I'm planning to visit Istanbul again in the second half of December. My GF,who will be graduating from law school and will no longer engage in her University, comes in August to see my parents and friends. She also deliveres a whole lot of textbooks for me in order to study more fervently that I can't easily buy in book stores in Japan.
In August, she will be returning to Japan so my family is opening our house to her throughout her stay.
I've bought a few teach-yourself Turkish books in the past few months.
I'm also trying to read some of the Turkish-language news on the BBC World News site (http://www.bbc.com/turkce), first getting an English translation via GoogleTranslate (Turkish→English or Turkish→Japanese) and the copying the Turkish text little by little into a notebook and trying to work out, from a dictionary and basic grammar book, how each word is being used. I already know "Haberler" very well, for example:
"Haber" is a news story and "-ler" is one of the plural endings. Using GoogleTranslate, the first sentence of the news story comes out as:
İngiltere'nin kuzey şehri Manchester'daki konser alanı Arena'da yaşanan patlamada en az 19 kişi öldü, 50 kişi yaralandı.
At least 19 people have been killed and 50 injured in the explosion in the Arena in the UK's northern city Manchester
So it seems:
<İngiltere>, <'nin> = <England>, <of>
<kuzey>, <şehir> = <north>, <city>
<Manchester>, <'da> <ki> = <Manchester>, <in>, <-ki> <-being there>
<konser>, <alan>, <ni> = <concert>, <area>, <in>
<Arena>, <'da> = <Arena>, <'da>
<yaşanan>, <patlama>, <da> = <experienced>, <explosion>, <in>
<en>, <az> = <very>, <least>
<on dokuz kişi >, <elli kişi > = <19 people>, <50 people>
<öldü>, <yaralandı> = <dead>, <injured> (<-dü>, <-dı>: passive ending <-ed>)
which is extremely similar to Japanese. (It seems that there is a broad band of languages right across Europe and Asia using this kind of sentence grammar, from Estonian and Finnish in the extreme west to Manchurian, Korean and Japanese in the extreme east. So Japanese speakers like me have a natural advantage for learning Turkish. It does not mean I am going to complete it.
For me personally, I find it helps to check these real-language examples from the complex end of the language at the same time as learning much more basic grammar and vocabulary from the simple end. But it takes a big effort to go simple and complex at the same time, so it only works for people who are super-interested in language.
But in both Japan and Turkey they have more practical support roles to keep them going. The Turkish language has quite a lot in common with Japanese too, it seems, especially in the way verbs go to the end of the sentence and all kinds of particle combinations are added onto the back of them to show tense, aspect (simple/continuous), negative/interrogative, conditionals, and so on. There's a vast belt of languages of that kind stretching from Finland and Estonia in the west right across central Asia to Mongolia, Manchuria, and perhaps Korea, in the east, and to some extent, some of the patterns carry over into Japanese too. Of course the Turkish end of the belt has been deeply influenced by Arabic and Persian as well, and then later also by the European languages.