Maganda (The Lout) --
in a speedy-speech misunderstanding
You may remember our contention (expressed in Turkish Translations can be confusing...) that the translation of Turkish conversations (into English) sometimes requires knowledge of the conversation's context. By that we mean
before you can make an unconfused conversation translation, you need to know what the people are talking about, in the first place. (We give examples of what we mean at: Turkish Ambiguities, More Turkish Ambiguities, Avoiding Turkish Ambiguities and elsewhere.)
We further contend that this requirement arises mostly because of the relative smallness of the basic Turkish vocabulary -- which causes native Turkish speakers to assign multiple ambiguous meanings to the (relative few) available words.
But it also arises because of the blazing fast speed with which many Turks speak. So fast, in fact, that syllables run together or get muffled or dropped altogether -- changing the meaning of a crucial word and thereby the meaning of the entire sentence, in the blinking of an eye... The dialog in the example comic strip (above right) illustrates the problem quite nicely.
In the comic strip, "Maganda, The Lout" has entered a clothing-store and is conversing with the clothing-salesman of the Men's Department...
Maganda: I'd like to buy a pair of underpants/undershorts.
Clothing Salesman (with a pleasant welcoming smile): Do you wear briefs (jockey-style undershorts), sir?
This simple question is entirely misunderstood by Maganda... Why? Because when Turks speak to each other in their naturally ultra-fast speedy-speech, the sounds of the Turkish words slip (briefs) and silip (a form of the verb silmek; to wipe) are identical in Turkish. So The Lout is confused and thinks the salesman means, "Do you wipe (your butt) and then wear your briefs?" To which the Lout dumbly replies...
Maganda: You know...It's hard to say one way or the other. Sometimes I wipe and then wear, sometimes I don't wipe.
Clothing Salesman: (Now the salesman is confused too, and gives a deer-in-the-headlights look of bewilderment.)
For those who find this Maganda cartoon's scatological reference a little off-putting, we apologize, and even admit that Maganda makes us grimace sometimes too. But we're not here to judge him, just to explain him to you, dear reader -- with the aim of helping you through the maze of your own Turkish translation requirements. And, we'll 'bet the farm' that this cartoon will provide you an unforgettable 'memory hook' for those two Turkish words (slip and silip), for years to come.