Wednesday, July 16, 2008


So there I was, kind of upset with myself for not being able to think of anything to blog about, here in America where things aren't as funny and I'm trying to resist the urge to post really cute pictures of LE doing really cute things here, and I find this comment on an old post. Guess which post it was:

this is so pathetic its not gay and not all turkish people do the wrestling.... its like saying spain messing around with bulls is gay but its not because its the way they have fun and if you can't except that then thats your problem.....AND TARKAN IS NOT GAY AND NEVER WAS.....just because someone told you he's gay doesn't mean he is everyone wants to with him how do you know maybe there is some gay man that wants to be with cant just accuse people of being gay.......this article is pathetic and anyone who believes tarkan is gay is pathetic to.......


I often wonder if this so-called 'anonymous' is one angry Turk, or several.

All I can say is this: When we start sentences, we use capital letters. Proper nouns like 'Turkish' and 'Spain' also begin with capital letters. When we end sentences, we use periods. Ellipses might have dramatic effect when used occasionally, but not when they're used to end EVERY SENTENCE. I can't stress this enough. Overuse of ellipses is incredibly annoying. I'm sure there are other EFL teachers out there who will confirm this.

And I'm not trying to be mean by engaging in ad hominem attacks on someone's English. I applaud our dear Anonymous (or all of you) for ranting on my blog in your second language. I think it's quite brave of you. But these very basic rules of punctuation are the same in Turkish. Learn them. It might make you seem a little more clever.

Or maybe not.


Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

Here's more provocative stuff for you: Tarkan is named after a comic strip character. It is a made-up name. This is why you don't see any 'Tarkan's over, say, 40. Here's the story. I leave it up to you to comment on the manliness of the real Tarkan's tight-fitting and skimpy (leather?) clothes.

The weird but consistent punctuation rules are pushed by the press. Just take a peek at the more popular columns in Turkish dailies. Here's an example. I count 15 ellipses there. People do think this is proper punctuation. It also comes in variants: two dots, four dots, and a zillion dots. That last one is used when the author is really proud of the preceding nonsense.

Stranger said...

So much interesting trivia! That Tarkan character reminds me of a Simpson's episode in which Homer and Marge try to spice up their love life by watching a blue-ish film called 'The Erotic Adventures of Hercules.'

I know what you mean about the ellipses thing in Turkish written media. It just drives me mad, and it's one thing that keeps me from reading more than half of any newspaper column. I keep thinking, "Who does this guy think he is? Why is he relying on stock phrases and dramatic punctuation rather than making a substantive argument?" But there you go. That article Bulent linked to has an even funnier use of ellipses: (......) Like, there's nothing I can say that's powerful enough to follow the previous point, so I'll just put a bunch of periods to indicate how thought-provoking I've just been. A few months back, I read 'The Other Side of the Mountain' by Erendiz Atasu. Especially towards the end, there were long dream and thought sequences punctuated entirely with ellipses, and even though it was a decent story overall, I found that punctuation incredibly annoying to the point of distraction, wondering why her translator left it that way. This probably points as much to me being some kind of writing style dork than anything else.

Another Turkish punctuation quirk (and one I'm seeing increasingly used in the US by less-educated people) that drives me mad is using quotation marks for emphasis. Everyone does it (even the press), though, according to BE at least, it isn't strictly correct. We once got a flyer in our mailbox that said 'This is an invitation for learning "REAL" English.' It was wonderfully ironic in real English.

And I'll even grant that commenting on blogs allows for a certain amount of informality, but this does not excuse failure to use capital letters, in my opinion. Perhaps I'm just becoming an old stick in the mud.

anonymous 1 said...

I can assure you that there is more than one anonymous Turk, because I never mess up with the punctuation rules, and whoever says Tarkan is not gay is gay himself.

Bulent, get a life!

Stranger said...

Well done, Anonymous 1. Your punctuation is impeccable.

Now we need to work on rhetoric. Accusing someone of being gay is not really the show stopper some people seem to think it is, with or without the ellipses. Might I suggest instead, "Someone who angrily insists Tarkan isn't gay is either incredibly thick... or incredibly naive. Someone who does so anonymously on a Stranger's blog probably has too much time on his or her hands."

Anonymous said...

ha ha ha I like it. And I just have to say SO gay (to both the wrestling and Tarkan). Since when is it bad to be gay anyway? Unless, that is, you are either totally phobic or in the closet... (ooh sorry- ellipses:))Sorry Stranger I've posted as anonymous this time so that angry phobic people don't use their clearly huge amounts of spare time to write random silly comments on my blog (entertaining as they are!)

Stranger said...

Your secret identity is safe with me, new anonymous.

Though the occasional homophobic screed in one's blog comments is indeed pretty amusing...

(I use the ellipses to allow you all to mull that last thought for the time it takes to read 3 periods)