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Lesson Transcript

Gina: Hi everyone, Gina here, and welcome to TurkishClass101.com. This is Basic Bootcamp Lesson 1 - Self Introductions: Basic Greetings in Turkish. This is the first in a five-part series that will help you ease your way into Turkish.
Ece: Merhaba! Hello, I’m Ece! In this series, we’ll go over all the basics that will help you understand Turkish.
Gina: And we’ll have fun doing it! In this lesson, you will learn how to introduce yourself, and ask someone their name! This conversation is between strangers.
Ece: The language our speakers are using is formal Turkish, because they don’t know each other.
Gina: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Alice: Merhaba, ben Alice. Ya sen?
Ayla: Merhaba Alice, ben de Ayla.
Alice: Memnun oldum Ayla.
Ayla: Ben de.
Alice: Hello, I'm Alice. And you?
Ayla: Hello Ece, and I'm Ayla.
Alice: Nice to meet you, Ayla.
Ayla: Me too.
Gina: So Ece, what are the basic Turkish customs for when people first meet?
Ece: Shaking hands is great in all circumstances, for sure. Kissing is also very common, although it does depend on the situation. For example, when a person is introducing his friends to others, it is normal for them to receive and give kisses on cheeks.
Gina: Among young people, friends of friends, women or even men, kissing almost always happens.
Ece: But in formal situations, it’s better not to do it, unless the other party attempts to do it too.
Gina: So kissing is not exclusive to the gender, but to the closeness of the relationship. And how about the very famous hand-kissing?
Ece: Younger people do this with their seniors and teachers, no matter the social status of the younger. It is also the customary greeting act during the religious holiday visits. You simply take the hand of the other, kiss it, and bring it to your forehead. It is a performance that is done to show your respect.
Gina: I am wondering about the symbolic meaning of hand kissing. What does it indicate exactly?
Ece: It means “I recognize and respect the wisdom you hold.”
Gina: Listeners, the roots of Turkish people are nomadic, where living and experiencing are considered the only sources of learning.
Ece: And so elders are believed to be wiser because they have experienced more, so they have more knowledge about life. In the case of teachers, their duty of spreading knowledge is considered valuable.
Gina: Yet, when a man kisses the hand of a lady in a romantic way, he should not put his forehead on her hand, right?
Ece: Right, never! That’d be a bit of an insult because it would be implying that she is old!
Gina: Okay, now on to the vocab.
Gina: Let’s take a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Ece: The first word is the greeting “Merhaba”, which I said at the start of this lesson.
Gina: It means ‘Hello’ in English. Ece, when can we use this phrase? Can we use it for older people as well?
Ece: Yes, for sure. It has a universal usage. You can use it in daytime or nighttime, in formal or casual situations, and with both friends and elders.
Gina Such a convenient word! Next, we have the personal pronouns ‘I’ and ‘you’.
Ece: ‘I’ is ‘Ben’ and ‘You’ is ‘Sen’. What’s more is that they are not gender specific. ‘Ben’ for example can be used in every context. As for ‘you’, which is ‘sen’, it can change into the formal pronoun ‘siz’.
Gina: We’ll learn about this in detail in our upcoming lessons, so don’t worry for now listeners. And what’s our next word?
Ece: It’s ‘Memnun’. It means ‘Glad, pleased.’
Gina: And how to say ‘I am pleased to meet you’ in Turkish?
Ece: ‘Tanıştığımıza memnun oldum’
Gina: It literally means “I’m pleased to be acquainted with you”. Obviously, in the dialogue it corresponds to “Nice to meet you.”
Ece: And when someone uses this expression, you can say, ‘Ben de.’ which means ‘Me too.’
Gina: Great! What about the verb ‘olmak’ in this phrase? Listeners, note that we saw a conjugated form in this sentence.
Ece: Olmak, which means ‘to be’ or ‘to occur”, is used a lot in Turkish. This verb has a somewhat ambiguous meaning when it stands alone. So, it needs to be defined by an adjective or noun before it.
Gina: Can you explain it with an example, Ece?
Ece: Sure, for example, ‘Birden kötü oldum’ meaning ‘ Suddenly, I felt bad.’ Here, the literal translation for ‘olmak’ is actually ‘to become’.
Gina: Hmm I am a bit confused. In what context do you use this sentence?
Ece: For example, if you start feeling nauseous all of a sudden, you can say ‘Birden kötü oldum’ or if you see some sad news on TV, you can say ‘kötü oldum’.
Gina: Ok, I think I’ve got it now! Now let’s move on to the grammar.

Lesson focus

Gina: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to introduce yourself in Turkish. Ece, how do you do this?
Ece: It’s simple. Just combine the first person pronoun ‘Ben’ meaning ‘I’ and your name. For example, I can introduce myself as ‘Ben Ece’
Gina: Which literally means ‘I Ece.’
Ece: That’s right. After saying your name, you want to ask for the other person’s name. This is also very simple. Just combine conjugative ‘ya’ with the second person singular ‘sen’. So you get ‘Ya sen?’ which means ‘And you?’
Gina: And is that informal?
Ece: It is. The formal way is ‘Ya siz?’
Gina: You can use this second person singular pronoun with elders, or with any age group in a formal situation, like a business meeting, restaurant, talking with strangers on the phone, interviews and so on.
Ece: Yes, ‘siz’ is used a lot in Turkish.
Gina: In the dialogue, we have the expression ‘ben de’ twice with different functions. Can you explain that more for our listeners Ece?
Ece: With pleasure. In the first case, Ayla says “Ben de Ayla”. Here, it means “And I am Ayla.”
Gina: Can’t the speaker say it without that particle in between?
Ece: You mean ‘de’? They sure can. Like I can say “Ben Ece: .”, Ayla could also simplify it by saying ‘Ben Ayla’ which is grammatically correct. However, “Ben de Ayla” is a response to Alice’s self-introduction, and that’s why we need to have ‘de’ here.
Gina: That makes it sound more natural and smooth. Now let’s see the second usage of this expression. It means ‘me too’ in this context right?
Ece: Yes, after saying ‘Nice to meet you’ we say ‘me too’ instead of ‘you too’.
Gina: Let’s give some examples.
Ece: “I like surfing.” Ya sen, Gina?
Gina: Ben de! “Me too!” [pause] “I didn’t watch the news today.”
Ece: Ben de. “Me, neither.”
Gina: Ok, now let’s look at the phrase for “Nice to meet you” in more detail, shall we?
Ece: Sure, it’s ‘memnun oldum’. Let’s remember first: “memnun” means “glad, content, pleased”.
Gina: And the second word?
Ece: It is the first person singular, past tense of the verb “olmak” which is “to be”, as we’ve discussed earlier.
Gina: Where is the object of this sentence, “I”?
Ece: Good question. ‘ben’ is not there, is it?.
Gina: It’s not!... How do we understand it is said by the first person singular?
Ece: Although the personal pronoun is absent, the person suffix –m “m” [make the sound and say the English letter please] at the end of the verb “oldum” indicates that the verb is performed by the first person singular.
Gina: This is explained in our All About series! Make sure you remember it, listeners!


Gina: Well, that’s all for this lesson!
Ece: Please drop by TurkichClass101.com and introduce yourself to us in a comment!
Gina: And we’ll see you in our next lesson! Till then, thanks for listening, bye!
Ece: Hoşça kalın!