A Not So Turkish Life

My Friend, Donkey

The idea of raising bilingual children used to to really freak me out. I worried about their grasp of grammar, their ability to comprehend the colloquialisms of each language, and yes, my ability to understand them as their native tongue Turkish overtook mine, but as with so many aspects of being Mum to Turklish dudes, it’s turning out to be a beautiful adventure. Our home is filled with a unique lyricism as the boys flip – if not quite effortlessly, certainly comfortably – between the differing melodies of the languages, and instead of being intimidated by the words that they use, I’m fascinated by the languages they choose and the way they communicate with each other. It amazes me their capability to dream in both English and Turkish and to choose the perfect language for the idea they’re trying to express.

A game they love to play with a Turkish uncle and aunt is translating into English, Turkish words and phrases. “çorap” become “sock”, “koş” becomes “run”; “yapabilir miyim”,“can I do”, “yapabilirim”, “I can do.” It was while playing this game that a pin dropped I’d missed. “‘Tok’, ne demek?”, asks their uncle. In unison they replied, not “full” as expected, but the most fitting of answers they could give; “Alhamdulillah” they say – Thanks (Praise) be to God, in Arabic.

Yes, I wish they’d grasp the whole pronoun thing in English (rather then ‘he’ as direct transposition of the Turkish all encompassing ‘o’), yet I wouldn’t swap that correctness for the way they use words, blending the best bits of three tongues, uniting the sounds in their hearts.

Song of the moment (jointly tied with ‘London Bridge’):

‘Arkadaşim Eşek’- a Bariş Manco classic.


I haven’t counted the years since we left our village
Seasons have passed, we haven’t seen each other
Since that day ,you haven’t sent any news
Are you mad with me, have you forgotten me?
Yesterday I remembered you and cried
Those sweet days now just memories.
We have to accept that we had to part.
I miss you so much, Donkey, my friend.
My friend ‘don..’,
my friend ‘…key’,
my friend donkey.
Do the wild foals kick and stamp?
Does the freckled rooster fight with the cats?
Did yellow cow wean her calf ?
Do the lambs and the goats play together?
Shake your long ears one last time,
Send me news of all my old friends.
We have to accept that we had to part.
I miss you so much, Donkey, my friend.
My friend ‘don..’,
my friend ‘…key’,
my friend donkey.



This entry was published on 07/02/2016 at 08:29. It’s filed under Baby 'n' Me, Bilingual Parenting and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “My Friend, Donkey

  1. Pingback: Neigh!  | A Not So Turkish Life

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