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Turkish is the dominant language in the Turkic Language Group, which also includes lesser-known tongues such as Azeri, Kirghiz and Kazakh. Although distantly related to Finnish and Hungarian, the Turkic languages are now seen as comprising their own unique language group. You can find people who speak Turkish, in one form or another, from Belgrade all the way to Xinjiang in China. 

In 1928,  Atatürk did away with Arabic script and adopted a Latin-based alphabet that was better suited to easy learning and correct pronunciation. He also Instituted a language reform process to purge Turkish of Arabic and Persian borrowings, returning it to its ‘authentic’ roots. The result is a logical, systematic and expensive language with only one irregular noun, su (water),one irregular verb olmak (to be) and no genders.  It is so logical, in fact, that Turkish grammar formed the basis for the development of Esperanto, an ill-fated artificial international language.

Word order and verb formation in Turkish are very different from what you will find in Indo-European languages like English. Words are formed by agglutination, meaning affixes are joined to a root word -one scary example is Avustralyalılaştıramadıklarımızdanmısınız? , which means ‘Are you one of those whom we could not Australianise?’ This makes it somewhat difficult to learn at first, despite its elegant logic. 

In larger cities and tourist areas you’ll usually have little trouble finding someone who speaks English, but a few hints will help you comprehend signs, schedules and menus.