In order to meet my goal of being functionally literate in Turkish by the end of the year, I have been spending four hours a day, five days a week in a small room with two Korean women, a Argentinian woman, a Turkish/Swiss woman (who speaks German but no Turkish) and two women from "Dogu Turkestan."
There is no common language, so the attempts to communicate are really quite funny. For example:
- The Korean woman who speaks no English trying to explain how to pronounce her name to the rest of us, in Korean;
- The woman from "Dogu Turkestan" trying to explain, in Uyghur, to the other Korean woman, where "Dogu Turkestan" is. Don't feel like a tool if you don't know, 'cause it's not a country -- it's the eastern, Muslim part of China, also known as Uyghuristan. The term "East Turkestan" has strong nationalist undertones and it would be fun to talk to her. Since she described her country's flag as blue and white, I suspect she has some nationalist tendencies.
She speaks no English, but her Turkish is quite good already because Uyghur is a Turkic language. She loves to ask the rest of us questions about topics like religion and Turkish music in rapid fire Turkish.
I never thought the words, "boy, am I glad I spent a year learning Azeri!" would cross my lips, but it's true. I'm almost thinking that Turkish is a little easier since there seem to be fewer exceptions.