Basic Turkish phrases to survive your first Turkish interaction
All right. So you are going over to a Turkish friend’s home for dinner and you want to show off some Turkish skills? Or your fiancée is Turkish and you want to impress your future in-laws. Or perhaps you are travelling to Turkey or even moved to Turkey and you want to be familiar with your neighbourhood and you are ready to go to step B: make friends with the Turks!
Turkish people are rather warm and welcoming. As you may already had the chance to experience, they love to chat, drink tea and share their food. So, do not be surprised if they try to have conversation with you even if you know only two words of Turkish or if they try to offer you tea at any time of day or night. In general, it is polite to accept the tea and use the few words that you know.
Below we explaine some of the expressions that may be helpful during every day Turkish life.
Upon entering someone’s home or in a new city you will be greeted with the expression Hoşgeldiniz(pronounced: Hosh-gell-deen-eez) , which answer Hoşbulduk (pronounced: Hosh-bull-dook) . Literally these words mean ‘Welcome’ and ‘Happy to be here’.
Take off your shoes when you enter a house that is not yours and if you’re visiting and want to bring something you opt for baklava or chocolates. Be ready to drink tea until you drop. Top with sugar.
If you are offered Turkish coffee before you have to indicate how much sugar you want: şekersiz (without sugar), orta (with sugar) or şekerli (with a lot of sugar). Do not ever stir the Turkish coffee with the spoon.
Empty stomach and a full stomach
Most important for the Turks it is to make sure that their guests ( Misafir ) are not hungry. Aç misiniz? (pronounced: ach meh siniz) is a question that you must be prepared to respond to quickly, before gathering inundated with food. It literally means ‘are you hungry’?
We are sure that at this point you know how to respond: Evet (pronounced: Ae-vet meaning:Yes) or Hayır (pronounced: Ha-yeer meaning:no). In both cases, as indeed in English, accompanied the answer with ‘Thanks’ Teşekkürler (pronounced: Tae – shake- cure – lair) .
If you accepted food or your attempts to decline the food offer didn’t work, you should now be prepared to ‘stop’ the Turkish mothers or aunts who will attempt to fill you just like a Turkish ‘dolma’. In this case, Doydum, (pronounced: Doydooom – Literally meaning ‘I am satisfied’) can be a very useful expression, preferably followed a circular motion on the belly and satisfied face.
If you want to show appreciation, you must say Ellerinize Sağlık (pronounced: Ael-larry-knees-aeh Sagh-lik) which literally means ‘health to your hands’, which will no doubt be followed by a proud “Afiyet olsun” (‘ good appetite ” I’m glad you enjoyed ‘)