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Difficulty of Turkish

 Language Learning Forum : Specific Languages Post Reply
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 4877 days ago

100 posts - 115 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto
Studies: German

 Message 41 of 49
22 April 2013 at 7:29am | IP Logged 
Marc Frisch wrote:
I don't think Turkish is difficult, but it's very different from English so it'll take you much more time then an "easy" language like Spanish or German.

Yikes, if anyone considers German an easy language, there's no way I could learn a language like Turkish.
2 persons have voted this message useful

Joined 3617 days ago

3 posts - 4 votes
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Bulgarian

 Message 42 of 49
23 July 2013 at 11:25am | IP Logged 
The Foreign Service Index places Turkish at level 4, so they put it in the same category as Russian, Pashto, Tagalog etc. I have worked on another level 4 language Bulgarian but I have Turkish more difficult. The vowel sounds are difficult to distinguish and the word-building with suffixes is quite strange. If Russian and Bulgarian are level 4, Turkish should be 4.5 maybe.
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 4771 days ago

166 posts - 255 votes 
Speaks: Italian, Serbo-Croatian*, English, Russian, Portuguese, French
Studies: Arabic (classical), German, Turkish, Mandarin

 Message 43 of 49
23 July 2013 at 8:47pm | IP Logged 
"The vowel sounds are difficult to distinguish"

I guess that you are referring to the sounds u/ü, o/ö, i/ı (being Canadian, I don't see why would other vowels pose a threat). While this might have been a problem at the very beginning, learning how vowel harmony works eliminates this problem, as you can guess from the other vowels in the word which vowel it is.

Of course foreign words are the exception, but then again every language will have some kind of exception. Just saying how vowel distinction shouldn't pose a problem to anybody after learning vowel harmony logic (which even if very different to what we are used to, is quite a logical and simple rule to learn).
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TurkeyRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3661 days ago

53 posts - 62 votes 

 Message 44 of 49
24 July 2013 at 11:08am | IP Logged 
I am turkish and I consider Turkish a very easy language as there are very few exceptions and rules. To me English is the easiest language by far. But someone said it was as difficult (!) as French. I think this is also one of those stupid and childish comparisons. In fact it is better to ask no one if any language is easier than another one. The main problem is not that it is relative and subjective. The problem is that the people are LYING!
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Joined 2835 days ago

57 posts - 77 votes 
Speaks: Turkish*, English
Studies: Italian, German

 Message 45 of 49
24 July 2013 at 4:10pm | IP Logged 
Ups and downs;

- Turkish has an institutional body that governs the language; meaning you will have somewhat uniform and standardizied language at hand.
- Unlike most of category 4 and 5 languages, Turkish uses an alphabet that is derived from latin alphabet; which has only 7 characters that do not exist in English. More so; in Turkish every letter represents only one sound. Once you learn how to pronounce a vowel or consonant ( or consonant cluster ) it will be pronounced same in every word possible.
- Turkish grammar has been simplified and regulated with the Language Revolution in 1st half of 20th century. The revolution had catastrophic effects on the language and culture as a whole (this is a debated matter, what is written above is only my opinion about it) but it also made the language one of the most logical in the world. %99 of verbs, suffixes etc. everything grammatical follows a pattern. There maybe too many rules to learn; but also too few exceptions to master.
- Turkish sources are plentiful compared to most other category 4-5 languages. You can download 1 million hours of Turkish soap operas for free online, or watch tens of thousands of Turkish pop music videos on youtube. Written material however is scarce; since Turks hate reading. (again my personal opinion)
- Turks love helping people who are trying to learn their language, also number of Turks who can fluently speak a foreign language is very very low so you can get to practice alot.

- On the other hand, it has a very weird sentence structure compared to Indo-European languages. And word building for that matter. I will try to explain it with an example.

Turkish         &nb sp;         &nb sp;            ; English Translation
Kayak yapmayı öğrenmek isterdim.        I would learn how to ski.

now let's translate this sentence into English word to word (or suffix to suffix)

Ski doing + suffix which means "to",   learning, want+suffix which means"I would"

This example here is a real mind blower;

Turkish sentence "O kızdı" can mean "He got angry" (o=he/she/it, kızmak=to get angry, suffix -dı=3rd person singular past suffix). In this example O is the 3rd person singular pronoun for all genders. (even neuter)

O kızdı. (he angry got)

Same sentence can also mean "That was the girl" in a sentence such as "That was the girl who gave me your number. (O=that, kız=girl, suffix -dı=past suffix)
In this example "O" is the demonstrative adjective.

O kızdı. (That girl was)

This word building system and sentence structure makes google translates for Turkish a matter to laugh at.

People say German is an easy language to learn but a hard one to master. (That is obviously debatable but it's just an example) Turkish i say; is a hard language to learn but easy one to master. When you get the pattern; you can conjugate every word, every tense in every mood. All verbs follow the same patterns, language is almost genderless, doesn't use articles etc.

edit: cleared weird signs that appeared, not sure why.

Edited by Jarel on 24 July 2013 at 4:14pm

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Senior Member
Joined 3368 days ago

890 posts - 1190 votes 
Speaks: Polish*, English, Bulgarian, Croatian
Studies: Slovenian, Macedonian, Persian, Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian, Dutch, Swedish, German, Italian, Armenian, Kurdish

 Message 46 of 49
24 July 2013 at 4:58pm | IP Logged 
Haha, once I was told that English is easy to learn but hard to master and German is hard to learn but easy to master :D

Edited by prz_ on 24 July 2013 at 4:59pm

2 persons have voted this message useful

United States
Joined 3500 days ago

19 posts - 28 votes
Speaks: English*, Korean
Studies: Mandarin

 Message 47 of 49
31 July 2013 at 8:51am | IP Logged 
clumsy wrote:

예쁩디다 - I saw it was pretty (formal - they say it's no longer used, but they deal
with it on DLI language course).

Yes, what's with this ~습디다 ending anyway? My learning source said the same thing as
yours, that it was no longer used, yet it decided to teach it anyway (and then never
mention it again), and moreover, said that although it was formal, it also shouldn't be
used with older people or superiors due to its assertive character. So we have an
archaic verb ending which is bizarrely both formal and inappropriate for most formal
situations, and yet we're all being taught about it, not in some arcane reference book,
but in basic language courses? Why?

Edited by Odysseus on 31 July 2013 at 8:51am

1 person has voted this message useful

William Camden
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4781 days ago

1936 posts - 2333 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, French

 Message 48 of 49
21 August 2013 at 2:43pm | IP Logged 
I found it difficult in the past to distinguish negative statements in Turkish because
the negative particle is embedded in the middle of words and you need a trained ear to
notice it. But over time with enough exposure you do.

Turkish speakers I meet tend to think their language is easy to learn and are surprised
when I tell them I do not find it so. I think they compare it to languages with
grammatical gender and difficult spelling systems.

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