Being one of the greatest European and International powers of the Middle Ages, the Ottoman Empire, which can is the ancestor of modern Turkey spread its conquest and influence through sword and word alike. Although the sword part was definitely used a lot more, the use of the Turkish language in influencing and assimilating new territories is undeniable, since trade, international affairs and other similar aspects were handled in Turkish in South Eastern Europe at that time.
From an ethnic point of view, Turkish is a Turkic language (big surprise, eh?) that developed in the Middle East, stretching all the way to Eastern Europe. From a broader point of view, Turkish is categorized under the Ural-Altaic family of languages, which also includes languages such as Hungarian or Finnish.
Nowadays, Turkish is spoken by roughly 70 million people worldwide, most of which are concentrated in Turkey. Other countries that have strong Turkish speaking communities include Denmark, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Israel and France.
Difficulties in learning Turkish
Regardless of what culture you’re coming from and what languages you might already know, you will probably find Turkish a rather difficult language to learn. This is not to say that you can’t do it if you’re ambitious enough, but the learning process will probably be less smooth than if you’re learning an “easier” language such as say, Spanish, French, English and so forth.
First of all, Turkish writing is quite hard to understand. Back at the start of the 20th century, Turkish writing used the Perso-Arabic script, which was later switched to the Latin script. This can still cause confusion at times, although the old Arabic script is rarely used (some consider it extinct even).
Most “Learn Turkish” courses will focus on other aspects rather than start off with the script, the most common starting points being a vocabulary increase and a short insight into the grammar rules of the Turkish language. From a grammatical point of view, Turkish is usually considered quite ordinary in what regards the difficulty with which its rules can be assimilated and understood. The main problems are pronunciation and spelling usually.
But before you can spell or pronounce words, you must know what they mean in the first place. That’s why your first task will have to be to improve vocabulary and memorize words. This can be done through several means. The first would be that you take some free Turkish lessons online, which will naturally improve your base vocabulary as you go deeper in the course. Your second option could be to use translated texts as a means of finding new words and memorizing. Last but not least, if you want a more relaxing, fun approach to the issue, you could try out a few vocabulary games such as puzzles or quizzes. They might not be the most efficient of learning methods, but they combine utility with pleasure, hence they’re a great tool you can use in your Turkish learning process.