A Review of Turkish Tea Time
I have been using the Turkish Tea Time website for a couple of weeks now. It has been very helpful. I started using it because my listening is very weak and I wanted some appropriate learners' materials for listening.
The materials on this website are in 4 levels -- noobie, beginner, intermediate and advanced. I began with the beginner level as the noobie level was not challenging enough (Thank you, Duolingo). Each dialog has one or two new vocabulary words. The grammar, obviously, is the same as on Duolingo.
I have enjoyed using the material. The dialogs are quite interesting. I get the feeling that the language used is quite natural. I like listening to grammar based dialogs because I can focus my listening on one aspect of the language each time. I can listen to the dialogs alone or I can read the pdf while I listen to the dialog. That is helping me a lot. This material is not free. They also have some speaking exercises where they say a phrase in English and you have to think of the Turkish phrase. It is based on the grammar and vocabulary for the dialog. I like that a lot. Unfortunately only some dialogs have this.
You can listen to the podcasts for free. They are very good. First, they play the dialog. Then one English speaker (who seems very knowledgeable about Turkish) and one Turkish native speaker explain the grammar and the meaning of the dialog. They then play the dialog again at the end. This allows you to check your understanding. The interaction of the two speakers is very natural and I mostly enjoy listening to them. Sometimes they are a little irritating, but not enough to be a problem. The explanations are very clear.
Unfortunately, no new material has been added since 2014, so the website has a kind of abandoned feel to it. Each dialog has a discussion forum attached, but it is not active at all. You don't feel like you are part of a community like on Duolingo. There are questions to answer after the dialog, but they are based mostly on word construction. For me, it is not useful or interesting.
I think that this website is a very helpful resource for Turkish learners. I have noticed some improvement in my listening since I started. I will probably continue with this website for a month or two more. After that, I hope to have improved enough to try movies or TV.
I have a similar experience with Turkish Tea Time.
Over the 2 weeks I've been listening to the podcasts, I feel like my listening has improved greatly. I'm about 30 podcasts in, and while at first I had trouble grasping everything that was said in the newbie lessons, now I can get all the words in beginner lessons and most of the meaning in intermediate lessons on the first listening. The advanced lessons are in Turkish exclusively and still feel out of reach, so I'm saving them for later, but at this pace I feel I'll be able to listen to them soon.
As I'm almost done with my tree on Duolingo, the grammar explanations are not news to me, but it's still good to review it with a different perspective, and to get to focus on listening to a certain construction. It gets a bit repetitive at times since the podcasts are made to be independent and there is some redundancy, but repetition is key to learning.
The dialogues are sometimes a bit silly and forced, but less so than most learning material, and the casual tone of the conversation and explanations makes for a rather relaxing time listening to the two hosts.
I did the trial lessons on the website, but I didn't feel that there was much to gain with the paid material compared to what I get on Duolingo. If anything, the scripts for the dialogues seem like they could be the most useful, but the situations in which I am listening to the podcasts are usually not a good fit for reading along anyway. Also, not being able to rely on the script forces me to listen more carefully and work on my comprehension speed.