Şükran Günü – Thanksgiving

Selam Öğrenciler!

About last week’s post

I was quite impressed with the array of responses I got from the last post. Most of you seemed to take a good albeit varying stance and understanding with Turkey’s relationship with the EU. I enjoyed hearing about your thoughts on comparable situations or experiences witnessing selective interactions. Well done!

There is a lot more intricacies at play in the example of Turkey, but gauging from some of the responses some of you gave about places like the Ukraine, Mexico, and elsewhere, I think you guys get the idea of how people can feel more socially and politically inclined towards one way or another!

At the beginning of this project, I had a few students talk about whether the name of Turkey was at all related to the bird. (I get this question from other english-speaking people quite a bit actually!) I think there isn’t a better time to take a look at the etymology of Turkey (where I am) and turkey (that delicious bird that will be eaten by millions this week).

Which came first… the turkey…or, Turkey?
Turkey turkey

Here you can see where Turkic languages are spoken today. The area of green in the center is the ancestral homeland of the Turks.

Turkey gets its name from the tribe of Turks that settled here in Anatolia about a 1,000 years. Anatolia was mostly settled by Greek, Armenian, and other Christian groups at this time. The Turks arrived from central Asia (around what is now Uzbekistan and Mongolia). They were a nomadic tribe, calling themselves Göktürks (in Old Turkish, Gök meaning – sky or heaven indicated their affinity to Tengri – the shamanistic Sky God. The word Türk original meant – the strong ones). In time they settled, converted to Islam, and become one of the majority ethnicities of Anatolia.

SOOOO.. the bird.. coincidence?

Well, not quite…!

It turns out that the delicious, savory bird that we know so well for Thanksgiving is originally from North America. Spanish merchants began to ship them back to Europe following the Conquistador period, where they were then domesticated for eating. However, the Spanish sailed back often to the Mediterranean first, and Constantinople (Istanbul) was a thriving hub for sea commerce at this time. The birds stopped here first before going to places like England where they were extremely popular. Merchants there associated them with the Turks, first calling them “Turkey birds” and the name stuck!

To make it even more interesting, in India, there is a domesticated bird very similar to the turkey called  guinea fowl. guineafowl

This bird was traded with Ottoman merchants hundreds of years ago. The Turks began to call this bird – Hindi (since it came from India) and this is nowadays the modern Turkish word for turkey!

Confusing? You bet! But a very fun linguistical fact! It goes to show that ideas goes through some changes in meaning and concept when it jumps from one language to another.

As for my Thanksgiving plans, since this is really just an American holiday, I will not be able to do the traditional style. But so many people I know are curious about (both Turks and other international students at my university), I and a few American friends will be trying to recreate some of the dishes for them…alas, sweet potatoes are not really a thing here!

Some questions for this week:

1. Do you celebrate Thanksgiving? If so, what is a usual tradition for you/your family? If not, what is a comparable holiday you celebrate?

2. Think of a word that comes from another language other than english? How is it used? What is it’s orgin and how did it get to our language? (May require a little bit of investigation!)

3. And finally… CAT PHOTO

20141124_135817Because winter is slowly arriving here, like Portland, we’ve been having a lot of rain! These guys are seeking shelter where they can on the university!


31 thoughts on “Şükran Günü – Thanksgiving”

  1. My family doesn’t really celebrate thanksgiving formally but sometimes we have feasts but last years Thanksgiving was really fun because we were invited to a Thanksgiving feast and we got to eat lots of pumpkin pie and whipped cream which is my favorite part of Thanksgiving. English comes from a mix of a few different languages such as Latin Greek and even Arabic so we use a few words that are from other languages like sugar for example, sugar comes from the Arabic word sukkar which comes from the Persian word shekar which is from the Sanskrit word śarkarā which is from the Tamil word Sakkarai interesting,right? it came to England from Italian merchants. A few other languages such as Spanish,Portuguese and French have similar words for sugar. Anyway adorable cat picture! I love cats I wish Portland also had lots of cats everywhere.

  2. I love Thanksgiving, and my family has Thanksgiving every year. One word that isn’t English is glitch, like a mistake or an error. It is a combination of 2 words. Glitshen and glitschen which ate Yiddish, and German. American’s used that word in space, when astronauts referred to a electrical current spike, or a technical error. And the cat population in Turkey is like dogs here. 🙂

  3. I love Thanksgiving, though usually my family doesn’t usually celebrate big. We gather with our family friends, and go off somewhere on a vacation, and this year it is going to Bend and skiing on Mt. Bachelor, the youngest of the Three Sisters Mountains. We always eat Turkey though, every year! 😀
    I have a lot to say about this question. My secondary language is Chinese, and there is a lot of symbolism going on in that language. As you already know, Chinese is written in symbols, and they were actually developed from [half-ish] pictographs that represented what they say. As an example, the old Chinese word for ‘water’ looked like a vertical river made of three wavy lines (Sorry I don’t have a translator to type it here), and now it looks like this: 水, pronounced in Chinese translation as ‘Shui.’ Fire is 火 [Huo], and if you look closely, it looks like a simplified version of a roaring fire. So yea, basically every character in Chinese has some symbol to it’s meaning. 😀

  4. I do celebrate Thanksgiving. My family doesn’t really have a usual tradition, but we often host parties at our house on Thanksgiving.
    Chinese emerged from pictograms and cracked turtle shells that had shapes in them. Some words literally have their definition in them, or illustrate the meaning. In the Chinese word for “open”, or “kai” pictures a door with a sun in the middle.

  5. Yes I do celebrake thanksgiving, and my family usually likes to have a big party over at thanksgiving. We usually have about 25 people over. A word like that which just popped into my head this second. The word is one of the simplest in the english language, No. I think that the word came from the spanish but i might be wrong about that. But I bet there are others, that’s the one that I could think of.
    By the way, I love the cat photos, and I hope you do more of them later.

  6. My family doesn’t spend a lot of time setting up for Thanksgiving, we usually have all the traditional foods. It isn’t that huge of a celebration compared to other families. It is mostly a time for being with family. A word that I know the origin of is misnomers it comes from the Latin words, mes (which in Latin is like opposite) and the Latin word for names, nomers. This means, as you can tell, a name that doesn’t really belong to its definition. Sort of how we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway. Who thought of those names? And are those stray cats?

  7. Thanksgiving is my dad’s favorite holiday, because unlike some other holidays it isn’t about buying stuff and shopping, so we usually have a pretty big celebration. This year my cousin and one of her friends are coming here for thanksgiving, plus some of my other cousins and some family friends. My dad made like 6 pies and we have a huge turkey. The latin word is villa, and the words that are similar in english is village or villager. There must be a lot of stray cats, there are pictures of the stray cats in almost every post.

  8. Our family celebrates Thanksgiving lightly. We always go to a family friend’s house and have some traditional foods and we never really make a big deal over it. The first word that came into my mind when I read your question is klutz which I think originates from Yiddish -klots- and German -kloz- which I always think of as a very interesting word. Loving the cat photos!

  9. I celebrate Thanksgiving every year. Every year since I was born my family has gone to California but this year because we only had two days off so we could not go. So instead my Aunt and Uncle are here and we are going to spend Thanksgiving at home. A word from a different language that is used in English is kindergarten. It was originally from German with the word kinder which means children’s and garden which obviously is garden. So kindergarden is the children’s garden. I like the cat photos.

  10. My family celebrates thanksgiving every ear. In fact, I just got home from stuffing myself silly with pumpkin pie, turkey, and mashed potatoes. Normally my family goes and visits extended family in Colorado.Haiku is a word derived from a Japanese origin. it is used to describe a poem that is structurally organized with the first line 5 syllables, the second line 7 syllables, and the last line 5 syllables.In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line while haiku in English often appear in three lines to parallel the three phrases of Japanese haiku. Gotta love that cat photo.

  11. Hi again!
    First, I do indeed celebrate Thanksgiving, and my family normally makes turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stufing, brussel sprouts, and I make some kind of dessert. Also, we normally have some kind of family over.
    Second (and last), burrito, taco, pinata, qusadilla, salsa, guacamole, and sumbrero are foregin words. Most of them are food, one is a hat, and the last is a hollow confetii animal filled with candy that you hit with a baseball bat. these words are from Mexico.
    Cant wait for your next post!

  12. I do celebrate Thanksgiving, but not with family because they live far away. We usually celebrate with our neighbors who have indian thanksgiving the day after with lots of indian food. On e word/brand that comes to mind is Lego which come from the danish words leg godt meaning play well. you tend to “play well” when playing with legos.

  13. Thanksgiving in my house probably isn’t as big as most others. We still celebrate it though and spend time with family. This year we went up to Washington to visit my cousins.
    The word ‘kudos’ is of Greek origin. People say it to congratulate/acknowledge someone else. As you may have guessed, the Greek soldiers earned kudos when they did something great or proved themselves in battle.

  14. We celebrate Thanksgiving, but we go to church since we have to help out with preparations and serving food. Air comes from french origin and people use it to describe oxygen. It comes from the french word “air”.

  15. I do celebrate thanksgiving and my whole family comes over for a huge dinner with many cousins, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. The word tragedy came from the Greek word tragodia which means song of the male goat.

  16. I do celebrate Thanksgiving. I have a bunch of relatives on my that live near or in Portland, so we all go over to my grandma’s house. Our tradition is that everyone makes a dish to bring, and my Mom always makes the pies, so we get all the leftover pie! the first word that I thought of was ballet, which I knew came from the French. According to Google, it was originally the Latin word ballare, which is to dance, then adopted in to Italian as ballo, which means a dance, then turned into balletto (still Italian), borrowed into French, and then we Americans finally got ballet.

  17. I always celebrate Thanksgiving and my Grandfather always makes carrot soufflé. It is the best!!!! A word that is in english that did not originate here is Aquarium. It originated from latin and the definition is a place relating to water

  18. I do not celebrate Thanksgiving. Since it has nothing to do with me. We only have a couple holidays where I come from, and they’re WAAAAY different.
    Antique. It comes from the Latin word antiquus, which means old.

  19. My family and I celebrate Thanksgiving, though we don’t eat turkey because my mom thinks it is tasteless, so we eat ham instead. As an example, the word “zombie” is of African origin, and the word “vanilla” is of Spanish origin.

  20. I celebrate Thanksgiving, and we usually go to a friends house and have a big party. We play tons of sports including, but not limited to, football, soccer, baseball, and basketball. The word alligator is of Spanish origin from lagarto, or lizard.

  21. I celebrate Thanksgiving, and I usually see my grandparents with my family. Our family usually has the classics for Thanksgiving, turkey, stuffing, etc. Some words with foreign origin are “hazard” (from the french word “hasard”), or “Shanghai” (from the Mandarin Chinese characters “上海” (“shànghăi” in pinyin)).

  22. My family always celebrates Thanksgiving, and we usually have a turkey. Every year, we make our own cranberry sauce though as well as making a couple pies. A word that is often used in the English language that is foreign is “Thanks”. It is actually a combination of the Old English “Thanc” or “Thankas” and the Dutch or German “Dank”. So this holiday could not exist with out the Dutch or German! 😀

  23. I do celebrate thanksgiving… we usually spend the entire day cooking as a family to have some fun. The thing about English is that there are almost no words that are not from somewhere else. The entire language is mostly based off latin and greek.

    Reminded me of one of my favorite youtube quotes:
    “Are oranges oranges because they are orange? Or is orange orange because of oranges?”

  24. I celebrate Thanksgiving, but instead of eating turkey we eat teriyaki salmon. Most of the english language was influenced by latin, so most our words are foreign.

  25. My families Thanksgiving tradition is to invite one of my friends over (they usually end up having plans) and my brother has one friend who comes over every single year. I help my mom make cranberry sauce and a few other things depending on how much time I have. The food is always my favorite part. Then the kids go downstairs and watch a movie. Three comes from tri in latin.

  26. Yes I celebrate Thanksgiving and its probably one of my favorite holidays because I LOVE FOOD. One of my family’s traditions is eating at home. we never go to a restaurant but rather make our own food. I like it better that way. A word that I use a lot that has a different language influence would probably be hola mainly because I’m learning Spanish and it’s a fun greeting to use just for whatever.

  27. My family usually goes to California for thanksgiving, but this year we stayed here.
    Also-the word television is half-greek, half-latin. hmmmmm….

  28. My family and I normally celebrate Thanksgiving and sometimes invite friends over. We put our own spin on Thanksgiving and cook different dishes from India.
    The word absent contains the greek root ‘ab-‘ which means away from.

  29. I do celebrate Thanksgiving. We always do a traditional turkey dinner, which I have no problem with! This year we went to Minnesota, and my grandpa’s alma mater had a Christmas festival with a Norwegian smörgåsbord. That was kind of like a second Thanksgiving feast. Awesome! i just used two borrowed words right there. Alma mater is from Latin, meaning nourishing mother. It was used to refer to mother goddesses such as Ceres, and later for the Virgin Mary. Smörgåsbord comes from smörgås, or an open-faced sandwich (as common as, if not more common than normal sandwiches in Scandinavia), and bord, or table. The word came to English at the 1939 New York World’s Fair when a restaurant in the Swedish Pavilion put it on the menu.

  30. We celebrate thanksgiving at our house. Since our parents are divorced, we usually have thanksgiving brunch with my mom and traditional dinner with my dad. We have turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, the works. Many french words are now English words, like ballet. You can trace that from English to French to Italian to, as always, Latin, ballo, then Greek, which the word is ballizo, meaning to dance. And thanks for the cat photo!

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