Sundown today is the start of Yom Kippur, so for those who are Jewish, have an easy fast. I have no interesting linguistic story to tell here, since Turkish and Hebrew aren’t related the way Hebrew and Arabic are, but I thought you might want to see the holiday written in Turkish, where “Yom Kippur” becomes, ah, “Yom Kippur.” I hope that wasn’t too complicated for you to keep up.
With today marking the beginning of the Hajj, I thought I’d rerun this blog’s first post on Hajj and other pilgrimage vocabulary.
Bayramınız mübarek olsun!
As I do every year, I’ll link to the first Ramazan Bayramı post on this blog, which has more information about the holiday for those who are interested.
For the numbers 1-10, please go here.
Whenever I do a unit that covers all three of the languages I blog about, I always end with Turkish. After bouncing back and forth between Latin and Arabic script to do Arabic and Persian, it’s pretty nice to finish up without having to do that. That’s like quadruply true for this unit, because not only do we get to stay in Latin script, but Turkish also has a more logical system when it comes to handling numbers past 10. Where a lot of languages, including Arabic and Persian (and English) have a slightly altered form for the numbers 11-19, or once you get into the hundreds, Turkish does not. It’s as simple as can be. First let’s count by 10s to 100:
- 10 (ten): on
- 20 (twenty): yirmi
- 30 (thirty): otuz
- 40 (forty): kırk
- 50 (fifty): elli
- 60 (sixty): altmış
- 70 (seventy): yetmiş
- 80 (eighty): seksen
- 90 (ninety): doksan
- 100 (one hundred): yüz
- 1000 (one thousand): bin
You may see that I cheated there and skipped straight from 100 to 1000. That’s because Turkish, unlike Arabic and Persian, doesn’t have any special form for even hundreds. As in English, if you want to say “four hundred,” you literally say “four hundred,” or dört yüz, and “seven hundred” is yedi yüz. Likewise, “fifteen” is simply “ten five” or on beş, “sixty-eight” is altmış sekiz, and “one hundred twenty-nine” is yüz yirmi dokuz. That’s it. If you refer back to the lesson on the numbers 1-10 and this lesson, you can put together any number up to a million pretty easily. Hell, this was so easy to write I’ll even throw in the Turkish word for “million” as a bonus. Are you ready? This might be tricky…
Just kidding. It’s milyon. You gotta love Turkish.
The birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, called Mevlid-i Şerif in Turkish, is being observed today, the 12th of the Hijri month Rabiyülevvel (if you want to be technical about it, the commemoration started at sundown last night, and I guess it’s ended by now in most of the world, but it’s still worth noting). Though not one of the major Islamic holidays, many Muslims do commemorate Muhammad’s birth with decorations and by exchanging small gifts or sweets.
Mevlid is not a universally celebrated holiday, for a couple of reasons. There’s no historical record of the earliest Muslims celebrating Muhammad’s birthday as a special event; the first widespread Mevlid celebration doesn’t appear in the record until the 12th century, though there are records of earlier, smaller observances. So for modern self-proclaimed “fundamentalists” the holiday is an innovation and therefore illegitimate. Honoring a historical figure’s birthday also comes too close to revering or worshiping that person for those arch-conservative groups, which would make it an example of the most serious sin in any monotheistic faith. So you’re not likely to find any sanctioned Mevlid celebrations in Saudi Arabia, or being organized by ISIS. But in most of the Islamic World Mevlid is treated as an important cultural marker if not an especially religious one, more Presidents Day than Christmas. This blog is certainly not in the business of litigating inter-Islamic religious debates, so I’m not here to comment on Mevlid’s legitimacy, but this does offer us a chance to explore a little vocabulary.
- prophet: peygamber (Şerif derives from an Arabic word, sharif, that is often used to identify a descendent of Muhammad; here you could translate it as “sacred” or “noble”)
- prophethood: peygamberlik or nübüvvetini
- birthday: doğum günü (mevlid is an old Arabic derivative that wouldn’t be commonly used today)
- to be born: doğmak