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Author Topic: Mrs Hobbos Guide to Turkish  (Read 32910 times)

Offline hobbo

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Mrs Hobbos Guide to Turkish
« on: June 27, 2013, 10:15:38 AM »
Originally written for our villa info pack I recently posted this on TripAdvisor and following some positive comments it was suggested that I should also post it on here..

Most people in Kalkan speak good English and it can be tempting not to try your hand at speaking any Turkish. However, if you do try your efforts will be appreciated!

Turkish is often perceived as a difficult language because at first glance it does not look similar to other European languages. However, it is actually very straightforward. There are no genders or irregular verbs to contend with and there are only 3 tenses.

Pronunciation is also straightforward. Turkish was restructured in Atatürk’s language reform in the 1930’s and the Arabic spelling was replaced by phonetic spellings using the Latin alphabet.  Most of the letters are pronounced in a similar way to their English counterparts. Notable exceptions are:
C    which is pronounced j as in jam and
J   which is pronounced zh as in the French jamais or the s in the middle of pleasure.
There are also some additional letters:
Ç   which is pronounced ch as in church
Ğ   which is silent and lengthens the preceding vowel
I (ı)   undotted I which is pronounced uh. (dotted I is pronounced as in English and the capital also has a dot above it as in İstanbul.)
Ö   which is pronounced er as in German (and the German letter ö!)
Ş   which is pronounced sh as in sheep and
Ü   which is pronounced eu with pursed lips, similar to the French sound u or the German ü
R is always strongly rolled so the word Merhaba (hello) sounds like Mer- ra- ba when the Turks say it although slowed down it is actually Merr- hab- ba
Watch out for the diphthongs:
 ey    which is pronounced ay as in day and
ay    which is pronounced like the English word eye or the igh in light.
Once you have cracked this you should notice quite a few Turkish words that are similar to English and or French, e.g. Kreş (Creche) and şezlong (Chaise Longue/Sunlounger).
British people have a tendency to pronounce the ending “et” as “ay” (as it would be pronounced in French) but in Turkish it is still pronounced “et” exactly as it is written!

Some useful words and phrases:
Merhaba         mer ra ba         Hello
Lütfen         lewtfen         Please
Su            su            Water      
Süt            sewt            Milk
Çay            chigh         Tea
Bira            beerr-a         Beer
Bir            beerr         One
Iyi            ee yee         Good
Çok            chok            Very/ a lot
Çok güzel         chok gewzel      Very nice/beautiful
Var            varr            There is/there are
Var mı?         varr muh         Is there/Are there?
Ne var?         ne varr         what is there?
Yok            yok            There isn’t/there aren’t
Değil            deal            Not
Günaydın         Gewn eye dun      Good Morning
Iyi Günler         ee yee Gewnler   Good Day
Iyi Akşamlar      ee yee akshamlarr   Good Evening
Iyi Geceler      ee yee gejelerr   Good Night
Sonra         sonr ra         Later
Biraz            beer raz         a little
Uçuz            uchuz         cheap
Pahalı         pa ha luh         expensive
Daha         da ha         more
Küçük         kew chewk      small
Büyük         bew yewk      big
Tuvalet         Tuvalet         Toilet
Tuvalet nerede?   Tuvalet ner re de   Where is the toilet?
Tuvalet yakınde var mı?      Tuvalet yakuhnde varr muh   Is there a toilet near here?
Şerefe!         sherrehfeh      Cheers!
Evet            evet            Yes
Hayır         high uhrr         No

A word of caution, Hayır sounds quite abrupt in Turkish and people often use yok (there isn’t) instead! Alternatively you can just say thank-you or thanks (see below), the “no” is then implied, or tut and raise your head slightly which is perfectly polite!

There are several forms of thank-you, OK and goodbye in Turkish but you only need to master one form of each!
The full form of thank-you is teşekkür ederim ( teh sheh kewrr ederrim) but this is quite a long phrase to get your head round. You can shorten it to teşekkürler (teh sheh kewrr lerr) or even teşekkür (teh sheh kewrr) which both mean thanks. If this is still a struggle try sağol (sow uhl- as in the female pig) or more politely sağolın (sow uh luhn) which also mean thanks.

Tamam, Peki and Tabii all mean OK. Tabii can also be used to mean of course. Tamam is often used to agree a deal so be careful when using it in shopping situations!

The easiest form of goodbye to say is güle güle ( gewlay gewlay) which literally means “go smiling” but is only appropriate if you are staying and the other person is going. Hoşça kal (hoshchakal) or more politely hoşça kalın (hoshchakaluhn) are appropriate in any situation.  Görüşürüz (gerrewshewrrewz) means see you and is a frequently used phrase. Alternatively you can use the phrases for good day, good evening or good night as appropriate to the time of day!

Mı (also written/heard as mi, mu and mü) is a question marker and can be added to the end of any sentence to make a question. As with all suffixes in Turkish the ending changes in accordance with the vowel harmony rules but don’t worry about this. You will still be understood if you use the wrong form. Mı is an example of an “I” type ending in which the vowel varies between I, İ, u and ü depending on the preceding vowel. There are also “e” type endings in which the vowel varies between a and e. It is best not to get too hung up about it but it can help you decipher things if you know that this happens!

Phrases you may hear:
As in French and German there are two forms of the word You in Turkish:
Siz   The polite or plural form and
Sen   The informal singular form.
Nasil siniz? or less formally nasil sen? mean How are you? In reply you can say iyim (ee yee im) I am well followed by any form of thank-you or thanks or just say thank-you or thanks. To return the question say Ya siz? or less formally ya sen? (In general it is better to use the polite form “siz” unless you are the same age or older than the person you are speaking to and they have used “sen” to address you)
Hoş Geldiniz (Hosh geldiniz) means welcome. The set reply to this phrase is Hoş Bulduk (hosh bulduk) we find you well, this is rarely used in modern Turkish but will probably be much appreciated if you can master it!
Bir şey değil (beerr shay deal) means you’re welcome (literally, it’s nothing)   
Afiyet Olsun means Bon Appetit or enjoy your meal (literally may it do you good!).

Bir      Beerr      One
Iki      Ikki              Two
Üç      Ewch      Three
Dört      Dert              Four
Beş      Besh              Five
Altı      Altuh      Six
Yedi      Yedi              Seven
Sekiz   Sekiz      Eight
Dokuz   Dokuz      Nine
On      On              Ten
On Bir   On Beerr           Eleven
On Iki   On Ikki      Twelve (and so on)
Yirmi      Yirmi              Twenty
Yirmi Bir   Yirmi Beerr   Twenty-one (and so on)
Otuz      Otuz              Thirty
Kirk      Kirk              Forty
Elli      Elli              Fifty
Altmış   Altmuhsh           Sixty
Yetmiş   Yetmish      Seventy
Seksen   Seksen      Eighty
Doksan   Doksan      Ninety
Yüz      Yewz      One hundred
Yüz Bir   Yewz Beerr   One hundred and one (and so on)
Iki Yüz   Ikki yewz           Two hundred
Bin      Bin              A Thousand
Milyon   Milyon      A Million

Beyaz      bayaz      white
Siyah/Kara   siyah/kara   black
Mavi              mavi              blue
Pembe      pembe      pink
Kırmızı      kuhrrmuhzuh   red
Sarı              Sarruh      yellow
Yeşil              yeshil      green
Krem      Krem      Cream
Bej              Bezh              Beige
Turkuaz      Turkuaz      Turquoise
Kahvirengi   kahvirengi   Brown (coffee coloured!)   

If this has whetted your appetite and you want to learn more I recommend getting a course with a strong audio component e.g. Linguaphone Turkish PDQ or Teach Yourself Turkish, Turkish Conversation.  People who learn their Turkish mainly from books tend to have atrocious pronunciation!  If you want to get a phrasebook/dictionary try Turkish -The Rough Guide which is full of useful information!

Linkback: https://www.enjoykalkan.com/forum/talking-turkish/22/mrs-hobbos-guide-to-turkish/11246/
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Offline Lizilu20

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Re: Mrs Hobbos Guide to Turkish
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2013, 11:05:56 AM »
That's fantastic Hobbo and Mrs Hobbo, really useful and I have been practising since you put this on trip advisor.

Tesekkur for sharing, much appreciated  8)

Offline onelove

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Re: Mrs Hobbos Guide to Turkish
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2013, 11:22:14 AM »
Yes I agree, it's so helpful.....I printed off a copy.  Many thanks to the Hobbo's
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Offline suziq

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Re: Mrs Hobbos Guide to Turkish
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2013, 04:04:24 PM »
Thanks so much. I have also printed it off. Your way of explanation is just the way my mind works. I am sure other villa owners would be interested in putting it in their villas too.

 I didn't realise there were only 3 tenses. I did a TEFL course last year ( teaching English as a foreign language} and was amazed and horrified to find that English has 13 tenses and verbs which aren't even verbs!!


Offline kalkan4eva

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Re: Mrs Hobbos Guide to Turkish
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2013, 04:26:55 PM »
Fan - tas - tic :)
So useful for us as we are trying to learn conversational Turkish - just enough to get by.
Thanks for posting this, hobbo - I've added to your official thank yous ;)
Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt :)

Offline Bob & Jayne

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Re: Mrs Hobbos Guide to Turkish
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2013, 04:31:48 PM »
Yes thank you Hobbo, I have printed it off too and laminated it, will come in very useful!


Offline Mags

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Re: Mrs Hobbos Guide to Turkish
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2013, 05:49:15 PM »
There are a lot more than 3 tenses!! Present Contiuous, Present Simple (Aorist), Future, Future Past,Past Definite, Past Continuous, Pluperfect,Past Habitual... to name just a few. And that's before you get on to moods: subjunctive, -miş endings, conditionals etc. But I do agree that Mrs Hobbo's guide is a useful start for new visitors. Just don't anyone get the idea that Turkish grammar is easy. And don't get me started on the horror that is relative clauses in Turkish!!

Offline brian j p

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Re: Mrs Hobbos Guide to Turkish
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2013, 06:11:40 PM »
Very useful indeed , I intend to print this off as well , thanks,  or should I say "Şerefe" , there you are my very first lesson

Offline onelove

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Re: Mrs Hobbos Guide to Turkish
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2013, 10:55:44 PM »
You think Turkish is hard..... well here's onelove's guide to English.....

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture..

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert..

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig..

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. – Why doesn't ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’ ?
« Last Edit: June 28, 2013, 07:34:37 AM by onelove »

Offline Chris_S

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Re: Mrs Hobbos Guide to Turkish
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2013, 11:15:36 AM »
Small point:

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

should be

9) When shot at, the dove dived into the bushes.

Dove as the past tense of dive only exists in poor American English.  But then American English ...?

What confuses English when you look at it as the previous post is down to two factors.  Sloppy spelling over a few hundred years, which corrupts and changes words according to the whims of the writer and following fashionable trends(just think today and txt-speak, street language and internet slang) ; and secondly, the numerous roots of the language as it has adopted words and grammar from Latin, Old English, Saxon, Norse, French, Old German, Indian, Chinese, Saxon, Gaelic, and Greek, to name but a few.

It's hardly fair to compare it with a language that was (cleverly) introduced 80-odd years ago!  We know English is difficult for some cultures, and we use it to good effect with word-play and puns.  But have you tried learning one of the Scandinavian Languages?  I got cramp in my tongue trying Swedish...
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Offline hobbo

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Re: Mrs Hobbos Guide to Turkish
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2013, 06:41:46 PM »
Mags is correct there are more than 3 tenses, Mrs Gyrapix has been suitably reprimanded, her defence is that her Turkish teacher told her that there were only 3, perhaps you only need to know 3 to be able to make yourself understood? she only knows of the 3 and as a local kitchen fitter knows she can make herself fully understood! She is now searching and will be downloading "The Turkish Language Explained for English Speakers" by a guy called John Guise, as recommended by Mags.
However the priority for me at the moment is teaching my sons (18&20) to cook a beef wellington for a surprise silver wedding meal tonight whilst nursing loads of bruises and sprains as I was knocked down yesterday by a mobility scooter!!

Ah well 22 days to go................ already got 2 new water hammocks ready to bring out!!

Offline Bob & Jayne

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Re: Mrs Hobbos Guide to Turkish
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2013, 08:26:10 PM »
Hobbo, so sorry to hear of your accident, hope you are not too bruised! 22 days for you and 26 for us, have never counted the days down as much as we are now! hope your son's Beef Wellington is a success! and get better soon :D


Offline Mags

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Re: Mrs Hobbos Guide to Turkish
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2013, 11:52:26 AM »
Another good Turkish grammar book is "A Student Grammar of Turkish" by F. Nihan Ketrez.

It's available in paperback from Amazon, and as a Kindle download.

Offline Cosetta

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Re: Mrs Hobbos Guide to Turkish
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2013, 08:35:49 AM »
Kudos to OneLove for that lovely list!

Chris_S, languages are not static. Re "poor" American English, how many Americanisms have crept into "pure" British English, especially words related to high-tech?  To quote a linguist:

"Melanie Johnson - MA student in Applied Linguistics, now in the UK

The idea that there once existed a "pure" form of English is simply untrue. The English spoken in the UK today has been influenced by a number of languages, including Dutch, French and German. Speakers from the time of William the Conqueror would not recognise what we speak in Britain as English... The increased use of technology, in combination with the rise of a globalised society, means language changes are happening faster than ever, especially in places with highly diverse populations like London." (more on link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14201796

Learning Turkish:  Another excellent site is http://www.turkishlanguage.co.uk/index1.htm.  The author has also published a Kindle ebook.
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Offline Kalkan Magic

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Re: Mrs Hobbos Guide to Turkish
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2013, 11:29:56 AM »
Websites, books and CDs are fantastic but classes with a native speaker are invaluable as you learn the way people actually speak. A lot of texts use outdated terminology which would sound odd to modern speakers.Turkish may appear straightforward but the more you learn the more you realise there is to learn! Being able to hold a conversation is the ultimate but I know for most being able to say good evening is a good start and much appreciated by restaurants etc. KM

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