“Self-Learning French Coursebooks” as Part of French Education in Post Tanzimat Era of the Ottoman Empire

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Çanaklı L. A., Alabay S.

Journal of Education and Learning, vol.11, no.2, pp.104-111, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.5539/jel.v11n2p104
  • Journal Name: Journal of Education and Learning
  • Journal Indexes: ERIC (Education Resources Information Center)
  • Page Numbers: pp.104-111
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


French teaching in Ottoman Turkey found its actual speed with the Tanzimat period (the political reforms made

in the ottoman state in 1839). Until the proclamation of the Republic, and even until the 1950s, French was

considered the leading carrier of Western culture and civilization in Turkey, and teaching French was deemed

necessary. However, it cannot be said that this was a very successful and sufficient period for French and foreign

language teaching in general. Failure to fulfill the primary conditions of language teaching, such as teacher,

material, and method, has been the main problem of foreign language teaching. When the lack of schooling is

added, “self-learning French” books have emerged as an opportunity for teaching French, although they are not

many. The five books discussed in the article, written in Turkish using the Arabic alphabet between 1867 and

1928, mostly describe the basic pronunciation rules, word types, sentence features, and grammatical information

of French, starting with the alphabet, in a plain language and style. Although there was a good variety of

French-Turkish dictionaries at that time, since economic conditions did not allow everyone to acquire a glossary,

and even if there was an opportunity, which dictionary to choose is a different problem, as a standard feature in

all of them, the vocabulary parts of the books were kept very wide. Books; It has been seen that both of them are

successful when the measures such as showing the pronunciation of French words, grammatical knowledge that

is not suffocating, broad vocabulary, the relevance of French and Turkish translation texts, page structure,

language, and simplicity of expression are taken into account.