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Beginner's Turkish


Admission requirements

No prior knowledge of Turkish is required to take this course.


Beginner Turkish is designed for students who are interested in learning Turkish as a foreign/second language and have little or no previous knowledge of Turkish grammar and vocabulary. Through an integrated and communicative approach, it emphasizes the fundamentals of grammar without underestimating the basic oral communication skills and micro-sociolinguistic rules of conversation in Turkish.

Course objectives

Turkish has an agglutinating structure, which means that students will learn to attach multiple affixes to a stem to form individual words. Reading activities provide early access to naturally-occurring language tailored for students’ needs and interests. Speaking and listening activities underline real communicative events with information gap. By the end of the the course students will have developed an elementary to pre-intermediate proficiency level of Turkish grammar and vocabulary as well as basic communication skills (A1), and will have become ready to take the next level (A2).

  • Grammar: Students will develop an understanding of simple tenses, other basic constructions including the existential, the possessive, postpositions to mark time and manner of events, verbs that inherently assign dative and ablative cases, directives and the optative, comparatives and superlatives, specificity and differential object marking (accusative case), and the abilitative.

  • Vocabulary and use: Students will learn a wide range of basic vocabulary items, such as numbers, occupations, countries and nationalities, verbs denoting everyday activities, kinship terms, various adverbs of time and manner, food names and classifiers, various adjectives needed to describe people, places and things, and complex verbs commonly found in Turkic languages that involve a bare noun and a simple verb. Students will also learn frequently used daily expressions.

  • Spoken interaction: We will emphasize spoken interaction since language is primarily for interacting with people. By the end of the course, students will be able to introduce themselves, ask and talk about personal information, describe people, places and things, talk about daily activities and hobbies, ask and talk about past, present and future events, give directions, talk about wishes, desires and possibilities, describe events and compare and contrast people, places and things.

  • Listening: Students will learn to recognize Turkish lexical and sentential stress, understand commonly used words and expressions when speakers speak carefully, recognize Turkish vowels and consonants and distinguish between minimal pairs that include problem sounds for Dutch speakers (e.g. [ɯ]), recognize two-way and four-way vowel harmony in Turkish, follow simple directives and understand the relationship between words in simple, commonly used sentence structures.

  • Speaking: By the end of the second block, students will have learned to form simple sentences, wh- questions and yes/no questions with appropriate intonation and stress. They will also have mastered the Turkish consonants and vowels including the ones that are potentially difficult for Dutch speakers to produce. We will focus on Turkish vowel harmony rules throughout the semester because almost all Turkish suffixes follow either the two-way or the four-way vowel harmony.

  • Reading: Students will read short texts to look for information, understand the main idea, recognize the order of events, understand the relationship between words in a sentence, understand descriptions of people, places, things and events. Some short texts include signs, forms, timetables, descriptions, short biographies and autobiographies, menus, recipes, etc.

  • Writing: By the end of the second block, students will have learned to fill out forms with personal information, write post-cards or other short texts where they introduce themselves, their families and friends, make daily schedules and shopping lists, give a recipe, and short descriptions of events.

European Common Framework goals after fulfilling Beginners' Turkish
Listening | A1.1
Reading | A1
Spoken interaction | A1
Spoken production | A1
Writing | A1


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Seminar with mandatory attendance.

Class participation is extremely important in learning a language. It is even more important in learning a language for which the classroom context is the main source of exposure and use. You are therefore required to attend every session. Assignments or projects are expected to be submitted on time. Deadlines will be enforced strictly. Mobile phones and electronic devices are allowed only if they are used for classroom purposes, such as when using a dictionary app.

Assessment method

Student performance will be based on the following distribution:

| Partial Assessment | Points | Weighing | | --------------------------------|--------| -------------| | Attendance of the meetings and active participation in the discussions and oral introduction/presentation linked to one (or more) of the meetings (30-45 minutes)| 20% | | Preparation of meetings, which includes the thorough reading of the literature for each meeting and the preparation of three written questions related to this literature. These questions must show that the literature for the meeting has been read; together they should not exceed 500 words. These three questions should be submitted via blackboard ultimately on the day before the seminar takes place, not later than 17.30 h.| 30% | | Presentation of the outline of one’s paper in final meeting(s) and writing of a paper of approximately 5,000 words on a particular fatwa which has been chosen in consultation with Dr. Kaptein (various languages possible, depending on the original language of the text). | 50% |
Partial Assessment Points Weighing | Quizzes | 4 × 5 | 20 % | | Project/ presentation | 2 x 5 | 10 % | | Homework and assignments | 15 x 2 | 30 % | | Midterm| 1 x 15 | 15 % | | Final exam | 1x 25| 25 % | | Total | 100 100 % |

Important note: The resit exam is a make up for your scores for the final exam only.

Reading list

Required course book:

  • A Student Grammar of Turkish (Nihan Ketrez, 2012, Cambridge University Press)
    We will be using a pack with number of materials that include various texts, grammar and vocabulary exercises, reading activities based on authentic texts, writing activities, listening activities, guidelines for spoken interaction in the classrooom. It will be announced/ provided by the instructor.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.