A Cultural Divide? Expressions of Sympathy in Turkish & English

When someone dies, it is difficult to know what to say. It is even more difficult to express your sympathy in a foreign language. This blog post from Adventures In Ankara contains the Turkish and English words to say (or write) when you want to express your condolences. It also suggests a cultural difference between how the Turks use their phrase compared to American usage.

Adventures in Ankara

No matter where we are in life, we will come upon a time where we need to know the language to use to express one’s sympathy for the loss of a loved one.  We will never be prepared for death. But after a loss, we don’t want to spend time scrambling to find the right words.  So here they are in both Turkish and English.

Turkish:  Başınız sağolsun
American English pronouciation:  bah•shin•iz•sah•ol•sun

There are no other words that I know of in Turkish to express one’s sympathy.  If you, my readers, know of any, please share them in the comments.  Thank you.


  • I am sorry for your loss.
  • My condolences.
  • Please accept my deepest condolences/sympathies.
  • I am thinking of you in this time of sorrow.  (Used more in writing).
  • I will keep you (and your family) in my thoughts and prayers.

I am sure there are many…

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23 Turkish Phrases I Wish Someone Had Taught Me – from Yabangee.com

This week I came across this really great summary of some common Turkish phrases.  After four and three quarters years of living in Turkey, I must admit that there were still a few of these phrases that I did not know.  Here is the link to read them on Yabangee.com:

23 Turkish Phrases I Wish Someone Had Taught Me – Yabangee.

The photo above is a very common sight.  The minibus (dolmus) holds 14 people legally.  But they often take in more than that.  If you ask me, “Masallah”, in this instance, should mean, “May God Help Us!”