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Hope

© aNadventures

Hope is all I have.

In between

bucket list dreams

and daytime heartbreak

I’m drowning

in tears

I’ve locked myself

out of myself. 

The one true home

I had. 

Hope is all I had. 

10 things I love about the Turkish language 

Ayak izi / footprint.
© aNadventures

My first encounter with the Turkish language was in 2008, when I befriended an exchange student from Istanbul. Among the first words she taught me were sucuk (sausage) and tamam (ok). In August 2011, I enrolled in a Turkish course to prepare for my 1.5 year adventure in Izmir that started the following summer.  

This means that, as of this month, it has been 10 years that I’ve been serious about learning Turkish: Happy language aNaversary to me! To commemorate this milestone, I’d like to summarize 10 things I’ve come to love about the Turkish language. Hazır mısınız? Başlayalım. [Are you ready? Let’s get started.]

  1. Turkish is a “LEGO language”

From my perspective, Turkish is a “LEGO language”. And by LEGO language I mean that its grammatical structure allows you to attach all sorts of specific information to a single word. Where we’d use several words in English (and other languages) to bring across a message, in Turkish, that same information can be expressed in just one word, by “simply” adding a number of suffixes to nouns and verbs. It’s just like joining LEGO bricks:

Evindeydim. (House-your-at-I-was – I was at your house.)

Gelmemeliydik. (Come-not-should-have-we – We shouldn’t have come.)

As you can see, the Turkish language allows all sorts of suffixes that indicate possessive forms as well as prepositions of time and place, among other grammatical cases

In the beginning, this kind of structure may require some getting used to but once you’ve understood its logic, creating sentences in Turkish will feel like building a LEGO brick chain.  

  1. Turkish is a painting

I’ve said it before and I’ll write it again: Speaking Turkish feels like drawing with your tongue. 

Here are some examples: 

a) günaydın: good morning. Literally, this translates into “the day is bright”. 

b) kahvaltı: breakfast. This word is composed of kahve (coffee) and altı (below). It thus labels the meal that comes before coffee, the one that creates a foundation for coffee to trickle onto.  

c) alış veriş: shopping. This expression is derived from almak (to take) and vermek (to give) and it pictures the transaction taking place while shopping. You take an object and you give money in return. 

d) gök görültüsü: thunder. The literal translation of this expression is “noise from the sky”. Now if that isn’t poetic, what is?

e) kulak misafiri olmak: to overhear something. This is one of my favourites. It translates into “becoming an ear guest”. 

f) Amerika armudu: avocado. It’s an “American pear”. When I first found out about this term, I had to laugh so hard. 

This gives you an idea of the vast sorts of imagery that can be found in the Turkish language. 

  1. Turkish is French in disguise 

The Turkish language is full of French expressions, as I’ve previously stated here and here. In the beginning of my Turkish language journey, I’ve come to find this particularly motivating since I was already fluent in French. It helped me feel like I could express myself. Or at least I got a sense of what some words might mean. Some of my favourite Turkish adaptations of the French language are the following ones: 

  • anket = survey (French: enquête)
  • bagaj = suitcase (French: bagage)
  • bisküvi = cookie (French: biscuit)
  • duş = shower (French: douche)
  • egzersiz = exercise (French: exercice)
  • fok = seal (French: phoque)
  • plaj = beach (French: plage)
  • poşet = plastic bag (French: pochette)
  • şezlong = deck chair (French: chaise longue)
  • şövalye = knight (French: chevalier)

Which one is your favourite?

  1. Turkish is repeating

In Turkish, certain words are expressed twice, either for emphasis, as adverbs or to indicate time, among other cases. 

These are some examples I’ve previously shared here

Read more…

Enough

© aNadventures

A hug that lasts

four hours,

for hours,

not long enough.

How long is enough

in a life that’s

short and sharp?

You make it soft

and that’s enough.

Sleepless sheep

© aNadventures

What do sheep count to fall asleep

The sheep that lie in the meadow, 

wide awake. 

The ones that cuddle up and merge 

into a woolen flood. 

Black and white and brown and greyish wool. 

Old and young and middle aged sheep. 

Do they dream of overcoming midlife crisis?

How would they even know 

if half their life was over?

How would humans know?

Humans count sheep. 

Night after night

on sleepless nights

They count the sheep that lie in the meadow, 

wide awake

The ones that cuddle up and merge 

into a woolen flood. 

Humans also like to cuddle up. They hug 

their partners or their children or their pets

or their blankets or their pillows.

And most of all they hug their dreams

Tell me, when will you wake up

from dreaming you’ll be around forever?

3 Turkish expressions I’ve learnt while watching “Atiye”

Photo courtesy of Netflix.

After almost two years of abstinence, I finally watched another Turkish series. As I’ve previously explained, I take great care in deciding whether to start a new Turkish series or not.   

This time, I opted for Atiye (The Gift). The main role is played by Beren Saat, one of my favourite Turkish actresses. I got to know her through her roles in Aşkı Memnu and in Fatmagül’ün suçu ne.  

When I started watching Atiye, I expected the usual drama. However, I soon found out this series was slightly different. Still dramatic but also featuring rather uncommon fantasy elements and a somehow mindful and philosophic approach to life. 

The story can be summarized as follows: Atiye is a painter based in Istanbul. Ever since she was a child, she’s been drawing one particular symbol. She’s planning the wedding with her boyfriend Ozan as an archaeologist named Erhan makes a stunning discovery at an excavation site in Anatolia: Atiye’s symbol. She decides to embark on a quest for answers that leads her to the source of her identity and which entangles the characters in several layers of time and space. 

As usual, I paid close attention to the language used in this series. I noticed it was less colloquial compared to other productions. The following three expressions are among the ones that have stuck with me the most:   

  1. Daire çizdik.

This may seem like a random expression. The word daire actually has several meanings, two of them being flat (as in a place to live) and circle (as in the shape). The literal translation of this expression could thus either be “We drew a flat” or “We drew a circle”. Its figurative meaning is “We’ve been running in circles”.

  1. Dangozluk ettim.

When I first heard the word dangoz (idiot), I somehow thought it was something to eat. Maybe because of its phonetic similarity to salyangoz (snail) and maydanoz (parsley). The context it was used in let me assume it might be something else, though. I looked it up and found out that this sentence actually means “I behaved like a fool”. Oh well, we all do, at times. 

  1. Kıpırdama!

This one simply translates into “Don’t move!”. It can be used in any scene where you’d want others to remain right where they are. It goes without saying that you’d shout these words, adding a decent portion of drama and maybe even drawing a gun or a knife. 

That’s all the drama for today. We’ll see how long it takes before I dive right back into the next Turkish series. As for Atiye, I recommend having a look at the last five minutes of the final season. Even if you haven’t watched the full story before, you’ll find a beautiful summary of what life is about. And by beautiful I mean both from a language and content perspective. 

How about YOU? Have you watched Atiye in Turkish or in any other language? Is there anything in particular that has stuck with you, language- or contentwise? 

Beginnings

© aNadventures

They keep calling

until I pick up the phone.

We talk all night

 

When I fall asleep, 

beginnings whisper 

possibilities.  

 

We have breakfast

on a sunny day

or when rain hits. 

 

All year long, 

beginnings hold my hand

until I start to write. 

 

They create 

the draft

of my next chapter.

 

They shape my story

beginnings sing along

when I forget the words. 

 

Like a lover

they seduce me 

with their promises. 

 

In rainbow colours

beginnings draw my dreams

on a brand new canvas. 

 

Like memories

they keep calling

until I pick up the phone. 

Fearless blue giraffe

© aNadventures

I am a fearless blue giraffe.

As soon as I saw it, 

I wanted to adopt it. 

The sentence. 

 

I’d also adopt a giraffe.

A pocket-sized one.

Or even a horse-sized one. 

I’d adopt its attitude, too.   

 

Fearless freedom, fluffy fur. 

A mantra looping in my mind.

Low volume, rhythm high.

Brown. Blue. Yellow-mellow.  

 

Stretching my neck

I can spot a feeling.  

It smells of ginger candles. 

It tastes like chocolate fudge.    

 

Tell me the truth, day or dark. 

I’m not scared of finding out.

Green. Orange. Lemon pie.

Fearless. Blue. Giraffe.

 

Happy World Giraffe Day! This poem is dedicated to all wonderful giraffe creatures on this planet. It was inspired by a sentence from Lily King’s novel “Writers & Lovers”: I am a fearless blue giraffe. 

How to study in German: A leaky language matter

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Today, I met a dear friend for coffee. As he asked me about my plans for later in the evening, I tripped over my words. I wanted to say I’d be studying, which in German is often referred to as “etwas für die Uni tun”, the literal translation being “to do something for uni”. 

I must admit I feel very much repelled by stating these words. Simply because I don’t agree with them. I’m not doing something for uni. Or for work. Or for any other project. I’m doing something for myself. I feel that by stating I’m doing something for whatever, I’m being externally controlled instead of acting on the premise of my very own will power. 

I strongly believe that the words we choose to express ourselves shape the way we feel about our lives. I’m blessed to draw from a pool of several languages. Thereby, I’m able to compare alternative perspectives

I like the rather neutral statement in English: I’ll be studying. To study. It’s a verb. Quite straightforward. Same as in Spanish (estudiar) and French (étudier). The equivalent expression in Turkish would be “ders çalışmak”. Literally, this means “to work on lessons”. I’m very fond of that expression because it indicates an active behaviour, an effort leading up to something, instead of the external control I perceive when pronouncing the German words stated above.

In German, the verb “studieren” actually does exist. But it means “to study” in a much wider sense, as in “being a student” and “attending university”. So I’d rather stick to the Turkish way of expressing myself.  Next time someone asks me about my plans, I’ll say something along the lines of: “I’ll be learning my lessons. For uni and for life.” 

How about YOU? Do you also sometimes lack accurate expressions in one language or another? How do you deal with such “leaky language matters”? I’d love to read about your experiences. 

Nostalgia

© aNadventures

Nostalgia remembers

the bright sunny days.

Seems like yesterday. 

She sometimes lies.

But generally, she’s shy. 

 

Nostalgia sits by the window

long hair soft as silk.

Like an Izmir girl’s. 

It covers her breasts.

But never her heart. 

A matter of perspective

© aNadventures

what I love about summer is wearing no jacket

what I hate about languages is mixing them up 

what I love about lipstick is feeling invincible

what I hate about mornings is getting up

what I love about books is diving in

what I hate about soup is that it’s not pizza 

what I love about giraffes is their evolution

what I hate about phones is when they ring

what I love about Turkey is beyond words

what I hate about life is feeling stuck 

what I love about Bob is that he’s always right

what I hate about endings is starting all over

what I love about poetry is between the lines

what I hate about happiness is playing hide and seek

what I love about languages is their worlds

what I hate about summer is sticky thighs

what I love about phones is the right person calling

what I hate about love is when it hurts

what I love about love is its timing