There are hundreds of great reasons to learn a language, like meeting new people, greater job opportunities, easier and more enjoyable travel, building self confidence, and understanding different cultures.
Some cognitive psychologists who are a lot smarter than I am even say it boosts memory, multi-tasking ability, and there's even research that suggests it helps fight off dementia and alzheimer's disease.
In other words, it's like steroids for your brain.
But here’s the thing.
I wanted to write this article because there are a ton of benefits that are unique to the Turkish language that most people have never heard of. While every language has it's pros and cons, the majority of people aren't aware of just how important the Turkish language is.
(hint: it's very important)
Because of this, we wanted to highlight the top 5 reasons why you should start learning Turkish today. If you make it to the end, we'll even give you 5 great tips on how to learn Turkish.
A Brief Overview of the Turkish Language
Let’s just start from the beginning.
Turkish is (unsurprisingly) part of the Turkic language family, which are a collection of closely related languages that are spoken from Eastern Europe all the way to Western China.
The Turkish language has a long, complex history, but if we oversimplify things, it can generally be broken down in to 2 main phases. During the Ottoman empire, the language was a bit of a melting pot of Turkish, Arabic, and Persian words. In fact, many Turkish words disappeared during this phase and Turkish lost a lot of it's unique "Turkishness".
However in 1928, soon after Turkey was established as a republic, a leader named Kemal Atatürk made some huge changes throughout the country (most Turks view Atatürk like Americans view George Washington, Abe Lincoln, and Roosevelt if they were all blended into one super leader).
One of these changes was an effort to purify the Turkish language by replacing the arabic alphabet with the latin one, which tended to push out a lot of the foreign words from the language. To this today, many words in Turkish still have a "new Turkish" and "old Turkish" word for them.
As far as the language itself, Turkish is a really unique language that is highlighted by features like agglutination, vowel harmony, lack of gender, and verbs being placed at the end of sentences.
We'll talk about some of these concepts more in depth in a little bit. For now, let’s dive into why you should start learning Turkish today.
REASON #1 The U.S. Department of State has labeled Turkish a critical Language
This means that according to the U.S. government, Turkish is one of the most important languages for people to start learning right now (learn more here).
Why is Turkish so important?
Well, I don’t want to exaggerate, but it’s because Turkey really is one of the most important countries on the planet.
Because it's the only country to be located on two different continents, it acts like a bridge between Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East.
There's a reason Napolean (the French leader, not Napolean Dynamite) once said "If the earth were a single state Istanbul would be the capital".
Turkey's crazy important geo-political position makes it a major player in the international business world and political circles and it continues to be one of the most prominent emerging markets in the world.
What's all that mumbo jumbo mean?
It means that Turkey is located in a really important place, and knowing Turkish will open the door to hundreds of opportunities for business, travel, and humanitarian work.
REASON #2 Turkey is one of the most desirable travel destinations on the planet
Over 25 million tourists a year come to Turkey, and according to Trip advisor it is one of the top 10 tourist destinations in the world.
In other words, all the cool kids are going to Turkey.
With the rich culture of Istanbul, the beautiful beaches of Antalya, Fethiye, and Çesme, the once in a lifetime experiences of Cappadoccia, and the deep history of the Christian church, it’s understandable why so many people love visiting Turkey.
These tourists are attracted to the deep history, amazing views, and low prices throughout the country.
So the bottom line is this.
Knowing Turkish will open the door to not only visit these places, but allow you to interact with locals, bargain with shop-owners, impress the natives, make Turkish friends, and allow you to learn more about the culture!
REASON #3 There are a massive amount of Turkish speakers worldwide
According to Boston University, there are 60 million people who speak Turkish as a first language and another 15 million as a second language, making it one of the most spoken languages on earth.
(We crunched the numbers and it turns out 60 million + 15 Million= A LOT of Turkish speakers)
There are also 12 different countries that recognize Turkish as a minority language. These numbers don't even consider the huge amount of Turkish speaking communities throughout countries like Germany, Bulgaria, Greece, England, etc.
On top of this, do you remember how we mentioned the Turkic language family earlier?
Well it turns out Turkish is the central part of this language family. This language group consists of 35 languages that are spoken by over 109 million Turkic peoples from Eastern Europe all the way to Western China! These languages are tightly intertwined, meaning if you speak Turkish, you will have a major entrance into dozens of other languages.
The good news with all of this is that learning Turkish gives you the opportunity to speak with millions of people across the world.
REASON #4. Turkish is one of the most unique and beautiful languages in the world
Although many people assume that Turkish is just another Arabic based language from the Middle East, it's actually one of the most unique languages on earth.
First of all, Turkish is one of the only agglutinative languages, which is a fancy way of saying it adds suffixes to root words. For example, the English sentence "I was able to go" is simply "gidebilirdim", where the verb "to go" is the root word, and the additional suffixes communicating ability, tense, and person were added on to the end (git+ebil+ir+di+m).
If that made zero sense, don't worry. We promise it's easier to learn through immersion.
Secondly, Turkish uses something called vowel harmony. This is a really foreign concept for English speakers, but it essentially means that suffixes will change their vowels (and sometimes even consonants) to match the words they are added to.
Because of this, words have a uniquely beautiful sound to them as they tend to roll off the tongue more easily. Words also feel as if they "bounce" up and down because they often alternative back and forth between consonants and vowels.
Lastly, it's a very mathematic, predictable language. Fortunately for language learners, this means that there are very few exceptions and once you learn the rules, you are able to form pretty much any sentence you want try!
Reason #5 The Turkish people are the warmest, most hospitable people you’ll ever meet
This is a really difficult thing to communicate if you’ve never actually experienced it, but the Turkish people are unlike any other.
Being an Eastern culture, they value people over tasks and relationships over time.
This means that if your car breaks down, 5 random strangers will pull over to help you fix it, call the local emergency services, and drive you where you need to go.
If you go to get a haircut, you’ll spend 45 minutes drinking tea with the barber and socializing with the other customers before you get started.
If you get invited to a meal at a Turkish friend’s house, you’ll be treated like the honored guest at a palace. As you enter their house, you’ll be given a pair of house shoes at the front door as you’re led to your five course meal full of handmade foods, topped off with hours of conversation over Turkish coffee.
There is a genuine warmth, kindness, and pride within the Turkish people that is a true joy to experience.
5 Great Tips on How to Start Learning Turkish (the easy way)
So maybe you're sitting there thinking, "well that's great and all, but how do I actually learn Turkish?".
This is actually a great question. In fact, over 10,000 people a month ask this exact question on google.
Why? Because every mistake is a chance to learn. The Turkish people are extremely helpful, so when you mess up, they’ll almost always help you by giving you the right word or sentence which means you now know something you didn’t know 30 seconds ago. (aka free Turkish lesson)
- If it doesn’t focus on real spoken Turkish, do not use it. There’s no point in learning about a language. The goal of Turkish is to speak and communicate with real people, not know a bunch of grammar rules
- If you’re not being immersed in native dialogue, don’t use it
- If you’re not actively engaging with the material, don’t use it
- If you don’t enjoy it, don’t use it. Even if something is a good resource, that doesn’t make it the right tool for you. Use something you really enjoy
- If there are crazy promises about hacking the language or fluency in a week, do not use it. Learning a language is like getting healthy- there’s no shortcuts. If you want to lose weight you have to eat right and exercise. If you want to learn Turkish you have to put in the hard work and engage the language.
LET US BE YOUR SECRET WEAPON FOR REAL TURKISH FLUENCY