Center for Language Studies

Why Study Turkish?

The Turkish language is spoken by over eighty million speakers in Turkey and more than six million speakers in Europe, the Caucuses and other regions of the world.

Turkey is the world’s 13th largest economy and its geopolitical role is increasingly crucial. Learning Turkish offers a greater understanding of regional politics, economics, history, and sociology. There is strong governmental support of students willing to learn Turkish through scholarship opportunities including the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship. 

Turkic languages are spoken across Asia from Turkey to China and once you learn modern Turkish you can learn other modern Turkic languages such as Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Turkmen, Uzbek, Azerbaijani, and Uyghur which are spoken in strategically important areas across the Silk Route region. 

In Turkish classes at Brown, you will not only learn the language but also gain insight into Turkish culture, art, music, literature, dance, cuisine, and history.

In addition to four hours of class each week, students participate in co-curricular opportunities to practice Turkish and to experience and learn about Turkish culture. At the weekly Turkish Language Table and Turkish Tea Hour students can practice in a relaxed and fun environment with other native and non-native Turkish-speaking students while enjoying some Turkish food, desserts, and drinks.  

The Turkish Program at Brown also offers two seminar courses in English: Understanding Modern Turkey Through Film and Literature and Istanbul: Global Metropolis.

The Turkish Program will offer an Introductory Ottoman Turkish course in the Spring 2022 semester.

Learning Turkish is Easier Than You Think

Turkish uses the Latin alphabet and each letter corresponds to only one sound; thus, it is pronounced as it is written. Learners will be able to effectively read Turkish after just one class.

Turkish is a very efficient language that relies heavily on suffixes. A sentence in English containing five or more words can often be easily expressed with just one word in Turkish. It is an easy language to learn because it has a regular structure and repetitive rules. Exceptions are rare in Turkish. 

Its high volume of loan words from other languages make it easier for learners. If you know Arabic, Persian, or French you will enjoy seeing how these languages mingled with Turkish. Of course, as English is a lingua franca there are English words in Turkish that will help you on your journey of learning Turkish.