How To Learn Turkish Listening To Tarkan
- Mille Larsen •6 mins read
If you've been reading this site, you already know that I love using music to learn. Right from the start, one of the first things I do with a new language is find music to help me learn.
At the beginning of this year, I found several Turkish singers, one of whom was Tarkan. Admittedly I haven't found tons of music yet, but out of what I have found so far, Tarkan has been my favorite. And this song in particular really pleases my ear. So... it's time to figure out what he's saying!
Here are the lyrics. You can read along with the song as he sings, and when you want to know what it means, just hover your mouse over each line of text to see its translation. (translation source)Ne kadar çok uğraşsan da Beni kırmaya çalışsan da Senden ayrılmam mümkün değil yar Bazen bana darıldığında Telefonlara bakmadığında Seni özlemek kolay değil yar Olsun be güzelim olsun, aşkın sağı solu belli olmaz Ben aklımı senle bozdum, hiç kimseyle işim olmaz Nefesinde yüzeceğim yüzümün kıyısına vurdukça Sevdim yine seveceğim aşkın koynunda uyudukça Nefesinde yüzeceğim yüzümün kıyısına vurdukça Sevdim yine seveceğim aşkın koynunda uyandıkça Ben kovaladıkça kaçsan da Aşkımı hafife alsan da Varlığın bin bir ömre bedel yar Beni bazen anlamasanda Canımı dağlayıp acıtsan da Seni affetmek bile güzel yar Olsun be güzelim olsun, aşkın sağı solu belli olmaz Ben aklımı senle bozdum, hiç kimseyle işim olmaz Nefesinde yüzeceğim yüzümün kıyısına vurdukça Sevdim yine seveceğim aşkın koynunda uyudukça Nefesinde yüzeceğim yüzümün kıyısına vurdukça Sevdim yine seveceğim aşkın koynunda uyandıkça
There are plenty of interesting things to note and learn here. First, if you're a newcomer to Turkish, you'll notice as you read along that Turkish is a very straightforward, phonetic language with a highly predictable stress pattern. The only letter that behaves oddly is ğ, whose addition almost seems to actually shorten the word somehow.
Next, looking only at the text and translation, we can learn various words and expression even without any knowledge of grammar. All of the sentences ending on da are translated as "even if." And olsun seems to mean "never mind."
In the repeat of the refrain, only the last word changes, so the difference between uyudukça and uyandıkça is the difference between sleeping and waking, even if we can't make many assumptions about those endings yet.
But wait a second... actually, we can make assumptions! Why not?
When I go over to Sesli Sözlük and look up a verb, it seems that the top matches always end in -mak or -mek (there's that vowel harmony again). I can't say whether or not that's an infinitive or something else, but I can start to feel pretty confident that this is the expected verb form found in dictionaries, and from which all other conjugations are formed.
So it seems like we're learning that the -mak ending is dropped to form other endings. And apparently -dukça (the ending on these two verbs in the lyrics) would seem to indicate the thought "as [something] happens." That is, the verb uyumak means "sleep", and it's conjugated form uyudukça seems to mean "as I sleep."
And if we test out that theory, it seems to work. A quick scan of these lyrics for other words ending in -mak or -mek finds özlemek near the end of the first verse, and since "to miss" is the only verb in that translation, I'll assume this is the infinitive verb to miss. And the dictionary tells me that my guess was right.
(The result for afflemek near the end of the second verse is a little unexpected, but that's most likely a result of the translation, because the word does appear in the dictionary as expected, it just has a different meaning than what you might assume from the translation.)
We're learning! Still discovering how a language works, by observation, without any instruction or learning materials. Progress may seem slow, but you can be sure that it's sticking more securely in my head. I'm still confident and excited about Turkish! What about you? Do you think I'll reach fluency before the end of this year?