çok söylemesi

modus.irrealis

Senior Member
English, Canada
Hi,

I started reading a simple tale in Turkish and ran into trouble with the first line, so I was wondering if someone could help me out. The line is

Bir varmış bir yokmuş, Allah'ın kulu çokmuş, çok söylemesi günahmış.
The best I can do is:

Once upon a time [although I know not literally], God's creatures were many, and their much talking was a sin.

But I have my doubts if that's right.
 
  • ukuca

    Senior Member
    Turkish - Turkey
    "Bir varmış bir yokmuş" is a turkish expression used in tales. I can only translate it as "Once upon a time". "kul" is like a slave or a servant (in relation to God), mortal, human being.
     

    Chazzwozzer

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    The first line of tales which start with "Bir varmış bir yokmuş," are usually weird, rather "unusual" I might say. Nevertheless, you translation is correct. ;)
     

    Alijsh

    Senior Member
    Persian - Iran
    "Bir varmış bir yokmuş" is a turkish expression used in tales. I can only translate it as "Once upon a time". "kul" is like a slave or a servant (in relation to God), mortal, human being.
    It's interesting. In Persian we say "yeki bud yeki nabud" which is exactly like its Turkish (literally: one was one wasn't). Yes, we also translate it as "Once upon a time".
     

    tristero

    Member
    USA/English
    This introductory formula is known in Turkish as a "tekerleme", and is one of several standard versions in introducing a folktale. Its English equivalent is indeed "Once upon a time". Sometimes they're quite long and involved in Turkish, though, and a mixture of prose and poetry, with a variety of nonsensical statements.

    A similar formula is used in Kurdish tales as well, which often start with "hebu, tunebu", meaning "there was, there was not".
     

    modus.irrealis

    Senior Member
    English, Canada
    Thanks to all. I'm surprised, but glad to know, I got most of the meaning right grammatically (ukuca, creature can also mean slave,servant,human being, although, to be honest, I was thinking of a different meaning of creature, but at least that explains the glossary at back of my book), although I'm still scratching my head a bit.
     
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