30 Aug 2013

Crash course in Turkish language

English may not be a lingua franca in Turkey, but it’s definitely possible to get around without knowing the language. Turkish people are extremely welcoming and will make an effort to help visitors who may not be familiar with the language. But why not surprise them by learning a bit of Turkish? The 25th Annual EAIE Conference in Istanbul is just around the corner. As you’re packing your suitcase and preparing for your trip, take a moment to explore the language of this vibrant city where you’ll be spending the week.

Use this short crash course in Turkish language to get yourself started. The following words and phrases might come in handy for your trip.

Learn a few of the everyday Turkish greetings

Be able to ask someone where something is

When ordering food in a restaurant or in a shop, it is perfectly polite to ask for the food you would like and add the Turkish word for please – lütfen – on the end.

There are a few other key words and phrases you’re bound to hear everywhere you go:

The word buyurun (pronounced  ‘booh-rohn’) is one that you’ll hear in shops, restaurants and markets. It’s an all-purpose word for which there is no direct equivalent in English, and may mean one of the following: welcome, please come in, sit down, there you are, how can I help you or would you like anything else. Context is key.

Hadi (pronouced ‘had-ee’) is another word you’re likely to hear very often, meaning ‘come on’ or ‘go on’.

Upon arriving somewhere, whether it is checking into your hotel, going into a restaurant, entering a shop or visiting someone’s home, you’ll probably hear people say hosh geldiniz. Translated into English, this means ‘welcome’ and thankfully, has a set response that you can learn to reply with – hosh bulduk, or ‘happy to be here’.

Are you interested in exploring more of Turkey’s rich language? Check out this article from EAIE Forum magazine all about Turkish literature and the evolution of the Turkish language.