One of the first questions asked to Darren Edwards of Luxury Property Turkey by potential property purchasers in Turkey is ‘’How will I communicate with local Turks?’’
Turkish is a fascinating language, with several unique characteristics that set it apart from Latin and Indo-European language groups. Being a Ural-Altaic language, Turkish is distantly related to Finnish, Hungarian and yes, Mongolian. While a native Turkish speaker will not understand these cousin languages any more than an Irish speaker would understand Danish, Ural-Altaic languages have several things in common. They are all agglutinating, meaning that words and verbs are formed by adding suffixes to the end of words to create sentence structures. Most Ural-Altaic languages follow a form of vowel harmony, in that the first vowel in a word defines all of the succeeding vowels in that word. Lastly, Ural-Altaic languages are very compact – it takes far fewer actual words to convey the meaning of a passage in Turkish than the equivalent in English.
What does this mean for an expat who chooses to live in Turkey either part or full time? While there are permanent residents of Turkey who do not speak any Turkish at all, Darren Edwards suggests taking the time to learn a few basics, such as numbers, days of the week, months of the year, and daily greetings. Because Turkish use is structured so logically, in many ways the grammar is easier to grasp than a language such as French or Spanish with many irregular verbs. Also, there are no noun genders in Turkish, so there is no need to memorize female, male or neutral nouns. Additionally, Turkish is practically completely phonetic, meaning that words are pronounced exactly as they are written.
Many residents become fascinated with mastering Turkish, and there are excellent classes available for beginners, intermediate and advanced levels in all Turkish towns, as well as on-line and via Skype. Don’t let the language be a barrier to immersing yourself into this lovely culture, and by speaking with friends, neighbors and business associates in Turkish, you’ll find a deeply woven fabric of richness in your new abode.