Talk Like a Local: 10 Essential Turkish Slang Words and Phrases

Slang is such a big part of language that incorporating it into your learning process is a definite must. If you don’t know any slang, you’ll have a hard time talking with people in real world situations and this can definitely stunt your language growth. Turkish is a beautiful language, but it is full of slang and unique phrases which are important for you to know if you want to talk like a native. So read on to find out 10 Turkish slang words and phrases you should start using today:

1. Buyurun = Please

Although buyurun’s literal meaning translates as please, this phrase is used for so much more than that! This single word can be utilized in many different situations and has meanings which range from “here you are”, “come into my shop”, and even “take my seat” (if you’re giving up your seat on the bus to an elder). Who knew you could say so much with so little!

CCompliment the chef by saying "Elenize sağlık". // Image via Flickr

2. Elenize sağlık = Health to your hands.

This slang phrase is used when you want to thank someone for cooking you a delicious meal. Although you would probably reserve its use for when you are invited to someone’s house to eat, you can also say it to a cook at a restaurant or food stand if you find their dishes particularly amazing.

3. Halin keyfin nasıl ? = How’s your mood?

This phrase is used as a more casual way to ask someone how they are doing. It can translate into several versions of “how are you?” including “how’s it going?” and “how are you keeping?” Just make sure you’re using it in the right situations!

4. Güle güle kullanin = Use it smiling.

You might find yourself a little confused the first time you hear this if you don’t know what it means. This phrase can be said to someone when they buy something. It’s the equivalent of wishing them good health/luck when they use that new item.

Photo_2_"Inşallah" means "God willing" and is frequently heard in Turkey. // Image via Flickr

5. Inşallah = God willing.

Although this phrase doesn’t fall under the ‘slang’ category, it’s still a very important one to know in Turkey where it is used on a daily basis. Have you ever heard the saying “man plans and God laughs”? Well this phrase is related to that, because when you say it you are avoiding bad luck by putting too much stock in your own plans.

6. Allah Allah = Good Lord.

Just like the English phrase “Good Lord”, this Turkish saying is used rather loosely to indicate surprise or astonishment. It has many meanings including, “wow”, “oh my goodness”, and “really?” so use it freely in your everyday life!

7. Afiyet olsun = May it be good for you.

After you finish complimenting someone’s cooking skills with #2, you may hear them say this particular phrase back at you. Its meaning can be construed as similar to saying “bon appétit” to someone but can be used before, during, or even after a meal.

8. Kolay gelsin = May it come easy.

This is the sort of phrase you’ll want on hand if you are approaching someone who is working. For example, you would use this phrase when approaching a tourist or airline counter. It serves as a greeting and is a polite way to show deference to a busy employee.

Photo_3 (7)Your friend got engaged? Congratulate them with "Aferin sana". // Image via Pixabay

9. Aferin sana = Good for you.

You should use this nifty phrase in order to show happiness for someone. If a friend buys a new car, you can say “aferin sana” and then follow it up with #4 (“ güle güle kullanin”) to really impress them with your Turkish skills.

10. Naber = What’s up?

If you really want to blend in with your use of slang, then this word is for you. This is a very casual way to greet someone and can also translate as “what’s new?”. Remember though, use it wisely and only in situations where you are very familiar with the person you are saying it to.

Now that you know some key Turkish slang and phrases, you’re probably excited to try your knowledge out in the real world. However, knowing a few good sentences won’t get you far when trying to communicate in Turkish. Instead of creating a faux pas situation for yourself, sign up for some top-tier language classes and use online language tests to build a strong language foundation. Whether you’re wowing with your grammatical language skills or your cool use of local slang and phrases, you’ll be sure to impress wherever you go!