Before Your Trip

Most Common Turkish Words Every Traveler Should Know 2023

Do you have plans to go to Turkey? Learn some basic Turkish words before you go on your trip. They will make your stay more enjoyable and make it easier to get around this beautiful country. We put together a list of turkish phrases for tourists that will come in handy while you’re there. These phrases will make it easy for you to communicate with the locals and build important relationships with them, whether you’re just wanting to say hello, get directions, or order food.

P.S: Don’t forget that you can always read our blog post about the best Turkish TV series to hear Turkish by local actors and actresses!

How many words does Turkish have?

Turkish is a complex language with an estimated 100,000 words in its lexicon, influenced by various cultures and languages. Although challenging, it’s widely spoken and understood globally, making it valuable for business, travel, and cultural exchange.

Is it difficult to learn Turkish?

Learning Turkish can be challenging due to its unique grammar rules, vocabulary, and pronunciation. However, with patience and practice, understanding it becomes easier. Personal dedication and available resources are important factors in learning Turkish, which can begin today through online or in-person options.

1. Greetings: Hello / Good morning / Good day / Good evening / Good night

greetings phrases in turkish

It’s crucial to use Turkish salutations to initiate a warm relationship with the natives. Below are some expressions to begin with:

  • “Merhaba” (mehr-HAH-bah) – Hello
  • “Günaydın” (GOO-nahy-DUHN) – Good morning
  • “İyi günler” (ee-YEE GOON-ler) – Good day
  • “İyi akşamlar” (ee-YEE AHK-sham-LAR) – Good evening
  • “İyi geceler” (ee-YEE GE-jel-er) – Good night

İyi günler/ İyi akşamlar/ İyi geceler can also be used as a wish when you end a conversation with someone (the meaning would be I wish you a good day/evening/night).

2. Introducing Yourself: What is your name? My name is

how to introduce yourself in turkish

Meeting new people during your travels can be a thrilling experience. You can use these expressions to introduce yourself and inquire about their name:

  • “Adınız ne?” (AH-din-UZ neh?) – What is your name?
  • “Benim adım …” (BEH-neem AH-duhm …) – My name is…

3. How are you? Fine, how are you?

how are you in turkish

Participating in small talk is an effective approach to establish a connection with the community. Below are tips on how to inquire and reply to the frequently asked question, “How are you?”

  • “Nasılsınız?” (NAH-suhl-SUH-nuhz?) – How are you?
  • “İyiyim, siz nasılsınız?” (ee-YEE-yim, siz NAH-suhl-SUH-nuhz?) – I’m fine, how are you?

4. Expressing Gratitude: Thank you

Thank you in turkish

Expressing gratitude can make a huge impact regardless of the language you speak. Here are some phrases that you can use to convey your appreciation:

  • “Teşekkür ederim” (teh-shehk-KOOR ed-eh-REEM) – Thank you
  • “Teşekkürler” (teh-shehk-KOOR-ler) – Thanks

5. Politeness and Etiquette: Please / I’m sorry / You’re welcome

sorry in turkish

Courtesy holds great importance in the Turkish culture. Familiarize yourself with these expressions to exhibit politeness during your exchanges:

  • “Lütfen” (LOOT-fen) – Please
  • “Özür dilerim” (OH-zoor dee-leh-REEM) – I’m sorry
  • “Rica ederim” (REE-jah ed-eh-REEM) – You’re welcome

6. Appreciation for Effort: Kolay gelsin / Ellerine sağlık

courtesy phrases in turkish

The Turkish culture values diligence and dedication. Here are some phrases you can use to express appreciation for someone’s hard work:

  • “Kolay gelsin” (koh-LAHY gel-SIN) – May it come easy (used to wish someone good luck with a task)
  • “Ellerine sağlık” (EL-leh-REE-neh sah-uh-LUHK) – Health to your hands (used to appreciate someone’s work)

7. Bon Appetit

bon appetit in turkish

Turkish cuisine holds significant value in their culture, and you wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to try out their mouth-watering delicacies during your stay. To make things easier for you, here are a few phrases that can assist you in understanding the menu:

  • Ekmek, which is pronounced as (“eck-mek”), refers to bread that is a crucial component of Turkish cuisine. It is readily available at any eatery or marketplace upon request.
  • The phrase “Bon appetit” is used in multiple languages such as Turkish, English, and Italian. In Turkish, the equivalent phrase is “afiyet olsun” (pronounced as “ah-fee-yet ohl-soon”), which can be used to express good wishes for your fellow diners before they start their meal. The meaning and purpose of the phrase remain the same across all languages.
  • Su (pronounced “soo”) means water, and it’s a good idea to ask for “Su” at restaurants instead of bottled water, which can be expensive.

8. How can I get to…?

Public Transportation in Istanbul

In case you require assistance with navigation in Turkiye, it’s recommended to familiarize yourself with some essential phrases for requesting directions. Here are a few examples to help you begin:

  • The term “Nerede” which is pronounced as “nair-eh-deh”, signifies “where” in the Turkish language. It can be used to inquire about the whereabouts of a specific place. As an illustration, one may ask “Galata Kulesi nerede?” which translates to “Where is the Galata Tower?”
  • The phrase “Nasıl giderim” is equivalent to the English phrase “How do I get there?” It can be quite handy when seeking directions to a particular location. An example of its usage would be in the question “Taksim’e nasıl giderim?” which translates to “How do I get to Taksim?”

9. Can I have…?

ordering in turkish

If you require a product or service, the following expressions can prove useful:

  • The word “İsterseniz” is the Turkish term for “if you want” or “if you’d like.” To illustrate, one might say “İsterseniz kahve alabilirsiniz” which translates to “If you’d like, you can grab some coffee.”
  • The term “Bana” which is pronounced as “bah-nah” implies “to me.” This phrase can be utilized to request something explicitly. For instance, the question “Bana su verir misiniz?” translates to “Would you mind providing me with some water?”
  • The phrase “Olabilir mi” is synonymous with “Is it possible?” or “Can I?” This expression can be utilized to make a polite request. For instance, if you say “Lütfen bir şey sorabilir miyim? Olabilir mi?”, it means “Excuse me, may I ask you something?”

10. How much is this?

asking prices in turkish

When traveling, money is a crucial subject to keep in mind, and this holds true for Turkiye. It is essential to learn some fundamental expressions for inquiring about prices.

  • The phrase “Kaç lira” in Turkish translates to “how many liras” in English. It is commonly used to inquire about the price of an item. For instance, “Bu ne kadar?” can be translated as “How much does this cost?”
  • The word “Pahalı,” on the other hand, means “expensive.” It is often used to express that something is beyond one’s budget or too costly. For example, if you say “Bu çok pahalı,” it means that “This is too expensive.”

11. Congratulations

congratulations in turkish

If you wish to extend your congratulations for someone’s accomplishment or positive news, the following expressions in Turkish can assist you in conveying your felicitations:

  • The term “Tebrikler” signifies “congratulations” and can be used in any congratulatory situation. An illustration would be, “Tebrikler! Çok başarılısın!” which translates to “Congratulations! You’re very successful!”
  • On the other hand, “Kutlarım” is a verb that denotes “I congratulate you.” It can be utilized interchangeably with “tebrikler.” To give an instance, “Başarınız için sizi kutlarım” translates to “I congratulate you on your success.”

12. No problem

no problem in turkish

Occasionally, situations may not unfold as expected, but the following expressions can aid in communicating that everything is alright:

  • The phrase “Sorun değil” is equivalent to “no problem” in English. This expression is typically used to convey that something is not a significant issue. For instance, if someone is running late, you might say “Geç kaldın mı? Sorun değil!” which translates to “Are you running late? No problem!”
  • Similarly, the term “Tamam” can be translated to “okay.” It can be utilized in the same way as “sorun değil.” For example, if you want to confirm plans with someone for the next day, you could say “Yarın görüşürüz, tamam mı?” which means “We’ll see each other tomorrow, is that okay?”

13. Pleased to meet you

nice to meet you in turkish

Encountering unfamiliar faces is among the delights of voyaging, and employing these expressions can facilitate establishing new acquaintances.

  • The phrase “pleased to meet you” can be expressed in Turkish as “Tanıştığımıza memnun oldum” (pronounced “tah-nuhsh-tuh-uh-muh mem-noon ohl-doom”). This is commonly used when introducing yourself to someone. For instance, you could say “Benim adım Ayşe, tanıştığımıza memnun oldum” to mean “My name is Ayşe, pleased to meet you.”
  • On the other hand, the word “selam” (pronounced “seh-lahm”) is a casual greeting that can be used when meeting someone. It’s similar to saying “hello” or “hi” in English. In a conversation, you could use it like this: “Selam, nasılsın?” which translates to “Hi, how are you?”

14. Take care of yourself

take care in turkish

When bidding farewell, it is always courteous to express good wishes. The following expressions can assist you in conveying the same sentiment in Turkish:

  • The phrase “Kendine iyi bak” translates to “take care of yourself.” It can be used as a farewell greeting. For instance, the sentence “Görüşürüz, kendine iyi bak!” conveys the meaning “Goodbye, take care of yourself!”
  • On the other hand, “Hoşça kal” is an alternative way of saying “goodbye,” which is considered more formal. An example of its usage in a sentence would be “Hoşça kalın, tekrar görüşmek üzere,” which means “Goodbye, see you again soon!”

15. See you next time / Bye bye

goodbye in turkish

Here are some excellent expressions to bid farewell to new friends:

  • “Görüşmek üzere” is a Turkish phrase that translates to “see you later.” This expression is commonly used when parting with someone you intend to meet again. An example of its usage would be “Görüşmek üzere, hoşça kalın!” which means “See you later, goodbye!”
  • Similarly, “Hoşçakalın” is another Turkish phrase that means “bye bye.” It is a more informal way of bidding farewell.

Things to Note Before Learning Most Common Turkish Words

To sum up, having a basic knowledge of Turkish travel phrases
can significantly assist you in travelling through Turkiye and conversing with the native people. It is essential to pay attention to your pronunciation, inflection, and vowel sounds so that your communication is clear and comprehensible. Utilizing resources such as an app or a dictionary or interacting with locals will enhance your travel experience by helping you acquire common vocabulary and expressions. Although Turkish grammar and suffixes can be intricate, practice will enable you to form more sophisticated sentences in no time.

With its location bridging Europe and Asia, Turkiye is a captivating nation that boasts of both bustling cities like Istanbul and breathtaking natural scenery. The country has an array of offerings to explore- from the lively streets of Istanbul to the serene countryside villages. The Turkish people are known for their warm hospitality and amiable nature, making it easy for travellers seeking directions or restrooms to communicate in their language.

Consider learning Turkish today? We are assuming that the response is “evet”, which means “yes”. With a small amount of commitment, you can effortlessly grasp some of the frequently used words and phrases, as well as more intricate grammar and fundamental meanings. Additionally, you might form new acquaintances during your journey. When are you planning to visit – Ne zaman ziyaret edeceksiniz?

FAQ

How to speak basic Turkish?

To speak basic Turkish, you can start by learning some common phrases and words. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Merhaba (Hello)
  • Nasılsın? (How are you?)
  • Teşekkür ederim (Thank you)
  • Evet (Yes)
  • Hayır (No)
  • Lütfen (Please)
  •  İyi günler (Goodbye)

You can also try using language-learning apps or websites, taking a class, or practicing with a native speaker to improve your Turkish skills. It's important to practice regularly and be patient with yourself as you learn. Good luck!

What are the most difficult Turkish words?

Some examples of difficult Turkish words for non-native speakers include "şehir" (city), "çekiç" (hammer), "deneyim" (experience), "şanslı" (lucky), and "başarısız" (unsuccessful). It's important to remember that learning a new language takes time and practice, and with dedication and patience, anyone can overcome the challenges they may encounter.

How do you greet in Turkish?

To greet someone in Turkish, you can say "Merhaba" (mehr-hah-bah), which means "hello" or "hi". Another common greeting is "Selamün Aleyküm" (seh-lahm-oon ah-leh-kuum), which is a more formal way of saying "peace be upon you". The response to this greeting is "Aleyküm Selam" (ah-leh-kuum seh-lahm), which means "and peace be upon you too". When meeting someone for the first time, it is also polite to say "Tanıştığımıza memnun oldum" (tahn-ish-tih-muh-zuh mehm-noon ohl-doom), which means "pleased to meet you".

What Are Basic Numbers in Turkish?

Basic numbers in Turkish are as follows:

  • 0 - sıfır
  • 1 - bir
  • 2 - iki
  • 3 - üç
  • 4 - dört
  • 5 - beş
  • 6 - altı
  • 7 - yedi
  • 8 - sekiz
  • 9 - dokuz
  • 10 - on

These numbers can be combined to form larger numbers. For example, 11 is "on bir" (literally "ten one"), 20 is "yirmi" (literally "two ten"), and so on. Additionally, there are different suffixes that can be added to these numbers to indicate plurality or other grammatical features.

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Yasin Berkay

I am eager to leave my comfort zone and push myself to try new things. The best way to do it is by traveling. So I keep exploring the world and myself.
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