Useful Turkish Phrases for Foreigners!

Turkish is full of interesting phrases and sayings that are both useful and fun to use. Here is a short list for travelers, whether they are tourists or expats...

04/12/2014

Turkish is one of the most interesting languages if you get the chance to know it in detail. We know that it takes a while learning it from the basics. That is why, as istanbul.com team, we decided to prepare you a list of useful and fun Turkish phrases and explain where to use them. Satisfaction* guaranteed!

*Before going further into reading, please note that Latin Alphabet is used for Turkish. If you are looking for a fancy tattoo in Arabic (For example: هذا هو كيف تبدو العربية ) this article might be the wrong one. But it would be our pleasure to help you for a fancy Turkish tattoo idea in the comments section! :) 

(Hint: Pronunciation of Turkish is very similar to Spanish. Hope this helps you to guess the sound of the phrases below!)

 

Welcome to Turkish 101! - Türkçe 101'e Hoş Geldiniz

 


1) Welcome - Hoş geldin

Hoş geldin is the keyword here. It literally means welcome and you will start hearing it from the moment you get on a plane (if it is a Turkish company of course). From then on, you will hear it in almost every caferestaurant, shopping center, hotel or house that you are invited. You are definitely welcomed in Turkey ;)

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2) Hoş bulduk!

But how do we answer if someone says 'Hoş geldin'? 'Thanks!' is useful but it would be too mainstream. Luckily there is always an answer in Turkish to everything and in this case the answer would be 'Hoş bulduk!'. Its direct translation would be 'I found it nice in here.'. A perfect ice-breaker! 

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3) Where is ... ?

But how do you say 'Where is your camel?' ? You will need to ask this at some point, so better get over with it now. 'Deveniz nerede?' After getting over the disappointment from not seeing camels ridden on the streets of Turkey, you can replace the 'deveniz' in the phrase with basically anything to ask for its place. Such as; ' Where is the Ritz Carlton Hotel?' : 'The Ritz Carlton Hotel nerede?'. 

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4) Thanks! - Teşekkürler

After someone does you something nice, for example if someone tells you where is the meeting point of your tour in Istanbul, you can say 'Teşekkürler!' to thank her/him and head to your destination filled with kindness and a big smile on your face. Plus, this word sounds really cute with an accent!

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5) You are welcome - Rica ederim

But what if someone thanks you? Easy! 'Rica ederim.' meaning 'You are welcome.' I can hear you say 'Thanks for this article!'. You are very welcome :) 

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6) Kolay gelsin

Here comes a very Turkish one: 'Kolay gelsin'. Direct translation of this phrase would be 'Let it be easy for you.' If you want to make someone's day, you can use this phrase and make her/him smile. There are many places where you can use it. For example; telling 'kolay gelsin ' to the driver while getting off a public transportation vehicle or to the cashier in a bank who helped you with changing currency.  

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7) Bless you! - Çok yaşa!

If you are planning your trip to Istanbul in winter, it is likely to encounter someone who sneezes. You can  always say 'çok yaşa' which has the same purpose as bless you in English. Çok yaşa means 'live long', maybe not in the same sense of saying it to a king or a queen but you surely will make someone feel like a queen/king when you show that you care! Moreover, when we sneeze, our hearts stop for a very brief moment. Doesn't saying çok yaşa makes the perfect sense? :) 

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8) Sen de gör

When you say çok yaşa to a sneezing Turkish friend, it is very likely to have a 'Sen de gör' as a response. It literally means 'You shall see it too.' but the real meaning is much deeper. It is used to say that you appreciate your friend wishing you a long life and respond by saying that you shall also live long and see it. Another possibility for saying 'sen de gör ' is 'hep beraber', in a sense that you would like to live long with your friend beside you. 

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9) İnşallah

An addition from Arabic, inşallah is one of the most common 'automated responses' in Turkish and it has the same meaning as 'hopefully'. You can use it when someone is talking about her/his future plans, or hoping that something will be better; in short when someone, including yourself, is making  a wish.

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10) Maşallah

Another commonly used word originated from Arabic is 'maşallah '. This word is originally used as a protection against 'the evil eye ', an ancient and interesting belief. Nowadays, maşallah is used to show astonishment. For example when you see a huge octopus you may say, 'Maşallah, that is one gigantic octopus!' .

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11) Maalesef - Unfortunately

Maalesef we are getting closer to the end of this article. This word has the same meaning as 'unfortunately', and it is highly probable that you will hear it in restaurants if what you ordered cannot be served or when you need information on a tourist attraction in Istanbul and the person you ask cannot help you. 

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12) Take good care of yourself! - Kendine iyi bak!

Hopefully (İnşallah ) you enjoyed this brief list of phrases & words and your stay in Istanbul will be more fun using them. Turks LOVE foreigners who at least attempt to speak in Turkish and communication is the best way of enjoying a foreign culture. Istanbul.com wishes you a great time in Istanbul! Kendinize iyi bakın!

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Please feel free to share your favorite phrases in Turkish in the comments section! Sharing is caring! 

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