My Turkish ability is still very limited, and there is no excuse for it except for laziness and indecisiveness. I am very embarrassed to say that I have studied Turkish in an erratic manner since 2003 when I first came to this country as a wide-eyed tourist. It's 2015 and I'm still at the beginner level.
Also I never developed a good strategy to learn the language. I relied too much on one or two books. But then again the resources to learn Turkish were rather limited in my town. The first book I used was published in the early 60s with the result that some of the vocabulary was out of date. I also did not avail myself of the Internet where there are some rather good resources.
So here I am, but somehow me and the Turks understand each other even in situations where their English is nil and mine is almost nil. I know a lot of words, but my aptitude at composing sentences is not good, but now that I plan to try to live in Turkey permanently I know I must place myself in a mindset in which it is imperative that I learn the language. I do understand how Turkish works and the logic behind it. I realize that I'm going to need more than the Teach Yourself Series which is relatively good. Much more is required. Two weeks ago I bought a grammar and dialogue book from D&R bookstore inside the mall up the street from here. Bookstores went into extinction at the mall in my town some years ago. Once there was one on both floors and they were my chief reason to hang out at the mall. Amazon more than likely hasten their demise. It's a good feeling to live very near to a bookstore here which does carry a few books in English and some Turkish language resources.
I also came to realize that I did not spend enough time studying daily. When I got myself in my last study routine previous to coming back to Turkey I only applied myself to the language about 30 to 45 minutes a day. I believed that more time would overload my brain and that I would forget everything. Maybe just studying in snippets daily would help, but I was probably wrong. Anyway, forgetting is a natural part of language learning. Words will eventually stick over time. Some are easier to remember than others.
Also mentally little demons of doubts encroached telling me, "You just might be a little too old to learn a language. You probably will be about 60 before you grasp Turkish." I would try not to think such negative thoughts because I knew they were nonsense. I had read that learning a new language is good for the brain at any age. Also in the last two years starting at age 51 I began to have a few problems with my memory. It seems to be leveling out now, and I appear to be returning to my old self with a very sharp ability to recall and retain things. But hitting my 50s brought in an entire landfill of self doubt. I always had self esteem issues, but it never affected my love and desire to learn. I have such admiration for people who are bi- or multi-lingual. America discourages people from learning languages. Having the capability to speak another language is almost perceived by some as un-American, treasonous. This is catastrophic ignorance which is really going to hurt and is already hurting Americans in international forums. I feel one of several signs of an educated and cultured person is the ability to speak more than one language.
So I have begun to use several books and the internet, and I feel I will eventually be able to communicate well enough in Turkish. I need persistance which is an important tactic in learning any language. You will remain at one level if there is fear and a lack of persistance.
Now my task is to try to stay on track in my studies. One advantage I have is that I am not afraid to make mistakes.