This article is a review of TurkishClass101.com, an online resource for learning Turkish through audio podcasts.
In this review, I'll take you inside the premium members area and show you the main features of the website, then give you my honest assessment of the quality of the product, so you can decide whether it's right for you.
TurkishClass101 Review: Summary
- Very substantial – tonnes of lessons for all levels
- Easy to use lesson format – audio lessons and handy mobile app
- Dialogues are too short
- Too much “lesson” content, not enough Turkish!
- Lots of advertising, up-selling, and cross-promoting related products once you sign up
A premium TurkishClass101 subscription costs $180 USD per year.
TurkishClass101 is a good, engaging resource – especially for beginner and intermediate levels.
Their bite-sized approach to study materials makes them a great choice for busy people and those who struggle with motivation, but it’s certainly no kind of shortcut – you’ll still have to put in lots of effort!
(My top recommendation for Turkish learners is TurkishUncovered, which teaches you through StoryLearning®. Click here to read more about Turkish Uncovered, which will be released in 2021.)
What Is TurkishClass101?
TurkishClass101 is an online subscription programme for Turkish learners of all levels.
Subscribers get access to an extensive library of Turkish audio lessons (and a few video lessons) as well as a number of other learning tools, such as Turkish vocabulary lists, Turkish flashcards and an English-Turkish audio dictionary.
All of the content included in the premium subscription is available to access through a web browser, as well as a tablet-friendly mobile app.
A Look Inside TurkishClass101
Lessons in TurkishClass101 are arranged into five proficiency levels. Each level has a number of different ‘seasons', or sets of lessons, with an average of 25 lessons per set (although some have fewer or a lot more).
This adds up to a huge library of Turkish podcast lessons – meaning TurkishClass101 is quite a substantial resource.
However, the seasons don’t follow a structured, linear course and you’re free to choose what you want to learn each day. So, with all that content, it’s really difficult to know where to start!
One feature that helps is called ‘Learning Paths'. A path is a sequence of lessons based on a specific topic or area of learning.
For example, beginners can choose from learning paths like ‘Can Talk About The Weather’, ‘Using Correct Turkish at the Bank’, and ‘Lessons For your Flight to Turkey.’ Each of these will open up a list of short podcast lessons.
I like this idea, because it makes it easier for you to decide where to start. It also gives you a clear picture of what you'll have learnt once you complete the learning path.
There is also the option of following a curated pathway, which will give you 25 lessons (50 for Absolute Beginners.)
What's Included In Each Lesson?
Each lesson contains 3 audio tracks:
- Full Lesson Audio (or Video)
- Review Track
- Dialogue-Only Track
Most of the lessons follow this format:
- Dialogue in Turkish
- Repetition of the dialogue with a translation
- Discussion of the story and cultural insights
- Explanation of key vocabulary and phrases
- Explanation of new grammar
Once you've completed the main lesson, you can use the review and dialogue-only tracks to practice what you've learned.
In the review track, you can hear all of the new vocabulary in isolation, with English translations.
In the dialogue-only track, you can hear the Turkish dialogue again, but without a translation. This is the track I recommend you work with the most.
The TurkishClass101 lesson notes and grammar explanations, which are found at the end of each lesson, are very thorough compared to those in many other LanguagePod courses.
Next, let's take a look at a few of the more advanced features of TurkishClass101 that you'll find in premium subscriptions…
The most valuable part of TurkishClass101 is the powerful extra features that accompany the lessons. It’s clear that a good effort has been put in to make these features worth having.
The best of these is the interactive dialogues: each line is clickable, so you can click and hear the audio at different speeds, line-by-line, and you can switch the text between Turkish and English. You can also record yourself saying the lines.
This works really well and is ideal for breaking down the dialogues into smaller parts, while listening and reading at the same time. It's also great for improving your vocabulary and practicing your pronunciation.
Accompanying this, you get a list of vocabulary from the dialogue. Again, you can click on these words to hear the audio (at natural speed and slowed down) and see them in writing.
Another cool feature of TurkishClass101 is the personalised flashcard system.
You can choose any vocabulary from your lessons (as long as it’s in the vocab list) and send it to the built-in flashcard system, which is easy to use.
Here, you can create custom flashcard decks and go back to them at any time to review your new Turkish words. The flashcards use a spaced-repetition system, which is a good study tool for remembering words.
There is a limitation, though: these flashcards only show you words in isolation. It’s far more effective to learn words in context, with real sentences people use every day. Without this ability, TurkishClass101’s potentially useful flashcard tool actually has very little benefit to you, after all.
All of the lesson material is also available in downloadable worksheets, in case you want a hard copy of everything. These are basically just PDF versions of lessons – they don’t have any extra features. Nevertheless, this option might work for you if you’re someone who likes going back to lessons later for some offline reading.
Bonus PDFs For Beginners
If you’re an absolute beginner with Turkish, you could benefit from the extra resources that TurkishClass101 offers. This is a tricky stage when you’ll need lots of fundamental info: grammar, phonology, how the modified letters work…
To save you a lot of time and effort trying to piece it all together from the web, TurkishClass101 gives you these foundational things in one place:
- Overviews of the language
- Turkish Alphabet Chart
- A Guide to Turkish Pronunciation
- Introduction to Turkish Grammar
- Turkish Key Phrases
- 2000 Most Common Words
Other Notable Features
Some other cool features include a quiz function, which gives you easy vocabulary and writing tests based on language from the lessons, and an online Turkish-English / English-Turkish audio dictionary.
This dictionary is on your Dashboard and has a handy search bar. It contains all of the language from the lessons, as well as an audio function so you can hear the pronunciation of the word you looked up. Hopefully in the future they’ll include useful words that aren’t in the lessons, so you can look up any Turkish word you want.
TurkishClass also has a blog where you’ll find learning tips and interesting articles.
TurkishClass101 Review: What I Like
There are some really great aspects to TurkishClass101…
- It's a very substantial resource. There are lots of lessons for all levels, especially for beginners, and the library is updated regularly with new material. Some of the bonus features make nice visual aids – such as the printable, colourful vocab cheatsheets.
- The course is well-designed. It's not easy to select and produce graded material for an entire language course… but the content is impressive. Grammar points and vocabulary get repeated through all the levels, which helps to reinforce what you've learnt.
- The podcast lessons are short and the video presenters are very likeable, so they're perfect for anyone who lacks motivation, or is looking for an easy way to start.
- The difficulty levels are just right. Once you figure out what your current level is and get going, you'll find that the progression from level to level is logical.
- Vocabulary is well-selected and the dialogues are based on life-like situations. This means the lessons teach useful, authentic language – the kind of Turkish that's actually spoken by people in Turkey.
- The line-by-line clickable dialogues with audio, transcription and translation are AWESOME. For me, this is the main benefit of the product.
- The handy mobile app allows you to easily listen to podcast episodes on the go. Lessons can be synced across all of your devices, and you can even use the line-by-line audio feature on your phone.
TurkishClass101 Review: What I Don't Like
For all the positives, there are also quite a few significant downsides to TurkishClass101:
- The Turkish dialogues in each lesson are too short. This might help absolute beginners, but it’s frustrating as you become more advanced. The better your understanding of Turkish becomes, the less English you want to be hearing. By upper intermediate, I found myself craving authentic, higher level language I could sink my teeth into. At the advanced level there’s a pretty decent list of uninterrupted Turkish audios, but they’re all no more than one or two minutes long, and mostly of the ‘Top 10’ variety.
- The promotional banners, emails and constant calls to upgrade, even after you’ve bought the course, get really annoying. Seeing this advertising displayed on your personal learning pages, in every lesson, definitely detracts from the user experience.
- Not enough reading and writing practice. These are essential skills when learning a language, so they need to be included right from the start. However, TurkishClass101 only offers the awesome writing exercises to Premium Plus members – not ideal!
- The lessons are not as much fun as in other LanguagePod courses. To be fair, the presenters are very professional, but the dialogues sound scripted and there’s not much personality.
- The vocabulary lists and flashcards work with single words out of context, which is a big missed opportunity. Context is everything! If you're a regular reader, you'll know how much I go on about this. Words are learned far better with memorable associations than from lists of vocabulary. Sure, you can see the words in context within the dialogues, and the flashcards often have sample phrases, but this isn’t enough. With Turkish, you’ll battle to master the tricky pronunciations if you don’t get used to hearing new words in full sentences.
- Lots of teaching, not much immersion. Turkish is one of the better LanguagePod courses in some ways, but there’s still a lack of listening and speaking opportunities. Don’t get me wrong – the teaching of Turkish grammar and vocabulary here is good quality! But if you extract the dialogue from a lesson, there’s little more than 30 seconds of sustained listening in Turkish. I would love to see more opportunity for extensive listening, so that you can just enjoy the language without always having to learn something new. Even the advanced audio blogs max out at 2 minutes and are not the most fun topics.
- Vocabulary lists from the lessons don't always contain all the useful words from the dialogues. Instead, they're words that are related to the topic. While there's no harm in seeing related vocabulary, the fact that you haven't heard it in the dialogue makes it a bit random. It would be much more useful to focus on only the vocab that you've just heard. Often, you hear a word in a lesson and want to know what it means, but it's not in the vocab list! You can look it up in the searchable dictionary (and from there, export it to a flashcard deck), but it's an unnecessary detour that interrupts the user experience.
- Very few pathways for Upper Intermediate. It’s disappointing to reach this level and find only four pathways. Beginners get far more learning material and the Advanced section has 80 audio blogs, so I’m not sure why there’s a content gap in Upper Intermediate. It would be great to see a balance between the levels!
How Much Does TurkishClass101 Cost & Is It Worth It?
TurkishClass101 works on a freemium model. This means that it's free to create a basic account, which allows you to sample the first three lessons of each pathway. If you want the rest of the lessons, though, you'll need to pay. Most of the cool features are only available to paid subscribers.
There are various different subscriber options and, as you might as expect, the longer you subscribe for, the cheaper the deal. The prices are quite reasonable, in my opinion.
If you take a one-year premium subscription as our baseline, this costs $180. You can compare this with other commercial products like Rosetta Stone ($399) or Pimsleur ($345 for 30 lessons).
Overall, I think TurkishClass101.com is a substantial and well-made resource for learning Turkish that's easy to consume. And, despite my issues with the teaching format, I think you'll find it useful if you decide to sign up.
However, if you're looking for a comprehensive beginner programme that will take you all the way to the intermediate level in Turkish and that uses a much more fun, engaging and effective method, then I've got something that might suit you better…
Turkish Uncovered: A Better Alternative To TurkishClass101
While TurkishClass101 is reasonably well-structured and has lots of lesson content, it's not the most fun Turkish programme.
That's where Turkish Uncovered is different.
Turkish Uncovered is a comprehensive online beginner course, that takes you from a complete beginner in Turkish up to an intermediate level. And it's fuelled by a fun and unique method called StoryLearning®.
StoryLearning is a process that was invented to teach you languages naturally. It’s so natural, in fact, that it’s based on how human beings learn their native language.
In the course, you'll learn through an exciting original story in Turkish, written especially for beginner learners.
Even though you learn through story, you have a native teacher and experienced language learner by your side all the way through the course giving explanations in English and tips to learn the material fast.
Uncovered teaches all of the key aspects of the language: reading, listening, vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, speaking and writing. So by the time you've finished, you'll be a confident intermediate level Turkish speaker, ready to go out and actually use your Turkish in the real world!
What You Get With Uncovered
- Complete 20-module course to learn to speak Turkish with confidence through StoryLearning™. This is a method that relies on your brain's natural way of learning.
- 60+ video lessons with your experienced Turkish teacher. You'll learn with the same method that's attracted worldwide attention, from the BBC, Independent, Open University, European Commission, El País, and more!
- Learn the secrets I used to learn 8 languages and how to use them yourself to learn to speak with confidence & take part fully in conversations with native speakers.
- Fully downloadable programme so you can learn faster – anywhere, any time, and on any device… even without an internet connection!
- Complete learning material, including audiobook, translations, printable worksheets… everything you need to get started and find success with your language learning!
- Expert pronunciation training videos, so you can perfect your pronunciation and speak like a native from the start.
- Money-back guarantee, so you can buy without risk today, and get a full refund if you don't love it.
If you're determined to learn Turkish and looking for the most fun and effective Turkish course around, I'm confident you'll love Uncovered!
Ready to start? Click here to find out more about Turkish Uncovered and start your language learning journey.