February 17, 2014

Learned last night: NGO, equal, opium

Last night I sat with a new acquaintance and talked about work and religion and philosophy, mostly in simplified Turkish. As we talked, my notebook filled with diagrams and new words.

I like these notes because they take me back to moments in the conversation.

They also remind me that language learning can be messy and chaotic.

I still have no conclusions about any "best way" to learn and retain new vocabulary (or a new language in general), but one thing I'll try now is this: instead of reviewing all the words I learn from interactions with people, I'll extract the ones that I especially want to remember, and spend a moment thinking about them.

Expressions I want to remember from last night

basra körfezi          Persian Gulf

I have no special connection to remember 'basra', but I just spent enough time on the Wikipedia page on the the naming dispute (Arabian Gulf vs. Persian Gulf) while mentally chanting 'basra körfezi' that it should stick.

eşit          equal

They both start with 'e'.  means 'partner' 'husband' 'spouse' 'wife', which suggests a nice association between relationship partners and equality.

destek          support

I just spent time looking up 'to support' (destek olmak), and that time, combined with a feeling of familiarity, makes me think the word will stick. I'm reminded of the experiment that found that people's brains 'light up' when they see faces that they can later identify; in that initial moment, it seems, your brain decides whether it will remember or not. Destek elicited a 'yes' (though we'll see if I can recall it later).

Note: I would love to find a site that does Turkish etymology for English speakers.

sivil toplam kuruluşu (STK)         NGO

'civil' is easy. toplamak means 'to gather' 'to collect'. kuruluşu can be 'foundation' 'organization'. Hmm... maybe if I remember the acronym (STK–'seh teh kah'). Like, 'stick'. An NGO 'sticks' up for people. That'll do.

imge          image

Too easy.

Haziran (June)         Temmuz (July)

I always confuse these two. Now my method is simple: 'h' comes before 't'. This is the same method for remembering that çarşamba (Wednesday) comes before perşembe (Thursday).

hikâye          story

This word I know, but I need to stop adding a 't' to the end. Something I learned in Arabic?

afyon          opium

We were talking about 'the opiate of the masses'. This is such a great word. My brain definitely lit up with the 'this will be remembered' light. Afyon. Afyon.

bağ          connection

I learned this before, but kept confusing the ending.

samimi          sincere, warm

This came up a few days ago when I was describing my brother. Another nice word.

Enough for now!

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