The 9 Best Books to Learn Turkish in a Flash

Gardenia Reynoso Published on May 31, 2023
Best books to learn Turkish

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Turkish is a language that is becoming more well-known around the world. If you’re interested in learning it though, knowing where to start can be difficult. Language books are always a great resource to begin with, and there are actually a lot of high-quality books available that can help you improve your Turkish skills. In this guide, I show you the 9 best books to learn Turkish and give you a detailed breakdown of each one so that you can choose the right fit for you! 

Turkish is a fascinating and unique language spoken by more than 75 million people worldwide. It’s actually among the most spoken languages in Europe, even though most of the country is located in Asia. Turkey is a popular tourist destination. Its stunning landscapes, historical sites, and vibrant cities attract millions of visitors each year. Knowing Turkish can significantly enhance your travel experience, as it allows for more meaningful interactions with locals and a deeper understanding of the country’s history and culture. 

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How We Picked and Tested the Best Books to Learn Turkish

For any language learning products we’ve tested or researched, we follow a strict testing methodology to make sure our experts make the same considerations. Here are the factors we looked at when testing Turkish learning books specifically:

  • Structure and Topics: We looked at what each book covers and if it is organized in a way that makes sense to the reader and is helpful for language learning. We also considered what skills the book teaches to determine if it’s effective for its intended purpose.
  • Quality of Content: We looked at several chapters of the book to determine the quality of the content. We examined the explanations and examples to see how useful and effective they are. We also took into account any additional material included such as audio tracks, flashcards, and access to online practice.
  • Value for Money: We took into consideration the price of the book with what’s included to see if it’s a good value for the cost.

Our Top Picks to Help You Learn Turkish

Here is the list of the best books to learn Turkish. Scroll down to read more about each one.

Best Overall Turkish BookThe Delights of Learning Turkish
Best for BeginnersComplete Turkish
Best for Learning QuicklyLearn Turkish in One Week
Best for Intermediate LearnersTurkish Tutor: Grammar and Vocabulary Workbook
Best for GrammarTurkish Grammar in Practice
Best for ReadingTurkish Short Stories for Beginners
Best for Self-StudyEasy Turkish Grammar
Best for Vocabulary2000 Most Common Turkish Words in Context
Best for TravelCollins Turkish Phrasebook and Dictionary

The Delights of Learning Turkish

Best Overall Turkish Book

The Delights of Learning Turkish is the best overall Turkish book because it’s effective for improving all your language skills. This book will take you from being a complete beginner to an intermediate level while teaching you how to use the language in formal and informal situations. The author’s engaging style and clear explanations make the book easy to read and understand. I recommend this book because it covers all the essential aspects of Turkish grammar and vocabulary, including verb conjugations, sentence structure, and common expressions. There’s also unique material such as idioms and proverbs and even a traditional Turkish menu. I thought this was a nice touch.

Each unit begins with a dialogue to see how the language is spoken naturally, and then is broken down to explain the vocabulary and grammar that was used. I liked that the grammar was explained clearly, highlighting the grammatical structures and providing many examples. The author also provides cultural insights throughout the book, which adds depth to the learning experience and is helpful if you are planning to live or travel in Turkey. See what you think about the book here.

Key Benefits

  • Comprehensive guidethat enables you to study Turkish from home without a tutor
  • Full of additional resources to answer any doubts you may have and make learning more interesting
  • Learn both formal and colloquial language to communicate in any situation

Complete Turkish

Best for Beginners

Complete Turkish is the best book for beginners because its a thorough and accessible guide to all skills necessary to learn the language, such as vocabulary, grammar, and conversational skills. The book has 18 chapters, each covering a different communicative aspect of the language, such as ordering a meal, making introducations, and expressing possibility. It can take you from a beginner to lower-intermediate level. The book’s layout is easy to follow, with clear explanations and examples provided throughout, so it’s an excellent resource for self-study.

I like that the book takes a communicative approach and focuses on outcome-based learning because it has clear goals so you know what the focus of the lesson is. There’s also an app that you can download to access the audios, which is essential for hearing how Turkish is spoken in real life. You can see if this book is right for you here.

Key Benefits

  • Can help you reach a lower-intermediate level by improving all skills such as reading, writing, listening, and speaking
  • This book uses the discovery method which allows you to learn through context rather than memorization.
  • Culture notes and tips on how to learn the language help you learn quicker and more efficiently

Learn Turkish in One Week

Best for Learning Quickly

Learn Turkish in One Week is the best for learning quickly because it helps you acquire a basic understanding of the Turkish language in just seven days. While this book won’t make you fluent in one week, you will have a grasp of Turkish pronunciation and have learned the basics for communication. It’s organized by 40 different topics such as clothes, emotions, and directions. Each word has the romanized pronunciation and the pronunciation guide will help you say each word correctly.

Because of its condensed format, the book doesn’t provide in-depth explanations of grammar rules, which may be challenging for learners who are new to the language. Therefore, I recommend this book to travelers or people who are only visiting Turkey for a short period of time and need to learn enough words and phrases to communicate. It’s also great for this purpose because it has an included travel guide to the most popular tourist destinations in Turkey like Istanbul, Antalya, and Cappadocia. You can learn more about the book here.

Key Benefits

  • Learn 4,000 of the most commonly used words and phrases to be able to communicate quickly
  • Includes dialogues and phrases so you’ll be able to sound more like a native speaker
  • The included pronunciation guide teaches you the correct intonation for the vowels and consonants

Turkish Tutor: Grammar and Vocabulary Workbook

Best for Intermediate Learners

Turkish Tutor: Grammar and Vocabulary Workbook is best for intermediate learners because it beefs up your understanding of Turkish grammar and vocabulary to take you to the advanced level. The book covers the essential aspects of Turkish grammar, such as adverbial clauses and possessive compounds, and provides opportunities for practice through exercises and quizzes. You can use it as a self-study book or as a reference to clarify any grammar doubts.

I recommend this book only if you already have a foundation in Turkish and want to advance to a higher level. The grammar and vocabulary explanations in English ensure that you’re understanding what’s being presented. This interactive workbook has 200 activities covering a variety of grammatical and vocabulary topics with clear objectives, concise explanations, and practical tasks. I like that, although it’s a workbook, there are sufficient explanations to help guide you towards the correct answer. You can read more about the book here.

Key Benefits

  • Workbook with clear explanations helps you practice while clarifying doubts you might have
  • Covers the most important grammar and vocabulary topics to help you become conversational quickly
  • Hundreds of exercises with answer key ensure that you’re understanding what you are practicing.

Turkish Grammar in Practice

Best for Grammar

Turkish Grammar in Practice is the best book to learn grammar because it gives clear explanations and example sentences for a wide range of grammatical concepts. One of the key strengths of Turkish Grammar in Practice is its practical focus on language application. It has over 2,000 sample sentences and around 3,000 practice questions that use the most common Turkish words. Additionally, the book includes an answer key, allowing you to check your understanding as you work through the exercises.

The most fundamental grammar concepts are taught in the first units. After that, the units aren’t organized by difficulty, but a detailed contents section helps you choose which unit to study based on what you want to practice. This book is meant to be a reference and can be used to answer questions about grammar or alongside a more comprehensive book. I like the way the book is laid out, with explanations on the left-hand page and practice questions on the right-hand page. This makes it easy to refer back to the topic while you are practicing. You can learn more about the book here.

Key Benefits

  • Detailed explanations and practice questions to clarify any grammar doubts
  • Example sentences and conversations help you practice the grammar in real-life situations
  • Full answer key enables you to check your understanding of the concepts

Turkish Short Stories for Beginners is the best book to practice reading because it uses level-appropriate language. It’s a useful resource for beginners and intermediate learners who want to improve their reading fluency in Turkish, but aren’t quite ready for more difficult texts. The book contains twenty short stories about everyday topics like family and jobs. Each story is followed by a summary in Turkish and English, vocabulary lists, and comprehension questions to make sure you understood what you read.

The stories are entertaining and include realistic dialogues so you can read what conversational Turkish is like. While this book can’t be used as a stand alone method to learn Turkish, it’s a great supplement to a more comprehensive textbook or other learning method. I recommend this book because it’s a great value for its price, especially the Kindle version, and can help you improve a skill not focused on in many other books. You can see what you think about Turkish Short Stories for Beginners here.

Key Benefits

  • Practice reading without getting overwhelmed by too many unknown words
  • Stories with realistic dialogues and common situations to learn conversational Turkish
  • Set of comprehension questions for each story tests your understanding

Easy Turkish Grammar

Best for Self-Study

Easy Turkish Grammar is best for self-study because it presents tricky grammar concepts in a simplified and accessible manner, making it a good choice for beginner-level learners. It teaches current standard Turkish, the dialect heard on TV and in newspapers, so you’ll be able to speak conversationally. The book is organized into 36 units that increase in difficulty. The cover topics like spelling and pronunciation, case suffixes, and question words. In addition to learning grammar, the book also teaches important vocabulary and pronunciation. The first three chapters are dedicated to spelling and pronunciation, and cover topics like consonant harmony, buffer letters, and vowel length.

Each unit focuses on a different aspect of grammar and explains it using examples from everyday life. I like that they compare the Turkish grammar to similar aspects of English grammar so it’s easy to learn. Although Easy Turkish Grammar is designed for beginners, it also serves as a useful reference for more advanced learners who want to review certain aspects of Turkish grammar. You can learn more about the book here.

Key Benefits

  • Uses current standard Turkish so you’ll learn how to speak conversationally
  • Explanations and translations in English make it easy to understand
  • Designed for self-study so you don’t need a teacher

2000 Most Common Turkish Words in Context is an essential resource for language learners looking to expand their vocabulary and improve their understanding of how Turkish words are used in context. The book includes the 2000 most frequently used words in the Turkish language so you’re learning the most important words first. According to the book, learning these 2,000 words will help you understand 93% of oral speech, definitely enough to help you communicate almost anything. They are presented in both alphabetical order and grouped by themes such as family, work, and travel.

Each word is accompanied by a Turkish sentence and its English translation, which helps you see how the word is used in context. Additionally, the book includes pronunciation guides and grammar notes for each word, providing a comprehensive understanding of the word’s usage. I recommend this book to anyone looking to increase their Turkish vocabulary quickly. You can see if this book is right for you here.

Key Benefits

  • A list of 2000 of the most common words in Turkish and their translations to become conversational quickly
  • Tips and tricks to help improve your learning of Turkish vocabulary
  • An example sentence for each word in both Turkish and English so you can learn the words in context

Collins Turkish Phrasebook and Dictionary is a 3000-word, pocket-sized resource that provides essential phrases and vocabulary. It’s the best for travel because covers a wide range of situations you might encounter while visiting Turkey and can quickly be referenced to find what you need to say. The phrasebook covers topics such as dining, shopping, and transportation, and includes practical information on Turkish customs and etiquette so you can avoid any embarrassing mishaps.

This phrasebook is easy to use with its color-coded sections and alphabetical organization. The phrases are in Turkish and English, along with a phonetic pronunciation guide to help learners accurately pronounce words. The book also includes cultural tips and information, such as proper greetings, gestures, and etiquette when entering a Turkish home which is useful if you plan to travel to Turkey. I like the “Lifeline Words and Phrases” section, so even if you only have a few minutes to study, you can learn a few essential words and phrases. Learn more about the Collins Turkish Phrasebook and Dictionary here.

Key Benefits

  • Includes example sentences so you can learn how to use them in context
  • Helpful information and cultural tips are useful for travelers
  • Phonetic pronunciation guide to help you pronounce the words correctly

Other Turkish Books We Considered

The Turkish books on this list were my favorites, but I also researched a handful more. Here are a few other options that didn’t quite make the final list:

  • Easy Peasy Turkish is a phrase book with 1,300+ words and phrases divided into 11 topics such as accomodations, medical, and shopping. Because the book is divided this way without a dictionary or index, it makes it difficult to find a specific word.
  • Conversational Turkish Dialogues has 100 dialogues that show how to handle everyday situations in Turkish. It’s a good way to start reading in Turkish, but the word dialogues make me think there should be some speaking practice, which this book does not have.
  • 600 Basic Words is a children’s book of common words with English and Turkish translations. Even though it’s only meant to be an introduction for young learners, this book is too basic because it doesn’t have a pronunciation guide or other additional material that could help parents teach their children with this book. There are better options available.

Why You Should Use Books To Learn the Turkish Language

While there are various methods available for learning Turkish, such as online courses, language apps, and other online resources, books remain a fundamental and indispensable tool. 

Books offer a structured approach to learn Turkish by providing a clear layout of grammar rules, vocabulary, and cultural context. They often include exercises and activities that help you develop listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, ensuring a well-rounded learning experience. Furthermore, books allow you to study at your own pace and refer back to previous sections as needed, promoting a deep understanding of the language.

How To Use Books To Learn Turkish

Knowing how to learn Turkish effectively is important. First, select a book that fits with your current level of Turkish and caters to your learning preferences. Consider factors such as the author’s expertise, the book’s structure and content, and if it includes audio or online resources. Secondly, set realistic goals by establishing clear objectives for your language learning journey, such as mastering a specific grammar concept or expanding your vocabulary within a given timeframe. 

Third, dedicate a specific amount of time each day or week to studying Turkish, ensuring that you maintain a consistent learning routine. It’s also helpful to use a variety of books to cover different aspects of the language, such as grammar, vocabulary, and conversation skills. This will provide a comprehensive and balanced learning experience. Lastly, apply what you have learned from the books to real-life situations by practicing your spoken Turkish with native speakers.

Best Books To Learn the Turkish Language: Final Thoughts

Books are an invaluable tool for learning Turkish, offering a comprehensive, structured, and reliable approach. By selecting the best books, setting realistic goals, studying consistently, combining resources, and practicing regularly, you can effectively use books to improve your language skills. The books mentioned in this guide are highly recommended resources for Turkish language learners of various proficiency levels and learning preferences.

Best Books To Learn Turkish: FAQ

What is the best book to learn Turkish?

The best book to learn Turkish is Complete Turkish. This book provides comprehensive coverage of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, accompanied by clear explanations, examples, and exercises. If you’re an intermediate learner, Turkish Tutor: Grammar and Vocabulary Workbook is an excellent choice to expand and practice what you’ve already learned.

Is Turkish difficult to learn?

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) classifies Turkish as a hard language for English speakers to learn, with an estimated 1,100 hours of study needed to achieve proficiency. This categorization is due to the significant differences between Turkish and English in grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. However, the difficulty of learning Turkish depends on each person, and with consistent practice, you can overcome these challenges and succeed in learning Turkish. 

Check out this Fluency Calculator to see how it takes to learn Turkish.

What can I do to learn Turkish faster?

To learn Turkish faster, it’s necessary to practice frequently and consistently. You also need to practice all language skills such as listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Finding a good resource, such as a comprehensive textbook, language app, or other authentic Turkish content will help motivate you to continue learning.

Is understanding culture essential when studying Turkish?

Understanding Turkish culture is essential when studying, as language and culture are inherently intertwined. Cultural knowledge not only enriches the language learning experience but also enables you to communicate more effectively and appropriately in various social contexts. Additionally, being familiar with Turkish literature, history, and media can provide cultural insights and contribute to a deeper understanding of the language.

Gardenia Reynoso

Gardenia Reynoso is a content writer and translator from Lima, Peru. She loves connecting with people from other cultures and learning new languages. She had the opportunity to travel to different countries and received a scholarship to work and study in South Korea. She also enjoys dancing and playing the piano.

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