Of Loves And Languages

There is nothing quite like leaving things until the last minute. Granted, with a whole week still to go, I may have to give up the procrastination crown.

In one week, I’ll be on a plane headed to Istanbul. (I’ll try to post while I’m gone, but no guarantees.) Since I bought the tickets a few months back, I’ve had all the best intentions to sit down and learn some basic, survival-level Turkish.

Have I? Not until today. Whoops.

A Google search brought me this wonderful site that doesn’t even require me to create an account and works well with my brain. It’s a little buggy at times, but it gives me exactly what I want.

I’ve spent no more than three hours with it, and unless the Turkish it uses is entirely ridiculous or nonsensical, I’ve memorized most of what I consider survival-level language skills.

Yes, I’m bragging.

I’m also cheating. I’m fortunate enough to be wired for languages, and to have a usually excellent grasp of the English language, and to have studied four foreign-to-me languages fairly intensely, plus having traveled to non-English-speaking countries several times. Also, my standards for “survival” level relax for anywhere in or around Europe, where many people are bi- or trilingual. Going to, say, South Korea, would require an order of magnitude more work. And the purpose of a trip affects those levels, too.

In this case, “survival” level (to me) means basic politeness — saying “please” or “thank you” or “excuse me/sorry” — or being able to ask for the check at a restaurant, or how much something is in a shop, which also requires learning numbers. Maps are worth their weight in gold, and for everything else, there are hand gestures.

It’s kind of awesome how many fantastic conversations I’ve ended up in, despite the lack of a shared language.

Some of you must have fun language stories. Please share!

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2 thoughts on “Of Loves And Languages

  1. Yaaaay travelling and languages! It occurs to me that I should probably know at least one sentence in Turkish, that sentence being, “I am Armenian and still waiting for accountability from your government for the genocide of my ancestors and theft of our land and holy places.” As you can see, I unfortunately got nothin’ for you for this trip. 😛 Probably best to say nothing at all like that. On the other hand, if it comes up naturally that you know someone from the Armenian diaspora and the Turkish person(s) you are talking to say something like, “UGH, screw the government! I am so in favor of acknowledgement & reconciliation so that our two peoples can come together in love and build new centuries that don’t start with genocide!” I would be really heartened to hear about that. 😀 I hope you have a wonderful time filled with gorgeous scenery and delicious food–remember, your favorites probably all originated from Armenia. *_* (MOUNT ARARAT IS OURS. IT’S KIND OF IMPORTANT TO US. BY “KIND OF” I MEAN “ALL-“.) And while I know you’re going to have to call it Turkish coffee while you’re there, I HOPE YOU KNOW IN YOUR HEART THAT IT’S ARMENIAN COFFEE. *_* I love you a lot and cannot wait to hear about your adventures, but of course I hope you don’t feel stressed about updating or documenting everything and can enjoy some truly magical moments.

    • That would be an awesome conversation to have. ♥ And if not for you, I don’t think I’d be aware of that history and ongoing tragedy (because I don’t think it can really stop being a tragedy until it is addressed, if not redressed, in some real way — not when it continues to effect people), so thank you.

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