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Strategies for Learning
1.       jas206
6 posts
 28 Jan 2012 Sat 04:28 pm

Hello everyone! I have been learning Turkish for a year and a half now. I cannot study as much as I would like due to work demands but I have been making progress. I am looking for strategies to facilitate effective learning. I find it particularly helpful to write things down. Does anyone have any input on using notebooks for learning? I know this post/question sounds so silly and ridiculous! But I have started so many Turkish notebooks and I end up not liking the organization of my notes and so I start a new one. Any ideas from someone who has successfully used notebooks as part of the learning process? Thank you! : )

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2.       Mavili
236 posts
 28 Jan 2012 Sat 05:03 pm

First off, you´ve come to the right place.This forum is wonderful for Turkish learners. There´s many very helpful tutors here, and they´re glad to help learners. 

By the way, reading your post is like looking into a mirror. Ive been doing self paced learning Turkish for over a year now as well but i have to juggle it between my job and graphic design classes. Have you been able to take any Turkish classroom classes? 


After a year I will guess you are already very familiar with vowel harmony, the alphabet, sentence structure and the main suffixes and tenses? And maybe started to study the more intermediate level ones?  If so, now is the time you can begin to practice translating. Easy sentences of course. Find a children´s story in Turkish and go word by word, keeping in mind the correct grammar. Or try to figure out a Turkish newspaper headline.

And you can always ask here if you´re unsure about anything. Also read the language and translation posts here, by both the native speakers and other learners. Another learner´s question can become a good little mini lesson. 


Listen to shows, music, or films in Turkish. If you´ve been doing this from the start, it´ll continue to help reinforce in your mind how to pronounce the letters and use them in words. Also by now I´m trying to understand the rythem of the language, how to speak the words with the emphasis on the correct parts.


One of the bits of advice I still need to make a method for myself. But just like a skill or hobby, you get better by practicing. And I understand its no different for learning a language. I´ve found the hardest part is just starting. You can arrange to practice on Skype or something but for me at least, the inner fear of looking like a fool, causes me to forget when it comes down to actually talking.


Any chance you get, try witing thoughts or sentences down in Turkish. For example, sometimes I think something, and then wonder how would I express that in Turkish? While I am thinking of it, I try to jot it down on paper. Though you may find another method that is better suited to you.

I can also share of the online resources I have found or that have been shared with me, in the last year. If you are interested in those, let me know

nadyako, agya, Henry, hedef, turunc and Abla liked this message
3.       Abla
3647 posts
 28 Jan 2012 Sat 09:07 pm

I´m not sure if I understand what you mean by notebooks, jas206. Writing things down by your own hand? It is certaily useful for people who memorize things using the cooperation of eye and hand. There is a special name for this kind of learning but I can´t remember it now. And it is very personal how each one of us learns new things.

At the time when I was studying for exams I used this method a lot. I had a pile of paper on the table always with coffee cups on top. Every inch scribbled full of text. It looked like a mess but it worked for me.

I mostly study Turkish next to my computer. That´s why most of the work is text processing: writing, copy pasting, correcting, organizing... I have a couple of big Word files for Turkish only. I try to keep them in some kind of order, deleting old things and collecting certain issues together. The good thing is that there are always many things going on at the same time (women can do this, I don´t know about men). You can work on your translation attempts for next week, collect together things that you didn´t understand (in order to ask about them later), create your own dictionary, clear your thoughts about issues that you are processing right now. Opening these files brings me to a certain state of mind where my brain automatically begins to create order into disorder.

It´s very personal. Do what it takes to learn, no matter if other people use the same method or not.

Edited (1/28/2012) by Abla

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4.       jas206
6 posts
 29 Jan 2012 Sun 03:16 am

Thank you both very much for sharing your strategies with me! I do realize that the most effective way of learning for one is not necessarily effective for others but it is very helpful to hear your learning methods. I think this website is a great resource that I have consistently stumbled upon following Google searches for answers to my Turkish language questions, and I have now learned to come to the website directly as I can always find my answers here.


Any resources you can recommend would be greatly appreciated! In terms of websites I primarily use Manisa Turkish, Bob Cromwell´s Basics of Turkish Grammar and e-Learning (in addition to this site of course). I also use a couple of different books: Hugo´s "Turkish in Three Months" and Öztopçu´s "Elementary Turkish." I highly recommend the latter, which has really accelerated my learning. I also use Rosetta Stone and Mango Languages. And I am fortunate to have my boyfriend (a native speaker) to listen to me (as I butcher his language... just kidding, hopefully I don´t speak that horribly). I also listen to Turkish radio all the time.


Some of my biggest challenges are being able to converse. As Mavili touched on, sometimes it is difficult to speak even if you know the words and grammar and could easily (I use that term loosely) write what you want to say. I think it does have to do with psychological pressure that you experience during conversations. I just have to slow down and clear my thoughts and try to relax in order to speak with others. But I also get frustrating when I cannot recall words or expressions while I am speaking that I have read so many times before. (And this is where writing things down comes into play. Writing, which I have not been doing enough of while practicing, really helps things become ingrained in my brain.)


I think listening comprehension is an even bigger challenge for me now than speaking. If people speak slowly and clearly then I can understand (as long as it is something I have learned thus far) but if they are speaking at a more normal speed it is difficult to follow especially because I get lost in the backwards sentence structure (compared to English) whereas when reading I would have the opportunity to read the sentence multiple times (foward and then backwards) until I understand. You do not have this same luxury in conversation. Has this been/was this ever a challenge for either of you?

5.       Mavili
236 posts
 29 Jan 2012 Sun 05:55 am

Yes conversational comprehension is still kind of weak for me even after over a year. I mean like in a case where I am listening to them convers. I think I am still where I can understand lots of words but its still too fast for full comprehention. But i attribute that to a lack of access to regular and structured practice. Perhaps if I´d been taking formal Turkish classes this whole time, Id be alot better.Smile

extra thought. You can also participate in the live chat here if you ever can. Though, there is no set time that people are on, but some regulars blink in there fairly often, almost daily. If there are people chatting in Turkish, I´ll watch and read and sometimes jump in if I understand some things they are writing.

And thing is you don´t have to feel pressured to write turkish correctly. They will understand one is still learning, and Ive never seen the native Turks ever belittle anyone for incorrect Turkish. They are quite helpful

Edited (1/29/2012) by Mavili

turunc liked this message
6.       turunc
10 posts
 29 Jan 2012 Sun 11:12 am

  Jas you sound exactly like me lol. I´ve just bought a new and beautiful notebook too and am just wondering how to order my notes in it.

  I have an a-z address type notebook (with slight modifications for turkish alphabet) which I use as my self written dictionary. I find it helps to write words down but also I need to keep looking at them to remember them or just to refresh my memory. 

  I have a small notebook to use and carry around with me so if I have a spare few minutes I can just look over it.

  I also have print outs from the internet and I like to highlight parts.

  How about trying to make some revision/prompt cards?

  The one thing I have found really helps me to learn too is actually trying to use the language I have learnt. You are lucky that you have your boyfriend  

  I guess keep working on it. I´ve just looked back on some of my notes and it´s amazing how much progress has been made even when you don´t feel like it has. Things that seem really difficult just suddenly slot into place

  İyi şanslar


nadyako liked this message
7.       typistul
74 posts
 29 Jan 2012 Sun 06:02 pm

Dinleme becerisinde, Caillou`dan destek alırım.



8.       jas206
6 posts
 07 Feb 2012 Tue 11:11 pm

I do watch Caillou! But they still speak too fast for me (and I cannot watch their lips since it is a cartoon). Thank you for all your suggestions.

nadyako liked this message
9.       stumpy
638 posts
 08 Feb 2012 Wed 12:18 am

Quote: typistul

Dinleme becerisinde, Caillou`dan destek alırım.


oh my Caillou speaks Turkish...  I hope he is more interesting than in French {#emotions_dlg.satisfied_nod}  I am getting an overdose of Caillou with the kids {#emotions_dlg.razz}

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