Saturday, August 14, 2010

Turkish delight (well, what else could I call this post?)

The Vampire Plagues has arrived in Turkey, or at least London, the first volume has. As you can see it continues the totally not being Twilight in any way shape or form vibe. I don't know whether "Vampir Alacakaranligi" means either "Vampire Plagues" or "Vampire Dusk" but I do know it's not something to say lightly.

In fact a lot of Turkish seems to be made up of words that people forgot to stop spelling. Give or take an accent or two, "Jack Harkett lurked beside a pile of weathered tea crates from a Calcutta merchant ship" comes out as "Jack Harkett, Kalka’dan gelen bir ticaret gemisinden indirilen günes ve rüzgârdan yipranmis çay kasalarinin olusturdugu bir yiginin yaninda salaniyordu". And boutros boutros to you, too. "Goodbye, Father" is (rather sweetly) "Güle güle, baba". I'm very pleased with myself for tracking down a line in the mass of Turkish text without reference to the English at all: "Limon yemek istiyormus da limon onu yemis gibi görünüyor" ("She looks like she wanted to suck a lemon, only it sucked her instead".)

One day - one day, I promise - I will use my Swedish copy of Vampyrguden as a Rosetta Stone for learning my wife's mother tongue. Learning Turkish, for the time being, goes on the back burner.


  1. Coo, "vampir" is a borrowed word in Turkish, then. Due to vowel sympathy in the Turkish vocabulary, it's unusual to see an a (a "dark" vowel) side by side with a dotted i (a "light" vowel) - they tend to associate with the undotted i, such as can be seen in "alacakaranligi" (and such as can't be typed on my keyboard).

    The g with an accent over it, by the way, is unpronounced except inasmuch as it tells you you're hearing two vowels strung together rather than one really long vowel.

    The undotted i is a guttural kind of vowel sound not found in Romance languages, made without parting the teeth. Basically, you grimace as if you're going to growl like a dog, then make an "uh" sound in the back of your throat. And the c is pronounced like a j. Hope that's all clear.

    So I don't actually know what "alacakaranligi" means, but I can tell you how to pronounce it:
    Primary stress on the "ran", secondary stress at the start.

    This message has been brought to you by the withered brain-stump of a fortnight's Turkish language classes I had nearly a decade ago. Ech.

  2. Hey, I've found out what it means for you! According to an online Turkish dictionary, "alaca karanlik" means dusk, gloaming or twilight (literally "patchy darkness"). 'ave that.

    No idea why it's been run together as one word and turned into "alacakaranligi". I have a niggling conviction that the "igi" ending is plural (which would make no sense), but I also recall that Turkish does strange things with possessive phrases, and "igi" might be something to do with that. So it might be something along the lines of "patches of darkness". But that's just shameless guesswork.

  3. You're a dark horse, Mr T. I had no idea, but thank you for the educational comment. I did wonder about those dotless i's. (Is the equivalent Turkish comment about taking care of details "undotting the i's and accenting the g's"?)

    At least in Swedish all you have to worry about is remembering whether the K is hard or soft, or sometimes both, as in "church" = "kyrke" pron. "shirka".

  4. Titter - if that isn't the appropriate Turkish phrase, it should be.

    You've now blown my mind with the concept of soft k's.


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