Introduction. About the language and the method
Turkish language is in Top 20 of common languages in the world. It's considered native by over 77 million people, and is spoken by 83 mln overall. Turkish belongs to agglutinative languages (lat. agglutination – sticking). While in Russian, English, French etc. context of the word is determined by means of various auxiliary parts and pronouns placed in front it (We are at school), in Turkish it's expressed by means of affixes attached to the word in specific order (Okuldayiz – school-at-we-are).
Translated syllable by syllable and word-for-word, phrases will look like gibberish. I recommend you right away: don't try perceiving Turkish or any other foreign language through the prism of your native tongue. Do you remember the test when one must put geometrical pieces into respective hollows? Indeed, sane person won't shove pyramidion into square container… if triangular one is around. But, if you've never dealt with agglutination before, you don't have the appropriate cavity. So you'll have to take that pyramidion and indent a completely new hollow – fortunately, brain is pliant enough for this.
Actually, Turkish is simple in its consistency. Grammar and pronunciation are pretty unambiguous – once you learn some rule, you can use it everywhere with no hesitation. Some difficulties may arise in memorizing words, because of their unusual sounding. We're always trying to correlate new with the familiar – in particular, it's much easier to learn languages that sound similar to our own. However, even if we don't know the language but hear it in music, movies, TV series, conversations around us, ears gradually get used to it, and there's some base for the time when we'll start consciously studying the language. Turkish is almost unrepresented, at least in my homeland.
Nonetheless, due to the logicality of word formation understanding comes fast. Many new learners are curious how much time it takes to master the language. Personally I first opened the textbook in the beginning of 2007; in a couple of years of unsystematical and unstrained training speech has become quite fluent. At that point I was able to express any abstract thought without simplification, using synonyms and descriptions if I didn't know translations of particular words. Now there's a process of further vocabulary expansion and learning various curious nuances – a process of advancement that will go on during the whole life.
I hope that my experience will serve as a tip for people who study Turkish by themselves or with a tutor. All of this will be presented in figurative words of a person far from grammar and tuition, who's explaining the things the way they were experienced. I'll tell about the stages of my own way, about the methods I used, will analyze some aspects that were particularly complex and interesting for me. Techniques described have helped me, but I recommend applying them carefully – people are different, and the approach is short of antiscientific. Like some sort of witch potion – effect is quick and strong, but ingredients are picked by intuition, and not every organism will endure.
There's an important remark. No matter which method you'll employ, envision your goal and try achieving and surpassing it. In a way this system can be called "express-method", but the express must speed towards a point on the horizon, not to crash into some fixed barrier or go completely off the rails.