Most people know how to say “Bonjour” when they travel to France, or “hola” as they are speaking to a Spanish person. But, how many travelers take the time to learn a few Turkish words before they travel to Turkey? This is why learning some Turkish phrases can be so helpful as you are trying to connect with the locals on your trip. It certainly was for me. Every time I said “merhaba” or “tesekur ederim”, I received nothing but smiles from the Turkish people.
This list is comprised of some of the most common words you will say while you are in Turkey, instead of the words you will hear. I think it is more important to know a few words that you can use to respond in situations that will come up during your travels, and to be able to use these moments to become a better local traveler.
(mer-aba) It means hello. I said this word a lot – When I went into shops, restaurants, or greeted people. It is one of the easier words to remember and it can help you make an immediate connection with the locals.
(gew-leh gew-leh) It means bye bye. This is a fun word, and one you will use as you are leaving a shop or a restaurant.
(goon-ay-din) It means good morning. You will end up saying “good morning” quite a bit during the first part of the day. However, I didn’t seem hear the locals use “good afternoon” or “good evening” quite as often, which is why I didn’t include them on the list.
It means yes.
(Cherries) kaç para?
(Cherries katch para) It means how much do (cherries) cost? I would imagine that you will do some shopping in Turkey. So, this should be a good one to remember. Just remember to change out “cherries” for the thing that you are inquiring about. Ex: Ice cream kaç para?
(Te-she-kuer ed-de-rim) It means thank you. You can also say “Saol”. But, “teşekkür ederim” is more formal and is more polite to use when speaking with people you do not know.
Hayır teşekkür ederim
(ha-yrr te-she-kuer ed-de-rim) It means no thank you. You will definitely need to know this phrase. The Turkish are known for asking you to buy all sorts of things as you are hitting those touristic hot spots, and a simple smile with a “no thank you” can go a long way.
Benim için (ice cream) olsun.
(Benim ichin ice cream olsun) It means I would like (ice cream). This is a great phrase for all of that eating you will be doing in Turkey. Now you know how to order like a local. All you have to do is exchange the word ice cream for what you want to buy.
(Chok lez-zet-li) It means it tastes really good. One of the best ways to make friends is to tell people that their food is great. And, with the Turkish food tasting so good, it will be natural for you to boast about their culinary skills!
(Hosh bull-dook) It means I am happy to be here. In Turkey, when you enter a home or a shop, it is quite common to hear the word “hoş geldin”, which means “welcome.” Your response to this word is “hos bulduk“.