August 20, 2004

There are a lot of French words in Turkish

Much like in American English, in the Turkish language, many of the words regarding anything to do with politics, organization, civilization, and education are French words. They took the French word and spelled it out phonetically with the Turkish alphabet. Therefore, at first glance, you might not see the similarities but after hearing the word in Turkish and French you will notice it has the same meaning.

I quickly realized the irony of this situation. When I first moved to Belgium five years ago, not knowing French, I would often take an English word and give it a French accent to attempt to communicate a concept. This worked occasionally and occasionally got me in trouble. Now, in Turkey, I can more or less do the same thing since there is so much French in Turkish. I can just take the English word I know and put a French/Turkish accent on it and try to be understood.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That must be terribly confusing sometimes. Those false cognates can be embarassing. I don't know if you remember, but in tenth grade, Sra. Spoor's spanish class, there was this one girl Tammy. She came in late one day or something and got ribbed by the professor, and then she uttered "yo estoy muy embarasado", essentially "I am very pregnant." And everyone was laughing except her because she thought she had said she was embarassed. She was embarassed alright!

-David Mason