my private student Ömer, he has himself a lisp, "Thursday comes out Tursssstay"...
2005-01-31 10:37:53 ET

...let me finish my poem *ahem*:

My private student Ömer,
he has himself a lisp.
"Thursday comes out Tursssstay"
I laughed so hard I almost pissed.

Well, today was my private lesson with Ömer the business man. Again, preposition day, all was going well until the end of the lesson...

I said "ok, Ömer, so I will see you on Thursday -- same time, same place" and he said "yes, Tursssstay at sree. See you then! :-D". He said Thursday with his tonuge hanging out of this mouth to the fullest extent, with the biggest lisp possible. This isnt the first time its happened.

You see, in the Turkish language (along with many others) the sound "th" doesnt exist. Ive found it to come out one of three ways: "da" "za" or "ptttttth".

So what do I say to Ömer?...
"Hmmm, I see you've been having some problems with words that begin with 'th' --"
-"No, no problem -- disssss zatsss TURSSSSSSAY - I understand, I am understanding"
"Yes, Ömer, I see that BUT, the pronuncation is just a little bit... DIFFERENT."
--"Ok, I try zissssss datssssss TURTSSSSSSSSAY."
"Ok, good good - now try pulling your tongue back into your mouth a bit quicker."
*contemplates for a moment*
--"my... tongue... my... dilim mi? (my tongue?)"
"Evet, doğru -- dilin (yes, that's right -- your tongue). Bana bak (watch me). Thurs-day. Your tongue pops out for a moment and then goes back in again -- like a turtle."
*contemplates for a moment*
"Thurs... day. Thurs... day. Th... is. Th... at."
--I do not understand.
"Tamam - 'Thursday' Türkçe'de 'Perşembe', 'this' = 'bu', 'that' = 'şu' ya da 'o' (Thursday in Turkish is Perşembe, this = bu, that = şu or o)-"
--Hayir hayir (no no) yani (like) turtle. What is turtle??? Turtle ne? (What is turtle)
"Turtle... turtle... I do not know. Umm let me draw a picture for you on the board. *draws a crappy picture of a turtle*"
--AH! AHHHHHHHH! ANLADIM ANLADIM (I understand, I understand). Turtle. Ok. My tongue is like turtle head ok.
"Yes, just like a turtle's head. For the sound (ses) of 'th' you must put just the very tip of your tongue (dil) between your teeth (dişlerine) this way (böyle). Then, you must pull it back INTO your mouth for the 'ss' sound. Now you try."
--Ok, no problem. Thurthday. Turthday! :-D"
"Ok. Ok, well, keep practising -- "thh" is a very difficult sound for Turks, you keep practising and you'll get it soon :)"


Some other words we have trouble with:

this = dis (with heavy lisp)
that = zat (with a lisp)
Thursday = tursssstay (with the worst imaginable lisp possible)
the = da/di

Now, no offense to anybody at all who in real-life reading this has or has had a lisp -- I had a HORRIBLE lisp when I was younger and was teased heavily for it. Looking back upon it now, yes, it was comical. And yes, I find a comical sense here too... I just...

Frankly, Im worried for the guy. He's travelling to America in July to do business and needs to be able to speak English WELL. So, Im teaching him. Im teaching him well (so well that my rate is $17 an hour) -- he's learned alot in the past 2 months. But if somebody asks him "So, what day are we meeting?" and he replys "THURTHHHHHHDAY, MY FRIEND! :-D How is my English???", they're gonna be like "lol!!! rightttttt deal's closed funny little English-speaking Turkish man. Come back when you can get your tongue out from between your teeth..."

Ömer, Ömer, Ömer -- I pray to GOD you will soon understand the motion needed to make a proper "ThurSday".

And now its off to make lesson plans for my Intermediate English conversation class tomorrow at 11:30... the intermediate level class that never shows up. Ever. Ever ever ever. I take 20 minutes to walk there, get there, they dont show up, and then I walk 20 minutes BACK. Yeah. They're working on apologize -- HEY! There's my lesson plan "let's apologize to the teacher who trudges through snow EVERY SINGLE DAY for you! Goddamnit!".

No, no, no -- of course not! I like all my students (seriously -- they have other classes at universities that they gotta go to. I TOTALLY understand and just feel like complaining :)).

Yay for lesson plans. And I gotta use the toilet. Uff, this cafe has a TURKISH TOILET. Yuckity yuck... looks like Im holding it until I get home.

Sorry, that was graphic. I'm gonna go now...


2005-01-31 10:49:09 ET

hehe kinda like there is no L sound in some asian Languages

(hence Engrish)

At least he kinda sounds a little better.

2005-01-31 10:57:04 ET

yes, exactly! :)

yeah, a little bit better... I dont think the turtle thing helped at ALL. Like seriously. Oh well, at least he didnt ask me for a rubber....


2005-01-31 11:03:20 ET

I know what you mean. I tutor an Asian student in English. The stuff he says is hilarious. I have to resist asking him for copies of his papers sometimes--they are just so funny that the incorrect passages shouldn't be thrown.

2005-01-31 11:10:49 ET

really??? Yeah, I stopped asking for copies -- now we fill them out together. Its still funny.

Did yo usee the last post about the condom and the "fastliness"? Every day. Every single day.

I repeat, I LOVE MY JOB! :)

2005-01-31 11:25:48 ET

1. my parents have similar issues, but not as bad. they're iranian, you see, and so the TH sound also doesn't fly with them, haha.

2. i'm still waiting for your advice! *coughcoughPMMEcoughcough*


2005-01-31 11:25:56 ET

i cant immagine how rediculous i sound trying to learn chinese. four ways to say each word, each with a differnt meaning? yah... ive said some horrible things by mistake.

2005-02-01 04:59:47 ET

minkybear: *the PM is coming* and yeah, my boyfriend has the same thing sometimes. Rather, he had. There are some words he has trouble with, but he's finally getting "th" sound. Probably gives him some problems -- it comes out "pro-bob-blab-lee" and its really really cute :) And "water" is problematic too "wahdurrr". But he's SO smart, I love him so much hehe! Sorry for the mushy post *ahem* anyways, yes, "th" is problematic. Very. What language did your parents speak in Iran? Was it Farse(Farsi maybe -- I know in Turkish its Farsça)?
Just curious cuz my friend Ali here in Turkey is from Iran and he speaks Fars(i/e) and Arabic.

fuchsia: Youre learning Chinese?! COOL! My friend Chih-hung is from Taiwan and he was trying to teach my uncle Chinese lol. He was like "tswa" (I THINK) meaning tree, and then he said it another way, and another way each meaning different things -- that would be really confusing! Kolay gelsin (may you learn with ease) to you :) Ive made some bad mistakes too in Turkish ("sick" in English sounds like the Turkish "sik" meaning PENIS... I called my boyfriends house BEFORE knowing Turkish and asked in English for her to tell him I was "sick". She freaked.). But dont we all ;)


2005-02-01 08:43:41 ET

yeah, my parents speak farsi. my dad also speaks arabic, kurdish, turkish, urdu, and something else. (besides english, haha.)

i speak farsi, but i learned it from my parents, and i have no accent.

2005-02-02 06:15:16 ET

That is so COOL! I want to learn Azeri and Farsi (for our honeymoon Oğuz and I want to go to Üzbekistan and Azerbaycan (in English I cant spell it maybe Azerbijan )trekking and stuff. Is Farsi hard, like, the writing of it? One of my Turkish teachers told me that it took her 8 years to learn how to write Arabic...

lucky you that you dont have an accent -- I know I sound ridiculous in Turkish. I used to say kız (meaning girl in Turkish) like "keys" in English, when its said "kuz". Sometimes I feel like such a MAN when I speak. The reflection of TUrkish is kinda manly and stuff, and oh man yeah :) Im sure if any Turkish speakers in the US were to hear me say "günaydın (goodmorning)" they'd be like "lol lol lol! Get yourself the hell back to Turkey and try again!!! lol lol lol!"

Yeah. :)

2005-02-02 07:49:45 ET

i don't know the writing part...haha. or the reading. i can read some numbers, thats about it.

2005-02-02 08:06:47 ET

still cool! :)

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