Live long and wear it with a smile
Expressing yourself in Turkish feels like drawing with your tongue. There are multiple phrases that don’t have an equivalent in other languages but that give us an insight into how the Turkish culture is struck, in quite a graphical way.
When I lived in Turkey, I noticed that there is an expression for almost any situation in everyday life.
Let’s say you have visitors arriving at your home or your office. You would greet them by saying hoş geldiniz (~ you came pleasantly). They would reply with the following words: hoş bulduk (~ we found it pleasant).
When they leave, you’ll say güle güle gidin (~ go with a smile). They will answer by wishing you to stay pleasantly: hoşça kalın.
In between the greeting and the leaving part, there most probably will be some (or rather a lot of) eating and drinking. Your visitors will be likely to praise what you serve them, if it’s homemade, by saying elinize sağlık (~ health to your hands). You’ll respond like this: afiyet olsun (~ may it do you well). They may also praise a text you wrote or anything else you did yourself by saying elinize sağlık as well. And you may thank them for having come to see you: ayağınıza sağlık (~ health to your feet).
Your visitors may tell you about something new they recently bought and you will wish them to use it with a smile: güle güle kullanın. You may also tell them some happy news and they will share your joy by saying gözünüz aydın (~ your eyes are bright).
Then your visitors may sneeze and you’ll wish them to live long: çok yaşa. They’ll reply by wishing you to also see this: siz de görün. Then someone else will enter the room with a towel on their head after just having had a shower. This is more likely to happen in a home environment rather than at the office, I must admit. In any given case, you can wish that person health: saatler olsun.
Your visitors may at some point apologize by wishing you not to look at their mistake: kusura bakmayın. The reason may be them having to leave because someone else is ill and waiting for them to come home. By the mention of anything related to illness or uneasiness you’ll automatically reply with the words geçmiş olsun (~ may it be over).
As they leave, your visitors will wish you good luck with whatever you still need to do after they’re gone: kolay gelsin (~ may it come easily).
What other common Turkish phrases come to your mind? Is there any special expression in another language that you particularly like?