If you’re among the increasing number of people considering a life in the sun, you might already be considering how you can make your dream come true. Amid the practicalities of packing up your old life and searching for your ideal home, one question you’ll likely be asking is this: Do I need to speak Turkish to live in Antalya?
It probably hasn’t occurred to you before. On holiday, you might not have ventured far out of your resort where most people – bar and restaurant staff, tour operators and so on – will have had a decent amount of English, not to mention German, Russian and various other languages.
However, once you’ve moved into your luxury property in Antalya and are ready to embrace your new life, it might be a different matter. It’s not just about being able to order food and drinks when you go out; what happens if you need to visit the hospital or report a fault to the electricity company?
A helping hand
The good news is that, if you need it, help is at hand. The main hospitals have tourism/international departments, for example, where there are people who can translate for you. There are also people who offer interpretation and assistance as a professional service when it comes to dealing with bureaucracy or officials; ask around to see who is recommended locally as prices can vary.
It’s a good idea to speak Turkish to your neighbours whenever you can, even if it’s just a few words – the more you use it, the easier it becomes. If you live in more remote or less touristy areas, fewer people are unlikely to know much English; in fact, you could strike up a deal – you’ll help them learn more English if they’ll help you improve your Turkish!
Tips for learning Turkish
It takes years to become fluent in a new language, so don’t beat yourself up if you find it difficult to learn Turkish. Even a few words will help, and people will appreciate it when you make the effort.
To get you started, here are some tips that will help:
- Try and learn at least one new word every day, more if you can. You can group them together – you might focus on days of the week and months of the year at first, followed by the names of fruits and vegetables, everyday grocery items, clothing and household goods.
- Don’t get too hung up on grammar and tenses at first. Yes, they’re important – but to begin with, focus on vocabulary and learning new words.
- There are some great apps around for smartphones and tablets, like Duolingo and Memrise. Some also have an online option if you prefer to work at a computer. Most will offer a free trial, so you can make sure you choose the one that suits you best.
- Take lessons. You might not want to do this immediately, but an organised class can really accelerate your learning. Some places will offer formal tuition, either in a group or one-to-one, or ask around to see if there are less structured conversational groups you can join.
-Listen and learn. Get into the habit of listening to some Turkish radio or television programmes. Even though you won’t be able to understand much at first, it will get your brain accustomed to the different inflections and sounds, which will help you start to pick up more words.
-Practise, practise, practise. Trying out what you’ve learned can be daunting, but the best way to improve is to practise what you’ve learned. In shops, restaurants, with the person who comes to look after the pool and garden in – resolve to use Turkish whenever you can, and you’ll be surprised at how much this helps.
So, while the short answer is yes – you can get by without knowing any Turkish - your everyday life in Antalya will be easier if you pick up some of the language.
Don’t set deadlines or put pressure on yourself. Take it as slowly as you need and learn a little at a time – and enjoy the feeling that comes when you realise you’ve heard and understood someone speaking to you in Turkish and, what’s more, you’ve replied to them in their own language.
Considering buying property in Antalya?
If you’ve fallen in love with Antalya and are thinking about buying, get in touch with us. Our portfolio includes everything from exclusive luxury villas in Kalkan to sea view penthouses in Side – so we’re confident we can help you find your perfect home in Antalya province.