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3 Common Mistakes Learners of Turkish Make

There are multiple reasons to choose Turkish as the next language you want to master; the cultural benefits alone should bump this tongue up to the top of your must-know languages list. Turkish is rumored to be a difficult language for native English speakers due to its unique vocabulary and grammar structures, but this doesn’t mean you should give up before you even begin. Knowing the most common mistakes Turkish learners make before you embark on your language journey can help you to avoid many hazards and surge ahead of the language learning pack. Read on to discover the top 3 mistakes learners of the Turkish tongue make and take that first small step towards mastering the language!


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Not thinking in Turkish.

Although this can apply to any language, it is of utmost importance when you’re learning Turkish. The main reason behind this is that Turkish has a very different word order from English, or most other Latin-based tongues, for that matter. Many of the mistakes students make when studying Turkish can all lead back to simply not thinking in Turkish. While translating from English to Turkish in your head may seem like the easiest way to go, you’ll have trouble adapting to Turkish’s SOV (subject-object-verb) word order and make way more mistakes than you need to. Get your brain used to thinking in Turkish and speaking it will come much more naturally.

Bonus Tip: Spontaneous speaking is one of the best ways to help your brain adjust to thinking in the target language. Spend 15 minutes a day spontaneously talking to yourself, whether you’re cooking, cleaning, or in the shower. Your brain will thank you for it!


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Not studying grammar and vocabulary together.

Since Turkish has such a specific grammar structure, many students believe that they should focus on conquering this part of the language before tackling any other aspect. However, language teachers believe that learning vocabulary and grammar simultaneously is the ideal way to approach Turkish. Although Turkish does borrow root words from Latin-based tongues such as French, there are many words which will appear completely foreign to you. If you neglect your Turkish vocabulary in favor of the grammar, you’ll struggle to communicate as your vocab will be too limited. By learning new vocabulary as you study grammar you’ll also have varied ways of putting your grammatical skills to the test!

Bonus Tip: Brush up on your French so that you can easily memorize the 5,000 words Turkish borrows from this language. For other more foreign-sounding vocab, use image association to really make the words stick!


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Not being realistic about your reading skills.

Turkish words may be pronounced phonetically, but this doesn’t mean you’ll be capable of picking up any newspaper or novel and having a go at it. It’s easy to get excited and overreach your abilities when studying Turkish script. However, this can result in frustration for many students when they find themselves up against a text that is just too difficult for them. Don’t be shy about starting out with Turkish children’s books. They may seem too simple and the pronunciation may be a breeze, but they will help you to build your vocab and grammar abilities and give you the confidence you need to move on to the next reading level.

Bonus Tip: Re-read a book you’ve already read in your native language, but in Turkish. The Harry Potter series is an excellent learning tool for Turkish because the books grow more complex and difficult as the series progresses. This means your reading skills will grow too!

Learning Turkish can be a long and difficult journey, but it is one full of triumph and success if you go about it the right way. Learning which mistakes to avoid is just one aspect of mastering this wonderful tongue, you’ll also want to make sure you sign up for some excellent language classes and keep your skills on point with free placement tests. Turkish offers some unique challenges, but if you stick with it you’ll come away with valuable knowledge which will last you a life time!