Learning Turkish now.

I started to learn Turkish in Tehran’s recently opened Yunus Emre Cultural Center. An interesting institution and a decent course. Not without its problems, though.

My main difficulty thus far is with unfortunate timing of my travel and Iranian vacations, which altogether mean that for a full month either I am unable to attend classes or there are none held. The actual class, for which I enrolled is ok-ish, with a well-trained, enthusiastic instructor and modern teaching method (we’re using Yeni Hitit). The students, on the other hand, as would happen in any other course I frequented, are not that diligent and motivated and as a result the pace of learning is only slightly faster than glacial.

There will be no choice, then, but to learn on my own and use the course just as an opportunity to practise conversation (once I switch to a higher-level group) and to learn more of the spoken language (thankfully the instructor speaks normal Turkish, not dumbed-down teacherese). We shall see and in any case I’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE: to illustrate what I mean by ‘normal Turkish’: burada -> burda; değil -> diil (or just dii); yapacağım -> yapacım.

Also, interesting how open Turkish ‘e’ can be. Often ‘-lar’ and ‘-ler’ sound almost the same to my ears.

Also2, apparently Turks have problems with differentiating Persian vowels. My teacher -who speaks good Persian- consistently prounounces ‘ast’ as ‘est’. And she is not the only one, as that’s how my Persian-Turkish dictionary (by prof. Kanar, I don’t recommend it, but doubt there’s anything better on the market) transcribes it.

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6 Responses to Learning Turkish now.

  1. Eskandar says:

    I look forward to seeing your posts on Turkish! I’ve been meaning to brush up on my poor Turkish before visiting Turkey this August, but I think I am approaching the limit to how many langauges I can actively study at the same time and still make decent progress; I’m currently taking an Arabic course and a seminar in literary theory in Spanish, while trying to teach myself Urdu and not let my Persian fall behind. I’m sure this is a problem you can relate to!

    • peterlin says:

      Of course I can relate – my average is one (or more) new language learning idea per month. In 2012 so far – Ossetic, Basque, Turkish. Don’t ask me about my progress 🙂
      What are you going to do in Turkey? We are planning to drive through the whole country next autumn (and actually all the way to Poland, too).

      • Eskandar says:

        I’ll be at the International Society for Iranian Studies conference in Istanbul. I was hoping to stay after the conference and spend a little time traveling, but it looks like I won’t have time, so at least I hope to explore Istanbul for the week or so I’ll be there.

        That sounds like an amazing trip, how fun! I hope you take lots of pictures!

        • peterlin says:

          All our travel plans greatly depend on your namesake’s endurance 🙂 He’ll be more than 3 by then, so there are chances he would survive the trip – still it’s going to be difficult.

          Are you presenting a paper? What about?

          • Eskandar says:

            Wow, time passes so quickly! He must be starting to talk by now – in how many languages? 😉

            I’m presenting a paper on nationalism in the literary criticism of Mohammad-Taqi Bahar and how it shaped his (and others’) views of India and the sabk-e hendi poetry.

          • peterlin says:

            He understands (when he wants to, that is) both Polish and Persian, but actively uses only a couple of words of each (more Persian than Polish; his first word Persian word was ‘dada’ [‘to go out’ in Persian baby talk]). Most of what he says (and he talks a lot) he says in his own language which neither of us can understand. It is actually quite fascinating that his intonation patterns are accurate (ie. people who don’t know Polish assume he talks Polish) and convey his emotions very well (that is when you hear him you recognise immediately whether he is explaining something, wondering about something, asking a question, protesting, expressing his amazement/delight/disgust etc.) but on the level of words/phrases it is all gibberish.

            Ah, and to be unambiguous: “next autumn” = autumn 2013, Aleksander has not turned 2 yet.

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