Turkish Tutor consists of interactive language lessons in which you watch short video clips from the popular Turkish TV show "Bizimkiler" and listen to audio clips of dialogue and vocabulary.
UCLA’s Center for Near Eastern Studies and the International Institute are excited to announce the return of Turkish Tutor, now on its own website.
Designed in 2004 by Professor Güliz Kuruoğlu, Turkish Tutor offers interactive language lessons based on video clips from the Turkish family television comedy "Bizimkiler" (“Ours”). Bizimkiler was a long-running popular Turkish sitcom that is familiar to audiences throughout the Middle East. The series aired on Sunday evenings from 1989 through 2002. The amusing format of Turkish Tutor, together with its emphasis on comprehension of spoken Turkish, has made the language program popular with teachers and students across the country.
The site’s technology was recently upgraded to a modern software platform with improved audio and video, while maintaining the content of the original lessons. Each lesson consists of several short video clips from the television comedy, which the learner can start, stop, rewind, fast forward or pause to aid in her or her comprehension of the dialogue. Every scene is also complemented by an audio glossary and a quiz.
The self-paced tool is grounded in studies demonstrating that listening comprehension has an important influence on the acquisition of other language skills, including reading and writing. While Turkish Tutor is aimed at university students, its culturally nuanced lessons are useful to learners from a variety of fields and backgrounds.
Jonathan McCollum, a UCLA graduate student in the history department, describes using Turkish Tutor in his classes, "There are few resources available online for learning or teaching Turkish. Turkish Tutor provides an excellent platform for introducing students to authentic Turkish in a manageable and intelligible manner. It permits students at even the beginner level to listen to and comprehend the sort of authentic language and natural dialogues they would hear on the streets of Turkey. The students were excited to see the characters using the same vocabulary they had been learning in class."
The Center for Near Eastern Studies would like to thank Kaya Mentesoglu, who managed the project, web designer Maxine Tsang, editor Imge Akcakaya, the UCLA International Institute’s Information Services and Technology Group and Güliz Kuruoğlu for making the website available to a new generation of users. Says Mentesoglu, “I am very happy to see my all-time favorite Turkish TV show, "Bizimkiler," has served as a language-practice platform for Turkish learners all over the world for over a decade. I hope that upgrading the Turkish Tutor website to the .Net web platform, with a modern and user-friendly design, will add to this great project’s long life.”
This article was originally posted on September 28, 2015, and updated October 13.