Bu kız çok güzel ama yürüyüşu çok tuhaf.
This girl is very beautiful, but the way she walks is very strange.
Arabaya benzin lazım.
This car needs petrol.
Bu kutuyu açma.
Do not open this box.
Bunu bana söylemene rağmen, anlamadım.
Although you told me this, I did not understand it.
Bu hafta sonu kitap okuyup mektup yazacağım.
This weekend I shall read books and write letters.
An old-school way of teaching and learning
These phrases make me laugh because they are so stilted and serious-sounding. Who speaks like this? The first one is my absolute favourite. I have always secretly wished to walk by someone and overhear it. “Hmm…This girl is very beautiful, but the way she walks is very strange.”
The phrases come straight out of Hugo’s Turkish in Three Months. Ironically, my mother and I have been carrying around this book for more than ten years. The book is definitely based on an old-school style of language education, the “grammar translation” method. The idea is nice enough: You see how the grammar of the new language compares to the grammar of your own language, and then you apply those rules to make and understand an infinite number of utterances.
Grammar translation is not the worst thing in the world, but I would say it only helps you so much, especially when you go from the pace of the page to the pace of a real conversation. Anyway, I am reading through it for the hundredth time, in an effort to prepare my brain for Turkish. My friend Liam, a competitive cyclist, compares this reading to the work you do before you begin training in earnest. It’s like logging a bunch of easy miles, before the hard work begins. If nothing else, I can laugh at over-formal phrases.