Completely Unrelated to Knitting (but laughing is healthy!)

Extra explanatory notes for language geeks.

1) Turkish is one of those languages that not lots of foreigners really try to learn. Result: Turks don't often get to see their language mangled in big, official places (a la "Ingrish") like we do. Yet the general perception is that "English is easy," and if you have gotten your Level 3 whatever, you now know English.

2) Elişi: El=hand + iş=work -- "Handicraft" was the word they were shooting for. :)

Image icon hjob.Jpeg19.37 KB


CLABBERS's picture

You gave me my morning chuckle. Thanks!
As an English teacher with 85% Hispanic students, I can fully appreciate the faux pas.

teejtc's picture


I've been there! I learned, after completing 80% of my time as an exchange student that one was supposed to say "I *have* hot" instead of "I *am* hot" when referring to the temperature of a room.... the former is perfectly acceptable, the latter well, not so much....

Grace and peace,

ronhuber's picture

The same has happened to me, Tim. And one time, I asked a grocer if he had eggs. Everyone in the store doubled over and when he asked if I wanted to see them, I realized my mistake. Even I had to laugh at my mistake and my neighbours still remind me of it to this day.

bobinthebul's picture

Greeks visiting Turkey almost all make one particular mistake. There are lots of Turkish words in Greek, the Greeks add an "i" to the end of them. So Tavan (ceiling) becomes "tavani," "karpuz" (watermelon) becomes "karpouzi," etc. They pick up on this... The Greek word for "ashtray" is "tasaki." So without thinking that in this case, the "aki" is actually a Greek diminutive ending on the Turkish word "tas" (bowl), they go asking for a "tasak". Which means "testicle," and not in a polite way. It always gets a larf. :)

chipsir's picture

This is funny, but seeing I am a married man, I won"t ask where the line starts lol.

ronhuber's picture

That is hilarious. I have offered to translate for free in my city but they still use someone, who has passed the Pet Exam and who translates everything literally, to do the job. I haven't seen anything as funny as that sign, though.

bobinthebul's picture

really? not even this? :)

or this?


(For some reason Picasaweb isn't giving me the embed code any more...)

AKQGuy's picture

I love it.

TinkerJones's picture

traditional handjobs are the finest.
Language funnies could go on endlessly, but I can't resist. I lived in Hong Kong in the 1970s. When I entered a store, the clerks would often ask me "What's the matter?" I knew they meant "How can I help you?" but I always wanted to reply "Nothing.. what's the matter with you?"

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

That "tradional" part is what makes me wonder if something kinky is involved. ---- Thanks for the laugh. BTW - watch your slang. Oftentimes, what is perfectly innocent to us can be very suggestive to another culture. If not insulting.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

bobinthebul's picture

Yes, rule number one about swearing in foreign languages: Don't do it if you don't really know the culture!

scottly's picture

I'm seriously curious - what do Turks call a handjob? And how does it litterally translate?

bobinthebul's picture

:) There's no real direct counterpart, you can say "elle muamele" (treatment with the hand), "elle boşaltmak" (to make [someone] come with the hand), etc. One very funny one if you speak Turkish is "Elizabeth" (for masturbation, whoever the organi in question belongs to). It sounds like El İsabet

So I decided to check the Uludağ Sözlük, an online dictionary where people can add their own definitions. Some of them were pretty funny, and at least one person had the same bit of confusion. Translations of a few entries are below. Bracketed comments are mine.

1. Eng. "hand treatment," in porno slang, a woman's intervention to the man's penis with her hand, to do masturbation, there is also one with the foot (see footjob)
(see: to take into the hand)

3. (see: The labor of the hand is the pride of the eye) [that's a proverb]

4. A very rude denigrating expression, for a woman milking the man with her hand.
Of all these "jobs," it's my favorite, to each his own fantasy.

5. Whether its a hand, thug, or whack job, it's the king of treatments/jobs...
The most desirable is the one done with plenty of gel.

6. It is quite popular among virgin women; at least it shuts the guy up for a while.

7. knitting, lace, embroidery...

8. To "pull 31" [Turkish expression for jerking off], stroke, elizabeth. It's pleasant, and is an indispensable complement to porn films.
(see: blow job)

9. The labour of the hand is the pride of the eye.

10. Recently made fun of on Okan's program. The English sign of a "handicrafts" symposium was translated as "handjob."

mikeylikesknit's picture


My kind of event. I prefer traditional as well ;)

yowek's picture

Although I lean fairly vegetarian these days, there was a time that I lived in Toronto and ate more meat. Being somewhat adventurous, I decided to try cooking prairies oysters (bull's testicles).

I went to Kensington Market, a well-known market with lots of ethnic flavour. Nervously, I asked butcher after butcher if they had "prairie oysters." Because, for most of them, English was a second language, they would tell me that if I wanted seafood, I would need to go next door. That forced me to follow up with a clearer request: "No, sorry, I'm looking for bull's testicles. Do you sell those?"

The best and shortest conversation happened once I started to get over my own embarrassment about the question. I approached the counter - a nice, middle-aged woman staff person was there to serve me.
She: "Can I help you?'
Me: "Yes, do you have testicles?"
She: " I don't know, let me look"

I managed to keep a straight face, while she went and "looked". Sadly, I found no prairie oysters that day, but the experience was enlightening in other ways.