Between 70 and 80 million people worldwide speak Turkish as their native language, of whom 10 to 15 million reside in Southeast Europe and the other 60 to 65 million live in Western Asia. Turkish is an official language in Turkey, Northern Cyprus and Cyprus and a minority language in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Iraq, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania.
Turkish, which dates back to the 7th century, has used the Latin alphabet since 1928. Formerly thought to belong to the Altaic branch of the Ural-Altaic language family, Turkish is a member of the Oghuz group of languages, a subgroup of the Turkic language family. Vowel harmony and extensive use of agglutination, as well as the absence of gender and the subject–object–verb sentence structure, distinguish Turkish from other European languages.
Free Resources to Learn Turkish
Free Learning/Studying Apps
Duolingo – iTunes – Google Play – Duolingo has become a leader in the language learning world and for good reason. It’s fast, fun, well designed, suitable for all ages, and turns learning a foreign language into a challenging and pretty addictive game.
Tinycards – iTunes – Google Play – Tinycards is a free flashcards app, from the creators of Duolingo, which uses spaced repetition and nicely designed “decks” to help you learn anything, including foreign languages. Tinycards uses gamification, like Duolingo, which makes it fun and easy to use.
Memrise – iTunes – Google Play – Memrise is a really fast, fun and free language learning app/website that is sure to get you hooked. There is a visual flashcard component which also incorporates audio from a community of native speakers. Memrise uses spaced repetition and is really effective at drilling vocabulary and phrases into your memory.
Clozemaster – iTunes – Google Play – This popular app uses gamification and is a great addition to your language learning regimen, no matter what your level. It is very effective for vocabulary acquisition and billed as a great app to use after Duolingo.
Learn Turkish by 50 Languages – iTunes – Google Play – This app is great for beginners (A1-A2) to increase practical vocabulary which is useful for managing everyday situations (at a store, restaurant, bank, doctor, etc). With the free version, you will have access to 30 complete lessons.
Learn Turkish Phrasebook – iTunes – This useful app will help you learn Turkish words and sentences with recordings made by native speakers. The free version has 200+ practical phrases.
HelloTalk – iTunes – Google Play – HelloTalk is a global language learning social network that connects you with native speakers of other languages so that you can practice your speaking and listening skills with native speakers via text/audio messages and free audio and video calls. The free version allows you to choose one native language and one target language.
Internet Polyglot – iTunes – Google Play – This free app uses lessons, games, and pictures to teach foreign languages to beginners. Although Internet Polyglot is far from a standalone language learning tool, it is a useful supplement to help you to learn and retain vocabulary.
Beginner Turkish – Google Play – This app is based on the “learn a word a day” concept and uses a simple and direct approach to teaching Turkish to beginners.
Start From Zero Turkish – Google Play – This app will boost your vocabulary skills by helping you learn thousands of the most commonly used Turkish words and phrases. It also offers quiz and flashcard functionality to test your progress.
6000 Words – Learn Turkish Language for Free – iTunes – Google Play – This app will teach you more than 6000 Turkish words with images, phonetic transcriptions and pronunciations recorded by native speakers. The vocabulary words are organized into 15 themes with 140 subtopics.
Learn Turkish, Speak Turkish Language Guide By Iliescu Tudor – iTunes – This practical app makes learning Turkish easy and fun with 140 lessons that teach key vocabulary and grammar elements. Over the course of 10 modules, which are 60 minutes in duration, you will learn 2000 essential Turkish words and phrases.
Learn 10,000 Turkish Words and Phrases – iTunes – Google Play – Although this app won’t help you learn grammar, it will teach you a ton of vocabulary. The Turkish language lessons include 10,000 key words and phrases for all levels Beginner A1 (500 words), Elementary A2 (501-1250), Lower Intermediate B1 (1251-2250), Upper Intermediate B2 (2251-3500) and Advanced C1 (3501-5000).
Free Turkish Dictionary/Translation Apps
Sesli Sözlük – iTunes – Google Play – Sesli Sözlük is a top online Turkish dictionary that features the translation of 20 million words in 20 languages with pronunciations in multiple accents. The website also includes word games which make learning fun.
Turkish English Dictionary & Translator – iTunes – Google Play – This free app works offline and provides detailed definitions, example sentences and pronunciation guidance for Turkish & English words, as well as flashcards for learning.
Google Translate – iTunes – Google Play – Google Translate offers online text translation between 103 languages by typing, offline translation for 59 languages, camera translation for 38 languages, image translation for 37 languages, conversation translation in 32 languages, and translation of handwritten characters in 93 languages. The app also has a phrasebook which allows you to save translated words and phrases for future reference in all languages.
iTranslate – iTunes – Google Play – iTranslate is a leading free translator and dictionary app that provides translations for text in over 100 languages. Other functionality includes transliteration, sharing, favorites, history, and audio in both male and female voices. Voice to voice translations and the use of offline mode is not available with the free version.
Klays-Development Turkish-English Translator – Google Play – This free app translates words and complete sentences instantly. It features a favorites list, history, voice input, and a user-friendly interface.
The Apps Castle Turkish English Translator – Google Play – This Turkish English translation and dictionary app can be used offline and has built-in audio.
The Free Dictionary By Farlex – iTunes – Google Play – This dictionary and thesaurus app provides millions of precise definitions, drawn from the most trusted industry publications and sources, including idioms, slang, and etymology of words. The Free Dictionary works offline and offers additional functionality like voice search, sharing, games, word of the day, and more.
Learn Turkish with TurkishClass101.com – This is a fun and helpful set of videos to add to your regular Turkish language learning regimen.
Travel Linguist Turkish 101 Video Lessons – This series of 20 short videos covers basic introductory vocabulary.
Easy Turkish – These YouTube videos are the work of a non-profit project which uses lighthearted street interviews as a method to teach languages. Each video has a topic and the host asks questions to native Turkish speakers on the street based on the theme. Each video contains subtitles in both Turkish and English. In addition to street interviews, this channel offers lessons for beginners.
LangMedia – LangMedia provides language learning resources, including grammar video lessons – YouTube, vocabulary building exercises, dictation exercises, etc. LangMedia is run by the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages and their mission is to share examples of linguistic and cultural diversity with language learners. In the “Language by Country” section of the LangMedia website they provide videos which focus on practical aspects of everyday life (For Ex: Basic Communication, Shopping, Transportation, Culture and Social Life). The conversations often include colloquial language and all videos are accompanied by translations and transcripts. The “CultureTalk” section of the LangMedia website features video interviews with people of different ages and backgrounds. The interviews are primarily conducted by students and translations and transcripts are provided.
Basic Turkish by ABC Tuts – This YouTube channel offers 11 short and basic Turkish lessons that will give you an introduction to the language.
Online Turkish Lessons – This YouTube channel offers 18 beginner lessons.
Turkish Basics Lessons – Mehmet Seyhan is a professional Turkish teacher who offers his expertise to students through YouTube. Turkish Basics 1 includes 22 video lessons and Turkish Basics 2 includes 20 video lessons.
Education World Turkish Lessons – The Education World YouTube channel offers a variety of educational content including a handful of Turkish video lessons including Learn Turkish Vocabulary, Learn Turkish – Common Words & Expressions, and Learn Turkish in 5 Days – Conversation for Beginners.
Learn Turkish for Beginners by Mawuood Academy – This YouTube channel offers 94 concise Turkish lessons for beginners.
Learn Turkish with TurkishClass101.com – iTunes – This is a fun and informative podcast to add to your regular Turkish language learning regimen. Every lesson is free for a period of time; each new audio and video lesson (3-5 lessons are published per week) is free to access for 3 weeks before being locked into their library, which can be accessed only with paid membership.
One Minute Turkish – Yep, that’s right, each lesson includes just over a minute of language instruction, so it’s a breeze to fit this into your busy schedule! In this podcast, you will learn Turkish from Sebnem and Mark who will teach you the basics. Although you won’t become fluent with the One Minute Turkish program, it is the perfect way to boost your confidence and to help you make a good impression when communicating on a trip to a Turkish speaking country.
Turkish SurvivalPhrases – These fun and innovative audio lessons teach basic Turkish and are accompanied by PDF guides. Access to 10 lessons is available for free.
Learn Turkish by Complete Language Lessons – Spotify – 9 free Turkish lessons on Spotify.
Turkish Language Institute’s Podcast – iTunes – Although this podcast doesn’t offer actual Turkish lessons, it does offer the opportunity for beginner and intermediate level Turkish language learners to listen to clearly spoken dialogues by native speakers.
Introduction to Turkish Course by Language Transfer – YouTube – This free beginner Turkish audio class uses an unconventional approach called language transfer, which they refer to as “the thinking method“. Rather than focusing heavily on grammar, vocabulary, and memorization, this course teaches the structure of the Turkish in an exploratory, interactive and conscious way.
Colloquial Turkish: The Complete Course for Beginners – This collection of audio files, each a few minutes in length, provides concise and clear Turkish language instruction for beginners. These free audio lessons were made to accompany the Colloquial Turkish: The Complete Course for Beginners textbook, which is a book aimed at teaching Turkish to beginners in a practical way to prepare them to effectively communicate with confidence in everyday situations.
Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Turkish Basic Course – The Foreign Service Institute (U.S. Department of State) originally created this and many other language learning courses to train government employees and members of the foreign service in preparation for a post abroad. This course was designed to train participants to speak Turkish naturally with native speakers while exuding confidence and using an accurate accent. It focuses heavily on pronunciation and preparing students for real-life conversations. 50 units are encompassed over the two volumes and include textbooks in PDF format and audio lessons as MP3s.
- FSI Turkish Basic Course Volume 1 – This course covers Units 1-30 and is accompanied by an e-textbook with 416 pages and 31 audio files with a running time of 8 hours and 37 minutes.
- FSI Turkish Basic Course Volume 2 – This course covers Units 31-50 and is accompanied by an e-textbook with 369 pages and 25 audio files with a running time of 8 hours and 59 minutes.
Life With Turkish Course by UT Austin – This beginner level Turkish language course concentrates on teaching four primary skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The course consists of ten units which are organized thematically and include vocabulary and grammar lessons that focus on those four skills. The Life With Turkish website is sponsored by the Department of Middle Eastern Studies and serves as a learning supplement for the Turkish language program at the University of Texas at Austin.
First Steps Turkish Course – This beginner course was developed by the Hands On Turkish organization with the support of the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme. The course offers an introduction to Turkish and students can expect to learn basic conversation skills over the course of the 12-hour course which can be completed in 4 weeks.
Elon.io Turkish Course – This comprehensive language course employs spaced repetition as a learning tool and consists of 19 units with 181 lessons. Students can also learn from the extensive vocabulary lists provided as well as create their own word lists.
LanguageGuide.org – Explore the world of Turkish by learning an abundance of vocabulary in a sound integrated, animated guide. After learning the vocabulary you can take part in games to test your comprehension.
Babadum – A free language learning website that features fun flashcard games to help you brush up on your vocabulary.
BBC Languages: Turkish – The BBC Turkish Language website is a treasure trove of wonderful resources and information. It is high-quality, comprehensive and provides a lot of intelligently presented and produced materials. All BBC language learning pages were “archived” a few years back due to cost-cutting measures, which means they are no longer adding new information or updating the pages. However, you should have no problem accessing the existing information.
ielanguages.com – This website offers free basic language learning text and audio instruction.
Learn101 – This website features free beginner lessons to guide you through learning Turkish, step by step, starting with the Alphabet, moving on to grammar, vocabulary, and phrases, and finally offering simple quizzes to test your progress. These lessons are a basic introduction to the language and have images, text, and audio.
CoolJugator – CoolJugator is a verb conjugator website that makes conjugation easy and straightforward.
Ilanguages – This site is designed to teach Turkish with free vocabulary, phrases, grammar, and flashcards while focusing on highly used words and phrases necessary for everyday living.
Turkish Stories by BookBox – Cartoons have always been a wonderful asset to language learning, particularity for children. These animated children’s stories are great because the viewer can read along with the narration, which is shown on-screen as “Same Language Subtitles (SLS).” Each word is highlighted in time with the audio, which helps with comprehension and retention.
Omniglot – This site specializes in providing information about languages and their alphabets and writing systems.
Digital Dialects – This website makes learning vocabulary fun with interactive games.
Hello World – Hello World has created hundreds of free language learning games and activities that cater to the way children learn best. The goal is to teach languages using cognitive immersion and to keep the process fun in order to increase learning potential. Approximately 1,300 vocabulary words are introduced over 70 different categories.
Goethe Verlag – This website offers 100 Turkish lessons for beginners, each with words, phrases and corresponding audio files.
Loecsen – Loecson offers a free mini-course consisting of fun lessons that provide a basic introduction to Turkish with the help of text, audio, simple illustrations, and quizzes to test your progress. You will learn high-frequency vocabulary words and commonly used phrases relating to 17 themes which are relevant to everyday life.
Verbix – Online Turkish verb conjugator.
Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Turkish Tutorial – This Language Survival Kit Module for Turkish contains basic vocabulary with audio. Both the audio files and the PDF text can be downloaded.
SimpLang Turkish Lessons – This site features 23 basic lessons which include dialogues accompanied by translations and transliterations.
I Love Languages Turkish Lessons – This site provides 17 beginner Turkish lessons designed to help you improve your speaking, reading, and writing skills. Supplementary resources include vocabulary, grammar tips, and phrases.
Turkish Phonology Case Studies by UT Austin – This free educational resource was created by the Department of Linguistics at The University of Texas at Austin to teach students how to do phonological analysis (the process of studying language patterns) using case studies.
Cultural Interviews with Turkish-Speaking Professionals by UT Austin – In addition to touching on various cultural issues and business topics, these interviews with Turkish executives provide a variety of examples of natural spoken Turkish, which is helpful to language learners. This free educational resource is brought to you by the University of Texas at Austin.
Turkish Basics – The Turkish Basics website teaches beginner grammar, verbs, phrases, and vocabulary to Turkish language learners.
Manisa Turkish – This website is a great resource for Turkish language learners offering extensive lessons covering all of the basics, including grammar and vocabulary.
Turkish Language Class – This website is a comprehensive Turkish language learning website with beginner and intermediate level lessons, as well as plenty of supplemental resources including a forum, chat system and dictionary.
Basics of Turkish Grammar – This website is a very extensive study guide put together by Bob Cromwell as a tool for Turkish language learners. He describes the website as a “heavily compressed summary” of the Turkish Grammar textbook by Geoffrey L. Lewis. All sections including Introduction, Words & Letters, Nouns, Verbs, Word Order, and All Suffixes cover the material thoroughly.
Turkish Tutor – The Turkish Tutor instructional program was developed by the Center for Near Eastern Studies and the International Institute at UCLA and is designed to help students to understand the Turkish Language. It consists of 12 interactive lessons centered around watching video clips from a popular Turkish TV show called Bizimkiler and listening to audio clips of dialogue and vocabulary.
Listen & Learn Program by The UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies – This program provides listening and practice exercises for Egyptian Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, Lebanese, Persian, Iraqi and Turkish language students. Each video is accompanied by a translation, transliteration, glossary, and quiz.
Lang-8 – This free network is a nice tool to support your language learning. Native speakers are available to make corrections to your text and provide feedback. In return, you provide help to others.
HiNative – iTunes – Google Play – HiNative is an app brought to you by the creators of Lang-8 that allows you to ask questions to native speakers from around the world using your smartphone. HiNative was created to be used alongside Lang-8 and is different from Lang-8 in that it focuses on a Q&A type of learning while Lang-8 is a journal writing experience.
RhinoSpike – RhinoSpike is an interesting website that connects language learners from all over the world allowing them to exchange audio files to help improve pronunciation skills. It allows you to submit text that you would like to hear read aloud by a native speaker, and in turn, you receive the audio file. In exchange, and to speed up the process you can, in turn, provide audio files in your native language for other learners.
MyLanguageExchange.com – This online language learning community connects you with other learners so that you can practice speaking in your second language with a native speaker and vice-versa.
Italki – A community of over 2 million language learners that facilitates free language practice with native speakers. You simply exchange time teaching your native language for time learning a foreign language, making it mutually beneficial and free.
EuroNews – EuroNews is a news media company that features news from a European perspective and offers content in 12 different languages online.
BBC – The British Broadcasting Corporation offers news in Turkish.
Deutsche Welle – German broadcasting company DW provides news in Turkish.
Google News – Read the world news in Turkish with Google News.
CNN Turk – This is CNN’s Turkish affiliate television network.
VOA News – Voice of America is an American broadcasting company that creates radio and television news in Turkish.
Kanal7 – Turkish national TV network.
TRT – Turkey Radio and Television Corporation is Turkey’s national public broadcasting network.
ATV – Actual Television is one of the top TV channels in Turkey.
Show TV – This popular television network airs mostly entertainment related content.
SBS Radio Turkish Program – iTunes – SBS is an Australian broadcasting company that targets non-native English speakers and creates programming in many languages. This podcast allows you to listen to interviews, features and community stories from the SBS Radio Turkish program, including Australian and world news.
WordReference – There is no need for a Turkish-English dictionary if you have WordReference. Featuring good translations of words and solid definitions, this site also has helpful forums where Turkish speakers from around the world contribute to explaining subtle nuances or more obscure words.
Forvo – This crowd-sourced site is a great tool to help with pronunciation as it allows you to listen to words and phrases spoken by native speakers.
Dict.cc – A go-to Turkish dictionary and translation website which also offers crowd-sourced recordings by native speakers.
Bab.La – This “language portal” boasts 44 dictionaries for 28 languages, as well as a wealth of other language learning resources, such as helpful articles, games and quizzes, verb conjugations and phrase books.
Tatoeba – Tatoeba is a large, crowdsourced database of sentences and translations. This free resource allows you to search for a word and get results showing that word in sentences with translations.
Talkify – This free, multilingual website is a very interesting and valuable resource that allows you to listen to text in foreign languages. Simply insert a URL into the search field on Talkify and it will automatically detect the language and read the text of that website aloud in a natural sounding voice.
Turkish Suffix Dictionary – This interactive dictionary was created by Éva Á. Csató of the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and David Nathan of the University of Tsukuba, Japan with the goal of helping Turkish language learner identify the correct suffix for Turkish words and find further examples.
Tureng Dictionary – This online dictionary allows you to search for more than 2 million words in categories and provides different pronunciation options.
Nisanyan Dictionary – This dictionary was developed by Sevan Nisanyan with the goal of documenting the origins of words in the modern Turkish language and the historical evolution of those words. It is a great resource for learning about the etymology of Turkish words.
Elementary Turkish – This textbook, by Princeton professors Lewis V. Thomas and Norman Itzkowitz, was used at Princeton University for years. This thorough course book provides a concise and complete understanding of modern Turkish through 23 lessons with exercises.
Teach Yourself Turkish Complete Course – This thorough book by Asuman Çelen Pollard and David Pollard clearly teaches written and spoken Turkish to beginners over the course of 16 units.
Turkish in Three Months (Hugo’s Simplified System) – This book by Bengisu Rona teaches Turkish in a simple and effective way and comes highly recommended by readers.
Cactus Language – This UK based language study abroad organization offers free online language level testing.
Language Trainers – This language training company offers free online language level testing.
Goethe Verlag – Free tests in 25 languages and 600 language combinations. You will find 100 easy and 100 difficult Turkish vocabulary tests.
What Are Your Favorite Free Turkish Language Learning Resources?
We have done a lot of research to bring you the best, free resources that the internet has to offer and we want to make sure our list is always comprehensive. Please share your favorites in the comments below.