6 Turkish Words And Phrases That SimplyHave No Translation

Turkish is a language very different frommost Indo-European languages. It dates back to China and Mongolia, and isaround 2,500 years old. There are around 35 Turkic languages still spokentoday, mostly across Asia. So given this history, and the sheer distances thislangauge, it´s not really any surprise that the language is rich in influences,as well as in words you´ll find in no other languages.

On top of that, Turkeyis a warm, hospitable culture. People like to express themselves in Turkey, andthey need the word choice to do so. What in other cultures is expressed ingrunts, tonal indications, a lift of the eyebrows – in Turkish there´s a wordfor that! So let´s get to 10 Turkish words and phrases that simply can´t betranslated into another language.


Gönül means heart, butexclusively in the metaphorical sense. Yürek or kalp is the actual heart (yes,there are at least 3 words for "heart" in Turkish!) that beats andpumps blood. But gönül is what gets broken when someone does you wrong. It´swhat you need to put that extra effort into winning the big game, or whatreally is the source of love and emotion in all of us.


Literally it means"health to your hands," and is used to compliment any time someonehas used their hands to produce something wonderful. So in English we might say"compliments to the chef" after s(he)´s cooked us a great meal, in Turkishyou´d say "elinize sağlık." But you´d use it after someone painted amasterpiece, or wrote a masterpiece for that matter. Probably "goodjob!" is the closest translation into English, but it really doesn´tcapture it properly.


Yakamoz is theshimmering beautiful moonlight as it reflects on the water at night. It wasvoted the most beautiful word in the world and is used often in poetry for itsromantic appeal. It… umm… is also used as the name of seaside restaurants allover Turkey for the same reason!


Hüzün means the sense(and more the sense than the feeling even) of loss or inadequacy, a generalsense of melancholy. Orhan Pamuk uses the word extensively in his writings andhas argued that it is entirely untranslatable, keeping the Turkish word as iseven in the English versions of his writings. The word bears a romanticism aswell as sadness.


This one perhaps is evenmore difficult to translate than the others. It means "May it come easy toyou," and is used for anyone who is working. Perhaps "Keep up thegood work" is the closest approximation, but it´s used at the beginning ofsomeone working. It expresses the genuine hope that the person you say it to issuccessful in their endeavor, as well as recognizing that the task may bedifficult for them.


Buyurun probably means"come this way," or "here you are." It´s used when you´representing something to someone, whether it´s the right of way or asking themto open something. It´s polite and has a somewhat formal tone to it.