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?
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