Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Turkish Language Mishap #56

Do I need to say this story is absolutely true? Unfortunately I am the type of person that doesn't need to embellish or conjure up fake tales. It all happens to me.

So there I was, not very long after I decided to live in Turkey, sitting in the teacher's room. I was absently browsing the Turkish newspaper, not understanding anything, looking at the pictures and filling in the gaps in my mind.

Back then the newspaper were slightly different from what they are now. There were a lot more scantily-clad women in the back pages and for an American, this was one of those culture speed-bumps that one is apt to encounter from time to time. Such things are unheard of in American newspapers and I can't even begin to imagine the howls of complaints if they tried it.

In fact, the photos are all fairly tame, the coy scowl, the pout, the Slavic-looking girl in a seductive pose, revealing a nipple (at best). Some naughty unnamed girl, all alone,  in some acrobatic pose, another kissing a puppy, and sometimes if the editor is particularly daring, she is looking straight into the camera.

"Look at that!" I told the fellow teacher, flashing the page in her direction. She glanced up and then shrugged.

"Berbat." she simply said, meaning "terrible" in Turkish.

Perplexed, I stared at her for a second, then back at the newspaper.  "Well.. her butt's not bare but the everything else is!"

1 comment:

  1. In my early weeks here, a student on break was excitedly and loudly telling a story about someone she was angry at, and she ended a phrase with "fakat." I though she was saying "fuck out," so naturally I gently corrected her phrasal verb, "It's fuck off, fuck off..." Bemusement all around.


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