The Turkish alphabet is slightly different from the Latin alphabet. There are 29 letters in the Turkish alphabet. The letters “Qq”, “Ww” and “Xx” do not exist. In addition to the 5 vowels (a, e, i, o, u), Turkish also has the letter “ı”, a dotless “i”, the letter “o” with an umlaut: “Ö” and “ö”, and the letter “u”: with umlaut:”Ü ü”. To differentiate between ” i ” and ” ı ” in capital form, the capital ” i ” keeps its dot: ” İ “, as in “İstanbul”.
Turkish consonants include the letters “Ç ç” (pronounced like “ch” in chat), the letter “Ş ş”, (pronounced “sh” like sheep), and the letter “Ğ ğ” (no English equivalent. Almost silent, with a slight “y”: “Böreği” would be pronounced “böre-ee”.
Conjugation and word order in Turkish are fundamentally different. While personal pronouns do exist (Ben – I), they are usually omitted when used in a sentence, and the verb ending shows the subject. Another major difference is that in Turkish, the basic word order is Subject – Object – Verb, versus the English Subject – Verb – Object. The sentence “I eat bread.” for example, would be “Ben ekmek yerim. (I bread eat.) However, “Ekmek yerim” (bread eat) suffices, as the ending of the verb “yemek” (to eat), indicates who eats the bread. Below are some useful phrases that might come in handy on your next travels to Turkey.
Merhaba! (merr-ha-buh) – Hello!
Benim adım Robin (benim ad-m Robin) – My name is Robin
Günaydın (Gewnay-dn) – Good Morning
Nasilsiniz? (Nasil-si-niss) – How are you? (formal)
Nasılsın? (nasl-sn) – How are you? (friend)
Güle güle (gew-leh gew-le) – Good bye!
Bir çay / kahve lütven (beer chai / ka-vay lewt-fenn) – One tea / coffee please!
Ben iyiyim. (Ben eeyeeyim) – I am well.
Efendim? (eh-fan-dim) – Pardon?
Bakar mısınız (bah-car mih-sn-z) – Excuse me…
Hesap lütfen. (he-sap lewt-fenn) – The check please!
Çok güzel! (Chock gewzell) – Very nice! Very beautiful!
Görüşürüz (Gö-rü-shü-rüzz) – See you later!
İyi akşamlar/geceler (ee-yee ahk-shum-lar / ge-je-ler) – Good evening / night.
Günün nasıl geçti? (günun nussl gech-tee) – How was your day?
Karnım çok açıktı. (car-num chock atch-ukt-uh) – I am very hungry
Çok teşekkür ederim. (chock teshe-kür edderim)- Thank you very much.
Bunun fiyatı ne kadar (boo-noon fiat-uh neh cadar) – How much does it cost?
Banka / Hava Limanı / Ayasofya nerede? (banka / havva leemanuh / ayasophia nere-de) – Where is the bank / the airport / the Hagia Sophia?
Bugün hava çok güzel (boo-gün hava chock güzell) – The weather is very nice today.
Sormak ayıp değil, bilmemek ayıp.
Asking is not a shame. It is a shame not to know.
A Joke in Turkish
Bir Kapıcı çalıştığı dokuz katlı binanın asansörü bozulunca bir kağıt asıyor, üstünde şu yazılar var:
“Asansör bozuk, en yakın asansör yüz metre ileride, yandaki binadadır.”
The elevator of a 9-story building breaks down. Attached to the door is a note from the janitor:
“Elevator is out of order. Please use the one in the other building.”
Check out “How do I say… in Hindi?”.