Which Languages Are Spoken In Istanbul?: Understanding The Diversity Of The Turkish Culture

Istanbul is the most crowded city in Turkey and one of the most crowded cities in the world. Since 1453, Istanbul has been a multicultural city that harbors people of different ethnicities, beliefs and cultures. Istanbul still carries its multicultural aspect in the 21st century. Wherever you go, you can see people from different countries and ethnicities. 

This diverse culture affects the language spoken in Istanbul without a doubt.

Turkish is the only official language of Turkey. More than 70 per cent of the population speaks Turkish. Even though Turkish has many dialects, Istanbul Turkish is the most commonly used and accepted one. The second most spoken language in Turkey, as well as Istanbul, is Kurdish. Especially people who are from Eastern Turkey learn Kurdish from childhood and speak it as their second language. Alongside Kurdish, the immigrants who came to Turkey or Istanbul back in the day also speak their own languages in their homes such as Bosnian, Tatar, Georgian, Crimean and Albanian. In recent years, the refugees coming specifically from Syria changed the language demographics of not only Istanbul but also Turkey in general. With each passing day, Arabic is becoming a frequently used language on the streets of Istanbul. Due to its diverse nature, Istanbul is continuing to evolve and change as the world is changing.

The foreign languages that are mostly spoken in Istanbul are English,

German and French. English is the most dominant among all. Nowadays, high school and university students are speaking English fluently and you can also hear English in the touristic areas in Istanbul. However, the public is not as much knowledgeable in foreign languages in general. German and French are less common and usually taught as secondary elective languages whereas English is the primary.


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