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]

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