Monday, January 24, 2011

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled…

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled…
You would be surprised at the number of foreigners when it comes time to get out of a dolmuş (shared taxi) who have said in a loud voice to make sure the driver hears “inek var” instead of “inecek var.” Instead of saying “I want to get out,” the person said, “There is a cow.”

Not everyone in the world speaks English. According to the CIA World Factbook, only 5.6 percent of the world’s total population speaks English as a primary language. Embarrassingly enough, the United States is supposedly the only industrialized country that routinely graduates students from high school who lack knowledge of a foreign language.

Learning another language opens up new opportunities and gives you perspectives that you might never have encountered otherwise. Without the ability to communicate and understand a culture on its own terms, you will be limited in understanding. For example, one of the most revealing cultural aspects for many who study Turkish is the lesson where the teacher explains about when you break something.

In Turkish when something has broken, you say that it broke, whereas in English you would say, “I broke it.” It gives you a sense that things just seem to happen here and for no reason… Two phrases that you will hear often and pick up quickly as a result are the expressions “bilmem” (I don’t know) and “bir şey değil” (it’s nothing; it doesn’t matter). The encounter with cultures different from one’s own leads to tolerance of diverse lifestyles and customs

Saying goodbye to family and friends can be hard, but travel abroad can be rewarding. If you are looking at spending much time in Turkey, learning the language opens up a world of social opportunities. Turks are very pleased if you attempt to learn their language, and they will usually make an effort to understand you.

Turkish is somewhat challenging. One of the main features of Turkish is vowel harmony, the fact that suffixes accommodate the vowels in words. A second challenge is the difficulty in pronunciation. How well you do in this area depends a lot on your nationality, and if you have ever studied a foreign language. Finns, Hungarians and Germans tend to pick up the correct pronunciation easier than some other nationalities. Turkish has a few vowels that can provide some difficulty. A few of us native English speakers from the southern states in America have to work a little harder on those vowels.

It is good to know and use the following set phrases:

* Nasılsınız? - How are you?- Always asked when you see someone.

* İyiyim - I am fine - Set response - Then ask them how they are.

* Memnun oldum - Pleased to meet you - Said when introduced for the first time.

* Afiyet olsun - Bon appétit - Said at the meal table.

* Elinize sağlık - Health to your hands - Said to the cook, by guests, often in response to afiyet olsun.

* Geçmiş olsun - May it pass - Said if someone is ill, or has a problem.

* Çok yaşa! - Live long! - Said if someone sneezes.

* Siz de görün! - May you see it! - Said in response by the one who sneezed.

* Kolay gelsin! - May it be easy! - Said if you see someone doing physical work.

* İyi çalışmalar! - Happy working! - Said to colleagues, or someone else who is working.

* Güle güle oturun! - Live smilingly! - Said when someone moves house.

* Güle güle giyin! - Wear it smilingly! - Said when someone has new clothes.

* Güle güle kullanın! - Use it smilingly! - Said when someone has something new.

* Gözünüz aydın! - Light to your eyes! - Said to new parents when a baby is born.

* Allah kavuştursun! - May God let you meet again! - Said when someone leaves a loved one (to go to another town, etc.)...[CONTINUED BELOW]

Monday, January 17, 2011

Memories of İstanbul

A nice piece about Istanbul that we are sure you will enjoy !

[EXPAT VOICE] Memories of İstanbul

05 November 2010, Friday / Chris Deliso*

I don’t remember much of the things that have happened to me in İstanbul or, at least not the circumstances surrounding them.

I cannot recall them in an ordered narrative; more than any other place, what comprises my memories of İstanbul is independent images, dreams that glow brightly but then disappear, luminous objects that just slip away when you reach for them.

I had never expected to go to İstanbul, much less to live there. It was a coincidence, or fate, that sent me the first time. But the second time, the third, the fourth and so on? Perhaps there is some irresistible magnetism…


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How an American Bird Became Known as a Turkey

How an American Bird Became Known as a Turkey
by Stephen Messenger, Porto Alegre, Brazil on 11.23.10

For a species of bird found only in the forests of North America and so symbolic of a U.S. holiday, the humble turkey sure has an oddly Eurasian name -- but have you ever stopped to consider why? Well, it turns out that the origins of how this jowly bird arrived at its strikingly Turkish title reflect the history of its international popularity. The misnomer, as you well know, has yet to be corrected -- making turkeys one of the most curiously named birds on the planet.

To pin down an answer to why one of North America's most celebrated birds came to be named after a distant nation all one has to do is look at the history of global commerce.
How an American Bird Became Known as a Turkey

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ten Turkish proverbs

Oh how we like our Turkish proverbs !  We are sure you will enjoy this article !

[EXPAT VOICE] Ten Turkish proverbs

06 November 2010, Saturday / Melanie Ann Çakır

Like most foreigners, when I used to visit Turkey for holidays I found the Turkish language quite unfathomable and the few words I learned resolutely refused to stay in my head for more than an hour.

When I moved here, I resolved to learn the language and set about it with a rather imposing book that seemed to introduce all the most alien, and therefore hardest, points of grammar in the first 20 pages or so! Despite this, after 17 years, I am fascinated by the Turkish language.

It seems to me to be a language of contrasts, managing to be on one hand logical and economical and on the other, imaginative and poetic. As a teacher of both English and Turkish (to British people settling here) I really appreciate its logic; the rules might be very different to those of most European languages but they are usually strictly adhered to. The economical use of words can also take time for students to get used to but once they do, most appreciate the simplicity of the Turkish. In place of the English “I haven't got a red pen but I have got a blue one,” for example, how neat is the Turkish “kırmızı kalemim yok, mavi var” (literally “my red pen there isn't, blue there is”)!

[EXPAT VOICE] Ten Turkish proverbs

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Another great video on Istanbul - not to be missed !

Another great video on Istanbul - not to be missed !

Oh how we miss Istanbul...

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