As easy as “bir, iki, üç”

With Daughter now back at the village school and with The Turk in the Land Down Under I find that some spare time on my hands.  What to do?  What to do?  I could lie in the sunshine and work on my tan?  Or I could go for lunch at the Marina or Forum with friends?  Nah.  I need to do something constructive with my free time and so I decided on having some private Turkish lessons with Daughter’s Turkish tutor.

Daughter’s tutor is a cousin of a cousin of a cousin or something and is absolutely a delight.  She was recommended to us by an English teacher from one of the private schools in Mersin but we seriously hit the payload when we realised that she was related and not just some random teacher.  Bonus!  Her enthusiasm to teach Daughter has made it a breeze for her to pick up the language and Daughter loves her because she is young, beautiful and funky.  She and Daughter bonded over their mutual love of Starbucks and shopping!  If only all teachers could be Ipek!

I admit that hang my head in shame knowing that I have been in the country for over a year and my Turkish is still ridiculously bad.  I had every intention of enrolling at Mersin University and taking Turkish classes (also a great way to meet other expats) but the idea of making my way on two buses at the crack of dawn 4 days a week did not inspire me to learn.  I had also assumed that immersing in the language would mean that I would pick up the skills in no time.  Yep.  Nope.  I just did not realise it was going to be quite so hard.

alfabex

Ummm …

In just one lesson I have learned that half of what comes out of my mouth is complete gibberish and it explains why Daughter gets so darn embarrassed when I attempt to speak in public.  We end up coming to blows most of the time because she is embarrassed by me and I am annoyed at her attitude in return.  Last weekend we were on the dolmus and usually I leave it to Daughter to ask them to pull over but I thought I would have a go and ask the driver myself.  “Musait bir yer“.  I sounded great.  Well I thought I sounded great anyway.  Daughter said I sounded like I was speaking an Alien language and now, after my first lesson with Ipek, I realise I was speaking an Alien language.  I sounded like a dead set goose. Incidentally musait bir yer does not say “stop the bus” or “let me off” it translates literally to “suitable a place”.  Can you see why I am having difficulties.  Who talks like that (other than Yoda and Google translate).

I survived my first lesson by learning my alfabe (alphabet). “A, B, C’s” although I now know it is not “aye, bee, see” it is in fact “ah, be, je”.

Right, so back to kindergarten for me.

11 thoughts on “As easy as “bir, iki, üç”

  1. Good luck with your lessons. You’ll pick it up eventually. I learned a ton of Turkish in my first year because very few people spoke English at my job. After year one, my learning plateaued because my new job has English-speakers everywhere. Now that you’re having proper lessons, you have a lot of “Aha!” moments and you’ll suddenly understand a lot of what’s been said around you all this time (and why).

    Also – the dolmuş is the scariest place to practice Turkish. I am still too terrified to speak in Turkish on any bus, although one time I did scream and curse at a driver in English, but that’s a story for another day.

    Why was your daughter embarrassed that you said “müsait bir yer”? I hear people saying it all the time to make the driver stop.

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  2. Pingback: As easy as "bir, iki, üç"

    • It’s the accent isn’t it? You with your American, me with my Australian. My mouth isn’t made to make these noises.

      I won a trip to South America (Iguazu Falls thanks to some Saturday morning video show when I was 18 – amazing). I remember thinking “Portuguese? How on earth am I going to speak Portuguese?” I failed both French and German at High School I could only imagine the damage I would do to Portuguese! Lol!

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      • The older version of Rosetta Stone was helpful, but the newer one has too many bells and whistles on it. And thanks to Pimsler, I can ask how much a beer costs in Portuguese. I can’t drink beer, but that’s what they teach you to say in the first 5 lessons. Ya think it was made for men? I felt fortunate to be able to say “Thank You” in Portuguese.

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      • You learnt how to order a beer in the first five lessons! Well that’s just inspiring although I think you should be taught how to order a red wine in the first lesson.
        “kırmızı bir kadeh şarap lütfen”. That’s probably wrong.

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