6 Nisan 2017 Perşembe

Gender equality detected in Turkish ethnicity: GENDER NEUTRALITY OF TURKISH LANGUAGE

It has been only one month since my spouse has explained me about his new finding that all the nouns which stand for women in current Turkish all rooted in old Turkish. These words have survived the intense pressure of Arabic and Persian that affected the language especially after the relocation of the Turkish tribes near Anatolia, neighboring these ethnicities. It is very interesting that while the people’s vision of women and their roles in social life has deteriorated in an outstanding fashion since then, leaving the women in a less participatory stance in decision making process and lower status against men, the native Turkish language has resisted somehow to adapt to those neighboring cultures. That is, the words used today in Turkish like adam (man), koca(husband) have Arabic and Persian origin, whilst the words defining women like kadın(woman), ana (mother), hanım (wife), hatun (wife), kız (girl) are all inherent in old Turkish language. What is more, there has never been a substitituon for these nouns from any other languages. Is not that incredibly inspiring for Turkish feminists?

I could have perceived this fact as a normally acceptable subject when considered to our culture’s obsessively possessive view on motherhood and sisters, until I suddenly realized that there is more to add to this language aspect. Did you know that Turkish language has no pronouns that identify between genders? I mean, today while the English language is in a Shakespearean retrospective search for substitution of pronouns he/she, him/her, his/her to use with a neutral shortcut as they, them and their, it is fascinating that the Turkish grammar has never questioned the gender of pronouns. A Turkish speaker never needs a hypothetically neutral pronoun when referring to a fictitious person. Likewise, in Turkish Facebook , you would never come accross with a “they/their/them” use for an account which has not submitted the gender data. There is only one pronoun for someone you are talking about and it is also the shortest word in Turkish language: “o”. That is enough.

Move further? For example in Turkish we do not have any feminine or masculine articles for nouns, because why should we ever need them? Perhaps it is the very strikingly incomprehensible part of learning languages for us, like German, French or Spanish in which you need to diversify between everyday objects in terms of their gender. A tree is a tree in Turkish and that is all. Why on earth should it also have a sex? Now think about a group of 6 women regarded with the pronoun “ellas” in Spanish. Who can explain how the word turns into “ellos” after adding one man to this group? That does not sound very mathematical to me, maybe gender sociologists would find it interesting to dig into this.

I really can live up to all these culturally pre-accepted and uncontested facts. However these findings have evoked me to write this article especially after I came across this unbelievably distorted piece of information on Wikipedia which claims that “Finnish has only gender-neutral pronouns and completely lacks grammatical gender.” I hope to make a revision on this definition by provoking some of our linguists and academic connections. Any comments or references to intrigue this issue is a valuable asset. Wish me luck.

20 Ekim 2016 Perşembe

A Post-modern story: THE BIG BAG THEORY

Saved a 13 year old’s educational life yesterday night: What is the real stand of technology in our everyday life? 

Yesterday night, the door bell rang at 10:00 pm. One of my neighbors was at the door. She asked if I could help her daughter with the arts homework. This is not he first time that I am being asked to give a hand about the child’s educational necessities. The woman, mother of the child has primary education at furthest, and probably alike is the father; so the child in need lacks both a good mentor in terms of educational counseling with homework issues, plus there is a poor condition of educational tools technology in the house she lives. I answered with kindness and empathy and asked what I could do for help, as usual.

The mother said that the girl needed a print out copy of a caricature, to use  as a model for her arts homework. How simple, isn’t it?

Now, to make everything as complex as it can be; here is my setting: 3 days ago, on Sunday, we went to skateboarding with my two boys, 7 and 9 and my husband. In the first 15 minutes everything was normal until the older one fell and bruised his elbow. The pain was not severe we thought, but the cry from the boy lasted so long that at the end we decided to pack up all of our items and go back home. My husband, an IT professional, was very upset because he said that returning home was the boys’ real aim, for they in fact wanted to lay on the coach and watch TV or play video games, rather than playing outside, under the sun. So on the way to home, we put a sudden ban on all kinds of digital screens inside the house. Needles to say, their cries did not calm down too soon while we hid all of the tablets, phones, notebooks to the deepest places in our house and deleted the TV program setting.

Not sure how much the boys liked our un-digital regime at home but I can say that the three days that followed was the best for me. When I came home I saw the elder boy was reading a book to the younger, they were very enthusiastic about learning a new note on the piano (which I could not drive them for the whole weekend, and guess why.) Everything was perfect, until this neighbor came to the door and asked for a simple print out.

I told the woman to send her daughter to me and I would try to help her. From that moment, I tried to find a medium to connect to the printer which was laying on a shelf silently in the study room. Printer was OK but the tablet I found (as it was hidden somewhere) had lost battery to 0% and there was no chargers around. While I was trying to plug the printer to my phone, the door bell rang.

The girl came. I asked her if she knew what a caricature was. She knew. I asked when the task was given, and she said the teacher had given it on Monday. She had 3 days to work on it but now she was on my door at this time of the night, to start it. I blamed her for her procrastination and said that she in fact did not need a print out of a caricature, she could have easily bought a caricature mag, from the shop next door. But, now that it was midnight, I was the only one to help the child. In fact I was angry with her mother because it was her duty to give a hand. Add to this the deliberate lack of technological means I used to enjoy hilariously 3 days ago, I lost my temper so easily on this 13 year old girl who was looking at me with ashamed and questioning eyes.

As I had taught her to google before, she easily managed to use my phone to search for a caricature, which she found in seconds. However, I tried to clarified the stuation to her that I could not feed the printer with the phone and I needed a tablet or PC to plug to the printer but now there was none. For years, we, as a family were acting like an IT Unit to her, where she could find a printer, free internet, free wikipedia,  free video games and so on, and still I am not sure if she could understand what I was trying to explain her. I told her to take her mother’s phone, make that search again and use the digital screen on the phone as a model, because our printer is out of order. Otherwise I could give her some comic books of Asterix and Lucky Luke, but she said they were not caricatures. In the end she was OK with taking her mother’s phone as a model.

She went back to the door to wear her shoes. My boys were happy to see her because they were also in need of a friend to play with (guess why) and the three began chattering together. Meanwhile, I was sitting in the study room on the floor with my temperament and annoyance for not being capable to help, when I was the last resort.

It was when it dawned on me that I used to collect every magazine I bought for the boys in a big bag under the bookshelf, behind the boys’ drawer. We, as a family like collecting. In this era of minimalism, where one can buy or get anything easily form the internet or the nearest mall with a small cost, I can be rewarded as a collector of unnecessary items. And yesterday night, after years of expectation of urgency, the big bag of magazines moved out of the bookshelf, opened and poured out with a glaring honor.

It was the fourth mag I looked in while turning the pages with hopeless anxiety, when I saw a group of amateur drawn caricatures. Like Archimedes celebrating his discovery, I ran to the door with the mag in my hand, showing her if they were OK for the homework. She looked at the caricatures and said they were fine. Unfeelingly she took the mag, wore her shoes. I told her not to come to me so late next time. She said goodbye, called the elevator, got in and went.

Looking back to what happened last night I can say: Dear Technology, can’t live with or without you. But I am not in a restless hunger for what you may bring, because I know your weak points. You were not there to save my neighbor’s homework yesterday. It was my constant belief in the big bag.

18 Mart 2016 Cuma

Teknoloji geri gidiyor

Pokeimam’ı hatırlayan var mı? İstediğiniz takımın formasını giydirip tekme tokat giriştiğiniz flash animasyonunu sevmeyen? Daha da geri gidiyorum, hellori hazretlerinin mahlukatı böcek masalını dinlerken anlatıcının azıcık koyverip toparlandığı an sizce de unutulmaz değil midir? ............ Kendi PC’sine gif animatör yükleyip de kendi gifini yapan da mı yok? OK. O zaman teknoloji çok iyi, süper, devam edin. KİB BYE.

Facebook’un göğsünü gere gere seyrettirdiği 360 derecelik videolar sanki hiç yokmuşçasına, hala uyduruk kaydırık hareketli fotoğrafların bu kadar iş yapmasına anlam vermek güç. Öyle ki, “yeni trend” adı altında anime gifler dünyanın en zor işiymiş gibi bütün tasarım konferanslarının ana maddesi olarak gözümüze sokuluyor. Adam gibi bir animasyon yaptırmaya kalkışmak, reklamveren tarafında ateş pahası. Mutfakta ise doğru düzgün iş yapıp zamanında teslim eden adam arayışı 404 veriyor.  

Hal böyle olunca çok çalışmayı sevmeyen ve mümkünse kendini göstereceği işleri ön planda tutup hatalarını başkalarının üzerine yıkmasıyla ünlü sevgili Y kuşağından iyice yıldım. Teknolojiden korkan ve her şeyi gözünde büyüten ama "illa ki ben yöneticem ama yapmıycam" diyen X kuşağının yarattığı bir balonsa bu o zaman daha da yıldım. Beklenen mesih gelip caps, animated gif, motion ve benzeri çok teknolojik sandığınız her şeyin artık free ve online yapıldığını dünyaya haykırsın istiyorum. Kendi cep telefonlarımızda indirdiğimiz applerle tipimizi, sesimizi, çevremizi, her şeyiyle editlediğimiz bu dünyada üç kuruşluk işler için istenen bütçeleri biri açıklasın.

Birisi taşın altına elini koysun. Ya da bunla eğlenin, bu size iyi gelir.