Stuff I Like

From Hande Celikkanat

Human passions have mysterious ways, in children as well as grown-ups. Those affected by them can't explain them, and those who haven't known them have no understanding of them at all. Some people risk their lives to conquer a mountain peak. No one, not even they themselves, can really explain why. Others ruin themselves trying to win the heart of a certain person who wants nothing to do with them. Still others are destroyed by their devotion to the pleasures of the table. Some are so bent on winning a game of chance that they lose everything they own, and some sacrifice every thing for a dream that can never come true. Some think their only hope of happiness lies in being somewhere else, and spend their whole lives traveling from place to place. And some find no rest until they have become powerful. In short, there are as many different passions as there are people.

--Die Unendliche Geschichte, Michael Ende

On this page I have included various stuff about topics that I find entertaining. Here you can find some(!) quotes I like, and excerpts I stole away from various books just because I like the way they sound. (Beware! Proceed at your own risk, I have quite a mania for collecting such stuff.)

Being too sentimental about words and their sounds, I enjoy the peculiarities of new languages. I have been studying a good deal of Italian for some time now, it is an addictive language with many surprises and a poetic sound. For discovering a fairly unconventional and enchanting pronunciation, still, I would recommend Goidelic languages, Irish (Gaeilge), Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. Below there are some mumblings about some languages I like and also links through which you can hear them, for what is a language without sound? (Here is an answer that I find fascinating.)

Here is some sheet music for the flute, for one of the hardest things about playing the flute is actually finding some good pieces, so enjoy :)

Did you know that although each of us tends to find himself as unique, our mistakes that we tend to repeat in daily life are kind of blueprints of each other? This is as if we humans are systematically biased to repeat some certain errors. For my own amusement, I tried to summarize some of my favorite cognitive biases in here, for a complete list, of course, you can refer to wikipedia as well :)

Last but not least, here you can see where my heart is.




Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful languages that has ever been invented. What strikes me most in Italian is its ingenious use of i pronomi. The Englishmen say, "Talk to me!", but Italian has removed the need for "to", and the pronouns become part of the verbs in many cases. I find something highly poetic in "Parlami!", which gets directly to the heart of the subject :) ("Parlare" is the verb, "Parla!" means "Talk!", "mi" here means "to me".) - A much more enthusiastic alternative to "Parla con me". Of course, there is a connecting consonant in many cases, which brings a total fluency to "Dimmi!" ("Say to me!"), which is way better than "Di mi". The pronouns combine with verbs in many, many cases, especially since there is an extensive use of reflexive verbs in Italian, as well as for filling in for the direct and indirect objects. Behold:

Ogni giorno mi svelio tardi e poi devo preparmi in fretta. (Every morning I wake up late and then I have to prepare in a hurry.)
Me ne vado. (I am going)
Vattene! (Go away from here!)
Scusami! (Pardon me)
per viderli per l'ultima volta (for seeing them for the last time)

Of course, Italian also follows the rule of adjective-noun harmony, the same way as in Latin, and it is the very thing that turns l'italiano into la bellissima lingua italiana, no?

The prepositions also combine with articles to form "articolata", which are very pretty syntheses of prepositions and articles. The result is a very sympathetic and quite fast-to-speak language:

Nella classe ci sono degli studenti dell'Università degli Studi di Genova. (In the class there are students from the University of Genoa.)

Had it not been for the combination rule, this sentence would go as:

In la classe ci sono di gli studenti di l'Università di gli Studi di Genova.

which, from my point of view, wouldn't have been half so handsome :)

One detail I don't particularly like about Italian is its somehow too liberal choice of prepositions. In Turkish, if you are actually inside something, may it be your house, the bus, or a state of mind, you use one special form of dative declension which gives the meaning of being inside (adding the suffix "-de" in Turkish). On the other hand, if you are actually aiming towards it (going to the house, getting on the bus, or going into a different state of mind), you use the aiming dative form, adding the suffix "-e". Finally, when you are departing from or getting out of something, you use the third dative form, and add "-den" suffix. English is somewhat more liberal, for being inside the house, you would use "at", for the bus you'd use "on", and for a country you'd use "in". Italian, on the other hand, is liberissimo in this sense, every word insists for its dedicated preposition, while all these prepositions actually give same the meaning: being somewhere. Moreover, you might be expected to or not to use an accompanying article, which also varies with the word: You can be a casa (at home), a Roma (in Rome), in Cine (in China), in ristorante (at the restaurant), all'università (at the university), al lavoro (at work), dai tuoi (at your parent's house) or even per terra (lying on the floor). For a native Turkish speaker, molto pazzo :)

Here listen to a song in Italian, Ma Che Freddo Fa
D'inverno il sole stanco a letto presto se ne va [In the winter, the tired Sun goes early to bed]
Non ce la fa più [It cannot help it anymore]
La notte adesso scende con le sue mani fredde su di me [The night falls with its cold hands upon me]
Ma che freddo fa [And how cold it is]

Gaeilge (Irish)


My knowledge of French is sadly not much, still, French strikes me right from the heart every time I listen to a song. The words are (to the best of my observation) usually shorter than their counterparts in Italian, which makes French very suitable for allegro songs, where you can easily match each note with a whole word. Listen, for instance, from Danny Brillant, a beautiful salsa:

Quand Je Vois Tes Yeux




The wise man has said famously: "Kuzguna kendi yavrusu kartal gorunur.", which roughly translates as, "To the eyes of the raven, its own hatchling would seem but an eagle." My mother tongue often strikes me as a perfect language of prosody, but listen for yourself to come up with your own conclusion :)

I find Turkish more similar to Italian, and especially Latin, compared to English, albeit these similarities are rather superficial, since they do not originate from the same roots. First of all, Turkish follows the same word order, that is subject-object-verb, with Latin, check, for example, the famous saying by Thomas à Kempis: In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni, nisi in angulo cum libro. (Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book.)

In omnibus -> Her yerde (-de suffix makes a dative out of her yer, which is the translation of omnibus, made dative by the preposition in)
requiem -> huzuru (requiem is the accusative of requies, meaning rest, translated into huzuru, the accusative of huzur)
quaesivi -> aradım (quaesivi is the past tense of first conjugation quaeso, meaning I looked for. aramak is the Vinf meaning to search, aradım gives the meaning in past and first singular person)

The full translation goes as: Her yerde huzuru aradım, hiçbir yerde bulamadım, bir kitapla birlikte çekildiğim köşeden başka.

Similar to Latin, the subject of the sentence can always be (and generally is) omitted, since it is implicit in the conjugation of the verb.

The conjugation of the verb to include the subject information is common with the Romanic languages, Italian, French, Spanish, and so on, but Turkish also includes the declension of nouns, as Latin does. requiem, in the previous sentence, is an example of declension. The original word is requies, however, since it is the direct object of the sentence, it is converted to its accusative form, which is requiem. Just like Latin, Turkish is very strict in declensions of the nouns. A noun can be in either the normative (i.e, the original) form, in accusative form (the direct object), in dative form (the indirect object, actually divided into three subclasses), or in genetive form (i.e, the possessive). Any kind of change is made by adding suffixes to the word, which change regarding the pronunciation of the vowels already existing in the word, which makes a good sound, similar to Italian. As an example, the accusative case can be made by adding -i (sen-i), (yazı-y-ı), -u (huzur-u) or (gün-ü). Turkish is also a very phonemic language by the way, i.e, has a good grapheme-to-phoneme correspondence.