How I Use Music To Teach Myself Turkish

I've already told you how I'm getting myself accustomed to the Turkish language by watching videos of narration while reading along. Today I'm going to share another thing that I did in preparation for my trip, so that I could be learning Turkish even as I'm wandering through Italy.

Okay, so I've shown you a way to find videos even when you don't know the language. Now I'm going to show you how I find music! It's acutally quite simple.

All I do is go to Google Translate and try phrases that are sure to turn up results for good music, such as "top songs of 2010" or "best turkish songs" and then get the translation. "Best songs" gave me en iyi şarkıları as a result, and when I put that into Google, I got a lot of results that looked promising!

When I browse the results, I see a few names come up repeatedly: Erkin Koray, Cem Karaca, Barış Manço, Tarkan, and Fikret Kızılok, among others. This is where I'll start.

How you get to the music is your own business. There are a lot of strong opinions on the topic of whether to use iTunes, or Amazon, whether or not to search google for MP3s, or the morality of bittorrent. Perhaps you're most comfortable using a streaming service like Grooveshark, Pandora, or I'm not going to weigh in on what's right or wrong.

All I'm going to do is tell you that I had to get the songs onto my iPod so I could listen to them offline while I wander Italy, so streaming wasn't an option for me. I've already been listening to music by the artists listed above, and a few others, for the past two weeks and I'm starting to recognize words and learn these songs.

I still don't know what the words mean, but that will come. For now, it's nice to know that already, when I meet a Turkish person, I'll know several famous artists and some of their songs, so we've already got something to talk about!

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I listed them here.

Author: Yearlyglot
I'll lead you through a 12 month journey from knowing absolutely nothing about a language to having professional fluency.

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  • Randy Yearlyglot

    I wrote about my music tastes on Lang-8 and asked for recommendations for good Chinese rock and roll (Chinese pop, is not for me). I got several albums on iTunes from the responses I recieved, as well as getting my writing corrected and making a new Aerosmith fan, triple win!

  • Randy Yearlyglot

    That's the spirit! :)

  • Randy Yearlyglot

    I downloaded a few russian music videos with keepvid and put them on my iPod, but they take up quite a bit of memory and I can't listen to them when my iPod is locked. So is there any way to seperate the audio from the video?

  • Randy Yearlyglot

    Download them as mp3.

  • Randy Yearlyglot

    Well, actually...I've found the fastest and easiest way to listen to a song is to simply search YouTube for it: 99 times out of 100 it'll be on there (seriously, you'd be surprised), and then it's quite easy to download that song and rip the audio from it to an MP3 file (I believe there are even websites that will do this for you so you don't even have to download the video, you just give them the URL of the YouTube video, and they rip the audio to an MP3 that you can then download).Cheers,

  • Randy Yearlyglot

    Depending on the language you're learning, it will often even be much easier. Many countries have a much more disdainful opinion of copyright law, and they don't mind helping you get what you want.

  • Randy Yearlyglot

    In my opinion asking on Lang-8 is miles superior to using Google Translate and searching for what it tells you. There are too many factors that could lead you astray like wrong translation of "top" in this context, biased SEO written first page results on Google, misunderstanding what the list is (it could be an advertisement before the list, or the top albums rather than singles, or outdated) etc. So you could actually be listening to obscure songs for all you know when the process doesn't involve a human being...I like how many ideas Randy has for using Google to learn his languages, but I still would like to see actual human input somewhere... which thanks to sites like Lang-8 you can get online and for free. I hope you are using these too Randy!!

  • Randy Yearlyglot

    Cheers Randy. Hadn't thought of this before!

  • Randy Yearlyglot

    If I already knew enough Turkish to form the question on Lang8, I would know enough to accurately form the question on Google.

  • Randy Yearlyglot

    Çok iyi bir fikrin! Kesinlikle başaracaksın!

  • Randy Yearlyglot


  • Randy Yearlyglot

    I've done something similar (ripping the audio tracks from TV shows to use as listening practice) using the free version of Any Video Converter. Load the files into the queue in AVC, set the destination format to MP3 (or whatever audio format you prefer) and hit Convert.

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