Talk Street Turkish

Invoking the Intervention of Allah.
Using the name of deity in Turkish daily speech is not considered strong talk as it is to call upon Jesus, Christ or God in the English language.

This usage is quite common in daily Turkish talk, newspapers, films and TV programs.

Turkish Daily Interjections!
Before beginning somethingİnşallah (umarım)Hoping for the best!
Just at beginningBismillahI hope it goes well!
Goodbye!Allahaısmarladık! (Hoşçakal!) Keep well!
When surprised, disappointedAllah Allah..!! (Hadi ya!, Vay canına!) Well now!, What the heck?
When giving upEyvallahOh dearie me!
When parting (males only)EyvallahCheerio for now!
To get to the end, finish offYa AllahIt's all done!
Promise, swear Vallahi Billahi (Yemin ederim) I'm sure
Show self confidence also "Goodbye for now!"EyvallahCheers!, Cheerio!
Fully motivatedAlimallahLets do it!
BoredFesuphanallahUff! (a sound)
More boredHasbınallahI 've had enough!
Give upİllallah (Bıktım verb: bıkmak) I am fed up
Great inspiration and motivationAllah, Allah, AllahThis is really great!
SucceededMaşallah (Aferin!) Well done!
"Please don't mention it", showing modestyEstağfurullah (Lafi bile olmaz)It is not even worth mentioning
In a serious situationHafazanallah!God save us!
At failureHay Allah!My God!
May it not come to pass…Maazallah!God forbid!
Complete surpise!Suphanallah!, Süpenallah!Geat Scott!, Good grief!, Good heavens!, Wow!
It came out well, in the end.Elhamdülillah!Thank goodness!

Modern Turkish is shown in (brackets) above.

  • Listen Allahaısmarladık Goodbye. Said by those leaving.
  • [LIT: "We call on Allah"] said when leaving company or after making a visit to someone's home.
  • This formula is only spoken by the persons who are actually leaving.
  • Listen Güle güle Goodbye. Said by those staying.
  • Those who are staying behind should reply Güle güle [LIT: "Go with a smile."]
  • Listen Eyvallah Thanks Said with gratitude.
  • Also used to say "Goodbye for now" in conversations between men.
  • Listen Estağfurullah "Please don't mention it"
  • If someone compliments you, then your reply is Estağfurullah "Please don't mention it." This shows modesty.

In Kuşadası I had a meal on Güvercin Adası Pigeon Island which was expertly served by a waiter of advanced age.

I told him that I could see that he was an usta expert at his job. His reply to me was Estağfurullah!

Street Turkish Body Language and Sign Language

Yes evet is shown by a single downward nod of the head.

No hayir or yo(k) is shown by a single tilt the head backwards while lifting the eyebrows at the same time.

Turkish Eyebrow Lift to say "No!"
Turkish hand sign expressing negation or disagreement
Expressing negation or disagreement

Our unknown friend is signifying "No" by raising his eyebrows with an uptilt of the head often uttering the sound "tut" at the same time.
Shaking the head from side to side does not mean "NO". It signifies "I don't understand."

This is often a mistake made by Europeans when trying to say "No" and is the cause of many misunderstandings.

To say "No" in Turkish sign language is a backward head tilt and a raise of the eyebrows.

If you shake your head to mean No you will be misunderstood and the Turk will probably repeat himself thinking that you have not understood their meaning.

Turkish Hand Sign - Come here!
Turkish hand sign expressing 'Come here!'
Turkish hand sign for "Come along"

To express "Come along, Follow me, Continue on." the hand is held out with the fingers downward and a scooping motion is made to signify the meaning.
The fingers are not held upwards as in Europe as this may be construed as being a little rude.
The Turkish Trafik Polisi use this gesture when directing vehicles.

Turkish Hand Sign For Enthusiasm
Turkish hand sign showing enthusiasm and approval.
Turkish hand sign showing enthusiasm and approval.

To signify approval the French method of holding the fingers and thumb together in an upright position is used Oooh la la!

This sign is use in all walks of life: By family members, strangers, shopkeepers and evem in the "pavilions" (lower class male entertainment shows)

A Rude Turkish Hand Sign!
Never use this rude Turkish hand sign!
Never use this rude Turkish hand sign!

Never give the "thumbs up" gesture to signify that you like something.
This gesture is obscene in Turkish and only used amongst males.
With the influx of tourism in Turkey during the last twenty years this hand sign is now acceptable by the mature and younger generation in the holiday areas.
When I was in Turkey in 1970's before Turkey had become a tourist trap then this sign was considered rude, and may well be now by the older generation. It is best left alone!

Turkish Door Signs

  • AÇIK
  • BAY (B.)
    Gentleman Man
  • ERKEK (E.)
    Male Man
  • BAYAN (Bn.)
    Lady Woman
  • KADIN (K.)
    Female Lady
    Forbidden Prohibited
    No Entrance