Learning Turkish in London - why I decided to take a course

Although Hilary began her first Turkish course with us in April 2010, she has long had an interest in Turkey and the Turkish culture and had been searching for an intermediate-level Turkish course in London for some time, to no avail. It was whilst Hilary was taking a French course at our Piccadilly school in London that she discovered that we offer exactly the Turkish course that she was looking for! Since then she has continued to learn with us and has just begun a level 6 Turkish course.

Hilary’s interest in Turkey first began in the 1980s, when London saw a large influx of Turkish people. Her work for a local authority meant that she began working with some of the Turkish people who were new to London, and she started to develop a real interest in the Turkish language and the culture. Her fascination inspired her both to study for a GCSE in the language, and to begin making regular trips to Turkey. Such was her love of the country and the people, that for a period of eight years she spent half of the year in Turkey and half in Britain!

The many years that she spent going back and forth from Turkey have given her a really good grasp of the language, but now that she is back in the UK full time and working with many Turkish families in her role as an educational psychologist, she feels that she needs to continue to improve her proficiency. Currently, there are very few Turkish speaking psychologists in private practice, and with such a large number of Turkish families in London, she is likely to be in huge demand. For her, it’s essential that she has an in-depth understanding of the Turkish culture, particularly in relation to family life, and she thinks that it would be hugely beneficial to be able to work without the requirement of an interpreter, which, conversely, can sometimes impede communication.

Hilary is really enjoying her learning, and hopes to take the level 7 course with Cactus next year if possible. Turkish is a fascinating language, which although very different to European languages like French and Spanish, is not necessarily more difficult, she feels. For a start, she says that it’s quite easy to read Turkish once you have learnt the few letters that are different to the British alphabet, and the pronunciation can also be less tricky.

That said, Turkish is an agglutinative language, which means that you quite often have words that are six, even seven syllables long. These can be a little bit tricky to get used to, so you shouldn’t be surprised if your Turkish friends end up finishing your words off for you! As Hilary will confirm though, Turkish people are hugely friendly and welcoming and will delight in teaching you about their language and culture, which, relatively speaking, is still learned by so few internationally.

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