Turkish-Arabic Resemblance

After a long, but pleasant ten hour flight, we have finally made it to Istanbul, Turkey! While on board Turkish Airways, I was trying to learn a few words of Turkish by listening to the airline stewards and flipping through the inflight magazine. I didn’t notice too many words that looked like English, but, while reading the menu they gave us in order to select our preferred meals, I realized that a lot of words in Turkish resemble Arabic words! I knew that the Arabic language influenced the Turkish language back when the Ottoman Empire adopted Islam, I just didn’t realize the extent of this influence.

When first boarding the plane, I noticed that the Turks greet with the word “Merhaba”, similar to the Arabic version of “Marhaba.” Just a side note…a man that we met at a cafe this evening, told us that in Turkish, “a” is pronounced like an “e.” Just a fun fact! Anyways, so as I was reading the menu on the plane, I discovered that I knew what a lot of the words meant before reading the English translation. These are the words that are similar to Arabic:


-Fasulye-Fasuleya-Green Beans



-Portakal-Bortakal-Orange Juice

Maybe I will be able to get by by speaking Arabic in Turkey after all!

Turkish 101

Lindsay and I attended a beginner’s Turkish class taught by Dr. Ercan Balci last week. It was really hard to figure out how to pronounce a lot of the words – some of their letters make completely different sounds in English. But we did get the hang of the most important Turkish word; “Merhaba,” which means hello.

Till next time, “güle güle,” or “Be on your way with a smile!”