A SHORT LIST OF TURKISH PROVERBS... My notes toward a modest compilation of Turkish proverbs. Mütevazı bir Türk atasözleri derlemesine yönelik notlarım. 11. "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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11: Nerede -- Sabreden

turkish proverb151  Nerede (= nerde) hareket orada (= orda) bereket.  transl: Where there is activity, there is plentifulness and prosperity.

turkish proverb152   Ne ekersen onu biçersin.  As you sow, so shall you reap. You reap what you sow.

turkish proverb153  Olan oldu. (or, Olanlar oldu bir kere.equiv: What's done is done... What is done cannot be undone... It is no use crying over spilt milk.

turkish proverb154  Olmaya devlet cihanda bir nefes sıhhat gibi.  transl: No kingdom nor realm exists in this world that is worth a wisp of breath in health. equiv: Health is better than wealth.

turkish proverb155  Öfkeyle kalkan zararla oturur.  transl: He who gets up in anger sits back with a loss.

turkish proverb156  Öksüz çocuk göbeğini kendi keser.  transl: The orphan cuts his umbilical cord himself.

turkish proverb157  Ölmüş eşek kurttan korkmaz.  transl: 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!" Cf., "Islanmışın yağmurdan korkusu olmaz." transl: A drenched man fears not the rain. equiv: A dead mouse feels no cold.

turkish proverb158   Önce can sonra canan.  literally: The self comes first; the beloved follow after. near equiv: Charity begins at home. (However, as is seen from the literal translation, the Turkish proverb narrows the circle right down to the individual oneself.)

turkish proverb159  Paran çoksa dostun da çok.  transl: If you have a lot of money, you also have a lot of friends. equiv: He that hath a full purse never wanted a friend. [hath = has... purse = cüzdan, para kesesi... to want = gereksinimi olmak, eksiği olmak.]

turkish proverb160  Para parayı çeker. transl: Money attracts (= brings in) money. equiv: Money makes money. Money breeds money.

turkish proverb161  Parayı veren düdüğü çalar.  transl: He who makes the payment (for a/the pipe) plays the pipe.  meaning: If you want to own something, you first have to pay up for it. In other words, "There is no free lunch." [This Turkish proverb is often mistranslated as "He who pays the piper calls the tune," i.e. The person who provides the money for something has a right to decide what will be done with it. In other words, "Whoever is the boss, he calls the shots." Clearly, this is not what is meant here at all.]

turkish proverb162  Parayla imanın kimde olduğu belli olmaz.  transl: One never knows who might have money or who might have faith in God. meaning: Both the weathy and the irreligious never come out with these facts.

turkish proverb163  Perşembenin gelişi Çarşambadan belli olur.  equiv: Coming events cast their shadows before. verbatim: What sort of a Thursday it will be is evidenced by Wednesday before.

turkish proverb164  Rüzgâr eken fırtına biçer.  transl: Whoever sows wind reaps a tempest. equiv: For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. (However, the Turkish proverb has no religious sense as in the English equivalent, which comes from The Bible, King John's version.)

turkish proverb165  Sabreden derviş muradına ermiş.  transl: The dervish who was patient enough to wait saw his wishes fulfilled.  equiv: Everything comes to him who waits.


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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