Kurdish Funnies

Kurdish Funny #1:

I got into a taxi last night and I wasn’t in the mood to chat, so when the driver started speaking in broken English, I said, “Afw, kaka, Inglyzy nazanm.” (Sorry, sir, I don’t know English.)

“Oh,” he said, “Xalky kweyt?” (Where are you from?)

“Espani,” (Spain) I replied.

There were 10 minutes of blessed silence, and then he asked:

“Ishit chia?” (What’s your job?)

Automatically, I replied, “Mn mamostay Inglyzym.” (I’m an English teacher.)

OOPS. The next 10 minutes of silence were EXTREMELY AWKWARD.


Kurdish Funny #2:

This one needs a little history. The main road by my compound is called Tuymalik Street. I asked a friend what tuymalik means – he said that it means “Mulberry of the King.” Tu = mulberry, y = of, malik = king. Apparently ages ago there was a king who needed shade and sat under a mulberry tree on what is now Tuymalik Street. I’d never seen a mulberry tree before, but I supposed they must provide good shade if a king were to sit under one.


I was in the bazaar with Gwen buying pomegranates and eating falafels. To think of it, those are two of the main reasons I go to the bazaar: pomegranates and falafels. Anyway, we stop at one of the nut/fruit/spice stands that pepper the bazaar and Gwen points to a tub and asks, “These are everywhere, do you know what they are?” They looked like weird, tiny, pale green bunches of seeds. I tell her no, I’ve never seen them before.


I look at the kaka and ask him, “Ama chia?” (What is this?)

He says, “Tu.”


I freaked out and started laughing. Gwen and I each ate some, and I bought a quarter kilo to snack on.

But seriously, how cool is that? I know the name of this fruit in Kurdish (tu), and the name in English (mulberry). I don’t know what they look like, until my friend asks me in English, and the kaka tells me in Kurdish, and then I connect the fruit’s English name, Kurdish name, and appearance in one fell swoop.

Am I the only one who thinks that’s awesome??

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