February 14, 2014

Vocabulary from all directions and a question

Hanging out in a village

yavru          baby animal, e.g. lamb
civciv          baby chick (yeah, cutest word ever, pronounced 'jeevjeev')
şam hurma          'sun date'? does anyone know what this is in English?
koyun        sheep
çoban          shepherd
kavun           melon
tohum          seed (also the word for semen/sperm)
yaramaz          naughty, useless (applied to children, in my observations)
gelin          bride
düğün          wedding

Having a phone stalker

bilinmeyen numara          unknown number
açma          don't answer your phone (literally, 'don't open')

At some point during the endless calling, I was played a recording that said that if I wanted to meet, I should answer the phone, and if I didn't want to meet, I should not answer the phone. My stalker was overestimating my Turkish comprehension skills, because it took two listenings to understand, by which point I had apparently already indicated I wanted to meet.

Watching a Turkish dizi (ridiculous soap opera)

öldüren tutku          fatal passion
engelli          with obstacles, difficult
sakin ol          calm down
gerçek masallar          true stories

Watching Turkish news

cinayet          murder
üflemek          to blow out (as in, there was a fire, and it 'blew out' the roof)
çatı          roof

Conversing about politics and the upcoming election

adalet          justice
asıl          foundation, base, source

Totally recognizable from Arabic. e.g. My dad is Canadian, welakin min asıl New Zealand (but originally from New Zealand). A word I use way too much in Turkish is aslında (actually, or 'at the source').

çoğul          majority
oy kullanmak          to vote
kabul etmek          to accept
dernek          association
üye          member
acemi          inexperienced
yolsuzluk          abuse, misuse (literally 'way-without-ness')

This last was used to reference the event on December 17th, when dozens of AK Party officials were arrested for corruption, money laundering, and bribery. I was in Cappadocia that day, and my Turkish friend there bought a stack of newspapers including this:

Question: How to retain all these new words? 

A friend uses a cool vocabulary quiz app... I used to use paper flash cards... I'm open to ideas.


  1. I'm faced with the same question in Japan right now... how to retain, how to retain? If you come across some new technique, let me know. I've been skipping the laborious flash-card making step in favor of just studying the words wherever I've recorded them, and focused my time on making some connection to the word, it's sounds and letter, so that it will stick to something in my brain. The disadvantage is that I'm not sure if it gets you the automatic recall that flashcards do. Instead of, "I need the word for source-->asil!" It's more like, "I need the word for source---> it reminds me of the word for honey and rhymes with muscle--->asil!"

    1. Hey, Alaina. I am glad we are in the same boat. The personal connection method--I totally know, and I totally agree about the (sometimes hilarious) drawbacks. I am working through different ideas and techniques. One idea is that maybe I need to learn more slowly; like, make it stick, or don't even bother. Bah, we'll see. I just posted more on vocabulary.

    2. Hey, I just wanted to update you that I did make flashcards today to help me study for a test. They were very rudimentary cards with different verbs written on them, and then I practiced the grammar/usage by sorting the cards based firstly on which particles they take and then on transitivity. I think this use of flashcards really works for me. It's visual, it's active, it's challenging, and it almost feels like a game.

    3. Hey, I've been thinking about vocabulary retention a ton, so I'm so happy to see you update the conversation.

      After you pointed out that just studying the word where it's written is a technique, I realized that it works pretty well for me. The thing is, I have to spend some time staring at the word, and thinking about it in different ways (How does it sound? What similar words do I know? Does it remind me of any words from other languages? Do I like it?).

      I've also started using Anki (computer-based flashcards). Pros: it's fast to make cards, fast to review. Cons: I need my computer; I miss the physicality of cards, and the ability to do what you did–play with them in different ways. In short: still figuring it out.

      P.s. You have a TEST?

  2. Just immerse! No need for flashcards. Live the language.

    1. Yes, maybe in the end I will just go this route!


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