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Uses of Efendim

In Turkey - Türkiye'de

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The multiple uses of

In the first place, it's used when you wish to be respectful. (It literally means "my master".)

For example, Turkish speakers use it when they answer the phone to say "Hello" -- in a very respectful (polite) manner. And it's correctly pronounced: eh-FEHN-dihm.
(More about that later.)

It has another use, too...as a meaningless filler -- when you are speaking and you are in mid-sentence and you need to pause for some reason. Maybe you want to take a breath, maybe you momentarily forget the next word you want to use...

For example...In English, we might speak a sentence like, "Yesterday was the first day of, uh, October." [We said 'uh' because we momentarily forgot which month it was.] In Turkish, in place of the 'uh' -- you'd hear 'Efendim', if the speaker was being polite...[And if he wasn't being polite? Well, you'd problee hear "uhhh" -- just like us!] And the complete spoken-Turkish sentence might look something like:

Ne söylesem efendim...Dün Ekimin birinci günü, efendim...;
How can I say this, uhhh...Yesterday was the first day of October, uhhh...

BTW -- If the Turkish speaker of the above sentence is being especially refined, he'll even eliminate the 'd' sound. So, if he's really out to smooth-talk you, you'll only hear "Efenim" .
[Note: Elimination of the 'd' is only done in this instance -- with 'uhhh' replacement.
The full word, "Efendim" is used in all other cases mentioned in this article.]

And yet another use...
If you ask a polite Turk a question, and she doesn't hear or understand you well enough, she will reply, "Efendim?" -- meaning, "I'm sorry, I didn't hear you well. Could you repeat please?"

One final use...If you enter a room and call out the name of your polite Turkish friend, he will turn to you with a smile and say, "Efendim..." -- meaning, "Yes, I'm here. You've got my attention. I'm ready to listen to your next words..."

Based on ideas from TÇ August '97
In Turkey - Türkiye'de

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