One of the key topics that was discussed at the 1st International Congress of Teaching Turkish as a Foreign Language was how to teach Turkish vocabulary.

Turkish words are notoriously difficult to learn as they bear no resemblance to words from other European languages. As one speaker pointed out there is ‘no overlap’. Learners of French, Italian, Spanish can recognise quite a number of words and can, therefore, build up a working vocabulary very quickly. With Turkish this not the case as each and every word has to be learned and mastered.

Consequently, students often ‘freak out’ as one teacher said when they see Turkish for the first time as they are overwhelmed by a language that seems to be totally opaque.

So, how does HandsonTurkish address this problem?

Firstly, learners are not overwhelmed with new language and new vocabulary. The pace is controlled and the learning process built into the software gives the learner many opportunities to digest, consolidate and revise new language.

The learning steps progress methodically through a process of listening, understanding, speaking and writing to ensure that new language is learned and retained.

In each unit there are two separate sections devoted to Turkish words. In these two sections students learn a maximum of 12 words related to the topic or theme of the unit.

Students progress through a series of steps from receptive to productive use of the words.
In unit 5 students learn a series of words from the lexical set ‘in a restaurant’. These are:

  • yemek listesi
  • peçete
  • hesap
  • tatlı
  • şişe
  • tabak

Here are the English translations and they are NOT in the correct order:

  • bottle
  • desert
  • menu
  • plate
  • bill
  • tissue

Can you guess which translation goes with which word? If you don’t speak Turkish, probably not.

In HandsonTurkish the learner approaches these words through a process of steps.

In step 1 the learner sees an image of the word with the Turkish word beneath it. The translation can be called up via a link in the interface. The learner can hear the word by pressing the audio icon. The learner can do this as often as he or she wishes.

Learning turkish words

In step 2 the learner sees the images but the Turkish words are now drag layers in jumbled order. The learner listens and drags the Turkish word to the correct image. This step continues the process of familiarisation.

Learning Turkish vocabulary

In step 3 the learner can practise the pronunciation of each word, using the voice recording function.

speaking Turkish words

In step 4 the learner listens and matches the Turkish word to the correct translation.

learning Turkish words game

In step 5 the learner hears a word and practises writing that word.

writing Turkish words

As each step can be repeated as many times as is needed, the learning process guarantees that the words are learned and retained.

It is worth pointing out, again, that at each step during this learning process, you are ACTIVELY thinking. You won’t find any pointless clicking nor any disctracting animations which do nothing to aid your learning.

HandsOnTurkish has been designed to ensure that learners are guided carefully through a meaningful and appropriate learning experience. Learn Turkish online or download the apps!

We also recommend writing down any vocabulary you learn into your learning guide so that you can track your progress and refer back at any given time.

Carl Taylor is the project co-ordinator of HandsOnTurkish. He is a publisher, linguist, author and an expert on foreign language acquisition.



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