The Artificial Neural Network Modeling of Language Learning Challenges of French-Speaking Students Learning Turkish as a Foreign Language: The Case of France

By Kartal, Erdogan | Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri, February 2019 | Go to article overview

The Artificial Neural Network Modeling of Language Learning Challenges of French-Speaking Students Learning Turkish as a Foreign Language: The Case of France


Kartal, Erdogan, Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri


As a result of the fast-paced developments in the area of informatics and communications throughout the second half of the last century, we have stepped into what is commonly defined as the "Informatics" Revolution, following the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions (Kongar, 2002). This process is characterized by rapid transformation in every area of life, especially during the first quarter of the new millennium. A natural consequence of such change and transformation is that modern populations find themselves at the center of a global interaction circle (Göçer & Moğul, 2011). This interaction brings with it an increase in the scientific, political, artistic, cultural, and commercial relations between populations/countries. This, in turn, makes multilingualism and multiculturalism all the more important in the globalizing world, making the learning of a foreign language necessary, even indispensable. That is why the learning of a/several foreign language(s), which used to be considered a privilege, is now considered a necessity (Kahriman, Dağtaş, Çapoğlu, & Ateşal, 2013). In addition, along with this process of interaction, the languages and cultures of hegemonic and influential nations have become increasingly significant. Aside from Turkey's indisputable geopolitical and geographical position in the world, social, political, and economic developments recently shaping the world conjuncture, the Middle East in particular, are pushing the country to the forefront of the international scene. Likewise, due to its rich history of several great cultures and civilizations, both past and present, its ever-growing foreign trade volume and its place as one of the most important tourist destinations globally, Turkey holds a privileged position not only among other countries but also, and most importantly, among the neighboring and regional states. Hence, there is an increasing foreign interest in Turkey and a continual growth in the number of Turkish speakers (Özyürek, 2009).

Gaining increasing importance, due to the above-mentioned social and political factors, the Turkish language attracts great interest not merely from those who wish to get to know the country's culture and people better but also from those wishing to establish trade relations with the country, to study or even to live in Turkey, either temporarily or permanently. It is also in high demand in distant regions, where prospective Turkish speakers also have many distinct reasons for learning the language. The main motivations behind foreigners' interest in learning to speak Turkish abroad are academic purposes, commercial activities, diplomatic contacts, cultural interests in the Turks and Turkey, in particular an inclination to become acquainted with an European Union membership candidate, etc. (Erdem, 2009).

Belonging to the Ural-Altaic family of languages, Turkish is one of the world's most widespread languages, with approximately 220 million users (Akar, 2013), used in a vast area ranging from Anatolia to the Balkans (Ercilasun, 2011). According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) facts, Turkish is the fifth most-spoken modern language in the world (Güzel & Barın, 2013). Although Turkish is a widespread and significant language, Turkey is the first among countries where Turkish is the native language. Turkey has earned a distinct significance with the ever-growing demand for learning Turkish. We have also witnessed some universities giving impetus to the teaching of Turkish, as the process of teaching Turkish has become increasingly institutionalized, starting from the 1950s onward. Boğaziçi and Ankara Universities are at the forefront of these developments and they have published the very first sources on the teaching of Turkish as a foreign language (Erdem, 2009). From the first half of the 1980s onward, following an initiative for teaching Turkish to foreigners, official Turkish centers (TÖMERs) have been established, inspired by the world's leading language and cultural centers affiliated with major universities worldwide: the British Council (English), Goethe Institute (German), and Instituto Cervantes (Spanish) (Ayaz & Akkaya, 2010). …

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