use.


Vocabulary

 baba  the father
 anne  the mother
 büyükanne, nıne  the grandmother
 büyükbaba, dede  the grandfather
 sandalye  the chair
 ev  the house
 masa  the table
 kedı  the cat
 köpek  the dog
 kemık  the bone
 hayvan  the animal
 bına  the building

Exercises

Exercise A: Translate to English:
1) Kedi bir hayvandır.
2) Ev bir binadır.
3) Köpek bir kemiğe sahiptir.
4) Ben bir kediye sahibim.
5) Baba bir eve sahiptir.
6) Baba ve anne bir köpeğe sahiptirler.
7) Siz bir eve sahipsiniz.

Exercise B: Translate to Turkish:
1) The grandmother has a cat.
2) A cat is an animal.
3) The table has a chair.
4) The grandmother and the grandfather have a dog.
5) The mother has a dog and the father has a cat.
6) We have a table.
7) They have the house.

Solutions

Solution of Exercise A:
1) A cat is an animal.
2) The house is a building.
3) The dog has a bone.
4) I have a cat.
5) The father has a house.
6) The father and the mother have a dog.
7) You have a house.

Solution of Exercise B:
1) Büyükanne bir kediye sahiptir.
2) Kedi bir hayvandır.
3) Masa bir sandalyeye sahiptir.
4) Büyükanne ve büyükbaba bir köpeğe sahiptirler.
5) Anne bir köpeğe sahiptir ve baba bir kediye sahiptir.
6) Biz bir masaya sahibiz.
7) Onlar bir eve sahiptirler.


Lesson 3: Formal Pronouns, Possessive Adjectives, and Plural Nouns

Formal Pronouns

Before we teach you how to tell that something belongs to a certain person, we first have to teach you how to be polite in Turkish.

 Sen büyükannesin.  You are grandmother.
 Siz büyükannesiniz.  You are grandmother.
 Senin bir köpeğin var.  You have a dog.
 Sizin bir köpeğiniz var.  You have a dog.

And this same construction also applies to the plural form of "you", instead of "sen", "siz" is used in formal speech.

Now it's time to learn plural nouns. Until now you've only seen singular nouns such as "house" and "chair", but now we'll teach you how to form a plural noun ("houses", "chairs") in Turkish. It is quite easy, we have only two suffix : "-ler" /"-lar"

Some examples:

 kitap -kitaplar   book- books
 köpek- köpekler  dog- dogs
 kapı- kapılar  door - doors
 kedi- kediler  cat- cats
 çocuk- çocuklar  child- children
 adam- adamlar  man- men
 kadın- kadınlar  woman- women

The suffix changes according to the last vowel of the word.

 last vowel   suffix
 a / ı / o / u   -lar
 e / i / ö / ü   -ler

Possession

We're gonna learn "possessive pronouns" or "possessive adjectives". At the same time we'll learn how translate "this" and "that" (demonstrative pronouns). "this" is equal to "bu" in Turkish. It is used for showing something too near to us. "that" has two equivalents: "şu" and "o". These have quite near meanings. Here are a couple of new sentences:

 Bu senin evindir.  This is your house.
 Şu benim evimdir.  That is my house.
 Şu sizin evinizdir.  That is your house." (This is the polite/formal form, singular and plural)
 Şu onun evidir.  That is his/her/its house.
 Bu onun evidir.  This is his/her/its house.
 Şu bizim evimizdir.  That is our house.
 Şu sizin evinizdir.  That is your house.
 Bu onların evidir.  This is their house.
 Bu sandalye  This chair
 Bu ev  This house
 Bu köpek  This dog
 Bu kedi  This cat
 Şu / O sandalye  That chair
 Şu / O ev  That house
 Şu / O köpek  That dog
 Şu/ O kedi  That cat
 Bu evler  these houses
 Şu anahtarlar  those keys
 Bu atlar  these horses
 O maymunlar  those monkeys

Vocabulary

 kıtap  the book
 at  the horse
 irmak/nehır  the river
 göz  the eye
 maymun  the monkey
 fare  the mouse
 anahtar  the key
 parmak  the finger
 kule  the tower
 çember  the circle
 fotoğraf  the photo
 fotoğraf makınasi  the camera
 kapi  the door
 burasi/burada  here
 orasi/orada  there
 bırçok  many/much

Exercises

Exercise A: Translate to English:
1) Şunlar benim fotoğraflarımdır.
2) Maymun parmaklara sahiptir.
3) Bunlar onların anahtarlarıdır.
4) Bu bir faredir.
5) Benim birçok atım vardır.
6) O senin anahtarına sahiptir.
7) Bunlar sizin kulelerinizdir.
8) O ( kadın) bu kitaplara sahiptir.
9) Biz o fotoğraf makinalarına sahibiz.

Exercise B: Translate to Turkish:
1) We have many fingers.
2) These are my eyes.
3) That is his key.
4) This is your book and these are your dogs. (spoken to a stranger)
5) I have those photos.
6) Her books have photos.
7) They have the house.
8) This house is your house. (spoken to a dear friend)
9) You are their grandmother. (use formal speech)
10) The houses have many keys.

Solutions

Solution of Exercise A:
1) Those are my photos.
2) A monkey has fingers.
3) These are their keys.
4) This is a mouse.
5) I have many horses.
6) She has your key.
7) These are your towers.
8) She has these books.
9) We have those cámaras.

Solution of Exercise B:
1) Biz birçok parmağa sahibiz.
2) Bunlar benim gözlerimdir.
3) Bu onun anahtarıdır.
4) Bu sizin kitabınızdır ve bunlar sizin köpeklerinizdir.
5) Ben şu fotoğraflara sahibim.
6) Onun kitaplarının resimleri vardır.
7) Onlar bir eve sahiptir. ( Onların bir evi vardır.)
8) Bu ev senin evindir.
9) Siz onların büyükannesisiniz.
10) Evlerin birçok anahtarı vardır.


Lesson 4: Verbs and Negation

Verbs

All Turkish verbs are regular. (except for "olmak "). A verb has two parts: stem and infinitive suffix ( -mek / -mak )

It is similar to form the plurality. The suffix changes according to the last vowel of the stem.

If the last vowel is "a / ı / o / u" , the suffix is "-mak".[ ( e / i / ö/ ü ) >>> "-mek"]

Some examples about verb conjugation (in the simple present tense):

 okumak  (to read)
 koşmak  (to run)
 yemek  (to eat)
 (Ben) okurum.  I read
 koşarım  I run
 yerim  I eat
 (Sen) okursun.  you read
 koşarsın  you run
 yersin  you eat
 (O) okur.  he/she/it reads
 koşar  he/she/it runs
 yer  he/she/it eats
 (Biz) okuruz.  We read
 koşarız  we run
 yeriz  we eat
 (Siz) okursunuz.  you read
 koşarsın  you run
 yersiniz  you eat
 (Onlar) okurlar.  They read
 koşarlar  they run
 yerler  they eat

Negation

Now we're going to talk about negation, because you might want to say: "That is NOT a table ", "and that is NO dog". In Turkish, we say "Bu bir masa değildir ve bu bir köpek değildir." We use "değil" instead of "not".

 I read this book.  Ben bu kitabı okuyorum.
 I don't read this book.  Ben bu kitabı okumuyorum.

We use a suffix (-ma ) between the stem of the verb and the conjugational suffixes to give it the negative meaning. ( this suffix changes according to the last vowel of the stem.)

I think that's enough material for now. Make sure you understand it. It's quite hard, so don't hesitate to reread this lesson a couple of times.

Vocabulary

Learn the following words. From now on there will also be regular verbs (or at least verbs that are regular in the present tense) in the list.


Vocabulary

 okumak  to read
 konuşmak  to speak
 yemek  to eat
 yaşamak  to live
 sevmek  to love
 koşmak  to run
 görmek  to see
 çocuk  the child
 adam  the man
 kadin  the woman
 elma  the apple
 ağaç  the tree
 Türkçe  Turkish
 İngılızce  English

Exercises

Exercise A: Translate to English:
1) Fotoğrafları görüyorum.
2) Adam koşuyor.
3) Çocuk bir elma yiyor.
4) Kadın adamı görmüyor.
5) Çocukları görmüyorum.
6) Onun atı yok. ( O bir ata sahip değildir.)
7) Çocuk çok yer.
8) Biz birçok elma yeriz.
9) Bunlar hayvan değiller.
10) Kadın görmüyor.
11) Türkçe konuşuyorsunuz.
12) Onlar İngilizce konuşuyorlar.

Exercise B: Translate to Turkish:
1) I see a tree.
2) You do not see this child.
3) We speak Turkish.
4) I have no children.
5) She sees this man.
6) This isn't her grandfather.
7) You speak Turkish.
8) They see my house.
9) He sees that horse.
10) I am not a Turk.
11) We do not have those keys.

Solutions

Solution of Exercise A:
1) I see the photos.
2) The man runs.
3) The child eats an apple.
4) The women don't see the man.
5) I don't see children.
6) He doesn't have a horse OR She doesn't have a horse.
7) The child/the boy eats much.
8) We eat many apples.
9) These are no animals.
0) The woman doesn't see.
11) You speak Turkish.
12) They speak English.

Solution of Exercise B:
1) Bir ağaç görüyorum.
2) Sen çocuğu görmüyorsun.
3) Biz Türkçe konuşuyoruz.
4) (Benim) çocuğum yok.
5) O, bu adamı görüyor.
6) Bu, onun dedesi değildir.
7) Siz Türkçe konuşuyorsunuz. OR Sen Türkçe konuşuyorsun.
8) Onlar benim evimi görüyorlar.
9) O, şu atı görüyor.
10) Ben Türk değilim.
11) Biz bu anahtarların sahibi değiliz. OR Şu anahtarlar bize ait değildir.


Lesson 5: Adjectives, Adverbs, and Questions

Adjectives

In this lesson we'll teach you how to use adjectives in Turkish. An adjective tells something about a noun, it describes a property of a noun.

 Ev büyüktür.  The house is big.
 Kadın yaşlıdır.  The woman is old.
 Elmalar kırmızıdır.  The apples are red.

This is an easy construction. The Turkish adjective is never conjugated in any way in such a construction.

 Büyük ev  The big house
 Yaşlı kadın  The old woman
 Kırmızı elma  The red apples
 Güzel kedi  the beautiful cat
 Yüksek dağlar  The high mountains
 Vahşi köpekler  The wild dogs

Adverbs

Now we can move on to the matter of adverbs. An adverb can be compared to an adjective but it says something about a verb instead of a noun.

 O hızlı koşar.  He runs fast
 Ben yavaş konuşurum.  I speak slowly
 O kuş alçaktan uçar.  that bird flies low

Questions

We can continue with asking question in Turkish. To tell things is nice, but once in a while you might need to ask something to someone. We'll teach you. Basically, Turkish has 6 interrogative pronouns. The formula is "5N1K":

5N
 Ne?  What?
 Ne zaman?  When?
 Nasıl?  how?
 Nerede?  Where?
 Neden?(niçin?)  Why?
1K
Kim? = Who? ( kimin?= whose?), (kime?= whom?)

Some questions:

 Bu nedir?  What is this?
 (Sen) nerdesin?  Where are you?
 (O) ne zaman geliyor?  When does he come?
 O yaşlı adam kim?  Who is that old man?
 Hava nasıl?  How is the weather?
 Neden Türkçe öğreniyorsunuz?  Why do you learn Turkish?
 Hangi hayvanları seversin?  Which animals do you like?

This concludes the fifth lesson.

Vocabulary

Learn the following words, from now on there will also appears adjectives and adverbs in the list (as well as interrogative pronouns in this lesson).


Vocabulary

 uçmak  to fly
 yürümek  to walk
 yüzmek  to swim
 hizli, çabuk  fast
 yavaş  slow
 yaşli  old
 genç  young
 ıyı  good
 yüksek  high
 kötü  bad
 kizgin  angry
 vahşı  wild
 güzel, hoş  nice
 nazık, kıbar  kind
 yenı  new
 bısıklet  the bike
 hava  the weather
 kuş  the bird
 dağ  the mountain
 kemık  the bone
 hangı?  which?
 ne?  what?
 kım?  who?
 neden?/nıçın?  why?
 nasil?  how?
 ne zaman?  when?
 ne kadar?  how much?/how many?
 çok/bırçok  very

Exercises

Exercise A: Translate to English:
1) Bu adam nazik bir adamdır.
2) Şu nazik çocuk kimdir?
3) Ne zaman (yemek) yeriz?
4) Şu nedir?
5) Büyük ev bizim evimizdir?
6) O hızlı koşuyor?
7) Benim yaşlı büyükannem çok naziktir.
8) Benim bisikletim yenidir.
9) Bunlar çok güzel hayvanlardır.
10) Ne görüyorsunuz?

Exercise B: Translate to Turkish:
1) I see a new chair.
2) We see an old woman.
3) Who are you?
4) She is not old.
5) They fly fast.
6) Our grandmother is an old woman.
7) Which bike is fast?
8) My new bike is fast.
9) What does the bad dog want?
10 The bad dog wants a bone.

Solutions

Solution of Exercise A:
1) This man is a kind man.
2) Who is that kind child.
3) When do we eat?
4) What is that?
5) The big house is our house.
6) She runs fast.
7) My old grandmother is very kind.
8) My bike is new.
9) These are very nice animals.
10) What do you see?

Solution of Exercise B:
1) Yeni bir sandalye görüyorum.
2) (Biz) yaşlı bir kadın görüyoruz.
3) Sen kimsin? (singular) (informal) OR Siz kimsiniz? (plural) ( formal)
4) O yaşlı değildir.
5) Onlar hızlı uçarlar.
6) Bizim büyükannemiz yaşlı bir kadındır.
7) Hangi bisiklet hızlıdır?
8) Benim yeni bisikletim hızlıdır.
9) Kötü köpek ne istiyor?
10) Kötü köpek kemik istiyor.


End Of Part One

This is the end of part one. Now you've learned some of the basics of the Turkish language. In the future we might create a part two of this course but for now this is all. We used the pattern of UniLang's language courses and we translated its grammar explanation parts ( with a little adaptation) to Turkish. This situation made some problems (esp. about "the part of possessivity and the part of verb [because of similarity of the present continuous tense and the simple present tense in Turkish].

Thanks for your interest in this course! If you discovered any mistakes or you just want to say something then please let us know . We do need feedback!

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