I have been cringing. A lot.
I am back on the Turkish language bandwagon and have been spending a lot of time in Turkish class. Since I am a known language retard, the last class didn't take all that well, so I am repeating level one, but at a different school. My class is quite entertaining. The list of students includes:
- An Iraqi who left Baghdad with her family last month
- A Jordanian
- A Lebanese
- A Syrian
- A Bulgarian
- A Greek
- A smattering of Euros, including a German
- A teacher who likes to use geopolitical discussions to teach grammar
Those are pretty much the major inheritors of the chaos that followed the collapse of the Ottoman era, and representatives from the top regional conflicts of the last and next 100 years. If we had an Armenian and an Israeli, the list of aggrieved parties would be complete.
Here are some sample grammar lessons our teacher has provided:
Dates and past tense:
"Nora, what year did the Americans come to Iraq?"
"Yason, why do the Greeks hate the Turks?"
As an aside, I don't think I have ever mentioned my objection to learning the word "why." It is a most useless word for a beginning student. Let's assume you ask a "why" question and are understood. Even in the unlikely event you understand the words in the answer, you will never understand the concept behind the answer. This is especially true in the FSU. Asking, like Enidd did, "Why did the landlord shut off my water?" will never result in a satisfying answer.
"An American, a Frenchman, a German and a Turk were sitting in a train compartment. The Frenchman takes out a bottle of wine, takes a drink and throws it out the window. "Why did you do that?" ask the other passengers. "We have lots of wine in France." The American smokes a cigarette then throws the pack out the window. "Why did you do that?" ask the other passengers. "We have lots of cigarettes in America." The German gets up and throws the Turk out the window*......HA HA HA HA.
*this joke is funny because there are lots of Turks in Germany. Get it? Sort of like Mexicans in the U.S. and equally appreciated.
The Difference Between "Cok Guzel" (very nice, beautiful) and "Cok Yakisikli" (very handsome).
"Lawrence of Arabia: Cok gozel?"
That was a trick question. "Cok gozel," when referring to men, means gay. "Cok Yakisikli" is the correct term to describe a handsome male. I recalled in my mind all the small children in my neighborhood whom I had described as "cok guzel."
Even though everyone has their own version of history (and at times, expounds at length, in multiple languages), the discussions are always good natured and often hilarious. I am learning a lot more than in the last class.