Turkish is the official language of the Republic of Turkey and one of the official languages of Cyprus. It originated many centuries ago in the Northern Siberian Altay Mountain Range. Nomadic people brought the language with them as they expanded out to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and a number of other countries. Today, Turkish is the most commonly spoken Turkic language worldwide.
Turkish is a phonetic language with 29 letters derived from the Latin alphabet. Each letter represents only one sound. The decoding of Turkish words is assisted by a familiarity with English or other languages that use the Latin alphabet. Learning Turkish is also aided by the regularity of the grammatical system and the agglutinated nature of the language (that is, the addition of suffixes to root words regulates grammatical elements and generates new words and meanings, for example, the root word gör (see) becomes görmek (to see) and gördüm (I saw)).
While Turkish uses the same Latin alphabet as English, the pronunciation of some letters differs significantly. The use of diacritics on some letters represents an extra complexity. While the grammatical system is comparatively regular, there are differences between it and languages spoken by some learners, for example, the lack of gender forms and articles such as ‘the’ in English. The Turkish word order is subject + object + verb; however, this may change in spoken language or when there is variation in required emphasis or meaning, as when the word whose meaning is emphasised is placed closest to the verb.
Understanding the diverse language backgrounds and competencies of students, as language learners, is the starting point for developing their language learning. The changing pattern of migration to Australia is extending the range of languages students bring with them to school.
Teachers will use the Turkish F–10 curriculum to cater for learners of different backgrounds by making appropriate adjustments to differentiate learning experiences for these students.
In the Languages curriculum area the focus is on both language and culture, as students learn to communicate meaningfully across linguistic and cultural systems, and different contexts. This process involves reflection and analysis, as students move between Turkish and their own existing language(s). It is a reciprocal and dynamic process which develops language use and intercultural awareness and understanding.
The intercultural language learning orientation of the curriculum explores the cultural dimension that shapes and is shaped by languages. Those students who are background language learners of Turkish already have lived experience of this relationship, ‘living between’ Turkish and English in the Australian context. The curriculum gives students opportunities for analysis, explicit focus and reflection on this lived experience and further opportunities to participate in intercultural experiences, to extend their ways of perceiving and being in the world, and to understand themselves as culturally, biculturally and interculturally situated.
Students use a wide range of texts designed for language learning, such as textbooks, teacher-generated materials and online resources. Their learning is enriched by exposure to a range of authentic Turkish texts from the language being studied, such as websites, films, stories, songs, television programs, advertisements and magazines. The texts and resources will become increasingly sophisticated and varied as students progress through their schooling.
Students are encouraged to use Turkish as much as possible for classroom routines, social interactions, structured learning tasks, and language experimentation and practice.
Students will have opportunities to engage with members of the community who speak Turkish, which in some cases will be facilitated via digital technologies.
English is used for discussion, explanation and reflection, enabling students to develop a language for sharing ideas about language and culture.