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Merih 09 Aug 2009

What Happened to our Turkish?

I would like to start by saying a big hi to all, as it has been a very long time since I added my last column.   Meanwhile I kept on enjoying my fellow columnists columns, and I would like to thank both the Turkish Class website and my friends for their efforts in writing those delightful essays and giving us an insight of Turkey from different angles.


Lately something has been disturbing me a lot.  Both during my holiday in Turkey, and over here, I met some Turkish relatives and friends who has kids.  When I talked to their kids, I felt like I am talking to a cartoon caracter, dubbed in Turkish.  As you all know we dub every movie, documentary and cartoon in Turkish.  When I was living in Turkey I hardly remember a time when I watched a movie with a subtitle.  Actually it is much easier to watch a dubbed movie, but I figured out that the language we use for translations and dubbing is becoming the language itself. 


I remember one time, Cem Yilmaz was talking about this point.  He was critisizing the fact that we never say:

"Hey, joe... Jr....how are you?"


And he actually gave a great performance with his fantastic movie GORA how it would have been if we were to make a space movie talking like us, not with the language we translate from.  This was the real Turkish.


We all were proud that Turkish has a musicality, and when you speak the Turkish language in a decent way, it would flow like a river and sound like a poem. Unfortunately not anymore.  It seems like, specially the kids sound like a robot nowadays. 


I have been living overseas many years now, and my kids hardly speak any Turkish.  I know it is a shame, but it is a cost I guess.  When we first moved to Australia, my eldest one was a fluent speaker.  I was hearing from friends about Saturday Turkish classes for the kids, but I thought it unnecessary, since me and my husband always communicate in Turkish, what was the need for a Saturday class and all that effort?  After a couple of years, she suddenly stopped speaking Turkish, and of course the following ones too.  Now my kids unfortunately can´t speak to my parents on the phone.  When my eldest one wants to show her affection to me, she calls me "güzelim" but with a very wide "e", it more sounds like Kemal Sunal´s famous caracter "İnek Şaban".


So when my mother came over to visit us this year with the sole purpose of teaching them Turkish, she brought along lots of cartoon DVD´s dubbed in Turkish.  She speaks in Turkish with them and reads books in Turkish.  But I am deeply scared that my kids will turn into one of those kids who speak like they are dubbing a movie.  My mum says she doesn´t notice the difference a lot, but I guess it is because she is living in Turkey. 


I think it is the price we have to pay for watching all those imported movies and programs for decades, and unless we produce our own, we will lose the real taste of our Turkish language.


That´s all for now.  Take care.




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