Modern Turkish, spoken by more than 88 million people worldwide, has a rich language history with ancient origins dating back to the 7th century. Early examples of the language have been discovered across vast regions, from Mongolia to Anatolia, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, and Northern Africa. This rich linguistic heritage has given rise to some of the most beautiful and inspiring words in the Turkish language.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
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1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
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1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
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Yakamoz (ya-ka-moz) / Sea sparkle
Yakamoz is used to describe the moment when the moonlight hits the sea’s surface. Scientifically, the word is associated with bioluminescence or the light emitted by sea creatures, who appear like sparkling phosphorescence on the surface.
Aşk (ashk) / Love
One of the most powerful words in the Turkish language, aşk means love. People in Turkey are quite captivated by the emotion and all its ensuing melodrama. The word is used often in Turkish poetry, songs and the country’s famous soap operas.
Işıl (ishil) / Sparkling
A popular name among girls, ışıl is used to describe something that sparkles or is bright. Turkish people will usually use the word twice to really put emphasis on it.
Yürek (yü-reck) / Heart
Depending on the situation, yürek can be used in several ways. Using it at the butcher’s will give you an animal heart in return, but describing someone who has a lot of yürek refers to a person who has a lot of courage.
Babayani (ba-ba-ya-nee) / Unpretentious
Not often used in everyday conversation, but should be, babayani refers to a humble and faithful person who doesn’t care about the material things in life.
Safderun (saf-der-oon) / Endearingly naive
With its roots in the Arabic and Farsi languages, safderun is used to describe a person whose heart is so pure that they are often easily fooled. The word saf in Arabic translates to pure and is also used in Turkish to describe things that are untouched.
Özgürlük (öz-gür-lük) / Freedom
A very powerful word in the Turkish language, özgürlük means freedom or independence. Shorten it to özgür – meaning free – and it becomes a common name among Turkish men.
Sevgi (sev-gee) / Love
Even though sevgi and aşk both mean love, they express different sentiments. Aşk represents a more passionate and intimate love, while sevgi is the kind felt between friends and family. For I love you, Turks say seni seviyorum.
Memnu (mem-noo) / Forbidden
Speaking of love, memnu is used to describe something that is forbidden. One of Turkey’s most famous soap operas, for example, was called Aşk-ı Memnu, and its plot focused on a love that was completely frowned upon and in turn, made for a very exciting watch – at least for those who love drama!
Izzetinefis (iz-zet-ee-ne-feez) / Self-respect
A beautiful term that has its roots in Arabic, izzetinefis is composed of two separate words. Izzet (which is also a popular Turkish name), means excellence and dignity, while nefis signifies the human soul. Izzetinefis represents self-respect and belief in someone’s soul.
Hayal (ha-yal) / Dream
Hayal is used specifically to describe a daydream or hope. A dream you have at night is called a rüya, while to daydream in Turkish is to hayal etmek.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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