I’ve been spending a lot of time recently – especially this weekend, as I’ve been recovering from food poisoning or stomach flu or something – trying to improve my Turkish. Along the way, I’ve noticed a few really cool things socio-linguistically that I’d like to share.
For example, there are two ways to say hopefully in Turkish: umarım (I hope) and inşallah (God willing). Generally umarım is said by those who are more secularly orientated, while inşallah is said by those who are more religious; however, for those who don’t care one way or the other, they may change their language depending upon who they are talking to. So, you could pepper your conversation with more Islamic terms if you’re talking to religious people, etc.
Last year while I was in Ankara living with a host family, I was unaware of this division and constantly was saying things like inşallah and maşallah to such a high degree that my family finally stopped me and asked me if I was Muslim. When I told them I wasn’t they laughed at me and said “why are you speaking like a Muslim then?”
Right now I can’t think of anymore interesting tidbits about Turkish, but it is definitely a fascinating language. If you buy into the Sun Language Theory – which you absolutely have no reason to do – Turkish is even the mother of all languages of the world. Anyway, I’ll stay on the lookout for more fun facts that are definitely worthwhile.