B ready!

April 11, 2012 by 23 Comments

I started learning Turkish in September 2011 and I completed the A1 course and exam after three months of study.

The journey from zero to hero in Turkish… 😉

At the end of the A1 course, I had a good grasp of the fundamentals of Turkish and I could make myself understood to native speakers in basic Turkish.  I received many encouraging messages after putting out my first video speaking the language.  Some people thought that perhaps my level was higher than A1 and that I was being modest.

The problem with CEFR

Since starting the formal courses for the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), I have realised how often the level you can get to at A1 and A2 is often underrated. In part I can understand this confusion from the descriptions give for each level.  What is missing in the description is the amount of vocabulary you need to reach each level.  In unrelated languages there is a real wealth of vocabulary you need to memorise to pass the exams.  It takes time to commit this to memory and use it actively.  We have to keep that in mind and no beat ourselves up about it.

Big up yourself sometimes for your real achievements! 😀

My name is Richard.  I speak A2 level Turkish and I am proud of the results I have achieved after the effort I have put in! 🙂

But keep it real…

There is, of course, a big difference between someone with an A1 diploma, having a pass mark of 61% and someone else closer to 100%.  This may account for confusion about the level needed to complete each course/exam.

I can confirm that my previous video containing only grammar and vocabulary used at the A1 level of Turkish and my Turkish in the video contains many mistakes.  This is all totally normal and I am glad to put out there a realistic idea of where I was at with the language at that time.

How is my Turkish at A2?

I now feel much more confident when I am expressing myself in Turkish and I here is a video of me speaking Turkish following my A2 exam:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvPSF2jKpE0&w=420&h=315]

Moving forward…the next goal

The B1 course lasts six months as it take up the whole of the second Yeni Hitit book.  I’ll take a break in the summer and hopefully complete the B1 course by December this year.  I am happy to do language exchanges over the summer with any Turkish speakers willing to listen to me butcher their language! 😉

What do you think?

What are your thoughts on the CEFR levels?  Do you think that sometimes the A and B levels are put down in favour of C1 or C2?

If you sign up for italki and buy a coupon for language lessons through them, you can use the Promo Code below at checkout to get $5 OFF your order! So a $10 coupon costs you just $5! Use Promo Code: RICHARD

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This post was written by Richard


  • Robert says:

    I very much believe that the A1 and A2 levels are greatly underrated. Although there certainly will be differences as to the levels of proficiency of each individual (for multiple reasons) I am convinced that you can have a decent conversation if you have a sound knowledge of what is normally taught at the A1 level. What you should be able to do at this level is to “work” with the language. Once you can at least ask questions in case you come across a word you don’t know yet and you grasp the meaning of the reply you get (which shouldn’t be too difficult unless you want to talk about rocked science after having reached the A1 level), there is no reason whatsoever why you should not be able to start speaking away at the A1 level and continuously improve by complementing your practical usage of the language with some further studies.
    Some people seem to think you need to reach the B2 or C1 levels first to even try and talk to a native speaker. I don’t share that opinion.
    What I find very interesting about your Turkish project is that it clearly shows that “traditional” classroom teaching is not obsolete at all. As much as I like studying independently on my own I very much enjoy having a teacher (some sort of “language mentor”) to guide me along my way. High-quality classroom teaching can provide you with the sound basis of knowledge you need to progressively improve your understanding of how a language works. Besides, learning in a group can be a welcome change to the daily routine of independent studies, with different cultural backgrounds of the students often adding to the fun.
    I really look forward to your next video in Turkish 🙂

  • Igor says:

    Здраво Ричард,

    “There is, of course, a big difference between someone with an A1 diploma, having a pass mark of 61% and someone else closer to 100%.”
    Ha-ha, definitely. I always wondered why they pay attention to that only at the highest levels of the tests, for example “Cambridge Proficiency” and “grade A in Cambridge Proficiency”. It makes a big difference at the lower levels too, just like in your case.

    Еве ти некои бесплатни ресурси за Турски во случај ако веќе не си ги пронашол: http://www.booksbooksbooks.ru/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=56&Itemid=74

  • jimmymello says:

    Aswering your question:
    I really think the CEFR levels have helped us a lot when we want to have a measurement about our knowledge of a language in terms of international standards and gave us an aim about where we are and till where we will go to.
    People are sometimes really worried about reaching C1 or C2, but I really think that we only need B2 (and sometimes even a B1). I quite believe in the importance of C’s Levels, but only for academic purposes, or for teaching the language, if you do not want to be a teacher of that language you do not need C’s Levels at all.

  • Kate says:

    I have never done an A1 or A2 exam, so can’t really comment on that. But I found it interesting that the Teach Yourself books, well the two I have anyway, claim on the cover to get you to (if I recall correctly) B2 level. Having done the B1 exam in German after two years of study at university, I simply don’t believe that one book can get you to B2 level..

    As for what level is needed – that B1 exam in German is the only experience I have of the CEFR – but I also think B2 would probably be quite adequate unless you wanted to study in the language, or your job required excellent communication skills…

  • - says:

    I’m a Farsi native speaker and want to learn Turkish. as far as I’ve learned English, French and Esperanto all by myself (through CDs, Books, etc) up to an advanced level, recently wanted to start learning Turkish but couldn’t find the right course. would you please recommend me useful books on learning Turkish?

    • The Tomer books I use are pretty good, though you’d need some way of following them as they are entirely in Turkish from the beginning. I think Assimil is a fine course to use in the beginning for many languages. As you already have French, you could use that from French into Turkish. 🙂

  • Kelly M says:

    I haven’t taken any of the exams (yet) but I get the impression that people look down on the A1 and A2 exams and see them as little more than “holiday phrases” (this isn’t necessarily the case for the A2 exams but the level is still considered too low for employment or academic purposes). People generally have the same view of the N5 (formerly Level 4) Japanese proficiency exams, with some people opting to skip that exam entirely and go on to one of the higher level exams.

    Personally, I think the A1 and 2 exams are still a good way to gauge your level of proficiency in a language and can be useful for self-assessment purposes. Having said that, if you plan to use a language for work or academic purposes, it’d probably be best to pass at least the B1 exam if you want to be taken seriously.

  • opnsource says:

    Unbelievable! You’ve learnt all these only in 6 months? As a native Turkish speaker I must say you are doing very well. Yes, you are making some mistakes but they are totally acceptable! Whatever you are doing to learn this language, keep it up because it seems to be working.

    About your video: Your accent is good. You are pronouncing most of the words as we do. If you continue like this, you may master the language in a year (at least the speaking part) Turkish is a very flexible language and I always thougt it is a language quite easy to speak (no irregular verbs, no genders, no strict word order…) and you seem to have figured it out.

    I have been trying to learn Spanish for 3 months and I am nowhere near the progress you’ve made in Turkish. Congratulations and good luck.

    • Thanks a lot for your feedback. I hope I will continue to improve. How are your learning Spanish? I have to say that Turkish is wonderful. I am learning more and more about it and I hope to get to a really good level of fluency in the language in the coming years. It is a big help that it is used where I live. The contact with the language is key. Turkey is such a fabulous country to explore too and I have only just got my foot in the door. There are many places for me to see and discover now in the local language. 🙂

  • pasa says:

    çok güzel konusuyorsun, 7 ayda, bence çok basarilisin, devamini dilerim 😀

  • Mustafa says:

    You speak very well believe me. Of course you did some mistakes but these mistakes inevitable for your level that’s for sure.. Well, enjoy with Turkish.. Good luck 🙂

    • Thanks! Hopefully I have made some noticeable improvements since the last video too. I am halfway through the B1 course and LOVING Turkish more and more. I will release another video in it in December (at the end of B1) and possibly before too. I appreciate any feedback you can offer. 🙂

  • Ozan says:

    Sie können sehr schön Türkisch sprechen, Ich lerne Deutsch von Septembrer 2011 und ich bin auch vertig für B niveau. Können Sie mir ein paar Vorschlag geben? Ihre Videos haben mich inspiriert und ich möchte viel Sprachen kennen. Aksanınız gayet güzel bunu sadece birkaç ay içinde başarabilmeniz inanılmaz. Bol şanslar

  • Ferid says:

    Merhaba . Ben sizin hayranınızım diye bilirim , Allah size çok özel bir yetenek vermiş . Azerbaycanlı olduğum için türkçeyi yabancı dil olarak göremiyorum ,yani nasıl öğrendiyimi bile hatırlamıyorum ,ama şunu söyleye bilirim ki , bu nimetler için Tanrıya şükür borçlusunuz . İyi şanslar!
    P.S. Just checking your reading 🙂

  • Selin says:

    Bu kadar çok seyahat etme şansın varsa mutlaka türkiyeyi de ziyaret etmelisin Türk insanları hele de kendi dillerini öğrenme çabası içinde olan bir turiste nasıl sempatiyle yaklaştıklarına çok şaşırabilirsin ! 😀
    Dil bilgisinde hataların var tabii ama bir kaç ay için olağan üstü bir başarı üstelik aksanında oldukça iyi
    Kitaplar ve televizyondan bahsettin ama baya karıştı o kısım özellikle dizilerimizden önerebilirim soruların olursa yardımcı olmaktan mutluluk duyarım :))

  • sakura says:

    Bravo Türkçe’yi de öğrenmişsiniz çok iyi konuşuyorsunuz:) Diğer dillerde konuştuğunuz videoları da izledim ve hayran kaldım. Artık dil öğrenme konusunda biraz daha hevesliyim, çabuk pes etmeyeceğim:)

  • Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article!
    It’s the little changes that produce the most significant changes. Thanks for sharing!

  • Cansu says:

    Merhaba sevgili Richard,ben bir Türküm ve Türkiye’de yaşıyorum.İngilizce öğrenmeye çalışıyorum,çok az da Almanca konuşabiliyorum.Videonu büyük bir hayranlıkla izledim gerçekten çok başarılısın,çok tebrik ederim,konuşurken yabancı olduğun neredeyse anlaşılmıyor o kadar güzel konuşuyorsun,hazırladığın videolar benim için ilham kaynağı.Kendine iyi bak,Görüşmek üzere 😀

  • Tuluğhan says:

    Hi Richard,
    Firs of all I am a native Turkish speaker and I can sincerely say that the work you have done so far is admirable. I am a 16 year old student and I was always complaining about the bad reputation of Turkey in other countries. I’ve been to several countries and always heard people mentioning the barbaric mood in our lovely country. But the work you are dealing with wouldn’t just improve your Turkish skills and also will fix the bad reputation of our country. To sum up I would love to help you to deal any kind of task in Turkish as a regard, if you wish 🙂 I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you again soon.
    Most regards,
    Tuluğhan Ata

  • Valentina says:

    Hi Richard,
    I’m Italian and I love languages as you do. In the last four months I’ve been studying Turkish and I’m loving it more and more… while looking for some dialogues to listen, I’ve found your video on the youtube and I was so happy to see that I was able to understand nearly all of your phrases that I couldn’t help looking for your website and letting you know! Really, that was very encouraging for me and also I’ve loved your enthusiasm, so, well, thank you 🙂

  • Pablo Muñoz says:

    Que examen de turco hiciste? Que yo sepa no hay examen oficial de turco, donde lo hiciste?
    Saludos desde Córdoba, España

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