Turkish language courses

Studying Turkish at SOAS Language Centre

Turkish is a language spoken by nearly 80 million people worldwide natively and a few more million people speak it as their second language.

It is the national language of Türkiye and spoken by small groups of Turkish communities in other parts of the former Ottoman Empire such as Cyprus, Greece and Bulgaria, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia, and Iraq. In addition to this, it is the language of Turkish migrant communities in the UK, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, and Switzerland.

Turkish belongs to the Turkic branch of the Altaic family of languages along with Uzbek, Kazakh and several others. Given that the basic structures of the Turkic languages are not radically different, a knowledge of Turkish goes a long way anywhere in the Turkic world, from Istanbul to Urumchi.

Modern Standard Turkish is a descendant from Old Anatolian Turkish dating back to 11th century and later from Ottoman Turkish, heavily influenced by Persian and Arabic mostly due to historical and religious reasons. Following the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, in 1928 the Arabic script was replaced with a modified form of the Latin Script to meet the phonetic requirements of the language to a very high degree of accuracy.

Fun facts about Turkish

  • One letter of the alphabet corresponds to one sound, which makes it easy to learn to read and write very quickly.
  • Turkish is free of ‘gender which means no difference between he/she/it.
  • There is no verb ‘to be’ in Turkish, and no verb ‘to have’.
  • It is an agglutinative language which means endings are added to a root word to indicate plurals, possessives, negation, noun cases, verb tenses etc.
  • It is not uncommon to have a string of six, seven, or even eight suffixes as the level goes up and produce single word-sentences ie: Türkleştiremediklerimizdenmişsinizcesine (as if you appear to be one of those whom we have been unable to Turkify)

Short course in Turkish

For course dates and information, please see our timetables.

Studying Near East Asian Languages at SOAS Language Centre