Ankara - Post Report Question and Answers

How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You can get by without Turkish, but speaking Turkish does make your life here considerably easier. Unlike Istanbul, Ankara doesn’t really have a lot of tourists, so English comprehension is surprisingly weak. Educated elites speak it, but your experience here will be so much richer if you can even eke out a 2/2 or so. Turkish is hard to learn, but it’s worth trying. - Nov 2023

It is good to know basic Turkish, but you can also get by with google translate and gesturing. The Embassy offers Turkish classes for EFMs. - Jan 2023

Local language classes and tutoring is easy and affordable. Turkish is helpful in Ankara as many don't speak English, but you can manage without much. Google Translate works well, and everyone knows how to use it. Knowing taxi and shop Turkish is helpful, along with common greetings/courtesies. - Nov 2021

English is spoken unevenly across Ankara. There is typically at least one individual working in any major store that will speak English, but it is not a guarantee. Learning some basic Turkish will go a long way to shopping, dining, and getting around Ankara. Directions, numbers, and question words/phrases are particularly helpful. - Sep 2020

I was surprised how little English knowledge exists, even in school-age children. We found some locals with German-language ability from their time working in Germany. Turkey's tourism industry around Antalya caters to Russian-language tourists arriving via charter flights. You can find Turkish language courses on the local economy. The embassy offered courses, but my impression was they fizzled out due to uneven attendance. - Oct 2018

It is absolutely impossible to do even basic daily tasks, without Turkish. You cannot even go to the supermarket. Literally NO ONE speaks English, or any other foreign language.

On the plus side, it is relatively easy to learn basic Tukish. Good group classes at the Turkish American Institute, in the evenings. Or a private tutor, though I think they can be expensive, and of patchy quality.

- Oct 2018

You can get by with very little Turkish. However, knowing it always helps. Post has a language program and it is easy to find a tutor. - Sep 2018

You need to have a basic knowledge of Turkish to do anything here. - Jul 2018

Turks generally don't speak English, so some basic Turkish helps. I had eight weeks; it was enough. - Oct 2017

At least rudimentary Turkish is a must to get by. Most locals don't speak any English. There are some pretty incredible smart phone apps out now that can help you get by but learn as much Turkish before coming as possible. Private tutors are readily available and there are classes given at the Embassy. Take advantage of them. - Sep 2017

Local language is essential if you want to thrive in Turkey. I wasn't given any prior to coming to post and have been scrambling to learn as much as possible since. You can get by at restaurants by pointing at pictures but many locals have very limited English. Even those with university degrees are uncomfortable with English and will rarely attempt to speak it. There are Turkish tutors and classes widely available. - Jun 2017

My Turkish is pretty pathetic for living here three years. But with a mixture of a good attitude, flexibility and miming, you can get by okay. - Sep 2016

Learn Turkish, it will come in handy. - Jun 2016

Polite niceties, and "do you speak English, I only have a little Turkish?" will get a smile and switch to charades. - Aug 2015

It depends. Taxi drivers and small business owners don't speak English. - Apr 2015

A basic knowledge. Despite being the capital, very few Turks speak English - or a lot of English- so you will need more than just the pleasantries. You can get by with less, but it does effect the quality of your experience here and your abilities to do more. - Feb 2015

Cleaner and nannies may not tend to speak English. Taxi drivers, vendors, etc. also do not speak English. - Jun 2014

Some. I took private lessons. - Apr 2014

The more, the better and language learning here is a door to open your world outside of the American community. Turks are kind and patient and very helpful when learning. There are many classes you can take. Full time courses are around US$140 a month. - Mar 2014

Basic Turkish is enough. - Mar 2014

You will need to learn some Turkish, but you can usually find someone who speaks English or just pantomime what you need. The Turkish people are friendly and helpful to foreigners and are very forgiving when I butcher their language. - Jul 2013

You need the basics to get around; cab drivers and servers do not speak English. - Aug 2011

You MUST know some Turkish in Ankara if you're going to have an enjoyable experience. - Jul 2010

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