Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bu bir pipo değil.

We've spent the better part of the last two days in my Turkish class pointing at desks and asking if they are chairs.

"Bu bir sandalye mi?"
"Bu bir sandalye değil, masa."

I've also learned that there are not kangaroos in India ("Hindistan'da kanguru yok.") or camels in France ("Fransa'da deve yok."), and that in Turkish, "there is no discrimination." This last bit of wisdom was from our öğretmen (teacher), Mehmet, in response to a student's question about whether the word for a profession was the same whether the practitioner was male or female.

There may be no discrimination in the language, but I've decided (in my latest cockamamie theory) that language is at the root of the country's sexist attitudes. For our homework today, we also started learning verbs. A noun is often made into a verb by adding the suffix -mak or -mek. For example, düşün is "thought"; düşünmek, "to think." And then kız is "girl" and kızmak is... "to get angry." Makes sense, right? We'll just get a new word for getting angry and gender equality will reign over Turkey.


Adrian Cotter said...

I'm sure there are any number of linguistic PHDs writing about it!

Chinese has a lot of similar kinds of things, in fact. More embedded in the written language though (so maybe it merely reflected the thoughts of the creators of the characters).

I think one word for angry has the character for a women in it (and i vaguely recall others of a similar nature). On the more positive, though still sexist side, the character for good is a woman and a son together, and the character for peace is a women in a house, etc...

Riza said...

actually, kiz means young girl/virgin , that's "maiden" in english..
en is a verb suffix..
maid - en..
maid is a servant.
so english seems more biased to me than turkish:-)