Learn Survival Turkish
Wikitravel users have collectively created a free Turkish phrasebook with the goal of making it possible for travelers to "get by" while traveling in areas where Turkish is spoken.
Wikitravel phrasebooks are available in many languages and each one varies in depth and detail. Most of the phrasebooks include a pronunciation guide, a general phrase list, information about dates and numbers, a color list, transportation-related phrases, vocabulary for shopping and phrases for eating and drinking. Some are even more in depth, and all are free!
Turkish (Türkçe) is the most widely-spoken of the Turkic languages and is the official language of the Republic of Turkey and the co-official language of Cyprus but is only spoken and useful in Turkish speaking Northern Cyprus. It is also a recognized minority language in Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania.
Turkish is an Altaic language and its closest living relatives are other Turkic languages, which are spoken in southwestern, central and northern Asia; and to a lesser degree in southeastern Europe (the Balkans).
Outside of Turkey itself, knowledge of Turkish is helpful in several neighbouring countries particularly in the Balkan countries of Kosovo, Macedonia, and Bulgaria where there are significant Turkish communities, and to a lesser extent in Azerbaijan, where it is to an extent mutually intelligible with Azerbaijani.
While the Central Asian "stans" speak Turkic languages, the similarities between Kazakh and Turkish (for example) are only very rudimentary.
Turkish is a difficult language to learn and speak, due to its complicated, mathematical vowel-harmonied grammar.
Turkish is spoken as a native language by over 77 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania and other parts of Eastern Europe. Turkish is also spoken by several million immigrants in Western Europe, particularly in Germany.
The roots of the language can be traced to Central Asia, with the first known written records dating back nearly 1,300 years. To the west, the influence of Ottoman Turkish—the variety of the Turkish language that was used as the administrative and literary language of the Ottoman Empire—spread as the Ottoman Empire expanded. In 1928, as one of Atatürk's Reforms in the early years of the Republic of Turkey, the Ottoman script was replaced with a phonetic variant of the Latin alphabet. Concurrently, the newly founded Turkish Language Association initiated a drive to reform the language by removing Arabic and Persian loanwords in favor of native variants and coinages from Turkic roots.
The Turkish alphabet is a Latin-based alphabet used for writing the Turkish language, consisting of 29 letters, a certain number of which (Ç, Ğ, I, İ, Ö, Ş, and Ü) have been modified from their Latin originals for the phonetic requirements of the language. This alphabet represents modern Turkish pronunciation with a high degree of accuracy and specificity. It is the current official alphabet and the latest in a series of distinct alphabets used in different eras.