Tag Archives: Turklish


May 03, 2013 By Tags:, ,

İngilizce Dersleri: Saying ‘tavsiye’ in English

İngilizce Dersleri: the fourth post in our series where we offer easy, everyday solutions to challenges that Turks have with the English language.

Recently in a lesson, a student was talking to me about a restaurant that he thought I should go to and said, ‘I advise you.’ This error is a a common mistake for Turks learning English. In Turkish ‘tavsiye etmek’ would be used in this situation.

In Turkish, tavsiye is used in situations where in English you would find both to recommend and to advise or even you should.

So, how do you express tavsiye in English? It depends on the formality of your situation. Generally speaking, there are three options.

1. Advise for very formal and very important information. Common in written English.

‘I strongly advise you to stop smoking.’

‘They advised her against coming alone at night.’

‘She advised him to take the 17h00 flight so he would arrive at the meeting on time.’

2. Recommend for formal but less important statements in spoken English.

‘It is recommended that you sleep at least seven hours each night.’

‘I don’t recommend that restaurant. The food was terrible.’

‘I recommend him highly.’ (my doctor, this candidate)

3. Should + verb is the least formal in spoken English. This is the form you will hear and use most.

‘You should eat some. It’s delicious!’ (the cake, the pie)

‘You should visit it!’ (that restaurant, the new art gallery)

‘You should see it.’ (that film, the new TV series)

‘You should come.’ (to Madrid with us next week, to the cinema tonight)

Your turn!

Keep in mind, that if you prefer video learning exercise we have a library of video learning exercises waiting for you in our Ingilizce Dersleri section! These videos are available to you at all times and are a great compliment to written exercises and live conversation classes.

Look at the examples below and try to think of a response for each one using the word in brackets. For each exercise, a. is the most formal, and c. the least formal situation.

Here’s an example (we’ve completed the responses for you in bold):

You have gained 10 kilograms during the last year.

a. Your doctor says ‘I advise you take change your diet and take regular exercise’

b. An article in the newspaper states, ‘Doctors recommend at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise each day if you want to lose weight’.

c. Your friends says, ‘Mate, you should lose some weight!’

Now, think of some responses for #1 to #3:

1. You are stressed, overworked and have not taken a holiday in three years.

a. What does your doctor tell you? (advise)

b. What does your colleague say to you? (recommend)

c. What do your friends suggest? (should)

2. The new James Bond film is released and it receives great reviews.

a. What does a movie critic write so that people go to see it? (advise)

b. How do you tell your boss to see it? (recommend)

c. How would tell a friend to watch it? (should)

3. Your mother eats a lot of sugary and unhealthy food.

a. What would a nutritionist tell her? (advise)

b. What would the salesperson in the health food shop tell her? (recommend)

c. What would her best friend tell her? (should)

Did you find this helpful? Let us know what other topics you would like us to cover!



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Apr 27, 2013 By Tags:,

İngilizce Dersleri: ‘açmak’ and ‘kapatmak’

İngilizce Dersleri: the second post in our series where we offer easy, everyday solutions to challenges that Turks have with the English language.

Keep in mind, that if you prefer video learning exercise we have a library of video learning exercises waiting for you in our Ingilizce Dersleri section! These videos are available to you at all times and are a great compliment to written exercises and live conversation classes.

If Turkish is your mother tongue, then you might have difficulty using açmak and kapatmak in English. Like many aspects of Turkish, the same words can be used across a number of different situations. And like many aspects of English, a literal translation does not work. In English, it’s slightly more complicated so we’ve chosen to include this concept in our İngilizce Dersleri series.

İngilizce Dersleri: How to use turn on/off and switch on/off

In Turkish, açmak and kapatmak are used respectively to turn on and turn off computers, lights and iPads. It is also used to hang up or to end a telephone call.

However, a literal translation just doesn’t work. You cannot open or close a computer, an iPad or a phone.

Luckily, the rules here are actually quite simple.

First, if the thing, device or appliance is powered by electricity, then you can switch it on or off and turn it on or off.

– You can turn on a lamp.

– You can turn off the oven.

– You can switch on a stereo.

– You can turn on a printer.

– And I often ask my students to switch off their iPads.

The exception is:

If you’re on the phone, in English you answer a phone call and you hang up at the end of the conversation.

– I hung up after speaking with my friend.

– I answered his call as soon as the phone rang.

– Don’t hang up!

– I answered his call on Skype.

You cannot open or close a phone in English.

And we think that covers it. A simple lesson, and with the amount of electronic devices in our daily lives, an important one!

As always, let us know if this was helpful, and why not suggest other topics you would like us to cover!

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Mosque, istanbul, sketch

Apr 26, 2013 By Tags:, , ,

İngilizce Dersleri: ‘önce’ and ‘sonra’

İngilizce Dersleri: this series offers easy, everyday solutions to challenges that Turks have with the English language.

If Turkish is your mother tongue, you might have difficulty with ago, earlier, before, after, in, and later. These words can be adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions and adjectives. Here we look at the most basic errors by Turks and provide a couple of examples to explain how you can use the idea of sonra and önce in English.

İngilizce for Turks: Ago, earlier, or before?

How do you express this idea in English: Üç gün önce sinemaya gittim.

You can use ago or earlier. Ago would be more common.

I went to the cinema three days ago is natural spoken English

I went to the cinema three days earlier is also correct, but more formal.

For example:

 – He left three days ago.

He left three days earlier.

Don’t use before.

In the two sentences above, ago and later are adverbs.

İngilizce for Turks: How to use before

Next, how do you deal with: Sinemaya gitmeden önce kahve içtik?

To express this idea in English, you need to understand that önce joins two events. So before is the correct word to use:

We drank coffee before we went to the cinema, or

Before we went to the cinema we drank coffee.

In these examples, before is a conjunction.

Don’t use ago or later.

İngilizce for Turks: After, later or in?

Üç gün sonra sinemaya gidiyoruz.

Here, you are talking about an event in the future. The only correct word is in:

We’re going to the cinema in three days.

And, üç gün sonra Istanbul’dan ayrılacak.

He’ll leave Istanbul in three days.

What about this?

Üç gün önce Istanbul’dan ayrıldı.

This is something that happened in the past, so the correct word is ago.

She left Istanbul three days ago.

Don’t use later.

But, if you are talking about an event that happened before another event in the past, then you need to use later or after.

For example:

Istanbul’a geldi. Üç gün sonra ayrıldı.

He arrived in Istanbul and left two days later.

Again, later is an adverb.

İngilizce for Turks: How to use after

After is both an adverb and a preposition in English

Biz geldikten sonra ayrıldı.

He left after we arrived.

Yemekten sonra sinemaya gidiyorum.

I’m going to the cinema after dinner.

In the first example, after is an adverb.

For the second example, after is a preposition.

I know that advanced learners and native English speakers might disagree with me, but the idea is to make the use of the words a little easier.

Keep in mind, that if you prefer video learning exercise we have a library of video learning exercises waiting for you in our Ingilizce Dersleri section! These videos are available to you at all times and are a great compliment to written exercises and live conversation classes.

As always, let us know if this was helpful, or any other topics you would like us to cover!

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