Here I am living in a beautiful country, surrounded by mountains, turquoise seas, lush wildlife and after 3 years I am still struggling with the language.
I started lessons before I left the UK – we did lots of vocabulary and a heap of grammar. But not much talking. I honestly thought that when I got here it would all fall into place. Friends have told me it takes 4 years to get fluent and I keep hoping I’ll wake up one morning and feel more confident about speaking.
It doesn’t help that in this area the Turkish is very slangy so I find it hard to follow. I have had about 20 lessons since I moved here but I just reach saturation point after about 10 weeks when I can’t remember anything.
My husband speaks English at home because he is still learning and needs to practice and when his family are here they all speak Kurdish. My husband complains that my Turkish isn’t getting any better but I know that it is. I can now visit non English speaking family and have a cay (turkish tea) and a chat without getting into a complete panic. Sometimes I need to look something up in my dictionary but mostly I manage with the vocabulary I have. it may come out in the wrong order but people understand.
But it also suits me to play the dull girl sometimes. People quite happily chat in Turkish in front of me assuming I don’t understand anything when in fact if I haven’t got to think about coming up with a response I can follow quite alot.
I gave myself away last week though…….. my husband and I were chatting to one of his friends when the friends ex wife appeared. Not a nice lady…very big, Turkish and demanding. She doesn’t speak English….so this is the translation:
Her – who’s that woman?
Him – she’s his wife
Where’s she from? – England
Her – oh a foreigner! Can she cook?
Him – I don’t know
My Husband – Yes – she’s a good cook
Her – Does she understand Turkish?
Me – yes, I undeerstand Turkish
Her….flounced off in a huff
My husband nudged me and said “your Turkish is getting better then”
Me – not really just understood about me understanding Turkish
Would hate him and his friends thinking that I can understand them – they’d stop letting me sit there quietly with my tea. It really does suit me to play dull in lots of social situations. Not sure how much longer I will get away with it. Especially if I start answering people when they ask questions!
I’m still not anywhere near as good as I would like to be but I am getting better.