19 November 2021

47 Basic Turkish Phrases to Learn for Beginners


There are many reasons that you may need to learn Turkish. Whether you’re travelling for fun, or hoping to boost your business opportunities in the Middle East, learning Turkish can be a great tool. To get started, you’ll need to have a good grip of the key basic Turkish phrases.

Luckily, our experts are here to help. In this ultimate guide, we’ll cover the basics of Turkish grammar and pronunciation before giving you 47 useful Turkish phrases you can use on your next trip. Let’s go!

Why Learn Turkish?

There are many reasons to learn a second language. When it comes to specific languages, Turkish can be an amazing language to learn. Not only is Turkish one of the oldest languages around, it is incredibly flexible and rich with various dialects, so there’s plenty of opportunity to find one that works for you. 

Turkish is the official language of Turkey, and also an official language in Cyprus, so learning Turkish can be useful if you’re travelling to the area. However there are many Turkish speakers who live in other countries as well.

Speakers of Turkish language also make up a large part of the population in Germany, Bulgaria and Macedonia to name a few. Further to this, many people who speak Turkish are bilingual or trilingual, so your chances of meeting another English-speaker in Turkey are good. 

Some other key reasons to learn Turkish include:

  1. It can be a great personal challenge as the language works drastically differently to English.
  2. Unlike English, Turkish follows consistent rules, so it can be straightforward once you’ve wrapped your head around the initial concepts.
  3. It is one of the world’s 15 most spoken languages, with nearly 80 million Turkish speakers worldwide.
  4. It opens up vital professional opportunities in the Middle East.

Turkish Alphabet Pronunciation

Before you can start learning basic Turkish phrases, you need to familiarise yourself with the pronunciation of the Turkish alphabet. The Turkish alphabet is a Latin based alphabet which means it has 27 letters. This makes learning to read and write in Turkish easier for those familiar with the Latin script as compared to those who are used to the Arabic-based writing of other languages such as Urdu or Farsi. 

Also, unlike Arabic, Turkish uses a Latin script that is phonetic. Each letter corresponds to only one sound. An English speaker should have no trouble learning how to read and write in Turkish especially if they are familiar with the Latin alphabet. Below we have compiled a list of Turkish letters along with their pronunciations. 

  • A – Pronunciation: sun
  • B – Pronunciation: bed
  • C – Pronunciation: jar
  • Ç – Pronunciation: chipper
  • D – Pronunciation: dog
  • E – Pronunciation: egg
  • F – Pronunciation: fun
  • G – Pronunciation: gift
  • Ğ – Pronunciation: yes (after e,i,ö,ü), extends vowel (after a,ı,o,u)
  •  H – Pronunciation: happy
  •  I – Pronunciation: the
  •  İ – Pronunciation: internet
  •  J – Pronunciation: mirage
  •  K – Pronunciation: king
  •  L – Pronunciation: love
  •  M – Pronunciation: man
  •  N – Pronunciation: none
  •  O – Pronunciation: over
  •  Ö – Pronunciation: orange
  •  P – Pronunciation:  pen
  •  R – Pronunciation: river
  •  S – Pronunciation: soup
  •  Ş – Pronunciation: shelf
  •  T – Pronunciation: top
  •  U – Pronunciation: book
  •  Ü – Pronunciation: cute
  •  V – Pronunciation: vest
  •  Y – Pronunciation: yes
  •  Z – Pronunciation: zoo

Basic Turkish Phrases For Beginners

Here are some of the most common Turkish phrases to learn before working or travelling to a Turkish speaking country.

Basic Turkish Greetings & Salutations

  • Merhaba — Hello
  • İyi akşamlar — Good evening
  • Nasılsın? — How are you?
  • İyiyim, Sen nasılsın? — I’m good. How are you?
  • Çok iyi değil — Not very well
  • Teşekkür ederim — Thank you
  • Birşey değil — You’re welcome
  • Lütfen — Please
  • Hoşçakal! — Goodbye (said by person leaving)
  • Güle güle! — Goodbye (said by person staying)

Basic Turkish Travelling Phrases

  • İngilizce konuşur musunuz? / İngilizce biliyor musunuz? — Do you speak English?
  • Türkçe bilmiyorum! — I don’t speak Turkish
  • Sizi anlamıyorum — I don’t understand
  • Şunu tekrar edebilir misiniz? — Could you please repeat
  • Ne kadar? — How much does it cost?
  • Yardım edebilir misiniz? Can you help me?
  • Evet — Yes
  • Hayır — No

Basic Turkish Food Phrases

  • Ayran — A cold yoghurt drink seasoned with salt 
  • Çay — Tea
  • Süt — Milk
  • Bira — Beer
  • Kahve —Turkish Coffee – Note: Turkish coffee should be ordered with the amount of sugar you would like. See below.
  • Sade — No sugar 
  • Az şekerli — A little sugar 
  • Orta şekerli — A moderate amount of sugar  
  • Çok şekerli — With lots of sugar
  • Kahvaltı Breakfast
  • Hellim — Halloumi 
  • Sucuk — Dry, spicy beef sausage
  • Ekmek Bread

Basic Turkish Work Phrases

  • Şirket — Company
  • Küçük ve orta ölçekli işletme — Small-or medium-sized business
  • Uluslararası şirket — International company
  • Şube — Branch
  • Ofis — Office
  • Departman — Department
  • Çalışmak — To work
  • İş — Business / Work / Job
  • Pozisyon — Position
  • İşveren — Employer
  • Çalışan — Employee
  • Patron — Boss
  • İş arkadaşı — Colleague
  • Kariyer — Career
  • Yönetim — Management
  • Müdür — Manager 

Learning Turkish For Business? Check Out Our Business Language Training Courses!

How To Use Basic Turkish Phrases For Beginners

You should spend some time practising these basic Turkish words and phrases in real-life conversation before diving into your travel plans. Work on these phrases one at a time, memorising and practising your pronunciation. Your first Turkish conversation might be a little daunting, but with some practice, you’ll be a pro in no time.

Then you can start to create scripts with these common Turkish phrases so you get an idea of how they flow in a conversation. You can rehearse these scripts with friends or on your own, however it does work especially well with native Turkish speakers!

When learning any language, immersing yourself in that language as much as possible is vital, whether that’s via your own scripts, watching Turkish movies or reading Turkish books. 

Turkish Phrases FAQs

What are some greetings in Turkish?

When you meet someone for the first time, it’s always polite to greet them. In Turkish, you would say “Merhaba” (Hello). If you’re greeting someone in the evening, you can say “İyi akşamlar!” (Good evening).

How do you reply to Merhaba?

If someone greets you with “Merhaba”, you can reply with “Merhaba! Nasılsın?” (Hello! How are you?). This is a very common Turkish phrase.

How do you say thanks in Turkish?

If someone does something for you or helps you out, you can say “Teşekkür ederim!” (Thank you). You can also say this if you’re given a compliment or in a number of situations.

How do you say no in Turkish?

If you don’t want to do something or if you don’t agree with something, you can say “Hayır!” (No). You might also hear the Turkish phrase “Yok!” which has a similar meaning, but is more colloquial.

How do you say yes in Turkish?

If you want to do something or if you agree with something, you can say “Evet!” (Yes). Other phrases you might hear with a similar meaning include “Tabi!” (Of course!) or “Elbette!” (Certainly!).

Ready To Learn More?

No matter where you are with your Turkish language learning, we’re here to help. At Simon & Simon, we offer expert-led language courses for all levels. Whether you are a corporate business looking to widen your portfolio to the Middle East, or a newbie learner looking for basic Turkish to get you by on your upcoming trip, we can help.

Check Out More Of Our Expert Language Courses Today!

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