I’ve been here 2 1/2 weeks now and I am slowly (emphasis on slowly) improving my daily conversation skills. Though my miming skills might actually be getting better than my language skills. However, I get by and have learned some key phrases to help me do so. So for anyone visiting Turkey, I found these ten things help me get through the day (they are in no particular order of importance):
1. One _______, please.
Bir, _________ lütfen. (Beer _______ loot-von)
Bir means one and lütfen means please. So as long as you are only asking for one of something, this will get you through a lot. For example: Bir Cola lütfen = one cola, please.
2. Thank you.
3. Good morning, Good evening, Good night
Iyi akşamlar (Yok-shom-lar)
Iyi geceler (EE-gej-e-ler)
4. How much does this cost?
Bu ne kadar? (Boo nay ka-dar)
I mastered this one pretty quickly. Unfortunately, I haven’t learned all my numbers yet, so more often than not, I can’t understand a spoken answer to the question. Usually, I will carry a small notebook with me to have them write down an answer, in case I cannot understand it.
5. Excuse me.
Pardon. (The o at the end is a long o and stressed. PardOne)
6. What is that?
Bu ne? (Boo nay)
7. Have a good meal.
Afıyet olsun. (a-fee-et all-soon)
Turkish people are extremely polite and they place a lot of emphasis on customs, especially polite customs. You are supposed to say this if someone is about to eat, currently eating, or just finished eating. For example, when I am in the cafeteria with other teachers, I may say this when I sit down and when I get up. If I don’t say it at least once, I might be considered rude.
Evet (ev-et. Stress the et)
10. Sorry, I do not speak Turkish.
Üzgünım, Türkçe bılmıyorum. (ooz-gu-noom, Turk-che bill-muh-your-um)
This will be your life saver. If you try to say it in Turkish, they love it and are way more likely to help you than if you went straight to English. They will likely help you anyway, but who doesn’t love a good effort? But get ready to act things out in case they don’t speak English either.