A SHORT LIST OF TURKISH PROVERBS... My notes toward a modest compilation of Turkish proverbs. Mütevazı bir Türk atasözleri derlemesine yönelik notlarım. 06. "A proverb is a traditional saying, which offers advice or presents a moral in a short or pithy manner. As with proverbs of other nations, the Turkish-speaking peoples’ folk philosophy, distinctive regional customs and, above all, the peculiar flavor of their language and phraseology constitute the uniqueness of Turkish proverbs. A close examination of these proverbs reveals observations about men and things, oriental customs and ceremonies, facts of natural history, fragments of poetry, and quaint rhymes, puns, and similes." Nejat Muallimoğlu, The Turkish Delights, A Treasury of Proverbs and Folk Sayings, (New York, 1998).

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turkish proverbs - title

My notes toward a modest compilation of Turkish Proverbs

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06: Elini -- Hamama

turkish proverb076  Elini veren kolunu kaptırır.  transl: He who offers his hand will have his whole arm carried off.   equiv: Give them an inch and they'll take a mile.

turkish proverb077  Emek olmadan yemek olmaz.  transl: "No food without labour.  equiv: No pain, no gain. (To express the idea, this proverb uses the rhyming pair "emek" and "yemek", i.e. "labour" and "food".)

turkish proverb078  Erken kalkan yol alır, sona kalan dona kalır.  equiv. The early bird catches the worm.

turkish proverb079  Eşek ölür semeri kalır; insan ölür eseri kalır.  transl: The ass dies, and nothing but the saddle remains behind; (but when) a man dies, his accomplishments live on.

turkish proverb080  Geç olsun da güç olmasın.  Better late than never.

turkish proverb081  Gökyüzünde düğün var deseler, kadınlar merdiven kurmaya kalkar.  transl: Supposing someone said there is a wedding-party up in the sky, women would just as soon attempt to stretch up a ladder. (A tongue-in-cheek remark about women showing great interest in wedding-parties.)

turkish proverb082   Gönül kimi severse güzel odur.  equiv: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. explnd: Supposing Paris were in love with one of the three beauties competing for his judgment, the other two would stand no chance at all. It is one's heart that decides in all matters. Appearing a romantic statement at surface, this Turkish saying is obviously capable of being used with a derisive twist.

turkish proverb083  Görünen köy kılavuz istemez.  transl: A village already in sight obviates any guide to be directed by.  meaning: The situation is plain enough; it does not need any further explanation. (Often used to stop the other person's attempts to gainsay, deny or cover up.)

turkish proverb084  Görünüşe aldanmamalı.  Appearances are deceptive. Never judge a book by its cover.

turkish proverb085  Gözden ırak, gönülden ırak.  Out of sight out of mind. [The beautifully mysterious Turkish word gönül might best be defined here as -- to coin a phrase -- "the mind's heart".]

turkish proverb086  Göze göz, dişe diş.  An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

turkish proverb087  Güleriz ağlanacak halimize.  meaning: (How ironic it is that) We guffaw at the state we are in, whereas we should be lamenting.

turkish proverb088   Gülü seven dikenine katlanır.  transl: One who loves a rose should endure its thorns. [Some translate this as "will endure"; but I feel the proverb is rather more of an invitation to a reality or even an encouragement than mere observation.]

turkish proverb089  Güneş balçıkla sıvanmaz.  transl: The sun cannot be plastered over with mud. meaning: A truth which is plain for all eyes to see cannot be concealed.

turkish proverb090  Hamama giren terler.  transl: He who enters a hamam (="Turkish bath") will sweat.  meaning: When you have set yourself a demanding task, you cannot expect to escape its accompanying difficulties nor complain about them.


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The Turkish word for a proverb, atasozu means "grandfather's sayings," or "words," or "elder's words." "In Turkey no conversation takes place without one or more proverbs being mentioned, and it is amazing to see the influence they have on an audience; as soon as a proverb is recited all heads nod in approval and all arguments cease, a suffering or loss becomes bearable and even death loses its sting, for proverbs embody the crystal truth found by long and painful experience, and even though it may sometimes be bitter, it is an acceptable form." Nejat Muallimoğlu, The Turkish Delights, A Treasury of Proverbs and Folk Sayings, (New York, 1998)

Turkish Proverbs: Doç. Dr. Yalçın İzbul, http://www.ingilizce-ders.com  Notes toward a modest compilation of Turkish proverbs. Türk atasözleri derlemesine yönelik notlarım. 2009