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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