Tuesday, 21 February 2006

I gather that I may be one of those who may be incapable of being speedily Turkicized

My Turkish grammar book ("Turkish Grammar" by Geoffrey Lewis, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 2000) gives this wonderful word: 'avrupalılaştırıverilemeyebilenlerdenmişsiniz' meaning (apparently) 'I gather that you may be one of those who may be incapable of being speedily Europeanized'. It goes on to explain, "Our English sentences are like drystone walls, with one chunk of meaning dropped into place after another. The Turk's ideas are laid in place like bricks, each cemented to the next. Unwieldy though we may find his massive 'çalıştırılmamalıymış', we must remember that he/she finds equally unwieldy our fragmented and mono-syllabic 'they say that he/she ought not to be made to work'."
I am reminded of an English grammar book I was once shown by someone who was trying to learn English from it, which laid out the following conjugation:
I would have been being beaten
You would have been being beaten
He/she/it would have been being beaten.. (and so on),
together with examples like "Mary would have been being beaten by John if John had not been being beaten by George."
I can't remember what this tense was called - conditional past passive continuous?! - but I don't think I can have ever needed to use it in my life. Sometimes I'm glad I never had to try to learn English as a foreign language - however hard it may be to learn the ones I've studied!


At 22/2/06 00:44, Blogger Stu said...

Do you know the one about the grammar test?

John, whereas George had had 'had', had had 'had had'. 'Had had' had had the better mark.

Isn't English great? :)

At 22/2/06 06:43, Blogger a turkish girl in Japan mehvesh gupgup said...

Thanks for the smile! I remembered my mid-school days when we had to study Turkish grammar:)) feels very nostalgic!

At 22/2/06 09:36, Blogger wanderingthinker said...

Your post has given me the idea, that German is a language in between Turkish and English, similar to it's geographic and social position. On the one hand, the German language has the capacity for those enormous long word constructions like "Donaudampfschiffahrtskapitänskajüte", which translates into "Captain's cabin on a ship of the Donau shipping line", and on the other hand has a faible for those interesting grammar constructions like your "conditional past passive".

I remember many workshops which I facilitated where the participants wanted to spent the whole day speculating in the form of this construction about, what could have been or not have been, if something other would have or wouldn't have had happened.

Our german fascination for this grammar construction must be on of the main reasons, for our slow progress in solving the critical future issues...


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