Lost in Translation


Thanks to Cukurbagli’s http://cukurbagli.wordpress.com/ comment below it turns out that I still cannot speak Türkçe properly!  Finger’s crossed I chose the right translation. 

This Meme could not be further from the current predicament that I find myself in.  It is impossible to keep calm and learn Türkçe (no that is not a typo, it is the correct translation for Turkish).  Learning Türkçe is a time-consuming pain in my arse.  I am useless not just with Türkçe but with languages in general.  I can, of course, swear in many languages (I think swearing is the first thing you learn when you arrive in a country) but conversational Türkçe is proving more laborious than my pea sized brain can handle.  The Turk (in this case my husband) has suggested that I take a language course at Mersin University but this will not start for a couple of months so in the meantime I muddle through as best as I can.

It is easy for me to be confused learning this language.  From going to the market to a conversation over the fence I get embarrassed quite regularly with my phonetic blunders.  Funnily enough I do know a lot of singular words and learning the words is quite easy once you have learnt the alphabet.  I find the issue is stringing the words into a sentence.  Why? I think the correct term would be word order.  So rather than saying “where is the cat?”  It is would be, “cat where?” or in Turkish “kedi nerede”.  See my confusion.  It is a little like talking with Yoda –

“Powerful you have become, the dark side I sense in you.”

Daughter has, of course, been going to school so is picking up conversational Türkçe quite easily.  She also has a teacher that comes to our house each evening and spends time with her to help her transition with the language and to assist with her homework.  I am impressed with Daughter’s speed at picking up the language (and a little envious) but even she finds learning Türkçe exhausting.

I laugh now at my heady statement made before I left Avustralya (sorry did you mean Australia?).  Far too often and to far too many people I stated that I could get by without any Türkçe.  It would not be necessary for me to learn the language.  Since arriving in Mersin it has become quite clear just how foolhardy I was.  There are days when I find myself deflated from the simple task of paying the water bill at the Posta (Post Office) but the gratification I feel when I see the recognition on the face of the shopkeeper or my neighbour smile when I ask how they are in their native language . . . well let me just say that it is a high five, fist pumping “boo ya!” moment for Jane!

20 thoughts on “Lost in Translation

  1. Turkish language is Türkçe, my Turkish is Türkçem. My Turkish is not good is Türkçem iyi değil.
    Turkish made is Türk Malı
    Turkish (nationality) is Türk
    I am Turkish is Türkum.

    Good luck with learning, it can seem hard at first but suddenly it becomes easy for a while till you get into the nitty gritty of the grammar.


  2. Brilliant. Like you, I’m hopeless at languages, but sometimes needs must. We are currently checking out French, and I’m surprised how much I can remember from 40 odd years ago since leaving school. I know lots of words, but stringing them together? Hm. Pronunciation? Totally off.
    On holiday in Germany, Hubby got all excited when I approached the deli counter to place my order. I smiled at the girl, pointed to the pastries I wanted, and held up 2 fingers (politely!!!), saying “Bitte”. She smiled back, got what I wanted, then confused the hell out of me by saying something other than the cost! Turns out it was did I want a bag?


  3. The beauty about living in Mersin is that you have so many opportunities to practice!

    The language will come and you will have milestone moments that make you feel proud.

    One of my moments was at the end of my first stay in Mersin I caught an unmetered taxi to the train station to catch a train to Adana (on my way overland to Egypt…). I chatted with the driver in Turkish and when we arrived he asked me for the ‘correct’ fare unprompted and without negotiation!


    • Ive caught a few taksi’s since we arrived. No one (and I repeat no one) knows where Karaduvar is (probably my accent). I remember you weren’t sure when you came to visit! So there is a lot of pointing and smiling.


      • I should have qualified my statement with “…. but that’s more a reflection on me and my language learning abilities than anything else!” Being out and about and listening and trying the language, as you’ve described doing, is probably the best way to get a passing fluency! I got so hung up on the grammar aspect of the textbook and classes I took that I forget to just *listen* and try! 🙂

        And I really have no excuse for my lack of skills, as Norway requires all immigrants to attend language and culture classes to get a permanent visa to stay (I’m simplifying that greatly).

        Happy talking! 🙂


      • I understand but cannot say for certain that when you apply for citizenship here in turkey you attend an interview which is held entirely in Turkish. I think they also come to your house to check things out! I will definitely need to up my skills before then.


  4. I know exactly how you feel!! I had to go to an all Italian dinner last weekend and my head hurt from all the talking, I butchered the language but everyone looked happy I was trying- exhausting, hard work try the app Duolingo it is helping me a lot xx hang in there


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