German police in Kreuzberg and Neukölln learning Turkish

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

From here on Deutsche Welle in Turkish. A summary of the article:

Some police in the neighborhoods of Kreuzberg and Neukölln, areas with a large Turkish population, have begun learning Turkish. There are 14 police enrolled in the Turkish courses organized by the Berlin Turkish Community (Türkische Gemeinde zu Berlin, Berlin Türk Cemaati in Turkish).

Then a bit about the people taking the courses, still quite basic but they can give their names and say where they work...then mentions that there are about 450,000 immigrants in Berlin, and that police who take courses like this often do so in order to give the message that "we want to understand you" to them.

One of the policemen interviewed said that the opportunity to learn the language was given to him by the police authority itself, and that he thought it would be interesting and decided to start learning it. Another policeman said that he wanted to learn it for personal reasons first as he has Turkish friends and visits Turkey quite often, so when the police announced that they were looking for people who wanted to learn the language he jumped at the opportunity. A third policeman works in Neukölln taking care of incidents such as traffic accidents and theft, and believes knowing Turkish would be a help to his work.

Difficulty: according to the article Turkish is a difficult language for them, not so much grammar as pronunciation, but doesn't go into too much detail. For a beginning student Turkish is actually quite easy to pronounce, except for when you get into words that seem to go on forever and don't resemble anything familiar, like değerlendirdiğimizden, arkadaşlarınızla, or kullanamayacağım, so I assume it's these intimidating words that are difficult to pronounce moreso than the language itself being particularly difficult in that area, as pretty much every sound in Turkish is present in German. The ö and ü that English speakers often have difficulty with are no problem at all for Germans.

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