1. Liv
    April 20, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

    @Military wife – The persistently nosy enquiries of ‘are you married?’ are my lasting impression of Turkish men!
    @South America ME – I wholeheartedly agree. I hate the idea of being misinterpreted as rude, so always make an effort to learn ‘please’ and ‘thankyou’ as a bare minimum!

    • Andrew
      April 21, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

      “Beer” and “Toilet” add to “please” and “thank you” to round out needed travel words.

  2. South America ME
    March 30, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

    I think everyone should make an attempt to learn at least a little of the local language, even if it is the basics like please and thank you. However, going a bit further into the language makes an enormous difference to your experience of a country where you truly become to learn about it and its idiosyncrasies.
    I think it is admirable to learn a language that isn’t so common like Turkish is.

  3. Life Lessons of a Military Wife
    March 21, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

    I loved the country…and its people too…but I couldn’t figure out how to get the men, of all ages, to stop chasing you…even when you are on the arm of your husband!

  4. MaryAnne
    March 15, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

    Like Connie, I lived in Turkey, but from 2002 til 2008– 6 whole years in Kayseri and Istanbul! At the time, I was really hard on myself for not learning the language well enough (it was still a strain to catch what people were saying when chatting quickly amongst themselves– too many words!) but after moving to Shanghai two years ago I realized how much Turkish I know- seriously, in every situation I found myself in here, I knew how to deal with it in Turkish, perfectly without hesitation. Unfortunately I wasn’t in Turkey!

    I’m still trying to keep my Turkish from rusting completely but it’s a struggle and, to be honest, I’ve lost momentum with language learning and am having a hard time getting my act together for language #5, Mandarin. I really ought to start living in countries with easier languages!

    • Andrew
      March 19, 2011 @ 11:17 am

      Language number 5?? That is pretty awesome. Though yes, mandarin doesn’t strike me as being in the “easy” category.
      Like you mention, languages stick around in your head. My dad is relearning russian after 38 yeas and doing a wonderful job. I took Italian for under a year, but a day in Italy and I can order food and ask directions again. 2 failed semesters of French over 10 years ago still lets me read signs and menus when I have to go to France.
      It ends up being a comparison thing. Among native speakers, you know relatively no Turkish. Though among Chinese you know tons. And I think the brain reverts to the latest learned language when it gets confused with the next one. See what happens if you go back to visit Turkey. Maybe being away will build the confidence to be fluent.

  5. Connie
    March 15, 2011 @ 8:01 am

    I lived in Istanbul in 2009 and tried at every opportunity to speak Turkish. I’m so proud that within a few months, I was able to follow most conversations and by the end of my time in Turkey, I was quite conversant. I think the best way to learn a language is to just fully immerse yourself. Speak it often, make the mistakes and learn from them. My biggest fear is that now that I’m no longer living in Istanbul and practicing my Cantonese now that I’m living in Hong Kong, my Turkish is going to rapidly slip from me! I’m hoping to go back within the next few years to refresh my Turkish, but also because that country is simple wonderful.

    • Andrew
      March 16, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

      Wow only a few months? That is impressive. It took me forever to feel comfortable in German, but that was classes in the US, not immersion.
      It is amazing though once the language is in your head how well it sticks over time. Yeah, maybe after many years you can’t have a conversation right away, but the amount that you understand and can pick up again is pretty big.