Category Archives: Listening

Top three web radio stations for busy Turks



Our list of web radio stations for busy Turks! Most of our Turkish students are busy. Extremely busy. And many of their lives are made even busier by their daily commutes to the office. We often recommend web radio as a great way to practice English listening skills while on the move. Most of the stations and services we recommend here are free (with some limitation on backdated content). We think that web radio, especially talk and news are a great compliment for our Turkish students learning English. Please let us know your favorite web radio stations for busy Turks!

#3 – National Public Radio (US)

The NPR’s radio service is an amazing resource. NPR is a publicly funded talk / news radio from the US. Most presenters speak in very easy-to-understand English accents and language. Topics run the gauntlet from politics to fashion, culture, music and current events. The web radio includes a 24 hour live stream and a large database of podcasts. You can also access continuously updated (hourly) news summaries.

#2 – BBC Radio

The BBC’s radio service is undoubtedly the most comprehensive free radio service in the world. With 15 English stations available, you’ll get a bit of everything (sports, music, talk, news, culture). We find for most of our Turkish students learning English, the world service station is best. It involves a mix of different topics from correspondents based all over the world. Programing is typically free for a week after it is originally aired.

#1 – TuneIn Radio: Our favorite web radio station for busy Turks!

TuneIn radio is not a traditional radio station. It is a service which lets you access the world’s radio (AM/FM) through the web. From news in Europe to talk shows in Africa, you have the option to search by location, genre, station type, or even name or call sign, and start listening. If you’re willing to spend $1 on the app, you can upgrade to a pro-version (Android, IOS, Blackberry).

As always, we would love to here your recommendations on web radio for busy Turks learning English, please give us some feedback!



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Top Ted Talks Episodes with Turkish Transcript

TED Talks Videos

Favorite TED Talks videos

In our previous İngilizce Öğrenmek post, we examined why we enjoy using Ted Talks. We feel it is a great resource for our Turkish students to practice their English listening skills. In this post, we point out that many Ted Talks Episodes with Turkish transcript are available using the transcription service function.

One of the nicest features of Ted Talks is the transcription service. It is simple to use:

1. On the TED Talks main page, from the first drop down menu on the left: “show talks subtitled in” select Turkish. A list of all TED talks with Turkish subtitles will appear.

2.  Select a video to watch.

3.  Under the video screen will be another dropdown menu: “show transcript”, select Turkish.

Now your selected video will appear both with Turkish subtitles and a Turkish transcript (located under the video).

Here is a list of our favorite Ted Talks Episodes with Turkish Transcript:

#5: Ken Robinson: Eğitimin ölüm vadisinden nasıl kurtulunur

Ken Robinson challenged the way most of use think about education in this very informative 20 minute presentation. Turkish students can often relate. If they are finding the daily grind of work/university, language schools and additional schooling to be a drain on creativity and energy, Ken’s talk could be motivational.

#4: Jay Walker: Dünyadaki İngilizce Çıldığı Üzerine

An overview about why people all over the world, from Turkey to Chile are obsessed with learning English. A great motivational piece to remind our hard-working English language students that they are not alone in their English quest!

#3: Bill Ford: Trafik Tıkanıklığının Ötesinde Bir Gelecek

Bill Ford, an executive at Ford Motor Co. outlines a vision of the city and transportation that does not include the car. A highly relevant topic for our Turkish students from Istanbul and Ankara!

#2: Jane McGonigal: “Oyun oynamak daha iyi bir dünya yaratabilir”

This talk is for our Young Learners and their parents! The piece is about gamification, using gaming techniques to get everyday tasks accomplished. At we’ve found that these techniques can be extremely powerful for our Young Learners and Adult Learners alike.

#1: Tristram Stuart: The global food waste scandal

Unfortunately this Ted Talks Episode does not offer a Turkish transcript, yet it’s such a great video that we have posted it regardless. Tristram analyzes the astounding amounts of food waste that occur across the world. A highly relevant post in a world with increasingly less food resources.

 Please let us know your thoughts, have we missed any Ted Talks classics?

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Top English Language Movies Shot in Istanbul

Bond in Istanbul Film

Bond in list of films shot in Istanbul

Our Turkish students love to tell us when an English language movie is shot in Istanbul.

I can’t blame them, I’m quick to point out movies shot in my native Toronto (often posing as NYC). There is something extremely satisfying about seeing your city represented in a big budget Hollywood production. Our Turkish students are extremely motivated to watch movies shot in Istanbul. At we enjoy sharing English language content which motivates our students to enhance their English listening skills. Here is a list of our favorite English language movies shot in Istanbul. Most of these are action packed thrillers! Also worth nothing, TurksLearnEnglish produces our own video learning excercises designed for Turks learning English. You can access the content library in our Ingilizce Dersleri section! These movies can be a great element of motivation and pride for Turkish students who want to practice their English skills:

#5: The Accidental Spy (2001)

The Accidental Spy is a classic Hong Kong fight movie starring Jackie Chan. The movie is shot in Hong Kong, Seoul, Istanbul and Cappadocia. Its not 100% in English, but a significant amount of the dialogue between the Chinese and Turkish characters is in English. The movie is entertaining and despite having serious elements in the plot, it also contains significant comedic twists. It’s a great film for adolescent learners. The film is also relatively obscure, meaning most Turkish students will not have previously seen the movie.

#4: The International (2009)

The International is an American Action Thriller directed by Tom Tykwer. The movie follows an Interpol agent as he tries to uncover the financial corruption of a merchant bank. The movie’s settings are also international, covering Lyon, Milan, Berlin, Istanbul and New York. The Istanbul scenes include an action-packed sequence set in the Grand Bazaar.

#3: Taken 2 (2012)

Our older Turkish students learning English love Taken 2. It is almost entirely set in Istanbul and is an action packed thriller. It stars Liam Neeson who does a great job in the intense drama.

#2: Argo (2012)

In our list of English Language Movies Shot in Istanbul, it would be wrong not to include 2012’s Oscar winner for Best Picture. Argo, as many people may have noticed, is almost shot entirely in Istanbul. Both the scenes set in Istanbul (where Afleck obtains his visa to enter Iran) and the scenes set in Tehran, are filmed in Turkey’s biggest metropolis. The infamous scene where the mock movie cast goes to the bazaar in Tehran, is actually Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. More than a couple of our Turkish students learning English have pointed this out to us!

#1: Bond (1963, 1998, 2012)

For our favorite in our list of English Language Movies Shot in Istanbul, we chose not one but three Bond movies. From Russia with Love (1963), The  World is not Enough (1998) and Skyfall (2012) all have fabulous on-location shots of Istanbul. Bond directors knew how to take advantage of the incredible shooting opportunities in the city. From Russia with Love includes an action scene in the Basilica Cistern. The World is not Enough’s main climax features a submarine in the Bosphorus. Skyfall’s opening scene may be one of the best Bond action sequences of all time, a motorcycle chase on the roof of the Grand Bazaar!

We hope that you enjoy these English language movies shot in Istanbul as much as our own Turkish students. Please let us know whether we’ve missed any classics!


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İngilizce Öğrenmek: TED Talks for listening skills

In our second İngilizce Öğrenmek post we talk about why we recommend TED Talks as a tool for our Turkish students learning English. Our first İngilizce Öğrenmek post was about weekly reading for Turkish professionals. is a fan of TED Talks. The site is a great way to hear about new and exciting ideas. Better yet, these talks are a truly practical way to improve your listening (and reading) skills. 

Keep in mind, that here at TurksLearnEnglish we also have an entire library of video learning exercises specifically designed for Turks learning English. You can access the library in our Ingilizce Dersleri section!

Why TED Talks is good for Turks learning English

TED Talks presents speeches on a wide range of topics, all of them in English. It’s a simple way to hear good spoken English while also learning about a new and interesting topic, such as the latest developments in medicine or predictions about the future of education.

Another benefit is that the presenters come from every part of the planet, making it one of the best sites to hear every possible accent in English. Familiarity with many accents is a key way to improve your understanding of the English language. And good listening skills means understanding more than just your English teacher!

TED Talks are usually between six to 20 minutes in length, with many around ten minutes. Short enough to watch a couple of times in the same day or even during your lunch break, and just long enough to hear some interesting ideas.

What level of listening skills do you need to understand a TED Talk?

To be honest, most TED Talks will require a second listening for many students of English. There are often a few technical terms used in the speeches, and sometimes the presenter’s humor may not be understood clearly by non-native speakers. The advantage of the Internet is that you can listen to a certain section again, until you understand what is said.

Better still, many TED Talks come with a transcription, which means you can read everything that is said during the presentation. And better again, in some instances the transcription is available in Turkish, so sure, why not listen a few times… and read as you go along? It’s a visual guide to help your listening skills!

TED Talks for Turks in three easy steps!

First, go to the website:

Secondly, click ‘View all tags’ to select talks that interests you. There are many different topics covered so you will find something that interests you: education, language, medicine… even rocket science!

Thirdly, listen to the presentation once. Then, why not try a second time while reading the transcription. At the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, click on the drop-down menu to find the transcription in English, or Turkish (and if it’s available).

TED Talk transcriptions are great for new vocabulary

TED presentations are authentic English and the transcriptions are a wonderful way to see English words on the same topic together at the same time. It helps to learn words together that have some connections. For example, in a speech by Margaret Heffernan, she uses the words and phrases conflict, disagree, fight, head-to-head, provoke, whistle-blower, and to have a fight on your hands. It’s much easier to learn these words together and in context.

Lastly, mimicking is excellent for learning the rhythm and intonation of a language. When no one’s around, it really makes sense to repeat, with a loud voice, phrases of the speakers. It’s truly one of the best methods to improve your pronunciation (just think of all the song lyrics or lines from English movies that you already know).

That’s it. There are hundreds of talks on scores of topics, so start improving your listening skills now!

Let us know if you found this helpful… and why not suggest something for us to write about?





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