Monday, February 05, 2007

Turkçe Öğreniyorum

Which basically means, I'm learning Turkish. Teaching myself, rather. A somewhat misguided effort to morph into a Turk, I think. Thinking sensibly (not that I ever do that) I'd probably be much better off learning language of some value or polishing my French but I'm really not a very practical person. The whole thing is going quite slowly because, well, I am teaching myself, so it really depends on when and if I get time.

It's a strange language though, Turkish is. For one there is no word "is" in Turkish. Secondly it's agglutinative. So everything is just added as a suffix. For example: arkadas = friend; arkadasim = my friend; arkadaslarim = my friends; arkadaslarimla = with my friends. Talk about word economy, huh. Plus all the suffixes follow this vowel harmony rule which I am still to get my head around. It's difficult because the structure is so different from any other language I know. But its interesting as well because a lot of the words are the same or similar to Hindi/Urdu. Like friend can also be dost. Or kitap is book. Kara is black. Çay is tea and şeker is sugar. My favourite word is turuncu (the 'c' is pronounced as a 'j'). It means orange and I love the sound of it....I have no idea why. But I keep using it in the most random of sentences possible.

In other news, my mom mentioned that we could possibly visit Turkey in summer. This comes after two years of needling but I am really hoping something works out. She knows how much I want to visit, so I think it would be terribly mean for her to mention a trip to Türkiye, just casually. My cousin is visiting Istanbul (for the third time!) this month. She told me, "I'm visiting your favourite city again", "Paris?", I asked, "No. Your favourite city you have yet to visit - Istanbul." Sigh. I have a terrible rep because of this Turkey thing.

I am travelling to Cambodia and Vietnam in April, and am really looking forward to that, but Turkey - sigh, that's perpetually on my travel list. After more than two years of wanting to visit, I think I'll probably pass out from excitement when and if a trip there actually works out. It's so difficult to explain why certain things just appeal to you isn't it? Some people just have to visit India, because of whatever it represents - spirituality, madness, chaos, nirvana. For me wanting to visit Turkey is something like that.

My cousin sent me a link to some wonderful, wonderful photos of Turkey (probably as a small consolation in place of actually travelling there) by the film maker Nuri Bilge Ceylan (whose movie Uzak I saw about a year back and really liked). The photos are gorgeous (as attested to by the one I've put up here) - please do have a look. Till I get to visit Turkey, I have to be happy looking at the pictures. And before that I have my trip to Cambodia and Vietnam to plan for.


airy voices said...

I can't wait to go either. And this time I'll watch you take the pics so I can attest to it as well :)

Tabula Rasa said...


i'll be in cambodia in march :-D

The Poodle's Friend said...

OK, first of all, congratulations on getting all the letters right in the title! Can you pronounce yumushak g?
Katil is murderer, btw! :D
On the photos... hmm, I'm not quite sure what I think of them. I mean, there is no denying that they are examples of amazing photography, but somehow I feel they are a little one sided. I know that the big cities is not all there is to Turkey, but this ignores some of the really beautiful (and quite affluent) parts. I mean, I would understand if it were an album on the East, but then, why is Istanbul in there? It makes Turkey seem like a permanently poor place where most women wear headscarves. I know you don't think that, but a lot of people do. At least there's lots of photos of snow in there, which would hopefully dispel the myth that Turkey is a desert.
I don't know, maybe I'm being overly patriotic here, but if Istanbul is in there, so should Antalya, Ankara, Izmir, Bodrum etc. There's more to Turkey than muddy village roads and angry young men, just as there is more to Turkey than Istanbul and the Western parts.

niTin said...

Did you happen to fiddle with your xml by any chance? I can't get the feed for your blog.
Now, I feel like adding Turkey to the list of places to visit. And kudos to you, you've already visited so many places. It could of course, always be worse.

Alok said...

you live such an exciting life :)

I feel worthless after reading about your travels. the only traveling i do is "traveling" to office everybody and yes, on weekends, I travel to the library too, which is sadly not that far either. rest of the time sit and mope in the apartment with a book over my head.

Panacea said...

Gah, my Turkish is limited to 'merhaba' and 'seni seviyorum' and 'tamam' and 'yok'. TPF is a very bad teacher.
I'm so jealous that you're going to Cambodia and Vietnam. South East Asia has always been my dream destination :(

Szerelem said...

airy voices: I know :)And really, can you please have some more faith in capabilities as a photographer?!!

TR: Oh, we'll be there mid april. So you should pass on travel advise.

TPF: Hehehe....the spellings are a killer. Especially because of the vowel harmony rule. And yumashak g is not that bad for me (I think, most of the time anyway) But I have trouble with the O with the umlaut on top.
About the phtos _ I get what you are saying. I think they are primarily photos of Ceylans' travels and therefore of the places he has been to. But I do agree that in most developing countries there is a great deal of photographical romanticising of poverty. It's true for India as well. I guess one reason for that is that big cities and glass buildings don't really make for interesting photography.
Btw, people think Turkey is a desert??? HUH??? *stunned* And I think I told I really want to visit parts of eastern Turkey and areas near the Black Sea. (See, I am not ignorant about Turkey!) I saw pictures of the Sumela Monastery and Trabzon a while back. And, sigh, I really want to go there!

Szerelem said...

nitin: I am completely technologically handicapped, so I have no idea what you are saying about the xml. I did change to bloggers beta version...maybe that's it? And I am really thankful that I have had the chance to visit a lot many places.

Alok: Hehehe. Yeah. I have been lucky to have travelled a bit over the last couple of years. During term time however I am the biggest bore possible. I am generally locked up in my room with a book or movies when I am not in class. First rate social pariah I am.

Pan: Heee. I know all the words you mentioned! :P
And I guess the grass is always greener on the other side right? If I was in Italy I would be roaming around all the time, I think :P

The Poodle's Friend said...

Ooooh, I haven't been to Trabzon but I really want to go! It's supposed to be beautiful!
Oh, Pan has a problem with the o and the u with umlauts too. Is it an Indian thing?

PS: You'd be surprised how ignorant people are about Turkey. They think it's Saudi Arabia. Not that I have anything against Saudi Arabia, but it's most definitely not Turkey.

Swathi said...

color me green on ur travel plans ....

n Pamuk is one more reason to fall in lurveee with Turkey.

the wannabe indian punkster said...

Tarkan is reason enough to morph into a Turk, me thinks.

So go for it Szerelem.

*cheers from the sidelines*


Raindrop said...

Punkster and I fight it out for Taran, and you get to keep Pamuk. You can take the man out of Turkey, but you can't take Turkey out of the man.

I'm told I visited Ankara when I was two. Don't you love it when parents do that to you?:P

Raindrop said...

Tarkan! I deserve to be hanged for spelling his name wrong.

Szerelem said...

TPF: If I somehow manage to end up in Turkey while Pan and you are there we should plan to travel together. Wotsay?
And I don't really have a problem with the umlauts on u - which I just pronounce as eeewww, hehehe. I am butchering your language am I not? Anyway, o with the umlaut is such a pain I always get stuck on the pronunciation.
Oh, and since you mentioned Saudi. There was a Turkish exchange student I knew last term and every one kept here asking her if she was Arab when she told them she was from Turkey. Idiots. She was one mighty pissed girl after a while.

swathi: Pamuk. Oh dear. I love that man. Attested to by the fact that I have written enough posts on him for my sidebar to have a tab for 'Pamuk'. :D

Punkster: Hee. Tarkan. Hotness. Methinks he's gay though.

Raindrop: I'm happy, no, more than happy with Pamuk. :D
Many people think I will end up stalking him when and if I visit Istanbul. Too bad they don't know he's living in NY these days.

arun said...

and if you see ceylan's most recent movie - Climates - your want to visit turkey will increase tenfold! What I got to know from that movie is that istanbul is pretty mod for an islamic country, while the countryside of turkey is pretty scenic and well, country-ish. Also I felt turkish language is ambrosia for the ear, neither as fluffy as french nor as edged as german....made a mental note to learn this language. u r learning online or thro' books? (btw, what a wonderful director! A real find!)

MockTurtle said...

Turkey and all things Turkish seem to suddenly be very in now. You're the third person I have heard in the last few months who is planning a visit and trying to learn the language.
Someone I know actually married not one but two Turkish men in the span of the last 14 months. And to think I had barely even heard of the country until recently. Maybe it's Pamuk's influence.
When TPF spoke of Turkey being a desert, did he possibly mean a dessert?

Szerelem said...

arun: Hmmm...I wish I had more access to Turkish films. (not all film industries are as far reaching as Bollywood, now are they?) I caught Uzak at a film festival; lets see when I get to see Iklimler. Ceylan has acted in it as well right? And yeah, I thought he did a really good job in Uzak. He's quite a favourite at Cannes I think.
About Turkey, well, I have never been there of course, but have heard only the most wonderful things about Istanbul. The history of the Turkish republic is pretty interesting to read about, especially (for me atleast)the formation of the republic after the break down of the Ottoman empire and how Ataturk brought in huge changes and modernisation.
There is also, I feel, a mass generalisation about Islamic culture so people tend to think of Turkey like that as well. But like TPF pointed out it is very different.
And the language does sound nice. I think it flows really well because of the vowel harmony rule.Am learning through books and the internet right now...will probably get some Cd's later as well.

MT: Sigh. Haven't you been reading this blog long enough to know I have wanted to visit Turkey since forever?? You're the second person in the last few days to tell me that Turkey is very in right now. Which is ok, just that I don't have fixations based on the fad of the moment :)
I guess Pamuk might be one reason, I do know he's ridiculously popular in the US. Also maybe because of the whole joining EU thing. Plus Turkey is doing pretty well economically right now and is an important actor in the region. Then of course, it's an Islamic country but quite a departure from the stereotype. Probably all those things make it interesting.
Oh, and I'm pretty sure TPF (who's a she) meant desert but the metaphor of Turkey being like a dessert works well for me. I love lokum (especially the rose flavoured ones). Makes visiting Turkey seem even more appetising :D

arun said...

actually, i knew the history of turkey beforehand to watching the movie and while reading, I was intrigued abt ataturk's policies, particularly for an islamic country and that too for one surrounded by other islamic countries that arent so. he was pretty farsighted. he used some swiss reforms policy (?) within his reforms agenda and pretty much securalized turkey out of the clutches of religious hold, and protracted a 'liberal' society not even matched by europe at that time! But, ceylan's movie protrayed Istanbul's culture as pretty "westernized" and that took me by a bit of surprise (in a good way, i think). Yeah, he is pretty famous in cannes. his films portray human desolation that singe the heart. and the french love it! (one more reason to say that the oscars are much over-hyped!)

but, if you see the movie 'midnight express', one gets the picture that the turkish law and order is pretty much down in the sink. but, its by an american, so it might be highly dramatized too, with generalizations galore, I believe.

The Poodle's Friend said...

Eugh, I hate Turkish delight, it's just a flavour that I can't stand. And it gets stuck in your teeth.

Of course you may join us in our exploration of Turkey, szerelem; in fact, you probably know more about it than we do, so you can be our guide. We should really go to Trabzon, it really is supposed to be beautiful.

Ataturk is pretty much god in Turkey, he's all over the place, in textbooks, framed in shops, on flags, etc. I didn't grow up in Turkey so regrettably I know very little about his reforms. But I do know that forced Westernisation is not always a good thing. I'm not saying Turkey should have stayed an Islamic country, I'm all pro-secularism, but there's something to say for traditions. I mean, was it really necessary to change the script of the language? On an unrelated not, my dad looks exactly like Ataturk. It's creepy!

I agree that Turkish is beautiful (I am a little biased, aren't I?) but I'm so glad I learnt it in childhood; this vowel harmony thing you speak of seems so incredibly complicated!


Panacea said...

Muhhhaha, her dad does look like Ataturk. It is creepy. Alright, enough with the spamming here!

niTin said...

It could be the new blogger.
If you could kindly do this for me.
Under the Settings tab, click on the link called "Site Feed" and check whether blog feed is allowed as "full".
It should be full.

Szerelem said...

Arun: Well I frankly greatly admire Ataturk. He was a great military leader and you are right he was really far sighted. Because of his westernisation drive Turkey has always been very 'western' since the formation of the republic. But I think it's also important to remember that even though the Ottoman Empire was a Muslim empire, it was also a very, very culturally diverse empire. And it was extremely tolerant of other religions, way before the western european countries knew was tolerance was. Ataturks secularism was (and is) based on the French style and yes, it played a very important role in Turkey becoming a secular Muslim country, but it has raised a whole host of problems as well. Not to mention the loss of their islamic cultural heritage.
Apparently, Midnight Express has a really bad reputation in Turkey. They allowed it to be shot at Topkapi Palace and when the movie came out felt pretty betrayed. I wonder why :P

TPF: About lokum - I don't like the lemon flavour. But I really like rose. Which is strange, because I usually hate rose flavoured stuff.
I totally agree with you on the westernisation what I wrote above a lot has been lost because of it. I won't comment on the script because I think that was a good move (well, I might be biased because I'm just happy the language uses a script I can comprehend) . From what I read the introduction of the latin script made Turkish more intelligible and increased the literacy rate to some 90% plus. The Ataturk cult is funny, because he is used to justify evrything. And his policies are related to the ultra nationalist position some people take as well. I think it's a bit sad because when the Turkish Republic was formed I don't think Ataturk wanted a Turkish state based on race but rather a shared cultural identity, but that hasn't been the case. Ok, I side tracked a bit. About secularism it should mean religion not interfering with the state - but it doesn't talk about the role of religion in society - and I personally don't think the state should dictate how people want to live in society.
Ok...i'll stop. I'm out of my depth here :D
And your dad looks like Ataturk??!! Well, he must look really distinguished and handsome then. By the way, did you know Ataturk was born in the Balkans as well?

Pan: And since when do I care about spamming??!! :P

Nitin: Tis done. And how do you use feeds anyway? I have never managed to figure that out.

Karan said...

First of all, thank you for the kind words on my blog. I'll do my best to write more often...well, more than once a year, anyway.

And boy, you weren't kidding when you told me about your obsessions with Turkey and Jeremy Irons, were you? Hahaha, wish I can make it to Turkey sometime soon too, the photos whetted my appetite.

niTin said...

Thank you very much. Alls well now.

Well at least your question isn't so very web 1.0 like some other people. *laughs at own geek-joke*
Anyway. xml is the best thing in the world since sliced bread. No really.
You no longer need to keep checking blogs and other webpages (who provide xml) but all updates come to you in one "inbox for the web". Sigh, I'm such a sucker for wasting time efficiently.
But feeds can only be read using a feed-reader. I highly recommend google-reader. It's both intuitive and efficient. Since you already have a gmail account all the better.
Don't live to geek, geek to live. (lifehacker's tagline).

Szerelem said...

Karan: Ah, but weren't you the one who said I would qualify as a rapidly mad Ralph Fiennes fan? Hardcore obsession I have :D

Nitin: Thank you muchly. The Google reader is good. But now another email type account to check.

Anonymous said...

If you come to Vietnam in March or April, I would be nice to meet and have coffee in Saigon. I am thirsty of people who like to read literature and enjoy reading Pamuk, Shafak, Calvino, Kafka, Borges, Murakami, Kadare etc...
Hope to meet and talk about books...
A Book Lover in Vietnam...

Anonymous said...

Sorry... I meant "It would be nice..."

Read@Peace said...

Visited your blog after a long hiatus and am hoping you're still on your South-East Asia darshan. If are passing through Singapore, I'm an email away -

Would love to catch up.