IWTYAL 009: How can I avoid confusing two languages?

itunesButtonToday’s episode features a question from Nicki: “I’m learning Turkish and Kurmanji, how can avoid confusing them on my trip to Turkey?”

In this episode:

  • What is Kurmanji and where is it spoken?
  • The surprising roots of Turkish
  • Learning 2 languages at the same time
  • Soufflé and Baked Alaska

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Map of Kurdistan (click to enlarge):

kurmanji kurdistan



Chocolate souffle1


Baked Alaska:


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  • Nicky crane

    Thanks, Olly!
    I love your souffle/alaska illustration.
    And I had since realised that Kurmanji is not a Turkic language. In fact Albanian, the language in which I live and function most of the time, Turkish and Kurmanji have many common or similar words, presumably coming through Arabic to Turkish to Albanian, maybe also coming by this route to Kurmanji.
    I absolutely agree about concentrating on one language at a time. But
    sometimes people have to come before totally uncompromised principles. I hope to go to Turkey next month, and shall let you know how I get on!
    I think I’m going to move as quickly as possible from Istanbul to Kurdistan. When in Istanbul, I should be able to talk some Kurdish, so I shall just work at basic phrases of Turkish for functioning as a tourist. And shall have them on Turkish/Kurdish flashcards. My Kurmanji is probably already better than my Turkish, and far less rusty!

    • Hi Nicky, I absolutely agree that you should put people first, so go for it! Lots of luck, and let us know how you get on during your trip!