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Towards Better, Kinder Turkish Language Usage

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If only...
Fowler's Modern English Usage -- Revised for Turkish?

Some Words and Behavior to Avoid
When Speaking Turkish

The comments on Turkish-language usage that we came across yesterday in Gözçu Gazetesi would fit nicely into a Turkish reference work -- broadly similar to "Fowler's Modern English Usage".

They appeared in Erdoğan Tokmakçioğlu's Daily Opinion column, Asabiye Korğuşu (The Neurology Dormitory, which can be loosely compared to William Safire's daily column in the NY Times) -- and we paraphrase it figuratively as follows:

[Paraphrasing Erdoğan Bey]

The other day I read an article about a literary idiom related to 'the accepted ways of speaking Turkish'. The idiom was 'Konuşma adabı' -- which I'd prefer to rephrase more informally as, 'Konuşma raconu'.

To illustrate the concept of 'accepted Turkish speech', the author of the article told the following story:

"I was talking with Ali Sabancı (the highly successful CEO of the thriving Pegasus Airlines in Turkey) the other day and he explained an interesting technique he enforces during company meetings, to keep meeting participants in a constructive and positive state of mind. The technique involves a multi-layered penalty-system of language and behavioral money-fines.

Firstly, he fines meeting participants whenever they use hackneyed words or phrases. For example, anyone starting a sentence with 'zaten' (1. anyway, anyhow, at any rate, in any case, in any event. 2. in fact, as a matter of fact, in reality. 3. already) gets a 10 YTL fine. And anyone starting a sentence with 'ama' (1. but, yet, still 2. above all; absolutely. 3. really, truly) gets fined 5 YTL.

Secondly, anyone who interrupts the speaking of another during the meeting or who chafes that person during a break is fined 50 YTL.

Money collected from the fines is placed in a leukemia fund for kids."

That story got me thinking... And I can't help but believe that at Sabancı Company meetings...either no one speaks at all or there's a lot of penalty money going into the leukemia fund!

Because... I've reached quite an advanced age in life now... and I have never found a Turk who didn't use 'zaten' and 'ama' with great frequency in conversation, who didn't try to speak at the same time as another one was speaking, and who didn't constantly interrupt another one's speech. If such a Turk exists, please point him out to me. And, let's build a monument in his honor today!

[End Paraphrase]

Ah well...
When it comes to better, kinder Turkish language usage,
Turks may still be struggling. Like the rest of us...

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