Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dedikodu etmek...

OK, this post isn't directly related to gossip, but I was recently reminded of it by a gossipy neighbor, which made me think of a verb form in Turkish that I rarely use: the reportative tense, or, as Aaron over on calls it, the gossip tense. I like that description. It's pretty fitting, and I tend to relate its use to that particular meaning, although there are other meanings for this verb form.

I need to start using it more, so I'm revisiting it in my studies. It's covered fairly early on in both Teach Yourself Turkish and Colloquial Turkish.

Basically, the rule is simple: you use to to distance yourself from something in the story. A rough English equivalent would be to tack on "Apparently", "so I've heard", "I guess", or "supposedly", among other similar connecting words. All that's needed is a "miş/muş/mış" ending to the word stem, or root. So, say I want to say "I heard it was interesting", I would say "Enteresanmış". I should also note that this same word - enteresanmış - also can be used to denote present tense, so it also means "I hear it's interesting". Of course, this isn't limited to adjectives or adverbs. It can also be used directly with verbs, for example "Apparently, he/she knows" - "Bilirmiş".

This verb form can also be used to denote something you're unsure of. So you can use it to ask and confirm a question, such as "Does he/she know?" - "Bilir miymiş?" (note the "y" buffer between mi and miş). In this case, we're not sure, but suspect that the person knows and we just need confirmation.

Other simple question words, such as "what", "where" or "why" can also have a "miş" ending to show unsureness, for example "Neredeymiş" - "Where was it/where do you suppose it was?".

All in all, it's a pretty simple concept. Not one we English speakers are used to, unless we constantly speak hypothetically. And really, that isn't a bad exercise to get used to the pattern.

So I'll be practicing this verb form with my Skype partner for the next couple sessions.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

More proof that watching TV works

I spend a lot of time on the HTLAL forums and learn all sorts of interesting things every day on the site. The reason I bring up HTLAL is because there was a discussion about FSI that comes up quite often; that the vocabulary is too outdated, and many people believe that the course is no longer of value. I disagree, personally. If all we're talking about is vocabulary, that's the easiest thing in the world to fix. But on with the story...

So, the discussion went something like this: "The FSI course teaches you to use the word işte, but when I asked a second generation student of mine, he told me he'd never heard of the word and to use bak instead."

OK, so right off the bat, this person wasn't going to the right source for information. Not knocking second generation speakers, but this kid is growing up in Germany, and probably hasn't spent much time (if any) in Turkey.

This brings me to the title of this post. When I read this discussion, by coincidence I had just watched a couple children's cartoons on Kanal D and they had actually used both these words, clearly demonstrating the difference in use through an ordinary conversation. It also demonstrates that the best way to get the most current, in use vocabulary is to sit in front of a TV and take the language in for an hour or two. Of course, conversations with natives are also great, but they're probably not the best way to get massive exposure, especially at a beginner-intermediate stage.

Every once in a while I think I might be watching a bit too much TV - I watch about 3 hours or so every day in Turkish. This was just proof to me that what I'm doing is, in fact, paying off. I'm not saying to just watch TV at the exclusion of all else. I still have my regular Skype sessions and am still going through my Yeni Hitit course. But for good old massive input, nothing beats the TV.

Continuing with the TV theme, I've started to watch another show, this one a home fix up/DIY show. The timing's perfect, since I've started working on the bunkhouse again, now that the weather is cooperating. I'll have to re-open that blog with some updated pictures, soon.

Anyway, the show is called "Evim Şahane". I'm getting new vocabulary that I probably wouldn't otherwise be getting. Things like zemin kaplama  (flooring), store perde (window blinds) and aydınlatma (lighting). Since these are all things I'm replacing in the bunkhouse, it's easy to remember them every time I look at where they should be.

The TL;DR version of this post is simply this: For massive amounts of genuine input, watch TV. It works.