Language Hacking: Favorite Beg/Int Turkish Podcats

Most podcasts are too wordy for me. Either the speaker speaks too slow, or there’s just way too much English in there. But if you’re learning a language, you definitely need audio input. For beginners, listening to radio or TV is good, because it conditions your brain for the rhythm and tones of the language, but the material is generally too hard, and you might only pick up one word in five…or twenty. The best principle for building listening comprehension is generally “L+1” – one step up from the level at which the learner can produce the language, something slightly more difficult than what you can currently say.

With Turkish there aren’t that many resources out there. It’s not like Spanish, French, English, German, Japanese and Chinese with millions of people studying the language and decades of development in the teaching field. Turkish resources are pretty limited.
Before I found a few good podcasts I listened to the audio tracks from my Turkish book for a half an hour to forty-five minutes everyday at the gym, usually listening to each track 3-4 times in a row, or until I heard and understood everything that was being said. But after a while I pretty much memorized the whole tape, and I went out podcast-hunting again.

The two gems I came up with were Turkish Tea Time (podcast link here) and the Turkish Language Institute’s Podcast. The Turksh Language Institute’s Podcasts are basically just upper beginner-lower intermediate dialogues read by native speakers, much like the accompanying audio disk for my book. No English, no explanations; just clear and understandable Turkish. Turkish Tea Time (TTT)’s posts are a blend of dialogue, banter and grammar points.
I’m not a huge fan of Turkish Class/Turkish101 (sometimes useful, mostly not) or the other podcasts out there, as a lot of them are 90% English, and really basic beginner level. But TTT offers podcasts for beginners to Intermediate/Advanced with bemusing scripts and…useful language expressions, even at the beginner level! Even their “Newbie” posts feature dialogues centered around exchanging money at the bank, talking about what you’re doing in Turkey, and other actually relevant adult topics. Each post starts with a dialogue, followed by a short grammar lesson, and then they parse the sentences of the dialogue (with attention to the grammar point) before doing the whole dialogue again. They give good examples, speak clearly (but not too slow), and break down grammar into digestible chunks. The one thing I’m not sure I like though – only a few of the transcripts are available for free on their site. Full access – plus accompanying exercises, and exercise correction – is $10 a month. They also offer native tutors for $30 an hour – a semi-complete language set for someone seeking to learn more conversational Turkish up to the intermediate level by studying a few hours a week. I’m not sure I would go for the other content on offer (as I want to build more than conversational skills), but their podcasts at least I’ve found really useful for learning to pick up spoken grammar ques.

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