Category Archives: Okuma


Jul 27, 2013 By Tags:,

İngilizce Öğrenmek: Top 5 resources for finance

finance-english-for-turksIn our İngilizce Öğrenmek series we like to highlight resources that can be helpful for Turks learning English. At, many of our adult students in Istanbul work in the finance industry. From banking to insurance, audit, tax and advisory. Many of our Turkish students ask us for recommendations on English language resources to keep up to date with the markets while simultaneously practicing their English.

As a learning resource, these online sources are a great tool because they are free and the articles are short. Most articles only take three to five minutes to read. Short enough that its quite easy for a busy professional to fit one to two articles in per day either while at the desk or a commute.
Here is the last of our favorites:

#5 – Market Watch

Market Watch (as its name implies) is a very US focused financial market resource. The site provides increasingly significant coverage of emerging markets, Europe and Asia. The site also offers personal finance news and tools to manage your own finances. MarketWatch is a subsidiary of Dow Jones. Articles are short, informative and written in very basic English loaded with finance terminology.

#4 – Seeking Alpha

Seeking Alpha is an independent website which accepts articles from a host of writers. The site was founded in 2004 by former Wall Street analyst, David Jackson and is the most widely read resource by the finance industry. There are almost 200 articles posted per day, so whatever your specialty or interest, you will find something to suit your tastes.

#3 Investopedia

Investopedia has evolved from a finance term dictionary into what is now a news resource. We still love Investopedia for its original purpose, a comprehensive dictionary of finance and investing terms. Its a great site to bookmark and use when one term is not yet in your vocabulary.


#2 – Bloomberg

The wonderful thing about Bloomberg is that the articles cover the wider political and economic climate. The writing is very clear and the IPAD application (free) is beautifully designed.

#1 The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal is a must read resource for any professional. The writing style and density is by far the hardest on our list, so would be reserved for Advanced students of the English language. The articles are highly comprehensive and the IPAD applications (free) is also wonderfully designed.

As always, if you have any other suggestions for our İngilizce Öğrenmek series, please do let us know and we would love to hear from you in our comments.

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Jun 17, 2013 By Tags:,

Book set in Istanbul: Baksheesh by Esmahan Aykol

İngilizce Kaynaklar: reading resources about Turkey, Baksheesh!



We like to recommend reading resources for Turks learning English. Outside of İngilizce Dersleri, it is important to read English content that is motivating through familiar subject matter. has just discovered a great English language resource for Turks learning English. Baksheesh is a crime novel based in Istanbul! The writing style is concise and simple. It is a perfect novel for upper intermediate to advanced English language students. The content will be very motivating for any Turk learning English because it covers everyday topics in Istanbul. Housing prices, parking your car in the cramped side streets, and dealing with the police and traffic!

About the book

Backsheesh focuses on a character named Kati Hirschel, living in Istanbul. Kati owns a bookstore that specializes in crime stories. She obtains an apartment with the help of a bribe to a government official. A man is found murdered in her apartment, and she becomes the prime suspect! Backsheesh takes us on a tour of Istanbul, from Taksim back streets to Bosphorus villas and beyond. We meet city officials, government officials, police and businessmen.

The language is sometimes a bit abrupt, but it is easy to read. We recommend the novel to our students, especially those living in Istanbul. The subject matter is extremely relevant to anyone who has lived in Turkey or Istanbul. The book was originally written in Turkish and has been translated to English by Ruth Whitehouse (based in Ankara).

About the author



Esmahan Aykol was born in 1970 in Edirne, Turkey. She lives in Istanbul and Berlin. She has written four Kati Hirschel mystery novels. ‘Hotel Bosphorus’ and ‘Baksheesh’ are the first two and have been published in eight languages.

As always, please let us know if you have read this book. Please recommend other books that would be good for a Turk Learning English, as a compliment to İngilizce Dersleri.





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Jun 07, 2013 By Tags:, ,

Top Five English language books set in Turkey


Our Turkish students often ask us for novel recommendations. We find there is nothing better to motivate them then English language books set in Turkey. Some of these are famed Turkish novelists that have been translated. Others are original pieces of English language literature set in Turkey. There is a wealth of literature to pick from. You can spend an entire four year university degree studying the genre, but we’ve tried our best to pick our favorite five books!

#5 Orhan Pamuk – The Museum of Innocence

From the Nobel winning author (Snow and My Name Is Red), comes an amazing depiction of Istanbul. The protagonist, Kemal, takes a tour of “the other” Istanbul and delivers one of the most powerful English language books set in Turkey. Middle class families, seedy dive bars, Istanbul film circles, and so much more. All the while he collects pieces of treasure throughout his travels around our beloved city. Better yet, if you are ever in Istanbul, you can check out the real life museum of Innocence (in Beyoglu) created to showcase the pieces found by Kemal in his travels around Istanbul!

#4 Louis de Bernières – Birds Without Wings

The novel is set in a small village in southwestern Anatolia in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. Birds without Wings tells the history of the fall of the Ottoman Empire and emergence of the modern Turkish state through the eyes of a village. The battle of Gallipoli takes place halfway through the novel. The village includes Muslim Turks, Greeks, Armeinans and Cricassians. A fine example of historical fiction dealing with one of the largest population exchanges of all time but focusing on everyday village stories, rather than the geopolitics that swept the region.

#3 Orhan Pamuk – Snow

Published in 2002 and translated to English in 2004, Snow is considered a jewel of modern Turkish literature. A poet named Ka returns to Turkey and travels to the city of Kars. The purpose of his journey is to report on a wave of suicides among religious girls forbidden to wear their head-scarves (which actually took place in the city of Batman). The book heavily examines the interplay between secular and traditional Turkey, and is a fascinating read for Turks and foreigners alike.

#2 Elif Shafak – The Bastard of Istanbul



Written in English (and later translated to Turkish), the story is a family saga set in modern day Istanbul. The book has received extensive publicity because of the the Turkish government accusing the novel of ‘insulting Turkishness’. Publicity aside, the book is cluttered and busy with characters and themes, much like modern Istanbul. A must read for any resident of this great city!

#1 Various Authors – The Book of Istanbul: A City in Short Fiction (a collection of ten English language books set in Turkey!)

A 2010 collection of ten short stories (each by a different leading Turkish writer) translated to English and set in Istanbul. Each author gives their own, unique depiction of Istanbul and its people. An amazing a varied take on different perspectives of the same city. These stories are short, concise, entertaining and highly relevant to our Turkish students learning English, this is why we’ve picked the collection as our favorite in the list of English language books set in Turkey.

Let us know your thoughts. Have we missed any must read English language books set in Turkey? I’m sure we have!

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May 08, 2013 By Tags:, ,

Top 5 online English resources about Turkey

online English resources

Turkish map

Discussing Turkey, its history and current affairs in English is important for our students.

For our Turkish students who travel abroad or who host foreign colleagues in Turkey, conversations about Turkey are bound to happen. Reading about Turkey in English can also be extremely motivating as there is an immediate sense of relevance and understanding. For these reasons, we’ve decided to list our favorite online English resources about Turkey. These resources can easily be incorporated into a weekly reading routine, which should include a balance of local and international topics.

#5 Cornucopia Magazine: beautiful magazine focusing on history, culture and travel

Cornucopia bills itself as a “magazine for connoisseurs of Turkey” and it delivers. The magazine includes well written articles about Turkey’s history, travel destinations, culture and food. The magazine has been going strong for 20 years and has three print issues per year. Online there is a significant amount of content available for free, and a constantly updated blog.

#4 Journal of Turkish Weekly: politics and journals

The Journal of Turkish Weekly is a great source of academic articles about politics and current events in Turkey and the wider region (Middle East, Balkans, Caucuses), and it is updated daily. It is published by a leading Turkish think tank, based in Ankara, the International Strategic Research Organization.

#3 Reuters: up-to-date current affairs

For any Turk who likes big topics in current affairs, the Turkey page of Reuters US edition website offers several well-written thought-provoking articles each week that are bound to stretch your mind and vocabulary.

#2 The CIA World Factbook: get your facts right!

Even though it’s written by the US government, and the CIA no less, the CIA World Fact Book has a vast array of information located in its country profiles. It’s a great way to get your facts straight on everything to do with Turkey including geography, demographics, government, the economy and politics. The Factbook is kept meticulously up-to-date and is a wonderful source of facts about all 196 of the world’s nations!

#1 Travel Guides

Online guidebooks such as the Lonely Planet, the Rough Guide, Wallpaper City Guides and Frommer’s offer a great way to learn about Turkey’s key sites that have attracted visitors for centuries. These guides also contain concise historical sections, restaurant recommendations and are a great source of information on logistic matters such as public transport and entry requirements. You can easily become the knowledgeable guide that foreign visitors to Turkey dream of! Much of the content is available for free on their websites.

 As always, let us know what you think and what other topics we should cover!



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Reading Turkish Commute

Apr 24, 2013 By Tags:

İngilizce Öğrenmek: reading for Turkish professionals

In our first İngilizce Öğrenmek post we suggest weekly English reading.

Many of you are motivated to learn English because you are working for American or European multinationals. Whether you travel abroad or host colleagues, reading is vital to improving your spoken English.

In our İngilizce Öğrenmek series we will focus on providing resources for Turkish students learning English. We will focus on easy to access resources, found online.

For many of you, it is important both to speak English and be knowledgeable about topics that your foreign colleagues discuss. We are often asked for suggestions on what to read. Below you can find a list of our favorite weekly English reading. These English reading resources are great for those who want to stay up-to-date on global affairs, from an English language perspective.

These suggestions are our personal preferences. We have found through experience that many of our working students are far too busy to read novels. Yet, it seems that even for our busiest students, articles are easy to fit in during the daily Istanbul commute.

#1 The Economist: English reading for Turks working in everything from finance to politics

It may be cliche to suggest the world famous Economist, but for a busy professional, it’s a great weekly read. It covers politics, books, science, finance and of course, economics. It can be read cover to cover by an Upper-Intermediate English speaker in about two to three hours. Many people criticize the magazine for not taking strong editorial positions. Yet, there is no denying that a front-to-back read of the Economist is a great way to both stay up-to-date on current affairs and practice reading English. In addition, the magazine is written in clear, everyday English and a lot of the content is available for free online. Following @TheEconomist on twitter can also be a fun way to read articles (let them pick for you).

#2 The Atlantic: English reading for Turks working in American companies

Although more American-focused and liberal-leaning than the Economist, the Atlantic is still a great reading resource. We recommend the Atlantic for our more Advanced students because the language is more varied than the Economist and many articles are longer. Articles cover a wide array of topics, from current events to city planning. The best part about the Atlantic is that their entire content is available online either through or their well designed mobile apps.

#3 Associated Press mobile apps: English reading for Turks with long commutes

The Associated Press mobile apps are our favorite news applications available on tablets and smartphones. They elegantly mix text and photos so that reading is engaging. We often recommend them to our Intermediate and Pre-Intermediate students, as the articles are short (its a news wire) and the visuals make for great word recognition. The Associated Press is global and covers all aspects of current events. Our favorite part? The apps are completely free.


We hope these ideas have been helpful. We would love to hear your suggestions for weekly English reading material for busy Turkish professionals!


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