Columbia    Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures

The MEALAC Turkish Program

Language Coordinator: Etem Erol

Introduction | Objectives | Frequently Asked Questions | Resources


The Modern Turkish language program at MEALAC offers courses at the elementary, intermediate and advanced levels. Each level is taught over two semesters, which means that students can pursue the study of Modern Turkish for three years or more if they take Ottoman Turkish as a directed study.

All of our courses aim to develop all five skills, namely listening, speaking, reading, writing and culture. The three (plus) year program offers courses at all levels.

Courses and Objectives

1.MDESW1911 - Elementary Modern Turkish I (fall) and II(spring)
  • For beginners who wish to acquire basic reading, writing and conversation skills in modern Turkish
  • Maintaining simple conversation on familiar topics
  • Reading simple passages
  • Writing simple paragraphs on topics such as a typical day
2.MDESW1913 - Intermediate Modern Turkish I (fall) and II(spring)
  • Discussing general and specific topics such as current events, traveling and issues related to Turkish culture
  • Reading and understanding simple short stories and descriptive, non-technical texts with the help of a dictionary
  • Understanding the main points of lectures and television programs
  • Writing summaries, short essays and expressing opinions
3.MDESW4911 Advanced Turkish II
  1. Reading and understanding newspaper articles, essays and short stories on various topics with the help of a dictionary.
  2. Building vocabulary and practicing in all four language skills
  3. Discussing specialized topics and being able to describe, narrate, argue a point.
  4. Writing cohesive and articulate summaries, accounts and critical essays.
  5. Learning about the Turkish society, history, politics and culture.
4.Intermediate Ottoman
A reading course intended for advanced students of modern Turkish or native speakers who intend to carry out research in Ottoman Turkish. Its purpose is to prepare students for research on sources that appear in printed format and paleographic styles of 19th and early 20th centuries. In the first part of the course a sampler of newspapers, memoirs andofficial documents are examined, after which students are exposed to simple and more complex examples of paleographic documents of Ottoman archives for the same period. Students are expected to have completed at least one year of Persian or Arabic language before registering.