TURK 101: Introduction to Turkish Language and Culture




Instructor: Bengü Taşkesen

Office: Preston 210

Phone: 824-2354

Office hours: Monday and Wednesday 11.00 -12.00 AM, Thursday 3.00-5.00 PM

e-mail: btaske13@mail.mercyhurst.edu


Course Description

The course is designed for students who are interested in learning about other cultures and languages, and who have no previous knowledge of Turkish language. Throughout the course, the students will be presented with learning opportunities for increasing their knowledge of Turkish culture and developing basic language skills in Turkish. The ultimate goal of the course is that students will gain awareness and appreciation of and insight into the Turkish culture.

Course Objectives:

After taking this course, the students will

·       be able to comprehend simple sentences in Turkish;

·       be able to speak beginner level Turkish, producing sentences for introducing themselves, carrying on meaningful conversation, shopping or asking for assistance, etc;

·       have and use a basic Turkish vocabulary range;

·       be familiar with the general social aspects of the Turkish people, their history and culture; and the current issues in Turkey; and be able to do pointed research and speak about those topics;

·       will have developed and used language learning strategies that will help not only with improving their Turkish, but with learning other languages too.


Course Materials

1.      Hitit Yabancılar İçin Türkçe 1 (including the workbook and the mini-dictionary) Ankara: TÖMER, 2002.

2.      The official Website of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism:


3.      Extracts from Who are the Turks?

4.      Visual materials to be supplied by the instructor during classes.

5.      Online Turkish-English Dictionary: http://www.seslisozluk.com/index.php

Course Requirements

·       Academic honesty:

As members of the Mercyhurst academic community, students and faculty recognize that any kind of academic misconduct is in direct conflict with the Mission of the College.  Students are advised to read carefully the statement on academic honesty in the student handbook and college catalog. It is the policy of the Department of World Languages and Cultures and of the Division of Humanities to report all willful acts of academic misconduct to the Office of Academic Affairs.  Students should be aware that a single act of academic misconduct may result in failure of the course-regardless of grades earned in other course assignments, and that repeated acts of academic misconduct may be grounds for dismissal from the College. Students in this course should be particularly aware that it is considered an act of academic misconduct to use any kind of translation technology (i.e.: programs/websites that propose to translate entire phrases and sentences from one language to another) on assignments that must be written in Turkish.

Students will prepare group assignments and they are expected to avoid plagiarism while doing so. Plagiarism and cheating will lead to the loss of grades, which ultimately means failing the course.

·       Attendance and participation are important. Every student is expected to attend at least 25 of the 29 class sessions that we will have this term, and focus on the course in class (not on things extraneous to the course). If a student misses the classes he will lose attendance points. Excuses (illness, family problems, etc) are to be e-mailed to the instructor, but it is completely at her disposal to accept them or not.



Attendance and participation  150 pts.

Quizzes*                                 150 pts.

Assignments                            180 pts.

Midterm                                   200 pts.

Presentations                           120 pts.

Final exam                               200 pts.


* Quizzes may be announced before hand, but there may also be pop-quizzes.

90-100 A

85-89  B +

80-84  B –

75-79  C +

70-74  C –

65-69  D +

60-64  D-

59 and below F



Apart from doing the workbook exercises at times indicated by the instructor and keeping a vocabulary book, there will be a term paper (group work) on the following topics (guidelines will be provided during the course):

1.      Ancient civilizations in Anatolia

2.      How was the Turkish Republic founded (with a historical perspective including the decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire)?

3.      Islam in Turkey.



Presentations are also group work and will take place in the last week of the course but it is a good idea to start preparing early.

You are asked to create a PowerPoint presentation on one of the suggested topic below (you may choose another, but consult the instructor before starting to prepare).

Suggested topics:

·       Traditional Turkish Cuisine,

·       Traditional Turkish arts such as calligraphy, ceramics, miniature, Turkish carpets and rugs (kilim)  

·       Traditional Turkish Music and Dance,

·       Tourism (with different kinds such as historical, faith, sports and nature activities,  and holiday)

·       History of Turks

·       Turkic nations


Course Schedule

Mondays and Wednesdays are Language days, and Fridays are culture days. Films and cultural activities will be integrated into the class sessions. Please read the extracts from Who are the Turks? assigned for each Friday before coming to the class.


Week 1-2

Introduction to the course, greeting, numbers, the alphabet. Pages 2-5 from Who are the Turks? for December 3 (Friday); pages 11-14 for December 10.


Week 3-4

Classroom objects, meeting someone. Pages 56-59 and page 64 from Who are the Turks? for December 17, Friday. Pages 65-69 for January 7.


Week  5-6

Countries and Nationalities. Pages 78-81 from Who are the Turks? for January 14. Pages 65-69 for January 21.


Week 7-8

Talking about our family and home. Presentations begin.


Week 9-10

Shopping and time


Final Exam


While learning Turkish,


·       Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. It is impossible to learn a language without making them and being corrected.

·       Use what you learn as soon as you have a chance.

·       Review previous lessons frequently, and make your own vocabulary report book which will help you control your learning.

·       Participate in choral repetition. It may seem mechanical, but it helps building the skills needed for individual production.

·       Open your mind to the different and to the new. Not only Turkish, but every language has its own mentality, and comparing it to English will not help. Also try to avoid any prejudices and misconceptions.

·       Do not let any interruption break the continuity of your involvement with Turkish language.

·       Remember this may lead to an interesting career opportunity one day.

·       Enjoy yourself.



Good Luck

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