As an English-speaking foreigner in a touristy area of Turkey, I am all too familiar with the struggle of trying to learn Turkish while everyone around you is trying to learn English. I’ve been here three years now and can barely string a sentence together. Istanbul-based Carpetblogger writes an hilarious account of her own experiences, including an anecdote that made me laugh out loud:
The pilot of Turkish Airlines plane full of Azeris announces he is preparing to land the plane. The passengers panic. Why? Because the verb in Azeri for “to land” is the same as “to crash.”
According to the article, Carpetblogger was due to take a one-month intensive course in Turkish back in February— I wonder how that turned out… Link.
Incidentally, if anyone thinks they can teach me Turkish in a month, I invite you to come and try. Having said that, learning Turkish is not my problem; I can read like an olympic champ and my grammar skills are awesome. My problem is getting over my debilitating fear of speaking. Ironic, as I’m a professional singer.
I’m deeply into languages and linguistics in general as a hobby— I go through phases where I really push forward with my Turkish language studies, and for a few days now I’ve felt one of those phases coming on. Perhaps I should document my progress here? It would hold me accountable, and you guys would probably get a laugh out of my mistakes. Think of it as the other side of the Turklish coin. Turnabout is fair play and all that. Should I do it? Of course I’d do it right, with audio clips and everything… maybe even a podcast or two. What’s the point of having different languages if you can’t laugh at people who talk funny?