Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Language or Culture?

I am a Turkish National with a Vulcan nick name from Star Trek because I do feel like an alien in this world sometimes...

I started learning English when I was 11 at a private school, attending a prep class with 28 hours of English per week and then I moved on to secondary school and high school as they used to call them and I had 12 hour English Language Classes along with Physics, Math, Biology and Chemistry in English. Then I attended Middle East Technical University where the entire education was in English.

I spent a little over three years in the US, back in the early 90's in NY and, that brushed up my language abilities as well. A lot of people Turkish and foreign, say that I do sound like an American although, I personally do not think so. May be a little.

Anyway, I have some blogger friends that I follow regularly and whenever I want to post a comment about certain situations I have a tough time wording my thoughts. I used to think that was a language issue but now I am inclined to think it is more of a culture issue.

Let me explain myself with an example: Someone posts pictures of an adorable baby and I want to say something like "May God give her a long and prosperous life"or "I hope her fortune will be good/nice/clear/happy" or "I wish she never crosses paths with bad people/bad influence" but these are really not things that the English speaking world use. It is mostly in my culture to say things like these.

I feel stupid because I cannot express myself in these situations well enough. Strange...

6 comments:

  1. I think that your comments and good wishes always come through well. And I love your bloh

    ReplyDelete
  2. You should google some Irish blessings - there might be something in those that comes close to what you want to say. And if not, they're always good for a laugh or two. Personally, I think you should just stick with live long and prosper - that's universal. LOL
    I do understand what you mean though. I live in Germany and there are some occasions where the English term just fits better with what I want to say. I do think it's more of a cultural than a language thing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Moonwaves!

    ReplyDelete
  4. For babies you can always say: How cute; precious; awww; pretty little girl; I love her dress; she has your hair. We say things like that. But, if I my things in your culture, I supposed people would think I was strange. I can understand your having set things to say since we do, too.

    I would do a double-take if I read those sentiments you would write, but would assume that you learned to do that from your culture. I would not assume you were stupid at all. Language reflects culture. Part of culture is language.

    Have you ever read any books on socio-linguistics? You might like what you read.

    When husband and I went to Mexico, I could understand and speak the language enough to get us by. My husband, now ex, exclaimed in a fury, "Those people are so stupid. They can't even speak English." Of course, I set him straight about who was stupid and pointed out they knew more English that he knew Spanish. And, besides, they were testing us. But, as I pointed out to him, we were in Mexico, so their speaking Spanish was not strange at all.

    Say what you like. All those things are charming.

    Do you do the finger sign?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda you made me laugh out loud with the finger sign. Ours is a bit different but yeah we have that. Thanks for the tips.

      Delete