Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Eurovision: Ten things you need to be able to say

Excitement is growing in Baku about the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. Improvements in infrastructure are beetling along at an amazing pace. The city is really looking fantastic and there is news every day about another new hotel drawing to completion.

When I speak with local shopkeepers they are excited - and nervous - about the prospect of such a huge number of foreigners descending on their city. Why nervous? Because most Azerbaijanis in shops and taxis know almost no English. So - be kind! Come prepared. Learn the following list of simple words and phrases and you will be met with smiling (and relieved) Bakuvians. If you are fortunately enough to speak Russian, you will have very little trouble in Baku. If you speak Turkish, you will be understood.

NB: Download the mp3 file at the bottom of the list to hear what it all sounds like.

1. "Hello" is a very simple Salam.

2. "Please" is a more difficult Zəhmət olmasa - but you will definitely get people's attention if you start out like this.

3. "I didn't understand." is Başa düşmədim.

4. "Where is ______?" is ________________ haradadır?

5. Numbers one to ten: bir, iki, üç, dörd, beş, altı, yeddi, səkkiz, doqquz, on.

6. Item - dənə (as in 2 of these - iki dənə)

7. Thanks - Sağ ol.

8. Bye - Sağ ol. (And you thought this would be difficult?)

9. Excuse me - Bağışlayın.

10. Do you speak English? Siz İngiliscə danışırsınız?

Need to be able to say


Alef Noon said...

Hi Ms.Colleen,

Another and less formal way of saying "please" is to say
'Olarmı ki______" (with interrogative particle mı attached to the word "olar" and followed by "ki" - "that") or just "Olar" (no interrogative particle attached, intonation rises towards end of the word and the sound "a" pronounced a bit longer, like olaar).
Semantically, there is no difference between them. However, grammatically, "Zəhmət olmazsa" is a conditional sentence (if...then), "Olar" is a simply question (something like "Would you mind") and requires/assumes affirmative answer.

Ms. Colleen said...

Thanks. I've never noticed Olarmi ki, but I hear "Olar" pronounced "Olaar?" a lot. I even use this myself. Thanks for the post.