A SHORT LIST OF TURKISH PROVERBS... My notes toward a modest compilation of Turkish proverbs. Mütevazı bir Türk atasözleri derlemesine yönelik notlarım. 07. "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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My notes toward a modest compilation of Turkish Proverbs

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07: Hatasız -- Islanmışın

turkish proverb091  Hatasız kul olmaz.  transl: There can be no man who has never erred. [Somewhat similar to "İnsan beşer, bazen şaşar."]  meaning: Man by his very nature errs and deviates at times.  equiv. To err is human. / Nobody is perfect. / Even the best steed sometimes stumbles.

turkish proverb092  Havlayan köpek ısırmaz.  transl: A barking dog never bites.  equiv. His bark is worse than his bite. Barking dogs seldom bite. [The funny detail is, while the English proverb admits that a barking dog may sometimes, though not often, take a fancy to a little munch, the Turkish proverb is dogsure that such canine discourtesy would never come to pass.]

turkish proverb093  Haydan gelen huya gider.  meaning: What is acquired without effort is spent or used up without much concern and even in a foolishly carefree manner. equiv. Easy come, easy go. [This proverb has quite an interesting etimology. The root meaning must have been "What comes from Allah will return to Allah in the end." However, since the Arabic "Hayy" and "Hû" are not among those names of Allah best known among the Turks, the proverb has acquired a meaning which has nothing to do with the original religious concepts.]

turkish proverb094  Hazıra dağlar dayanmaz.  meaning: Wealth, whether inherited or saved, without continued earnings, cannot last forever even if it were in heaps as high as mountains. [This may be used as a warning against indolence coupled with prodigality. Bu it is also applicable to the sad situation in which one cannot get a job and has to live on one's previous savings.]

turkish proverb095  Hediye atın dişine bakılmaz.  Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

turkish proverb096  Her gönülde bir aslan yatar.  verbatim: There lies a lion in every heart. [This is yet another frequently-mistranslated proverb as "Everybody has bravery somewhere in themselves." The correct interpretation is as follows: There is a yearning in every heart. Everyone aspires toward and hopes for some future (though distant) fulfilment.]

turkish proverb097   Her horoz kendi çöplüğünde öter.  transl: Every cock crows on his own midden.  meaning: It is just as to be expected that a person should be bragging and bullying where he is the boss and feels safe from being put to proof.

turkish proverb098  Her koyun kendi bacağından asılır.  transl: Each sheep is "hung" (= hooked in the butcher's shop) by its own foot.  meaning: 1. Every man is on his own and for his own. Everyone is responsible for his own actions. Every man is the architect of his own fate. 2. One doesn't have to be altruistic and bear others' responsibility. Thus this proverb may be used (often selfishly) to admonish a demanding person ("You take care of yourself as I will take care of myself") or to give practical or indeed cynical advice.

turkish proverb099  Her kuşun eti yenmez.  i.e., Some birds are not edible.  meaning:  You cannot impose yourself on just about everyone; there will be some people who will make a stand, hit back, and thwart your desires and demands.

turkish proverb100  Herşeyde bir hayır vardır.  equiv: Every cloud has a silver lining. meaning: No matter how difficult, unpleasant or painful a situation might be, there might also be some positive results that will eventually unfold themselves. 

turkish proverb101  Herşeyin fazlası zarar.  equiv: Enough is as good as a feast.  i.e. One must know when and where to stop. Follow moderation in everything, rather than going to extremes. Taking things to extremes brings harm.

turkish proverb102  Hocanın vurduğu yerde gül biter.  verbatim: Where your mentor hits you bloom roses.  [As a statement of consolation, even of approval, and a leftover from the ages when corporal punishment was a routine practice, this proverb now has no practical context.]

turkish proverb103  Horozu çok olan köyün sabahı geç olur.  transl: In a village where there are too many roosters, the morn comes late.  meaning: Decisions will be delayed by too much discussion among peers without someone acting as the presiding authority.  similar to: Too many cooks spoil the broth.

turkish proverb104  Isıracak köpek dişini göstermez.  transl: A dog that intends to bite does not bare its teeth.  meaning: (Be careful, for,) People planning ill-doing make sure that they do not let out any signs of it.

turkish proverb105   Islanmışın yağmurdan korkusu olmaz.  transl: A drenched man fears not the rain. [Also, "Ölmüş eşek kurttan korkmaz." = A dead donkey will have no fear of wolves. This is a statement of resolution, meaning "I have lost everything anyway; what else is there to lose? So, come what may!"]

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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