Laugh and…Turkish with Nasrettin Hoca

When learning a foreign language on our own, we usually tend to follow the traditional path, learning grammar, exercising, memorizing vocabulary… step by step, again and again. Feeling that we are moving forward too slowly. Impatient and frustrated. Fighting to keep our motivation at an acceptable level. Transforming the once enjoyable activity into a boring routine… I’m very familiar with this scenario. A gray scenario which can be integrated into a success story, if we are not afraid of using colours. Learning a foreign language doesn’t have to be a dull or unpleasant activity. Learning a foreign language should be fun. Learning Turkish can be fun! Sometimes we simply need to disconnect from our traditional learning activity by… learning… in an unconventional way. It can be more effective than you think. There are various methods we can employ in language learning. Today, given that is Sunday, I will use a funny method. Learning by translating short, humorous stories. I’m introducing you Nasrettin Hoca (or Nasreddin Hoca), a funny and wise 13th Century character, who’s anecdotes and humorous stories became part of the Turkish folklore. You have probably heard about Nasrettin Hoca even if you are not a Turk. I discovered him long time ago, as Nastratin Hogea in Romanian children story books. Now, let’s read three of his stories in Turkish! Enjoy them!


Hoca hızlı ve yüksek sesle bağırmaya çalışıyordu. Biri onu gördü ve ona bir şey olduğunu sandı. Hemen Nasrettin Hoca’nın yanına kadar koştu ve sordu:

-Hocam ne oldu?

Nasrettin Hoca bağırmaya devam etti ve dedi ki,

-Ben, benim sesimin ne kadar uzağa gittiğini merak ediyorum…

English translation:


Hoca was shouting loudly. A man saw him and thought that something had happened to him. He immediately run to Nasrettin hoca and asked him:

-What happened Hoca?

Nasrettin hoca continued to shout and said:

-I’m curious how far my voice can reach…


Bir gün Nasrettin Hoca şehre gelip, bir arkadaşıyla birlikte handa kalmış. gece yarısı arkadaşı sormuş :

-Hocam, uyudunuz mu?

-Buyurun bir şey mi var?

-Biraz borç para isteyeyim demiştim.

Nasreddin hoca derhal horlamaya başlayıp:

-Ben uyuyorum!

English translation:


One day Nasrettin Hoca went in the town, and stayed in an inn with one of his friends. At midnight his friend asked:

Hoca, are you sleeping?

-Is there something wrong?

I wanted to ask you to borrow me some money.

Nasreddin Hodja started immediately to snore:

I’m sleeping!


Bir gün padişah Nasreddin Hoca’dan sormuş :

-Hocam ben ölünce cennete mi gideceğim yoksa cehenneme mi, söyle bakayım?

Hoca padişahtan korkmadan :

-Cehenneme gidersiniz padişahım.

Padişahın sinirden sakalları titremiş. Bu durumu gören Hoca :

-Kızmayın padişahım ben aslında size cennete gidersiniz diyecektim fakat sizin cellatlarınızın kılıçlarıyla ölen suçsuz kişilerden cennet dolup taşmış. Bu yüzden cennete sığmazsınız diye cehenneme gidersiniz dedim.

English translation:


One day the sultan asked Nasrettin Hoca:

-Hoca, tell me, when I die, will I go to heaven or to hell?

Hoca, without being afraid of the sultan:

– You will go to hell.

The sultan was shaking his beard with anger. Noticing the situation Hoca added:

-Don’t be angry, my sultan, I would have really wanted to say that you are going to go to heaven, but the heaven is already full of the innocent people killed by the swords of your executioners. That’s why I said that you are not going to go to heaven but to hell.

*Native Turks and proficient speakers may find minor errors in my translation, given that, as I said in my previous posts, I’m still learning Turkish. Therefore if you notice any mistakes I’m kindly asking you to let me know.


Image source: [1]

Source of Turkish stories: [2]


Build up your vocabulary with “intruders”!


I’m not ready (hazır değilim) to write (yazmak) a whole post (blog yazısı) in Turkish. I’m not ready yet (henüz). I must confess (itiraf etmek) that I’m afraid (korkmak) of making mistakes (hata). So I came up with a solution (çözüm). This (bu) solution. From now (şimdi) on a part of my writings will include (içermek) ‘intruders’.

I will welcome them, and wait (beklemek) until they will conquer (fethetmek) my bazaar (pazar).  You should do the same (aynı). Let your mind’s (akıl) citadel be invaded (istila etmek) by Turkish intruders. I’m talking about words (söz), of course (elbette)! I will help (yardım etmek) you to convert the voices (ses) in your head (kafa) to Turkish, by seasoning my posts with Turkish words.  I made my decision (karar) after realizing that some of my friends (arkadaş) had involuntarily learned (öğrenmek) Turkish words (söz) by reading (okumak) my latest post. In order to make learning easier (kolay) I will use (kullanmak) in the brackets only (sadece) the infinitive forms of verbs (fiil) and singular forms of nouns (isim). And I promise (söz vermek) that later I will explain (açıklamak) the tenses, and other grammar issues (soru), and even write in Turkish.  Meanwhile have fun (eğlence) and learn Turkish!


Image source: [1]