Everyday Turkish Greetings and Expressions to Learn

Everyday Turkish Greetings and Expressions to Learn
14 Turkish Greetings and Expressions
Written on: 23 March 2020

For language learners of all levels, knowing typical day Turkish greetings and expressions go a long way in daily life. It makes the difference between striking up conversations and forming friendships or walking on by interesting opportunities.

People use daily greetings everywhere, whether it is in the workplace, with friends and family, or only doing the weekly shop. From the common “hello” and “how are you?” to expressions from Islamic traditions, you will hear them a lot in Turkey.

For first-time visitors to the country, we recommend you keep your ears open to learn how the locals speak and pronounce the letters. Also, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Turks admire people who take a chance when speaking their language and will respond in kind. So, let’s get started on what common expressions to learn.

14 Turkish Greetings and Expressions

1: Gunaydin: Good Morning

In the UK, people keep to themselves and rarely strike up conversations with strangers, but in Turkey, every morning is an opportunity to greet and make friends. From the local shopkeeper to the man walking his dogs, you will hear this conversational expression.

2: Merhaba: Hello

Once morning has gone, the tone will change to say hello, and you can respond by using the same phrase back. For how to say it, pronounce it like mer-ha-ba. Used in shops, banks, other establishments, and between friends, the simple act of saying hello lightens the atmosphere and goes a long way.

3: Iyi Aksamlar: Good Evening

This common expression is used after 6 p.m. but before nightfall. If leaving or entering a restaurant, the waiter will say it, as an expression to say they hope your evening goes well.

4: Iyi Geceler: Good Night

This is another formal greeting for when you meet a stranger or have interactions with acquaintances. It signifies the end of the day and is used when leaving.

4: Iyi Gunler: Good Day

So, what do you say between the period of morning and evening? Well, formally, iyi gunler means good day and is polite when encountering strangers.

5: Nasilsin? How Are You?

Ah, this common expression used all over the world definitely applies in Turkey. To reply, say Iyiyim. The most important thing to note at this stage, though is the addition of suffixes. If you know the person, they will use the word above. With formality, they will say “nasilsiniz” (added iz to the end”) To know more about this language rule, check out formal pronouns for the Turkish language.

6: Iyi Yolculuklar: Good Journey

This is when the Turkish language really comes into play because whether it is an informal or formal discussion, this standard greeting applies to when a person departs on a journey. It may be a flight or a drive to the next town, and the meaning is pleasant travels.

7: Gurusuruz: See you Later

Get ready to use this one because it applies to many occasions and is to be said with a happy tone that you will return and are looking forward to it. Likewise, friends will say this among each other, to confirm a later meeting.  

8: Buyrun: Go Ahead

As another frequently said expression, it is worth getting to know this one. When people enter shops, the owner will motion for them to browse around by saying “Buyrun.” Another example is on public transport, and someone gives up their seat, meaning go ahead as a prompt to sit down.

9: Hos Geldiniz: Welcome

In Turkish culture, every stranger is a friend so expect to hear this phrase often, even when meeting someone for the first time. Some airports display it, friends will say it, when visiting their house, and likewise shopkeepers when you enter their store. This is another occasion, when the formal and informal (Hos Geldin) versions used. The polite reply is hos bulduk, but you need not say this when entering stores.

10: Tesekkur Ederim: Thank You

Turks love polite people, so this is one to practise and use it as soon as you arrive. Tesekkur ederim is the formal version, and you might hear friends say “sagol,” which is casual. The person might respond by saying “Bir sey degil,” which means it is not a problem. They might also say “Rica ederim,” which means you are welcome.

11: Afiyet Olsun: Enjoy your Meal

Turkey is a nation of food lovers. They rarely waste it, and a whole set of social protocols applies to eating. Whether you sit down with friends, family or order a meal in a restaurant, you will hear this phrase. Reply with thank you.

12: Afedersiniz: Excuse Me

If you want to pass by a stranger in the street who is blocking the way or get the attention of a waiter in the restaurant, this formal term works a treat. Make sure your tone of voice matches it, to be polite, though.

13: Ozur Dilerim: I am Sorry

Turks are easy-going people, and live for the moment, so do not take things too seriously. However, if you make a social faux pau, saying sorry with your hand on your heart gets you out of a tight jam.

14: Hayir and Evet: Yes and No

Two frequent expressions that will come in use in many places are yes and no. Pronounce no like this; hi-air and yes is pronounced eh-vet. Another term to remember is Tamam, which means ok, and likewise, it is often used.

Further Reading

Learn Turkish: The above are 14 standard Turkish greetings to use in daily life, but to take it one step further, by learning the language, this article gives helpful hints and tips on how to make it easy.

About Turkey: Including culture, traditions, lifestyles, and places, this article is a useful start guide for English speakers and first-time visitors to Turkey. Whether you want to brush up on interesting reading or learn some facts, it will help you prepare for the trip of your lifetime.

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