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İngilizce Türkiye’de: Eleos Istanbul

eleos-beyoglu-istanbul

eleos-beyoglu-istanbul

Welcome to the second post in our İngilizce Türkiye’de series. In our first post we introduced a great place for traditional Turkish breakfast, or kahvaltı, called Van Kahvaltı Evi. In our second post we will highlight Eleos Restaurant with two locations in Istanbul.

eleos-istanbul-beyoglu

eleos-istanbul-beyoglu

In our İngilizce Türkiye’de series we highlight establishments across Turkey that offer great service as well as great command of the English language. Eleos has two locations in Istanbul, one in Beyoğlu and one in Yeşilköy. On a recent trip to the Beyoğlu location we were impressed with the food, the view and the service offered in English to our foreign colleagues.

Lets begin with the most important part: the food

The food at at Eleos is that of a fish mezze house but with a more distinct Greek flare than your traditional Bosphorus fish restaurant. Like a typical Istanbul fish restaurant there was a three-course approach to the meal – cold mezze (vegetarian and fish), hot mezze (fish and seafood) and fish (grilled or fried whole fish). What separates Eleos’ food from other fish restaurants in Istanbul is the variety of ingredients. For example, we tried Oyster mushroom mezze, lobster in yoghurt, fried sole stuffed into peppers and fish kokorec. The lokanta is dressed up as an Agean Greek fish restaurant, with blue and white tablecloths, wood paneling and al fresco ambiance. If you book ahead, be sure to ask for a table on the heated patio in order to get a commanding Bosphorus view over Beyoğlu.

At Eleos there are many thoughtful touches that make the dining experience more enjoyable than at a typical restaurant. Several mezze dishes are brought out “on the house”. A welcome aperitif and an extensive desert tray are delivered to the table as “compliments of the chef”.

Now for the second most important part: İngilizce Türkiye’de

As always in our İngilizce Türkiye’de series, we like to commend establishments with strong command of the English language. The service level in English was of a very high standard. Not only were the servers almost fluent in English but they also adjusted their service for a western sensibility. The service was less abrupt and assertive than in most Istanbul restaurants. In addition, significant time was allowed between each course. For this week’s İngilizce Türkiye’de post we will highlight some of the English service terms and their Turkish equivalents:

  • rezervasyon var mi?   ‘do you have a reservation?’,
  • ikram   ‘on the house’, ‘with our compliments’,
  • afiyet olsun   ‘enjoy your meal’,
  • bir şey değil   ‘you’re welcome’ or ‘my pleasure’
  • ‘iyi akşamlar’   ‘good evening’, ‘see you again’ and ‘thank you for coming’ are all appropriate in this context

Whether you are a Turkish native speaker who wants to practice English or a foreigner visiting Turkey, TurksLearnEnglish.com recommends Eleos for its great food and great service. Details:

Beyoğlu

Address: İstiklal Mh., 34440, Beyoğlu

Phone: +90 212 244 9090

Yeşilköy

Address: Yeşilköy Mh., Yeşilbahçe Sk No:9, Bakırköy

Phone: +90 212 663 3911

As always, if you know of any establishments that should be commended for their İngilizce Türkiye’de, please let us know.

 

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Time for culture-specific online language learning: English tailored for Turks.

TurksLearnEnglish.com is excited. We’ve now launched our online English language classes, designed specifically for Turks. For our first post, we’ll explain a little about who we are, what we’ve learned thus far and what we hope to achieve.

Our story is simple. After teaching English to Turks in the traditional bricks-and-mortar classroom, we, the founders of TurksLearnEnglish.com, realised there was opportunity to bring together our knowledge of teaching English to Turks with the benefits of an online setting. As you probably already know, English-language education in Turkey is a big business.  As you are probably also aware, online language education is a rapidly growing part of the wider ‘EduTech’ movement.

Our idea is simply to tailor online English lessons for Turkish native speakers, and we believe this ‘culture-specific’ approach to English language education has linguistic, cultural and motivational benefits. As founders, we have first-hand knowledge of teaching in Turkey, though we think a ‘culture-specific’ approach could work for any group of people sharing a strong common identity.

What do we mean by ‘culture-specific’ classes?

The Internet now provides access to English language lessons to anyone who has a decent Internet connection and a laptop. Livemocha is a successful example of an education start up offering language classes (and has recently been in the news for merging with Rosetta Stone). They offer everything from free ‘community’ exchanges between members to structured courses that can be purchased, and it’s not just for English – they teach a variety of languages.

For the most part, Livemocha is not culture-specific. Any given online class can contain students with vastly different languages and cultures.

Our approach for Turkey will be different. We are launching online English classes that contain only Turkish speakers, and teachers who have experience teaching to Turks.

Three primary advantages to culture specific online language lessons: Linguistic, Cultural and Motivational.

Linguistic advantages

It’s clear to anyone who has even the most basic understanding of Turkish, or to a teacher who has taught Turks, that Turkish exhibits some peculiar qualities.  When a classroom contains students with a common linguistic background, students’ needs are similar if not the same; the time saving is obvious. One student’s mistakes are relevant to all participants and this holds true for vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. Likewise, there are innumerable common mistakes to all Turkish speakers that make entire lessons on ‘Turklish’ an enjoyable and relevant learning experience.

Particularly beneficial is that students assist each other. A student with slightly higher verbal proficiency might assist with vocabulary, while another helps improve his classmates’ pronunciation. The classroom becomes a collaborative experience in which students become educators and where teacher-interference is reduced.

Cultural advantages

Turks, like many cultures, possess a strong identity. As a teacher of Turks for several years, I’m able to make some personal observations about the average Turk learning English.

First, Turks are not particularly confident students; however it’s very easy to motivate them. They are warm, friendly and love to tell an anecdote. Turks of all ages form an strong attachment to their teacher. Turks exhibit a wide range of (interesting) emotional responses in the classroom. The average educated Turk possesses a large body of received knowledge, which can sometimes inhibit the expression of an individual opinion…

Each culture can probably be described with a similar set of phrases. My point is that a collective set of values or behaviors work well if shared in the same learning environment. When a student group is homogenous a teacher can act more effectively. Cultural knowledge helps promote a comfortable class environment and to avoid discomfort and tension.

In Turkey, certain topics remain off-limits, from a cultural perspective. A teacher needs to encourage and motivate Turks, yet be careful not to belittle them in front of their peers, and to accept that self-discipline cannot always be expected. Turks may speak bluntly to another person but take offense when spoken to the same way. They love humor in lessons and Turks are a lot of fun to teach. As with linguistic issues, what is culturally relevant or irrelevant to one student is probably the same for all.

Motivational advantages

Most significant are the benefits of talking about issues of interest to Turks. Most Turks participate eagerly in discussions about the current flurry of Istanbul infrastructure works and the 2020 Olympic bid. Turks spend an inordinate amount of time with their families and they are happy to describe family events, which often make up part of each weekend.  It’s evident that a student needs to be interested in the topic at hand to maintain motivation, so TurksLearnEnglish.com also developed theme-based lessons rather than a curriculum, which allows flexibility during lessons to adapt instantly to student needs and desires.

So far, we’ve found that the culture-specific online classroom is a relaxed environment where students are ready to share. For a teacher with at least some knowledge of the students’ language and culture, it is also less time-consuming to make corrections that are often relevant to everyone present. Best of all, Turks seem as engaged in online lessons as in a physical classroom, and very much able and willing to build a positive learning relationship online.

We encourage discussion and look forward to hearing your ideas and comments!

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