Tag Archives: proverbs

Turkish Sayings (Part 3)

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Adages, sayings, idioms and proverbs really offer an insight into another language and culture. In some languages – possible in English, for example – sayings don’t really play that large a role. In Turkish, however, there seems to be a saying for essentially every minor interaction you might encounter. Some of the more common ones have already been discussed in Parts 1 and 2.

So, without further ado, here is the next installment of some of my favorite Turkish sayings:

Ayran içtik ayrı düştük

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Turkish Proverbs and Idioms (Part 2)

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Back by (my own) popular demand, here is part two of my series of posts about Turkish proverbs and idioms – exciting!

Sonuna düşünen kahraman olamaz. 

“The one thinking about the end can not be a hero.” I’m not really sure when you would hear this said. I don’t even really remember how I learned this, but I had it conveniently saved in my phone so here it is. I can just imagine some Turkish martial arts movie, though, where the old wise sensei encourages the young student with this droplet of wisdom.

Damlaya damlaya göl olur.

“Drop by drop it becomes a lake.” According to my student this is only ever used in the context of saving money. It is straightforward enough – save enough, and you’ll end up with a huge amount of money.

Hanım köylü.

“From the wife’s village.” This is just the Turkish way of saying that the husband is whipped. Whipped to such a degree, in fact, that he picked up and moved to her hometown.

Hayal kırıklığına uğratmak. 

“To arrive at broken dreams.” This is the idiomatic way of saying that you are frustrated with something. I love the imagery of how being frustrated is associated with a broken dream.

____ senin köpeğin olsun.

“May ____ be your dog.” Dogs are not very highly regarded in Turkey, or actually in Muslim society in general. As such, saying “may ____ be your dog” means that the thing is valueless to you. For example, if someone asks if they can use your car you can respond in this way. It essentially means “of course!” or “what’s it to me?” Apparently this phrase should never be used for food or money, though, as then it becomes offensive as they are necessary for survival.

Turkish Proverbs

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Proverbs and idioms are something that fascinate me to no end. The sayings of a language contain much more information than a cursory glance would suggest, and really provide a handle in which to explore the underlying culture and beliefs of a society. In English proverbs and idioms seem almost regulated to a back burner of as a novelty or cliche; in Turkish, however, idioms are a major part of every day conversation and carry significant weight and wisdom.

So, without further ado, here is a quick list of some great Turkish proverbs I have tried my best to remember over the last three months:

Memleketin doğduğun yer değil, doyduğun yerdir.
“Your home isn’t where you are born, but where you eat to satisfaction.” A coworkers wife told me this last night and said it should become my slogan (which could be easy enough judging by how much I eat in Turkey). Originally being from Ankara, she said, it has already become hers too.
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