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Learning Turkish for RS Best of Turkey Tour

I've been using Duolingo to learn Turkish. It isn't really meant for light learning for travel, and has a specific order that is used when introducing content, and you cannot skip topics in order to reach the lesson on travel. Also it takes many, many lessons before you will reach the one entitled "Travel". What is easier and more to the point is a great list of words and phrases that are specifically prepared for travel, located at WikiTravel. It will meet most of your travel needs without requiring nearly as much time. Since I've completed quite a bit of Duolingo already, I feel the information at wikitravel is better for those who just want to learn enough for a trip. It is located at . I'll copy the page's content to my phone so that I have it in case I have trouble accessing the internet.

I am preparing for the tour that starts on 4/22/2019.

Posted by
4599 posts

Thank you, Steve, for sharing! Always good to hear helpful advice for language. I spent a lot of time last year learning Italian on Duolingo to supplement my old travel word games DVD I had.

I agree with you that Duolingo has a lot of lessons that won’t be focused on travel words, but I was surprised how comfortable I felt attempting to speak only Italian after going through the different methods covered in DuoL. It was valuable enough to me that I’m doing the same for French study now. Two months ago the pronunciation all sounded like S-S-S-S’s to me, so I can tell it’s working- ha!

The major gaps I noticed were needing to be able to tell time and numbers just by hearing, such as at a train station if they announce a time and line change. Luckily my DVD game really challenged me to recognize those.

YouTube has some helpful videos for tourists , too, mainly helpful to be able to hear how to correctly pronounce words.

Excellent that you are working on language! The Italian’s I encountered really appreciated my attempts to speak their language.

Posted by
2152 posts

Enjoy your tour, April should be a lovely time to be there, I imagine you will see lots of flowers in bloom. I think there’s a tulip festival in Istanbul in April as a matter of fact. I read that the tulips in Holland originated from this part of the world! I went on this tour last year in October and enjoyed it very much. I learned so much!

Posted by
456 posts

Good for you!!! I did the Duolingo Turkish course, along with some of the Pimsleur lessons, in preparation for a trip to Turkey a few years ago. Making the effort to learn a bit of Turkish made the trip so much more enjoyable. Speaking to people in Turkish brought a smile to almost everyone I encountered, including the usually dour Customs and Passport agents. Everyone was eager to teach me new words and phrases. Being able to read signs or the text in museums was a big plus, too.

Learning Turkish for a trip to Turkey may be more valuable that learning Italian for a trip to Italy, simply because you will encounter more people who don't speak English in Turkey.

Enjoy your trip. Turkey is an amazing country, and I can't wait to go back.

Posted by
1157 posts

Check out, foreign languages for travelers as well as YouTube. We've used Travlang for years and even were able to speak to our Zulu trackers and our guides in Afrikaans, on safaris to South Africa. Just a few polite phrases in Turkish, or any language of countries you visit, makes all the difference to just about everyone you come across. Too many other sources spend too much time teaching you useful phrases like "the pencil is red".......

Posted by
11 posts

For language learning, I have found using Memrise to be useful for vocabulary building and DuoLingo to be useful for grammar. I've used the combination for German, Czech, and French. Working on Spanish right now. DuoLingo by itself can be frustrating at times.

Getting comfortable with the language is just another fun part of trip planning.

Posted by
2 posts

When we went to Turkey on our own, drove some 700KM, went from Istanbul to Gallipoli, to Izmir, to Kusadasi to Bodrum, and Antalya and lots of side trips. I used Google translate. Can be slow but everyone is patient and pleasant.

Also before we left I went to the Raindrop Foundation at a nearby University in the US, where they offer lessons in Turkish. The Raindrop is a YMCA like facility for Turkish Students. Learned a lot of basic grammar, words and how to's.

Posted by
11292 posts

Turkish is phonetic. So, I found that spending a bit of time learning how each letter was pronounced was very helpful. Not only could I tell cab drivers where I wanted to go and have them understand me, but I could understand some borrowed words. For instance, some words are borrowed from French, like charcuterie (butcher shop), coiffeur (hairdresser), and acenseur (elevator). These words are spelled completely differently in Turkish, but if you know how to read them phonetically, the pronunciation is the same as French.