Our first night in Istanbul, I duck down to the local store for bananas and bottled water (şişe su
– pronounced she shay sue
). I’m ready to try out a bit of Turkish and greet the clerk with a hello – merhaba
. He replies something-something-nasilsiniz
– how are you? I reply iyiyim, teşekkür ederim
– fine, thank you.
He breaks into a big smile, laughs a bit, corrects my pronunciation a bit, says “Very good. Where are you from?” We talk for a few minutes, he teaches me a couple Turkish words.
I return the next day, exchange a greeting with the same clerk. As I leave, I try to say thank you, but swap two syllables – roughly the equivalent of saying thnak you
. I hope I have not insulted his grandmother as I emerge out onto the cobblestone street.
Communicating even the basics in a foreign language is a constant lesson in humility. It challenges the traveler to no end, but is rewarded with real human connection and respect for the culture you are privileged to experience.
We started SpeakSheets because we know how invaluable a little language help is. Whether we are memorizing please
, thank you
and how to count to ten, or glancing at a sheet to learn we ate
) as we walk through restaurant row, SpeakSheets have become an essential accessory in our global travels. We hope you find them just as invaluable. Sign up today.