So, I was lucky enough to have three sessions of Survival Turkish lessons, provided by Bilkent University's School of English Language (BUSEL). I learned how to introduce myself, order food in a restaurant, call a taksi, and use a dormuş (communal taksi). I must admit that I can only actually remember how to introduce myself (Benim adım Kirbie, memnum oldum - My name is Kirbie, how are you?) and how to say something is delicious. (Lokum nefis! Simit nefis! Peynir nefis! Zeytin nefis! - Turkish delights, simit bread, cheese and olives are delicious!) I can count to 30 (otuz) in Turkish as well, which I practiced countless times during the 7 (yedi) hours I spent invigilating exams.
Depsite all this in depth knowledge of the language, I still find it difficult to communicate with Turkish people. While all students and faculty at Bilkent speak English, most people in Ankara (and the rest of Turkey for that matter) do not speak English. I can usually manage just fine by myself (I can competently order a half kilo of olives from the deli at my local supermarket) I find I lack a great deal of basic phrases that would help me make myself better understood. So, I'll be glad when Turkish lessons begin next week, after the Bayram (religious holiday that marks the end of Ramazan). In the mean time, I'm studying like it's my job. I bought a Turkish-English dictionary (in addition to my phrase book) and some index cards so I can make flash cards. I desperately want to understand the people around me, and be understood. I just changed the language of my facebook from English to Turkish in attempt to surround myself with the language. One of the professors at Bilkent told me that language learners can learn 9 new words a day. I'm looking up phrases and copying them over for practice. I'll let you know how it goes.
If anyone out there is looking to learn Turkish, I can reccomend these great online dictionaries:
Görüşüruz! - Goodbye!