Posted by: Andy | September 24, 2010

5 ways I now communicate that annoy even me

We have lived in Turkey for over a year now and I’m beginning to notice that the culture has taught me a number of new phrases and body language that I did not have before.  I always catch myself when I say or do them, but they seem to be a part of my life now.

What’s interesting to me is that while many of them are Turkish, a fair amount of the phrases are British due to the fact that the majority of the time we spend with other English speakers is with Brits, not Americans. 

So without further ado, from least annoying to most annoying.

5. “Oof ya!”
This is certainly my favorite that I intend to keep for many years to come.  Students most often say this when you tell them to do something they don’t want to do.  It’s like saying “I’m bored.”  But I find it’s more like a soft version of “What the hell?”

4. Clicking
It’s hard to put a sound to this one.  It’s one of the ways Turks say no.  Picture in your mind a strict, disapproving mother or grandmother clicking her tongue against her top front teeth when disappointed.  That’s the sound.  I don’t mind using it in class, but when I do that with Stephanie or other non-Turks, I feel kind of stupid. 

3. Hand raising
This is another way that the Turks say no, in conjunction with the clicking and raising of the eyebrows.  It’s more of an emphatic way of saying no it seems.  All in one motion, eye brows raised, clicking sound, tilt head back slightly, both hands raised around shoulder height. 

2. “At the weekend”
While Americans tend to say over the weekend, on the weekend etc.  Brits say at the weekend and I’ve begun to do so as well, blech. 

1. “I’m going on holiday.” 
The British replacement for vacation.  I use it in class so often because none of the students seem to know what vacation means, so using holiday has just become second nature.



  1. Numbers 4 and 3 – We went to breakfast at Denny’s with Andrea’s pastor the other day. The waiter came by and asked Andrea if she wanted coffee – this is how she said ‘no.’ When I pointed it out, she didn’t even realize! See you in a few days!!!

  2. Love it!
    When my group was traveling around India we got the best faces from children when we would answer the question “How are you?” with “Pretty Good.” They were taught the only answer is “I am fine.”

    The head wag for yes also caught on with us.

  3. Jason –
    The Indian head wag! I loved that. It took me days to distinguish between yes and no there.
    I tend to teach my students that generally Americans say “Good.” Brits say “I’m very well, thanks.” And Canadians say “Not bad.” But they all mean exactly the same thing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: