Turkish Tongue Twisters

May 25th, 2013

Turkish is a language well-suited to the creation of tongue twisters, and here are some tough ones to challenge you!

Turkish Tongue Twisters: The Rules of the Game

Here are a few ground rules for our little game: First and foremost, while these sentences translate at least nominally into something sensible, they’re constructed for their tongue-twister properties, not their sense. So don’t be surprised if the translations don’t make much sense. Second, the game should be played straight: Read the Turkish sentence, then speak it. You start with 6 points. Every time you stumble over a word, subtract one point. At the end of this essay I’ll reveal my own score – I don’t speak Turkish fluently, but I am a bit familiar with it. See if you can beat me!

Bonus: Even the English translations can be tricky. Start with them to warm up your tongue!

Turkish: The Tongue Twisters

Bu yoğurdu sarımsaklasak da mı saklasak, sarımsaklamasak da mı saklasak? (Should we put this yoghurt up after adding garlic, or before adding garlic?).

Hakkı hakkının hakkını yemiş. Hakkı Hakkı’dan hakkını istemiş. Hakkı Hakkıya hakkını vermeyince Haklı da Hakkı’nın hakkından gelmiş. (Hakkı has eaten Hakkı's portion, so Hakkı ask for his portion back from Hakkı, when Hakkı didn't give it back to Hakkı, Hakkı beat up Hakkı!

A side note: That one is super tricky because it contains a pun. The word Hakkı is a male name, but also means portion. If you’ve ever heard the old “Buffalo Buffalo” trick in English, it’s a similar game.

Al şu takatukaları, takatukacıya götür. Takatukacı takatukaları takatukalamam derse, takatukaları, takatukacıdan takatukalatmadan geri getir. (Take these takatukas to the man who repairs takatukas. If the man who repairs takatukas says I don't repair takatukas, then take the takatukas back from the man who repairs takatukas).

Bir berber bir berbere Gel birader, beraber bir berber dükkanı açalım demiş. (A barber said to another barber, brother come on let's open a barbershop together!).

Dal kalkar kartal sarkar kartal salkar dal kalkar. (The branch rises as the eagle sinks, the eagle sinks as the branch rises).

Bu duvarı badanalamamı mı, badanamamalı mı? (Should we whitewash this wall or should we not whitewash it?).

So how’d you do? I scored a 3. The one about the takatukas (a form of  wooden sandals, by the way) got me all three times!

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