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Are European languages difficult for the Turks?

A question for native Turkish speakers: are European languages (English, German, French etc) as difficult for you as is Turkish for a native speaker of one of these languages? I suspect that a different grammar (for example non-agglutinative character of the language, lack of vowel harmony, articles etc), vocabulary, pronunciation are a huge challenge. Am I right?

June 8, 2017



The order of elements in a sentence, the tenses and the way of constructing words were easy for me to wrap my head around once I got immersed in different languages. I don't know how it works for Europeans - it may be easier for you to learn other European languages because grammar of European languages of the same root follow similar templates -, but as Turkish is nothing like the other European languages, I had the tendency to surrender from day one and accept their unique way of doing things.

I don't think pronounciation is a big issue. We can make almost all of the sounds European languages have with the Turkish letters (for example, this discussion title: ar yüropiyın lenguğıcıs difikılt for dı törks), so reading stuff isn't difficult once you get used to how certain letters sound in certain configurations. Getting used to the rhytym of the language also helps. One thing most people have difficulty getting right is the "th" sound in English.

We don't pay attention to vowel harmony while speaking - ie we don't plan what vowel should come next. It is something we apply instinctively. We don't notice its existence as a special rule; therefore we don't notice lack of it in other languages.

Articles like in French or German are certainly painful to learn and memorize. We don't have that many shared words, so vocabulary is also a challenge.

Eventhough I have been exposed to English for more than 14 years, I still have a noticeable accent. Some people can fix their accent pretty fast, but speaking the way an American or a Brit would speak feels very strange and unnatural to me.


Finnish is probably the easiest one for us to learn despite that its considered a very hard language because both turkish and finnish are in ural-altaic language family so we dont have to worry about genders like masculine feminine or neuter. Its is also an agglutinative language just like our native language, and we dont have to worry about accent too much Other than that, i heard that hungarian is also easy for us to learn because of the same reasons i mentioned for finnish, but i dont know much about hungarian.And English is not much of a problem for us to learn because its also genderless, has latin alphabet and its not a hard language to learn. Most european languages can get tricky tho, because almost all of them has genders that we have no experience with. Thats really challenging for us. Although, German has the same 2 letters and sounds (ö , ü) that we use, which makes it only a little bit easier.


I think it is not hard to learn structure and grammer of European languages however when it comes to speaking it takes some time to become fluent due to different word order and structure.

For pronunciation we don't have th and throat sounds it is not that problem for English but real struggle for French for me.

Langfocus Youtube channel has an amazing Turkish language video explains the features and uniqueness of the language. He is also mentioning difficulties of learning an agglutinative language for European language speakers.

Also I am glad you pointed that out :)


"ar yüropiyın lenguğıcıs difikılt for dı törks" Hahaha I like it :)))) Thanks for your answers, very interesting

I am a Pole, and "th" and the articles are difficult for Poles too, we don't have them in our language.


No it's not but I think Polish is :D I started to learning and saw that there are just mixed weird -but aslo so beautiful- letters :D So turned back to easier ones. But Polish is still one of my favorites!


Yes, people say that Polish is very difficult. The grammar and the pronunciation are a nightmare for foreigners ;)

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