Each language has its own rules, but while learning a language you may notice that natives don’t really adhere to them.


Even if you understand the grammar rules of a language, you wouldn’t be able to sound like a native because of the local verbatim that they use. Slang is the ever-changing use and definition of words in informal conversation. That’s why you’ll never find slang sayings in standard academic language books.


The Turkish spoken language is very comprehensive. You can easily find a different accent and way of speaking in every single city. Even a ne yapıyorsun (what are you doing) can change according to the city or the area that you are in -- and can become napıyon or even nörüyon!


Ready to start speaking like a native Turk? Let's start! Below you will find the discrepancies between written and spoken Turkish language.



1. Değil mi? (Isn’t it?)


The English translation for this phrase, which can change according to the tenses, is: değil mi (is it not). The colloquial version of değil mi is di mi. There are some people who say de mi, but I can say this usage is absolutely wrong. Here are some examples:


It is a very warm day today, isn't it?

  • Written Language
    • Bugün çok sıcak bir gün değil mi?
  • Spoken Language
    • Bugün çok sıcak bir gün di mi?


This dress looks so good on me, doesn't it?

  • Written Language
    • Bu elbise bana çok yakışıyor değil mi?
  • Spoken Language
    • Bu elbise bana çok yakışıyor di mi?



2. Ne yapıyorsun (What are you doing?)


Ne yapıyorsun becomes napıyosun in spoken Turkish. It is not a rule, but almost all Turkish people omit the letter -r in the simple present continuous suffix -iyor when speaking. So, saying ne yapıyosun or napıyosun can trick Turks into thinking you are a native.


Apart from that, if you conjugate a verb with simple present tense suffix -iyor, I recommend you to omit the letter -r at the end. Please be aware, however, that the succeeding letter shouldn't be a vowel. Otherwise you will be leaving two vowels alone together; not a nice thing! Here are some examples:


You look so nice today

  • Written Language
    • Bugün çok hoş görünüyorsun
  • Spoken Language
    • Bugün çok hoş görünüyosun


You go first, we are coming soon after

  • Written Language
    • İlk siz gidiyorsunuz, biz sonra geliyoruz.
  • Spoken Language
    • İlk siz gidiyosunuz, biz sonra geliyoruz.


Are they also coming?

  • Written Language
    • Onlar da geliyorlar mı?
  • Spoken Language
    • Onlar da geliyolar mı?



3. Geleceğim/Geleceğiz (I will come / We will come)


The current situation regards the future tense. Bir dakika içinde gideceğim (I'm going to leave in a minute) is perfect when written, but it doesn't sound as perfect when you say it. Instead of this, in spoken language you should say Bir dakika içinde gelicem. So, gel-eceğim becomes gel-icem. Likewise, gel-eceğiz becomes gel-icez.


We apply these changes only for first and third personal pronouns. The other personal pronouns don't change, for example:


Verb + eceğim/eceğiz = verb + icem/icez or verb + ücem/ücez
Verb + acağım/acağız = verb + ıcam/ıcaz or verb + ucam/ucaz


We take this decision according to the vowel harmony.


What are we going to drink?

  • Written Language
    • Ne içeceğiz?
  • Spoken Language
    • Ne içicez?


I'm going to come back late tonight

  • Written Language
    • Bu akşam geç döneceğim.
  • Spoken Language
    • Bu akşam geç dönücem.


If you keep on talking I'm going to cry!

  • Written Language
    • Konuşmaya devam edersen ağlayacağım!
  • Spoken Language
    • Konuşmaya devam edersen ağlıcam!


We're going to run a bit more.

  • Written Language
    • Biz biraz daha koşacağız.
  • Spoken Language
    • Biz biraz daha koşucaz.



4. Ya / Be


We Turks love to add ya or be at the beginning or the end of every sentence. These two words don't have any meanings per say, but I can say that these words change the meaning or rather the feelings of the sentence when added.


Here are some examples:


What are we going to eat today?

  • Bugün ne yiyeceğiz?
    • We would like to find out what we are going to eat today.
  • Bugün ne yiyeceğiz ya?
    • We would like to find out what we are going to eat because we are either so hungry and want to an immediate answer; or we are playing hard to get.
  • Bugün ne yiyeceğiz be!
    • We would like to find out what we are going to eat today -- and we are so mad!


It is none of my business.

  • Beni ilgilendirmez.
    • We think it's none of our business.
  • Beni ilgilendirmez ya!
    • We think it's none of our business, but even though we say this, we are a bit nervous and flirtatious.
  • Beni ilgilendirmez be!
    • It is absolutely none of our business, and we are very angry.



  • Ne?
    • Someone might have called us, or asked something.
  • Ne ya?
    • Probably that someone is a person whom we are angry with.
  • Ne be?
    • Probably that someone is a person we hate.


But of course, it is not always like this. Ya and Be can be used at the beginning or the end of sentences without thinking about any emotions. Some people use them just because they got into the habit of it. So just be wary how you express it with your tone.



5. Bana ne / Sana ne / Ona ne / Kime ne


  • Bana ne.
    • Its none of my business, I don’t care
  • Sana ne.
    • Its none of your business
  • Ona ne.
    • Its none of her/his business
  • Kime ne.
    • Its none of their business


Say if somebody made you upset and you want to show it, you can use this and answer everything he or she says by replying bana ne. You do not have to decide whether its meaning fits as a reply to him or her. Bana ne simply implies “I am not talking to you” in such cases.


Örneğin (for example):


  • Aşkım yemekte ne var? (My love, what do we have for dinner?)
    • Bana ne.
  • Sevgilim günün nasıl geçti? (My darling, how was your day?)
    • Bana ne.
  • Canım dışarı çıkmak ister misin? (Dear, do you want to go out?)
    • Bana ne.
  • Seni çok seviyorum. (I love you so much.)
    • Bana ne.
  • Ama gerçekten çok seviyorum. (But I really love you so much.)
    • Bana ne.
  • Sarıl bana! (Hug me!)
    • Bana ne!


Easy to use as you can see, but very effective I can assure you.



6. Çüş, Yuh, Oha. Vay be


These words actually are the most common slangs in Turkish. I don't advise you to use them everywhere! But if you use them when you're spending time with your friends, I see no harm. They all mean “whoa” but with differences, especially in terms of the “kindness” that's conveyed. If we sort them from rudest to kindest, it will be; çüş, oha, yuh. Furthermore, Vay be is not a slang at all, so you can use it anywhere.


These sayings generally express anger or surprise.


Örneğin (for example):

  • Oha! Hava çok sıcak! (Whoa! It is too hot!)
  • Yuh! Bu ne gürültü! (Whoa! What a noise!)
  • Çüş. Yavaş ol! (Whoa! Take it easy.)
  • Vay be. Nasıl oldu bu? (Whoa! How did this happen?)


7. Yani


Yani (I mean) is one of the most common words in Turkish. Sometimes it means “of course”, sometimes it means “so”, and then there are other times it means “that is to say” or “in short”.


I mean

  • Yani, ben öyle demek istemedim. (I mean, I didn't want to say that.)

Of course

  • Bence güzel kız. (I think she is beautiful.)
    • Yani. (Of course.)


  • Yani, kimler geliyor şimdi? (So, who is coming now?)

That is to say

  • Yani evlenmek istiyorsun. (That is to say, you want to marry.)

In short

  • Yani sonuç olarak gitmiyoruz. (In short, as a result we do not go.)



8. Hani


For me, as a Turkish woman, I still do not know what hani means exactly. This word can be used almost anywhere in a sentence, but it's first meaning is nerede (where).


Örneğin (for example):


  • Bak adam uçuyor. (Look, the guy is flying!)
    • Hani? (Where?)


The other usage for “Hani” is if you want to say something but you are thinking about what you are about to say and you want to show that you are thinking:


  • Hani...Hani bir kuş var ya. Adı neydi? Hani kanatları kırmızı olur. Hani tüyleri mavi. Hatırlamadın mı? (Uhmm...like there was a bird...what was it’s name? Like it’s wings are red. Uhmm and its plumage is blue. Do you remember?)


Another time of using “Hani” is when you want to say something, at the same time you want to give examples about what you want to say.


Örneğin (for example):


  • Hani ben istemem aslında ama çok ısrar ettiler. Hani gideceğimden değil aslında. Hani üzülmesinler. (Well I did not want it actually, but they insisted. Well it's not because I want to go. Well I don't wanted them to be sad.)


I do not recommend you to use this word too often. It is just annoying! But people do use it.


I hope that after reading this article, you get the sense of the nuances and differences of how a native Turk would speak. Well: you are now 100% Turkish (kiddings, this takes practice). Maybe try finding a teacher on italki to help you improve your Turkish. Keep on learning and improving. Bravo!


Hero image by Matthew Dix (CC0 1.0)