Friday, March 6, 2009

Who will roll away the stone? (Mark 16)

OK, so I can paste big chunks of text in various languages into my blog, thanks to the good folks at Perhaps, though, it's time to return to the original spirit of this blog, and take apart a single Turkish sentence in order to savor its linguistic delights.
Mar 16:3 Aralarında, "Mezarın girişindeki taşı bizim için kim yana yuvarlayacak?" diye konuşuyorlardı.
And, a word list:
  • Aralarında -- Among themselves. ara -- directs the reader's attention to the surroundings. lar -- the plural suffix. ında -- the "while" (at the time of) suffix.
  • Mezarın girişindeki -- when we get to the tomb. Mezar -- tomb. Girmek -- to go to. To enter.
  • taşı -- rock, with direct object suffix
  • bizim için -- for us. için is one of those fascinating postpositions, words placed directly after the word they affect, even as English prepositions go ahead of such words.
  • kim -- who? Unlike other languages I could name, such as French, Turkish does not have throwaway syllables. Here we have the central point of the conversation. Who can, or is willing to, to do something that these speakers urgently want done?
  • yana -- to the side. "yan" is a strange little word that is never, to my knowledge, found on its own, but only in combined or inflected forms.
  • yuvarlayacak -- future tense, third person singular, to roll.
  • diye -- speaking (Turkish readers are invited to correct me at any point when I miss the point!)
  • konuşuyorlardı -- they were saying to one another. konuşmak -- to converse. -uyor -- continuous action indicator. -lar- -- plural indicator. -dı -- past definite tense indicator.
OK, so the Turks are a likeable people, given my small sample size, and from what others say. And Turkish is a fascinating language that snaps together predictable suffixes, like Lego blocks of different colors, to assemble single words and pithy phrases that carry a lot of linguistic weight. I hope this blog will encourage more readers to get to know Turks and Türkçe.

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