Isn’t it funny that when you become interested in something, little reminders of it pop up everywhere?
I never really paid much attention to Turkey before, but now that I’m watching these hilarious Turkish shows on YouTube and other sites, I keep encountering little bits of this country. I found a great Turkish restaurant in DC called Ankara (excellent spinach and cheese pide — a type of flatbread with toppings) as well as a Turkish beverage shop (Turkish Coffee Lady at Tysons Corner — great tea). Mmmmmm.
I’ve even encountered a family in my own hometown who spoke Turkish. We were looking at a window display and the family beside me (one mom and two teenage daughters) was speaking in a foreign language (quite common in the cosmopolitan DC metro area). I thought I heard “evet” (Turkish for “yes”) and asked, “Excuse me, did you just say ‘evet’? Was that Turkish you were speaking?” They answered in the affirmative and I got to try out “Merhaba” (“Hello”).
Thanks to these shows, my knowledge of the Turkish language has increased (about 30 words so far, and counting) because the characters repeat the same expressions over and over. It’s hard not to pick it up eventually.
Plus, it’s fun to speak it. I get a kick out of watching a Turkish speaker’s astonished expression when that person realizes, “WHOA! This person speaks my language!”
It almost feels like having a secret code. According to Babbel, there’s only about 116,000 people in the U.S. who speak Turkish, so it’s great fun to use the bits I know.
It’s a tricky language to learn, to be sure. I notice what seems to be a German influence — some vowels have German-style umlauts (the two little dots that represent an “e”).
Then there are the little cedillas over or under certain letters, like “ş” (an “sh” sound) or “ğ”. (That indicates the letter is silent. I always wonder: if a letter is silent, why have it in a word in the first place??!!)
My favorite expression right now is “Sonra görşürüz” (son-rah go-shure-roose, or “See you later”). The second word sounds a bit like “go shoes,” which makes me giggle. Very appropriate expression for when you’re walking away from someone.
I also notice that in these shows, English dialogue pops up now and then. Just like we English speakers might use “sayonara” or “ciao,” these Turkish actors occasionally use “okay” or “bye bye.” Sometimes there might be an entire scene with one to five English lines.
It’s always a mental jolt when I hear that. I hear an actor rattle off a line in Turkish, end it with an English expression, and think, “Wait a second….hold on…..did that person just say something in English?” At least with it being online, I have the option of playback so I can listen to it again.
I have it in mind to profile some of the Turkish shows I’ve been watching in future blog posts, so that others can check them out and enjoy them too. There are versions with English subtitles. Some caveats:
1) The translations aren’t quite 100%, depending upon the show and the translator. Some scenes might not be translated, but you can usually figure out what’s going on from the actors’ expressions and movements. These actors are very talented.
2) Episodes tend to be two hours long. But I don’t mind the two-hour format; it leads to much richer character development, which I like. More about that in a future blog post.
3) There is some recycling of sets going on. Yiğit’s office in “Erkenci Kuş,” Hakan’s office in “Dolunay” and Demir’s office in “Her Yerde Sen” are all recognizably the same set, despite some clever use of camera angles. Also, same set for Ali Asaf’s house in “Kalp Atişi” and Alihan’s home in the beginning of “Yasak Elma”. Ah well, maybe it’s a budget thing.
4) There are the usual romantic visuals — a couple staring into each other’s eyes for a long period or the girl falls off a high place/trips and falls into the guy’s arms (some things don’t change from one culture to another! ;-)). But there are plenty of surprises too — they throw in plot twists and turns when you least expect them. Nice.