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Turkish Language Idiom Translation
Dağ fare doğurdu.
A mountain gave birth to a mouse.

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Turkish Idiom Translations
Mother mountain, Father mouse.
Who even knew they were seeing each other...?
The Mountain that gave birth to a mouse...
Thanks to cartoonist Sadık Pala
-- from Metin Yurtbaşı's Deyimler Sözlüğü --

Another Turkish idiom
the Government won't like...

Do you remember the 'Ali Dibo' Turkish idiom we spoke about a couple of weeks ago?

Well, we found another similar one yesterday -- with its origin story intact -- in the Editor's Opinion column of Gözcü Gazetesi...

We try to read Gözcü Editor Rahmi Turan's column every day, not because we always agree with what he says, but because he gives expression to a particular Turkish political philosophy (which is both secular and nationalistic) that needs to be understood -- in opposition to the religious-right philosophy, which has so thoroughly dominated Turkish politics since 2003.

Rahmi Bey is not one to be overawed by the 'powers that be'... and his column yesterday is a case in point...

Translation of Turkish Idioms
(loosely paraphrased below)

Dağın fare doğurması!
(Mouse born of a mountain!)

So where is Prime Minister Erdoğan? Where is that man who so publicly roared at the PKK terrorists, "They've pushed our patience beyond the limit! Tomorrow, we'll show them... big time! And they'll get what they deserve!"

But, he's done nothing after that, and everyone is disappointed -- and mutter about him in private, 'Dağ fare doğurdu'; 'A mountain gave birth to a mouse'...

In the interest of my bewildered younger readers, let me explain what that Turkish idiom means...

Almost 3,000 years ago, the famous story teller Aesop lived in the Aegean region. One of his fables goes:

"A very deep and frightening sound began emanating from Mount Ida (the birthplace of Zeus). The earth commenced to tremble and shake -- and huge boulders flew off the mountain top into the sky. It seemed as if the mountain was about to give birth.

"The population was terrified and ran for shelter -- trembling in fear.

"The sky blackened and the thunderous sound from the sacred mountain became even worse. Finally, an earthquake more violent than any ever-before it, set everything in motion -- and in one terrifying moment, the mountain's peak split wide open!

"The people all got down on their knees and began to pray. Some fainted from fear. Others couldn't take their eyes off the mountain -- wondering how this terror would end.

"Suddenly the roaring, the shaking, and the shocks just stopped. The whole Aegean region went silent.

"Then, slowly, and with hardly a whisper of sound... out of the huge cleft in the mountain peak there slowly emerged... a tiny little mouse."

Aesop's Moral to the story is this:

Behind many an impressive or 'manly' display, there is often very little substance. Just like our politicians... who promise big things and who bellow and roar -- but who don't actually get the job done. And in the end, like the Turkish idiom says... a mountain gives birth to a mouse!
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J&P: If you'd like some example translated Turkish sentences in which this and a similar Turkish idiom is used, please visit our Turkish Idioms Translations for the letter 'D' page.


Posted by Cheryl | August 11, 2006

How interesting... and, as I recall there's an idiomtic Chinese fable along the same lines -- 'A mountain gave birth to a mouse.' I think it's in Zhuangzi. I actually read about the story in a magazine, when I was in Junior High. I remember it quite well, for the story was very absorbing and profound, and it was written in ancient Chinese, beautiful indeed -- it was about 5 or 6 year ago. Of course I can't find the original magazine to learn its derivation now, but I guess the story is pretty much in Zhuangzi's style -- which is a philosophical and full of imagination. I just scannned Zhuangzi, though, and didn't find the story. Perhaps I wasn't careful enough (or it's located somewhere else). Maybe it was a translation from the famous Turkish idiom. :-) Whatever. Learning something about a different language and culture is always fun.

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