14 July 2008

Gülümseyin* if you can relate to this post

One of the quirky joys of being bilingual is that sentences that mix words or sentence fragments from the 2 languages you are fluent in may look and sound entirely normal until you stop and pay closer attention to them. So a week ago when I got an e-mail with the subject line that read "annem diyor ki, we have to start planning our Turkey trip", I read it without thinking twice and it didn't dawn on me a while that the 1st half of that sentence was Turkish.

Deniz sent that e-mail to me and Simla (the other bilingual niece). In this case, the Turkish ki has the same function as the English that: "Mom is saying that we have to start planning our Turkey trip".

Another funny bilingual sentence from the same e-mail: "Ayin 9'una ucak bileti alirsak then we arrive in Turkey on the 10th" (If we buy plane tickets for the 9th of the month, then...).

The Turkish fragment of the latter sentence is further corrupted by being spelled in "computer Turkish" that replaces certain Turkish letters with the closest-looking (not closest-sounding) Latin characters. The correct spelling of "Ayin 9'una ucak bileti alirsak" is "Ayın 9'una uçak bileti alırsak" (note the undotted "i"s).

Having exchanged about 30 e-mails, we are very close purchasing our uçak biletleri.



Simla said...

What's more fun is mixing words...without realizing I always add English prefixes or sufixes to Turkish words. For example, "koşing" is one of my favourites. Mommy's favourite is the one time I said, "I don't care what they yed!" (yediler/ate)

Deniz Bevan said...

Just waiting for the confirmation email now!!

Deniz Bevan said...

What about stuff like "did you yak the ocak?" or "did you koy the cay?" :-)

Wanderin' Weeta said...

"Having exchanged about 30 e-mails, we are very close purchasing our uçak biletleri."

Yay! I understood that. And I don't know Turkish.

My kids and grandkids switch from English to Spanish to Punjabi or Cantonese in the middle of sentences. It makes it really difficult for pre-school teachers. (By first grade, they learn to use strictly English with non-family members.)

Jannavi said...

Growing up we used to mix Tamil and Hindi, and it would drive my parents nuts!
Wiki has an entry on Hinglish (Hindi plus English)


Jannavi: You have to teach me Hinglish!

xoggoth said...

Hate to have to try and read what you text to each other!


Actually we don't text.