If you’re excited to begin learning Turkish, you might be asking: “How much time does it usually take to learn Turkish?”
It’s a bit tricky to give a straightforward answer to the question “How long does it take to learn Turkish?” This is because the time it takes to learn a language isn’t the same for everyone. It depends on things like you, where you live, and what you’ve learned before.
You might be wondering, “What are these factors?” Well, in this article, I’ll explain those reasons and try to help you find an answer to your question!
How long does it take to learn Turkish?
The United States Foreign Service Institute (FSI) thinks that it takes around 1,100 hours of classes to become really good at Turkish. This means getting to a level called C2 according to the CEFR. So, if you speak English, learning Turkish can be a bit challenging compared to some other languages.
Factors to Consider When Learning Turkish
There are a few factors that determine the time it will take for you to learn the Turkish language. Let’s look at these factors as they will give you a better insight into things.
1. What’s Your Native Language?
One of the crucial factors that decides how much time you need to learn Turkish is your first language. You need to consider how different or similar your native language is compared to Turkish. Let’s say you speak English as your native language. For English speakers, learning Turkish can be more challenging because there are big differences in culture and language between Turkish and English.
That’s why English speakers usually take longer to learn Turkish compared to those who already speak a language that’s more alike to Turkish. These similar languages include Azerbaijani, Turkmen, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, and Kazakh. Some people even suggest that languages like Japanese, Korean, and Mongolian share similarities with Turkish.
Even if your native language doesn’t have the same grammar and other similarities as Turkish (like Arabic or Farsi), you can still learn common Turkish phrases quickly. This is because languages such as Arabic and Farsi share lots of common sayings and everyday words due to their historical and cultural connections.
2. Language You Are Learning
The Turkish language itself also has a role in how quickly you can learn it. What’s interesting about the Turkish alphabet is that once you understand how to say each letter on its own, you’ll always pronounce them the same way. This is because Turkish is a phonetic language, where each Turkish letter has just one sound. All the letters are supposed to be pronounced, except for a letter called “soft g.”
A few letters might seem like they’re pronounced differently than they look. Some Turkish letters resemble English letters but sound different. The most challenging ones include letters like I, for instance.
Pronunciation is really important in Turkish because it can completely change the meaning of words. The language follows strict rules for pronunciation, and people stick to them. Rules about the order of words and suffixes usually don’t have many exceptions.
The structure of Turkish sentences is a bit different from English. Typically, it goes subject first, then object, and finally the verb. This might be confusing because English speakers aren’t used to having the verbs at the end.
However, Turkish does offer some flexibility – if you want to emphasize the verb, you can place it before the other parts. These are some of the things that can make learning Turkish take varying amounts of time for different people.
3. How You Are Learning
The right approach to learning the Turkish language has a big impact on how long it takes to learn. Ask yourself if you’re hearing and practicing it every day, or if you’re only encountering Turkish during your occasional lessons.
The more you surround yourself with Turkish, the better you’ll get at it. For example, if you live in a place where Turkish is spoken by everyone around you, you’re likely to learn faster. However, not everyone lives in Turkey; some people live outside the country.
For them, it’s a good idea to read short stories in Turkish. Short stories are easier to understand, and the vocabulary used isn’t too complex. Another option is to watch Turkish movies and TV shows with English subtitles. Some people even find a friend to practice speaking the new language with.
Learning the language without complete immersion is possible but a bit harder. You can use Reddit, a platform where people interested in learning Turkish can chat with native speakers. Another option is to watch Turkish soap operas and TV series, which you can find on YouTube or Netflix. These will help you learn how people talk in everyday conversations.
4. How Much Time Do You Have?
Are you planning to take a class twice a week or every day? Will you dedicate additional hours beyond your class time? You need to decide how many hours you’re willing to commit to learning the language. Naturally, the more time, effort, and energy you invest in learning Turkish, the more likely you are to become skilled in the language quickly. However, your goal for language proficiency will determine how much time you allocate.
Whatever your situation, you’ll ultimately achieve your goal of fluency in Turkish. By dedicating more time and effort to frequent learning, you’ll be able to reach your goal in a shorter time span.
It takes about 100-120 hours of studying to reach the beginner level in the language. At this point, you’ll be able to have simple conversations and understand basic nouns and pronouns. To reach an intermediate level, you’ll need around 450-490 hours of effective study.
This level allows you to read newspapers, articles, and understand more vocabulary, adverbs, and conjunction verbs. To reach an advanced level in the language, you should aim for 1000-1100 hours of study. At this level, you can engage in deep conversations about science, art, culture, politics, and more.
5. Your Motivation
Your motivation to learn the Turkish language plays a significant role in how fast you’ll learn it. Learning a language isn’t easy – it demands time, effort, energy, dedication, and investment. When you’re highly motivated, you’re more likely to overcome the challenges that affect how quickly you become fluent in the language.
People have various reasons for choosing to learn Turkish. Some do it to impress their friends, while others want to adapt to a new environment where Turkish is spoken. Some learn it for business purposes or simply personal growth. Whatever your reason, it’s important to remind yourself of your goal.
Turkey is a popular destination known for its beauty, drawing many travelers. This is why learning Turkish has become appealing – it lets you connect with locals and make the most of your trip.
If you lack motivation, it’s essential to find a reason, as learning the language without a clear goal can be extremely challenging.
What Level of Turkish Language Proficiency Are You Seeking?
This is a good question to think about because everyone might have a different idea of what it really means to “learn Turkish.” The key point here is, what does it mean to you personally?
Does it mean:
1. Having a simple conversation with people in the narrow streets of Istanbul to say who you are?
2. Being able to talk confidently in Turkish about work or business matters?
3. Reading a book by Orhan Pamuk in Turkish without any trouble?
Thankfully, there are already rules to measure how well you know Turkish. For instance, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages splits language skills into six levels:
- A1 Beginner: Being able to understand common sayings and basic words that you use every day, like introducing yourself or asking and answering simple questions about people.
- A2 Pre-Intermediate: Understanding sentences and common phrases that people use often, and being able to talk about things happening around you.
- B1 Intermediate: Being able to understand the main ideas when you read or hear about things related to your daily life, like school, work, or free time. Feeling confident in handling situations that might come up during travel.
- B2 Upper Intermediate: Understanding the language without much trouble and being able to grasp longer and more complicated texts.
- C1 Advanced: Understanding more complicated texts and being able to talk more naturally without needing to plan every word.
- C2 Proficient: Understanding everything in conversations and texts completely.
My name is Arslan Hussain and I am co-founder of The Different Languages blog. Have years of experience in digital marketing, My best hobby is blogging and feel awesome to spend time in it.