A True-life Turkish Personal Experience/Factoid
From TK (December 1998)...I lived in Turkey years ago, and after my Turkish improved, I'd sometimes have a little fun --
teasing Turkish youngsters. For example, I might see a group of schoolgirls -- on there way to
morning classes. I'd stop them and remark "Ne kadar
sevimlisin," or "How cute you are".
Turkish custom dictates that one should
accompany any compliment,
especially when made to a child,
with the word "Maşallah" --
to protect the youngster
from the evil eye
that might bring misfortune.
And the kids know the custom from an early age...
(Click here to see where
we've mentioned Maşallah before...)
press on and ask them
how they liked
what their favorite classes
did they study English,
I could see the children squirm,
because they were worried about the evil
that I hadn't said,
When I'd prepare to part company
I'd finally say, "Maşallah" quite off-handedly, and
they'd be so relieved that
But "Maşallah" isn't just
I'd also have to recall the phrase for
new suit I might compliment.
They'd grin, thank me for noticing, grin some more,
tilt their heads, look at me from the corners of their
eyes -- and wait for me to utter
the all-important Maşallah,
protect the suit from evil doings!!!