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).
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!
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