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Turkish: Beginners 1


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.


“Beginners’ Turkish” is designed for students who are interested in learning Turkish as a foreign or second language and have little or no previous knowledge of Turkish grammar and vocabulary. Through a communicative approach with all four skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) integrated, it emphasizes basic oral communication skills and micro-sociolinguistic rules of conversation in Turkish without underestimating the role of grammar. Turkish has an agglutinating structure, which means that students will learn to attach multiple affixes to a stem to form individual words. It also has a sentence structure with a more flexible word order than English or Dutch does; so, students will also learn the discourse rules that govern this flexibility. Reading activities are solely based on authentic texts to 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 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).

Course objectives

Grammar: Turkish does not use an overt copular verb (e.g. to be), but it does indeed have copular sentences. Students will develop an understanding of this structure in the present and past tenses. Other basic constructions include but are not limited to the simple present and simple past tense, present and past progressive, existential constructions and the locative case, possessive construction and the genitive case, some postpositions to mark time and manner of events, noun-noun compounding, verbs that inherently assign dative and ablative cases, directives an the optative, comparatives and superlatives, specificity and differential object marking (accusative case).
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 some basic situationally-bound utterances, such as the ones we need when we introduce ourselves, ask about people, places and things and describe events.
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 events, give directions, talk about wishes and desires, 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 course, 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. (Luckily, there aren’t many of these.) We will focus on Turkish vowel harmony rules throughout the semester because almost all Turkish suffixes with only few exceptions 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 but are not limited to signs, forms, timetables, descriptions, short biographies and autobiographies, menus, recipes and newspaper articles. We will be using a number of extra authentic materials to supplement our textbook.
Writing: By the end of the course, 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 make short descriptions of events.

European Common Framework goals:
Listening: A1a
Reading: A1
Spoken interaction: A1
Spoken production: A1
Writing: A1


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

Three two hour tutorials every week

Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or a tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Course Load

Total course load: 280 hours
Attending classes: 72 hours (6 hrs per week over 12 weeks)
Preparing classes, exams and extra activities: 208 hours

Assessment method

  • There is no re-sit test during the course.

  • Learning aim: Use of course contents, including vocabulary items, grammar , Kanji


Assessment: Written exam and quiz
Percentage: 60%

  • Learning aim: Use of the target language to communicate with correct pronunciation, Listening/speaking/Dictation
    Assessment: In-class oral/listening performance
    Percentage: 30%

Deadline: at most twice/semester

  • Learning aim: Use of the target language to write with suitable vocabulary items and grammar
    Assessment: Writing assignments
    Percentage 10%


Assessment: Written exam and quiz: 60%
Assessment: In-class oral/listening performance: 30%
Assessment: Writing assignments: 10%

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following: the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.
To pass the course, the average has to be 5.5 at least.


If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of a resit.
The resit will be a written exam of two hours, and will test if the students have reached the end level of this semester. This exam consists of the following components:

  • Reading and writing;

  • Written dialogue;

  • Vocabulary and grammar.


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis

Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

Yeni Hitit Yabancılar için Türkçe Ders Kitabı 1 (TÖMER Ankara Üniversitesi Yayınları, 2005), ISBN 9789754825374
A Student Grammar of Turkish (Cambridge University Press, 2012), ISBN 9789754825374


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


M.E. Yildirim


For this course attendance and participation is essential. Classes missed for a good reason have to be discussed with the language instructor BEFORE the class takes place. Frequent absence will inevitably lead to lower participation grades, or denied access to the final exam.
Passing this course is an additional requirement for a positive Study Recommendation at the end of the year.
This course uses Integrated communicative language learning method. Therefore active participation in the classroom activities is essential for successful learning outcomes.