An interview with a Turkish language learner, Françoisé Hanim from Martinique, a retired English teacher learning Turkish language.
Ali Akpinar Thank you very much for the interview, Françoise Hanim. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Françoise Hanim With pleasure ! I’m French, I live in Martinique, a lovely island in the Caribbean. I’ve been retired for a year now and I was a teacher of English as a foreign language. Actually, I was a teacher trainer at the University, I taught my students and newly appointed teachers how to teach English in the Primary classroom.
Françoise Hanim I love travelling and have been travelling as often as I can (and as much as I can afford!) . When I was 19, I went to Turkey for the first time and I was enthralled by this country and by the friendliness of Turkish people. I went back several times and a few years ago, I decided to try and learn Turkish not only to be able to communicate with people there but also to get a better insight into Turkish culture.
Ali Akpinar What do you think about Turkish language as a French speaking learner?
Ali AkpinarI think Turkish is quite a difficult language to learn because it has nothing to do with French, which is an inflecting language. So it’s a totally different structure and thinking system. But on the other hand, I find a very profitable way to keep my mind working. Luckily, there is a great number of words derived from French , it sure helps !
Ali Akpinar What do you think is the most interesting thing about Turkish?
Françoise HanimAll the Turkish suffixes you get to learn help you understand how the words are built up and how their meaning is thus modified. No doubt learning the different way to modify nouns, adjectives or verbs with meaningful suffixes greatly help the learner understand how this language works.
Ali Akpinar And the most difficult side of learning Turkish?
Françoise Hanim Agglutination, no doubt. The right suffix at the right place at the right time, that is the question !
Ali Akpinar How do you improve your Turkish? Are you stuying yourself or taking lessons?
Françoise Hanim I started on my own with books, CDs and computer software but practising the language is what I needed most. In Martinique, I couldn’t find a Turkish-speaking person to help me. After a few months I found out about IstanbulCentric.com on the Internet and the lessons they give on Skype. I usually have a 1-hour lesson a week with the teacher, and he makes me practise Turkish extensively, but with a great patience and sense of humour, which makes the lessons all the more enjoyable. After a few months, I find out I have greatly improved my speaking and understanding skills, which is my main goal.
Ali Akpinar What do you suggest for people learning Turkish?
Françoise Hanim As a teacher of English, I have some strategies I used to teach my students and now apply to myself. Practise Turkish as often as you can, either reading simple stories for children, for example, understand Turkish papers headlines on the internet, watching videos, learning vocabulary, or doing grammar and vocabulary exercises. Anything goes! But to my mind, the most important is working regularly. As far as I’m concerned, I try to spend some time every day on my Turkish. The CDs I can listen to in my car and My Ipad I can carry everywhere are great tools.
Ali Akpinar What level would you like to reach?
Françoise Hanim After a few months, I find out I have greatly improved my speaking and understanding skills, which is my main goal. As a teacher myself, I am fully aware it takes years to fully master a foreign language. I would just like to be able to communicate with people I meet when in Turkey, in a basic and colloquial language. And beyond studying the language itself, real practise is the best way to make progress. And I can do that regularly, with Ali’s precious help. So, I’m looking forward to my next trip to Istanbul!
Ali Akpinar Thank you very much for the interview, Françoise Hanim.
Françoise Hanim My pleasure!