LANGUAGE

Blogg

Tag Archives: İngilizce

Five Barriers to Break Through Online Lessons

online-lessons

Welcome to our guest article for TeachingEnglishOnline where we discuss the benefits of online lessons.

We (TurksLearnEnglish.com) launched a site dedicated to conversation classes for Turkish speakers in May 2013. So far, we’ve found that the online experience can actually be more powerful than the in-person traditional English lesson. For any students considering whether to try online English lessons, we present to you five barriers that are removed when learning online:

1:              Kill the commute: As urbanization grows across the world, the commutes in many of the world’s largest cities can be hellish. Many students learning English as a second language are also young professionals working long hours. If a young professional leaves work at 6:00 pm they may not arrive to a centrally located language school until 7:30pm. Three hours of class later and they are lucky to arrive home by midnight. This cycle is not sustainable. Taking online lessons in large cities removes hours of unnecessary travel time. In rural or remote areas, this may be your best chance to access professional, well run classes.

2:              Focus on conversation: Most adult students do not need another grammar lesson; they need communication confidence. As any online teacher knows, the virtual world is a great platform for developing language communication ability.  When a student pops on their headphones, they are able to focus with concentration that is rarely seen in a physical classroom. Better yet, the online classroom does not inhibit students in the way that a traditional classroom does. Fewer students and the webcam somehow boost a student’s willingness to take risks and make the mistakes every learner needs to advance in a language.

3:              Between classes: Video self-study lessons for outside of classroom reading and listening are extremely powerful. These video lessons can enrich your students’ experience and provide them with an additional way of connecting with you as a teacher. At TurksLearnEnglish.com we’ve created a series of videos called İngilizce Dersleri where we read current event articles related to Turkey and introduce new vocabulary. So far they are a big hit with our students.

4:              Location flexibility: Students likely travel. If they are working in a competitive field, sometimes they’ll have to travel without much notice. Even if they don’t travel, they often have to stay late at work and do not have time to get away to an 8pm class. Online lessons give students the ability to stay up to speed with their lessons even if they need to skip town for a week or work late.

5:              Additional tools: There are many things that can be done online that cannot be replicated in the real classroom. Running games and quizzes using pre-developed lesson plans and screen sharing is more natural online and can be great for motivation. Using the chat function to help students while conversing is also a great tool. Recording lessons can also be powerful. We’ve found that many of our students like to go back to lessons they found challenging and review them.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our story on online lessons. We would love to hear your thoughts!

James and Kris are co-founders of TurksLearnEnglish, a site dedicated to getting Turkish speakers to build communication confidence. For any online educators out there, feel free to take a look at and use our online-self study videos in our İngilizce Dersleri library. You can get in touch with them through the contact form on our site or email info@turkslearnenglish.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read full post

Adventures in Online ELT for Turks (part 2)

online-ELT-for-Turks

Merhaba, and welcome to the second part of our two-part guest article for ELT Jam. Here we give our readers, students and prospective students some insight into why we started TurksLearnEnglish to address online ELT for Turks.

Brief introduction to the Turkish online market

Before we describe our product (which is focused on online ELT for Turks), we should probably mention a couple points about the booming online market in Turkey. I will borrow some phenomenally interesting statistics from the co-founder of Markafoni, Sina Afra, which he wrote in his well-crafted article that you can find here:

  • Turkey has a large and young population of 80M people, with 36M Internet users (fifth biggest internet population in Europe)
  • Turkish Internet users have the third highest engagement in Europe (measured by average time spent online)
  • Turkey is country No.5 for Facebook and No. 8 for Twitter
  • Credit card penetration is approximately 60% (compared to a European average of 50%)
  • It is estimated that 6M to 9M o the 36M Internet users in Turkey have spent money online (an e-commerce penetration rate of between 17% and 25%) – in Germany and the UK the rate is closer to 60% meaning there is still huge potential for growth

Why focus solely on online ELT for Turks?

Several people have asked me this exact question to date. If you believe in your product, why limit it to Turkey? As we’ve already pointed out, the English language presents particular challenges to a native Turkish speaker. It makes sense for Turks to learn English online in a classroom with multiple Turkish students, rather than in a cross-cultural setting that you may find in a global online ELT service such as Live Mocha. Turks have a very strong sense of identity. Since motivation is a deciding factor in every education undertaking, a knowledge and appreciation of Turkish culture, and understanding what Turks find interesting, is all-important. We understood that our role was to provide good teaching and uplift motivation, within the bounds of a Turk’s experience, understanding and expectation.

With this in mind, we decided to launch TurksLearnEnglish.com, a site dedicated to providing communication confidence to unlock the dormant language resource that many Turks possess. We offer conversation classes for up to 6 adults at a time and staff our classes exclusively with native English speakers who have experience teaching in Turkey. We launched in May 2013 and have been learning ever since. As a supplement we have launched our İngilizce Dersleri series (video self study exercises) and our Türklere İngilizce series (language lessons that target areas of English that many of our Turkish students have problems with) for free.

Our concept: tap a dormant resource

Most of James’ adult Turkish students possessed something we defined as a “dormant resource”. Years of English classes at various points in their life meant that a strong knowledge base existed; yet, they still did not have the confidence to speak.  Our aim was to tap this dormant resource and address four main barriers to Turks not learning to speak effectively through the status quo private language institute experience:

1:              Kill the commute: The commutes in Turkey’s largest cities (Istanbul, Ankara) can be hellish and working hours are relatively long. If a young professional leaves work at 6:00 pm they may not arrive to a centrally located language school until 7:30pm. Three hours of class later and they are lucky to arrive home by midnight. This cycle is not sustainable. Offering online classes in a city like Istanbul, removes hours of unnecessary travel time.

2:              Focus on conversation: Most adult students in Turkey do not need another grammar lesson. They need to speak. As any online teacher knows, the virtual world is a great platform for developing language communication ability.  When a student pops on their headphones, they are able to focus with concentration that is rarely seen in a physical classroom. Better yet, the online classroom does not inhibit students in the way that a traditional classroom does. Fewer students and the webcam somehow boost a student’s willingness to take risks and make the mistakes every learner needs to advance in a language.

3:              Leverage Turkish themes: Turkish culture is strong. It’s very difficult for a Turkish student to relate to a grammar curriculum with subject matter based on Western themes. We’ve developed a curriculum (for both our conversation classes and our İngilizce Dersleri series) that is almost entirely based around Turkish themes. We try to use current events, history, culture, food, movies and other popular entertainment as much as possible.

4:              Keep it Turkish: Although we agree that complete immersion is best practice for developing language ability, we find there are benefits of having students from a common linguistic background. When we started researching our competition (global online ELT start-ups), we were very much impressed. But we did notice that having students in one classroom connected online from all over the world seemed bit disorganized and inefficient. So far we’ve seen our students correcting each other and learning from their mistakes. This happens a bit less in a multi-linguistic setting.

So there you have our manifesto. Despite the numerous challenges, successes, re-designs, re-re-designs and countless late nights since our launch, we believe we are on to something. It’s too early for a “lessons learned” story but we will be sure to update you once we celebrate our first anniversary!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our story. We would love to hear your thoughts!

James and Kris are co-founders of TurksLearnEnglish, a site dedicated to getting Turkish speakers to build communication confidence. For any online educators out there, feel free to take a look at and use our online-self study videos in our İngilizce Dersleri library. You can get in touch with them through the contact form on our site or email info@turkslearnenglish.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read full post

Adventure in online ELT for Turks (part 1)

Mosque, istanbul, sketch

Merhaba, and welcome to the first of our two-part guest article for ELT Jam. Here we give our readers, students and prospective students some insight into why we started TurksLearnEnglish.

Like most new ventures we began with lengthy and impassioned exchanges about inefficient user experiences, how technology could break down barriers, our general appetite for disruption, naive optimism and enthusiasm for bringing change. Conversations over beers produced A3 sheets covered in a multitude of diagrams, and eventually something that looked like our first product mock-ups. James (co-founder) had spent years teaching English as a second language in Turkey in a variety of settings; high-end private schools, everyday language institutes and private lessons. James was often struck with what he thought was an inefficient system. I was a recovering finance professional who may have read one too many Paul Graham articles and was looking for an entrepreneurial challenge.  Both located in Istanbul, we came together and built a product for the Turkish market.

Online ELT for Turks: background on the Turkish ELT arena

English proficiency in Turkey is low but improving drastically. In 2007 Education First ran its inaugural English Proficiency Index, at which time Turkey ranked 43rd out of 55 countries (behind Syria, Saudi Arabia and Russia). In 2012, Turkey ranked 32nd. This jump illustrates the push for English fluency in Turkey both at a policy level and within households and companies. With Turkey’s continued emergence as a regional business, tourism and cultural hub – and the very real chance that Istanbul may be awarded the 2020 Olympics this September – the push continues to gain impetus.

From a general linguistic perspective, Turkish is a wildly different language to English. Turkish is agglutinative. For example, suffices are added to a word stem to add person, tense, negation, etc. The English phrase He will not have to eat can be expressed in Turkish as a single word, with eat as the root. The order of words in a phrase is generally very different in Turkish and English. As such, Turkish native speakers are starting at a linguistically challenging position when learning English, compared to students whose mother tongue is a Romance language.

The quality of public English language schooling in Turkey varies significantly. All students take a minimum four years of English language classes beginning in the fourth grade. Yet, depending on the quality of the school being attended, the results are extremely divergent. Most Turks have taken English classes and possess grammar knowledge of English, yet spoken English remains a challenge.

Finally, the Turkish education system is test based. There are qualification tests for just about everything in Turkey. Many universities and Human Resource departments require a grade threshold on an internationally recognized exam such as IELTS or TOEFL. A good score on any recognized exam will always be positive on a candidate’s resume at almost any level, from entry-level positions to the executive leadership.

Turkey’s favourite pastime: learning English!

With these market dynamics (push towards English proficiency, significant linguistic challenges, inconsistent quality of public education, test based education / employment system) it’s no surprise that the private language institute industry in Turkey is extremely robust. There are literally hundreds of companies with multiple locations across the country offering everything from IELTS preparation to Business English and interview skill preparation.

The quality of language institutes in Turkey varies greatly. It’s a rather disorganized market. If you walk down Istiklal Caddesi (one of the main pedestrian drags in central Istanbul) on any day you may receive flyers for five or six different institutes. Almost every institute offers, well, everything. Teachers range from quality lifelong teaching professionals to very inexperienced ESL teachers on a GAP year, and everything between. Some are native speakers, some aren’t. Some teach full time, some don’t.

The outcomes for students attending private language institutes are naturally diverse. Classes are focused on grammar and may contain up to 20 pupils; there is little opportunity to speak. Most adults attend classes after work and in the larger cities of Turkey traffic is a nightmare. By the time students commute from work to the classroom to attend a three-hour grammar class, both motivation and energy can be shot. It’s unsurprising that many Turks drop out before completing their 6 to 12 week course.

If a student fails to complete the course, there is naturally a sense of embarrassment. Similar to many Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, Turks have a strong sense of “face”. After experiencing embarrassment (losing face) they may tend to avoid the situation rather than confront it. The loss of face that can happen when a student drops out of a course can be disastrous. The student is often too embarrassed to even discuss the situation with parents, spouse, co-workers and friends. Success in English might feel out of reach and the idea of attending another English course becomes unlikely.

Inefficient market? Is this really an opportunity?

You can now picture our nightly drawn-out conversations focused on improving a weak student / user experience. From my perspective I saw a large, growing, unconsolidated market with lots of undifferentiated competitors. James was an eyewitness to a student experience that wasn’t producing encouraging results. Our idea was simple: the goal of almost any adult student over the age of 25 was to be able to speak English effectively. We decided to build a product to address that need and that need alone. We like to think of it as online ELT for Turks. Simple, yet effective.

Stay tuned for part 2 …

James and Kris are co-founders of TurksLearnEnglish, a site dedicated to getting Turkish speakers to build communication confidence. For any online educators out there, feel free to take a look at and use our online-self study videos in our İngilizce Dersleri library. You can get in touch with the founders through the contact form on our site or email info@turkslearnenglish.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read full post
13

Jul 13, 2013 By Tags:,

Deyim – Savaş ve Barış

Savaş ve Barış: Famous sayings and quotes about War and Peace, that offer some interesting vocabulary for our Turks learning English.

At TurksLearnEnglish.com we love using quotes to get our Turkish students excited about learning to express ideas in English. We frequently post quote content on our Facebook Page and provide Turkish to English translations. If you like this lesson, be sure to like us on our Facebook page to see more sayings and expressions in English, and to improve your vocabulary at the same time.

mapparium-stained-glass-globe-mary-baker-eddy-library-boston

Peace at home, peace in the world.’

– Mustafa Kemal Atatürk , as quoted in many sources including, Atatürk (1963) by Uluğ İğdemir

ergdoan

‘Knowledge has no enemy except an ignorant man.’

– George Puttenham (1589)

Now for some Turkish to English vocabulary review:

knowledge… bilgi

enemy… düşman

except… hariç

ignorance… cahil

 

bullets

‘Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.’

– President John F. Kennedy

And some more Turkish to English vocabulary review:

peaceful… barışsever/huzurlu

impossible… imkânsız

revolution… devrim

violent… öfkeli/şiddetli

inevitable… kaçınılmaz/beklenen

iguazu-falls-waterfall-island

‘There never was a good war, or a bad peace.’ In Turkish:

‘İyi bir savaş veya kötü bir barış hiç olmamıştır.’

– Benjamin Franklin (1783)

If there are any other expressions or concepts besides War and Peace / Savaş ve Barış that you would like us to cover, please let us know and we would be happy to examine it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read full post
20

İngilizce Türkiye’de series

Introducing our new blog series: İngilizce Türkiye’de

service-establishments-turkey

service-establishments-turkey

TurksLearnEnglish.com is excited to announce the launch of our series: İngilizce Türkiye’de. In this series we will highlight great venues across Turkey, such as restaurants, galleries, tourist attractions and entertainment facilities.

We will focus on establishments where the Turkish staff has a strong command of the English language. Our inspiration for this series is both to highlight great establishments for residents and visitors to Turkey, and also praise establishments with a strong command of the English language. We will also use this series to highlight language lessons related to the service industry. For a Turkish native speaker to adapt to a service culture in English, there can often be challenges. Much of the time, literal translations from Turkish into English don’t work well.

There are several elements of Turkish service language that should not be literally translated into English when providing service. For example:

‘Başka istediğiniz var mı’ should translate to:

  • Is there anything else?
  • Do you need anything else?
  • Would you like anything else?

Likewise, the often used ‘isim?’ when requesting someone’s name in Turkish needs to be a much longer to sound polite in English:

  • Can I have your name?
  • Can I take your name?

Unfortunately, the very short question ‘Name?’ used by Turkish Starbucks staff is not polite English.

And for staff who look up from the counter and see a chance to use English, where you would normally use ‘buyurun’, why not try:

  • Hi, can I help you?

We hope that you will enjoy our İngilizce Türkiye’de series. If you know of any establishments across Turkey that should be highlighted for their great command of the English language as well as providing a great service, please let us know! Whether it be a restaurant, an entertainment venue, guide or tourist attraction we would be happy to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read full post
18

May 18, 2013 By Tags:, , ,

An online thesaurus to improve your writing.

In this short post we look at how Turks learning English can benefit from using an online thesaurus to improve writing and increase general vocabulary.

The thesaurus, in Turkish ‘eşanlamlılar sözlüğü‘, is one of the best tools available to improve your writing. Not only that, it’s also an productive way to increase the number of words you use actively in your daily speech.

The thesaurus, ‘a dictionary of words grouped together with similar meaning’, is familiar to any English speaker who has spent time writing essays in high school and beyond. The most famous thesaurus in the English language was compiled by Peter Mark Roget and first published in 1852.

160 years later, the thesaurus has naturally found its way online. The Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus is one that I have used for some time, and I want to recommend it to Turkısh students of English.

One of the hardest tasks when writing is to use different and varied words. For example, ‘güzel’ in Turkish is almost always translated by English learners as ‘nice’. Unfortunately, ‘nice’ and ‘güzel’ are two words that are used so often that it actually becomes a little boring to see them in writing again and again.

With this online visual thesaurus, all you need to do is type in a word, and you will see a display of all similar words in the English language. The similar words (synonyms) are grouped together and make it easy to learn a few at a time.

Secondly, as you move your mouse over each word, the online thesaurus presents a definition of the selected term and an example or two of how it is used in everyday English.

Thirdly, the online thesaurus presents different choices of word functions. If you type in an adjective, you will see nouns, verbs and adverbs with a similar meaning. This is particularly helpful for Turks studying the English language because, for example, what might be expressed with a noun in English is more usually expressed as a verb in Turkish. For example, the verb ‘sinirlenmek’ ın Turkish has no real verb equivalent in English. You must use a verbal phrase like ‘become angry’, and the online thesaurus tells you that you can also become ‘infuriated, enraged, maddened, etc.’

When writing, it’s advisable to use a wide range of vocabulary. The thesaurus helps you to locate the exact word you need and to avoid repetition. A wider choice of words and phrases is essential to maintain the reader’s interest.

Finally, the online visual thesaurus is the perfect tool to increase your active English vocabulary, For example, when you type in the word mentioned above, ‘angry’, more than 30 English terms appear in the online thesaurus. When you see these words grouped together, it’s easier to memorize them.

The ThinkMap Visual Thesaurus also has a blog, a spelling bee and a ‘word of the day’, so there’s plenty to help you on your way to becoming a wordsmith!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read full post
missing in English

How to express Kaçırmak in English

The concept of ‘failing to do what you planned’ … as in kaçırmak: uçağı kaçırdım, dersi kaçırdım, randevuyu kaçırdım, can be tricky for Turkish students in English.

This is the first post in our category ‘In English, how to express …?’ where we discuss language concepts that our Turkish students often struggle with in English. Today, kaçırmak.

For example:

  • You couldn’t get to the conference in Ankara because the plane was delayed, or maybe you couldn’t meet your friends because you got stuck in traffic for hours and hours…
  • Sometimes, because of bad weather, heavy traffic, too many appointments or just maybe even because of laziness, life does not go as planned. You cannot do everything in your diary.

This post provides the English to express yourself when you:

  • Fail to do something that was planned, such as a lesson
  • Arrive late for a bus, train or aircraft

 

1. When you have something planned in your diary, but you are not able to do it, or failed to do it, you use ‘to miss’.

For example:

  • On Wednesday morning you had a doctor’s appointment at 10am. You were in traffic until 10:50am When you arrived at the doctor’s clinic, it was no longer possible to see the doctor.
  • You missed the doctor’s appointment (because you were stuck in traffic).
  • Or, your homework was due yesterday at 5pm. You give the homework to your teacher the following morning.
  • She did not accept the homework because you missed the deadline. (You failed to hand in your homework on time)

 

2.  When you arrive late for a bus, train or aircraft, you also use ‘to miss’

For example:

  • Your plane departed at 15:10. You arrived at the airport at 15:30.
  • You missed the plane.

Now your turn! Practice ‘to miss’:

Look at each of the scenarios and use ‘to miss’ in a sentence:

For example:

Question: Umut’s flight to Ankara left at 6pm. He arrived at the airport ay 6:15pm because of bad weather.

Answer: Umut missed his plane because of bad weather.

Your turn

1. Murat couldn’t attend his biology exam because he was sick.

2. Kaan didn’t go to his dentist because he got stuck in traffic on the F.S.M. bridge.

3. The outdoor concert started at 20h00 but Aslı didn’t attend because the weather was terrible.

4. The snow was so heavy that Yiğit couldn’t drive his car to go to the meeting in Levent.

5. The plane left for Bozcaada at 12pm. Unfortunately, Pınar got stuck in bad traffic and she didn’t take the plane.

6. The lesson started in Beşiktaş at 6pm. Ali was still in the office at 6:50pm!

 

A little note about Turklish:

Don’t say ‘He didn’t catch the lesson’. It is not natural English in this situation.

Say, ‘He missed the lesson’.

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, please let us know what you think and if there are any other topics you would like us to cover!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read full post

How to say ‘hoşlanmak’, ‘sevmek’, ‘nefret etmek’ in English.

love-hate in turkish

love-hate

For many of our students the concept of like, love, hate and can’t stand in English can be a bit tricky compared to ‘hoşlanmak’, ‘sevmek’, ‘nefret etmek’ in Turkish.

Most of our students know how to use ‘to love’ and ‘to like’.

In positive statements:

  • I like chocolate.
  • I love chocolate!
  • I like her very much.
  • I love that new video game.

In questions and negatives statement, ‘to like’ is more commonly used:

  • I don’t like my new teacher
  • Do you like shopping?
  • I don’t like carrots.
  • Do you like her new boyfriend?

For questions and negative statements, you can use ‘to love’ if you are talking about a person:

  • Don’t you love me?
  • I don’t love him anymore

However, if you are not talking about a person, don’t use ‘to love’. Instead, use ‘to like’.

  • I don’t love cleaning the house
  • I don’t like cleaning the house
  • I don’t love swimming
  • I don’t like swimming

Also, if you really don’t like something or someone, you can use the expression ‘can’t stand’ or ‘to hate’.

To hate should be used carefully. It is a strong verb and you should be careful when you use it to talk about your own opinions, and especially about people:

  • I hate chocolate…is generally acceptable
  • I hate studying… if ok too
  • I hate her… is a very strong and negative statement

Avoid using the verb to hate until you are a more advanced speaker.

Most English speakers use ‘can’t stand’

For example:

  • She can’t Istanbul traffic
  • I can’t stand her brother, Mehmet
  • He can’t stand the smell of kokoreç
  • I can’t stand cleaning the kitchen!

If you use ‘can’t stand’ with a verb, that verb has to take the +ing form (this is the same as to like, to love and to hate)

  • I can’t stand being here!
  • I can’t stand waiting any longer.
  • I can’t stand talking to him!

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 each of the following things and people.

Then, use each verb once to make a sentence.

For example:

Blue cheese (a thing)

1. (to love) My mother loves blue cheese.

2. (to like) I don’t like eating blue cheese.

3. (can’t stand) My sister cant’ stand blue cheese.

4. (to hate) Many people hate blue cheese.

The President (a person)

1. (to love) Many people love the President.

2. (to like) I like the President.

3. (can’t stand) The opposition parties can’t stand the President.

4. (to hate) Some voters hate the President.

Now try #1 to #7 below!

1. English grammar

2. İşkembe

3. His new wife

4. Tattoos

5. Erik

6. Galatasaray

7. My English teacher

 

Let us know what you think and whether this was helpful. As always, let us know if there are any topics you would like to see covered!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read full post