Turkish Language Ambiguity - Ambiguous Turkish
How To Avoid Turkish Ambiguity, Ambiguous Turkish Examples, Belirsiz Türkçe, Learning Turkish Ambiguities, İki Anlamlı,
Avoiding Turkish Ambiguities, Muğlak Olarak, Muğlaklık, Turkish Language Ambiguity

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There's nothing ambiguous
about the performance of

Turkish Actress/Singer/Dancer
Nur Ay

who dances and sings
for her supper in
Sansar (The Weasel)

Turkish actress Nur Ay (Nur-Ay) [Nuray] dances and sings for her supper in 'Sansar' (The Weasel) -- directed by Yavuz Figenli in 1975

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Avoiding Ambiguities of Turkish

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To avoid ambiguous Turkish, you must Clarify, Clarify.

Ambiguities can arise when Turkish speakers take short cuts with the language.
They often do this when -- to them, at least -- the subject being discussed is clearly understood.
Here are some suggestions to help deal with common Turkish language ambiguities.

Rely on sentence context to resolve ambiguities...

Take the sentence,

Sütyenini çıkardığında, o tahrik oldu.

As written, the sentence could mean...

"When he [or she or it] removed his [or her or its] bra, then she [or he or it] became aroused".

But due to the context, there isn't any doubt that the sentence should read,

"When she removed her bra, then he became aroused." ...uh, there isn't any doubt, is there?

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Be specific...

Take the previous sentence again...

Sütyenini çıkardığında, o tahrik oldu.

If we add the words kadın; woman and erkek; man to the sentence, then there really is no doubt what is meant.

Kadın sütyenini cıkardığında, erkek tahrik oldu.

When the woman removed her bra, then the man became aroused.

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Use personal pronouns...

For example, if we two Turkish speakers are chatting and I see a spider crawling up your arm, I can say Kolunda örümcek var; There's a spider on your arm. Since it's just the two of us, there's no chance I could be referring to anyone's arm but yours.

But, if there are three of us chatting and I say Kolunda örümcek var, it's unclear whether I mean your arm or the arm of the woman standing next to you.

To clear the matter up, I just need to add a personal pronoun to the sentence. So if I say, "Senin kolunda örümcek var," then it's your arm I'm talking about. And if I say, "Onun kolunda örümcek var, then it's her arm that's about to get stung. Ouch!

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Break a general rule. Use apostrophes liberally when writing...

For example, karın; belly requires no punctuation to understand its meaning -- it stands on its own. But strategic use of apostrophe may be useful in clarifying the meaning of the words kar'ın; of the snow and karı'n; your wife.

The apostrophes can also come in handy to differentiate Arabic word-borrowings from common Turkish word formations. For example... if we use telin (without apostrophe) for the borrowed Arabic word meaning damnation, then let's use tel'in -- with apostrophe -- to mean of the wire.

We should point out plainly that using apostrophes -- as we advocate here -- is not standard Turkish. It's just a tool for us English speakers to help us clarify ambiguous Turkish word formations. If we can ever become fluent in the language, we might be able to drop these little helpers.

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Use commas liberally when writing,
and use the "pregnant" pause liberally when speaking...

For example, place a comma (or a pause) as shown:
Oku baban gibi, eşek olma...

-- to clearly mean,

"Read like your [good ole] dad does, don't be a donkey."

Because, if you neglect the comma (or the pause), so that the sentence is without clear punctuation (or without a verbal clue), such as...

...Oku baban gibi eşek olma...

then the sentence can also be interpreted to mean,

"Read [for god's sake!], don't be a donkey like your father!"

More Turkish Ambiguities
Off-color Turkish Ambiguities

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More Turkish language-learning pages:
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  • Essential Suffixes, Index
  • Why Off-color language is important too...
  • Sentence Structure, Standard
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  • Turkish Numbers Revealed
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