I've spent several hours this week on planes, in airports, in stations, and on trains, but during all that time I'm already learning Turkish. And I'm doing it without and language books or lesson CDs, and without access to the Internet.
How? I'm glad you asked!
I did several things in preparation for my trip, to make sure that I would be able to start learning Turkish — without study materials — even as I spend a month wandering through Italy. Today, I'm going to share one of the things I've done to help me get started.
When the fireworks popped to begin the year, I didn't know any Turkish words. Or, to be more accurate, the only Turkish words I knew were those related to my favorite dishes when I eat in a Turkish restaurant.
I need to learn everything. But you have to start somewhere. And I've decided that the most important place to start is with hearing the language, and learning its sounds. I've found a really interesting way to do that!
I used Google Translate to find the Turkish translation for "children's story" and then pasted the result (çocuk hikayesi) into the search box on YouTube. Then, I just started browsing the results, and I found a few videos that look really helpful!
Videos are important to me, especially at this stage, because when I don't know what anything means, I need to have some clue. If I can associate sounds I hear with pictures I see, I will begin to learn.
These aren't just videos... they're stories with the words written on the screen. I'm watching the videos and reading along with the narration, in order to get accustomed to the sounds of the language and the phonetics of how it is written.
And in the related videos, I also found this story, which doesn't have any video — just words on the screen and a voice reading them. I don't have any clue at all what this story is about, except that its title translates as "salt coffee story". Doesn't matter! It's a voice and words, so I'm learning how to hear and how to read Turkish:
I've used KeepVid to download these videos, so I could import them into iTunes and put them on my iPad and iPod for viewing offline. When I'm stuck in travel, I watch these videos and read along, and I'm already starting to discern the sounds and get an idea of how to read text, and where to put the stress.
Again, I have no idea what's being said — though I can discern a little of the meaning from what I see on screen. But that's not the point. My goal is to discern the sounds. To train my ears. The sooner my ears learn to hear Turkish, the sooner I can listen and learn!
Want to see my favorite language resources and courses?
I listed them here.