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:
Today’s Friday Refrain brings us “Budur” (It’s This) by Atiye. I honestly have no idea how to feel about this song and it’s weird 80’s type feeling. I’m going to air on the side of caution though and say I love it. For those interested, the lyrics roughly mean this:
As a way to combine both practicing my Turkish and continuing the tradition of Friday Refrain (never willing to give this up), I’m going to start throwing Turkish songs into the mix. I’ll do my best to try to translate the song lyrics too so everyone can enjoy. Danielle first showed me this song about two months ago, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to Yolda since then. I love their ephemeral folkishness – it’s exactly the type of music I listen to in English too.
Anyway, the song is roughly saying:
Autumn (sonbahar) touched your hairs
A little remained, from which the roads diverge,
The roads are coming to a halt before me
The roads, they’re taking you from me
You should also go towards there yourself
If there is a laughing sun inside, you’re passing it
You are mixing with the sea
You are returning to your heart
If it doesn’t make complete sense… poetry? Anyway, if you enjoyed the song you can download both of Yolda’s albums for free from their website.
Also, here are the Turkish lyrics too for those who might be interested:
sonbahar değdi saçlarına
az kaldı, birazdan ayrılır yollar
yollar, önümde dururlar
yollar, seni benden alırlar
nereye gitsen de kendinsin
içinde varsa güneş güler geçersin
sen de, karışırsın denize
sen de, dönersin kalbine
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.
“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.
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. Continue reading Turkish Proverbs→
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.
Turkey was created as a staunchly secular country, although slowly religion has been finding its way into the open more and more – either a good thing, or something terrible, depending on who you ask. This extreme separation of religion and society though has lead to a division in language, enabling someone to “speak like a Muslim.” Continue reading Musings On Turkish→