Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | April 26, 2010

languages at molly’s cafe

tower of babel

yesterday i was struck by how many languages i can hear in molly’s cafe.  just yesterday there were two italian men eating breakfast at one table.  there were two austrian girls studying at another table.  another group included two dutch men and a turkish boy, so their languages flowed between dutch, turkish, and english.  later another dutch man came and some more german girls.  the previous evening a french family was here, so i used some of my pitifully poor french (it used to be very good, but now when i try to speak french turkish comes out).  a young russian couple from moscow came in, too, speaking very good english.  then a group of young greek people came in.  i used to think greeks were spaniards because it seems to me that there are a lot of soft “th” sounds in both languages, but now i understand that people are speaking greek, not spanish. last evening a german man came in with a bosnian woman.

for my own languages, my english is super 🙂 and my turkish is generally enough for daily use.  as i said, my french used to be very good, but i don’t use it much now and it has largely moved to the back of my brain.  i have some school german and picked up some spanish years ago in mexico. i can use my little bit of spanish  for greeting and thanking people, is all.  i used to speak some japanese, but that too is way back in my brain. i used to have a very little bit of sign language, though it has mostly gone.

even the books in molly’s cafe are multilingual.  the cafe came with a few shelves of books in turkish and one shelf of fantasy books in english, which i am reading my way through out of desperation, having read all the other books in english.  there are a few books in german, a few in french, and even a few in dutch.  i am still selling them or exchanging them, as i really need to make more room on the shelves.

most tourists who come in speak at least a liittle bit of english.  my menu is in english ( i was lightly scolded the other day for not having it in turkish), so most people can understand it.  i have had tourists from a lot of countries here: germany, austria, france, switzerland, bosnia, serbia, finland, denmark, sweden, holland, the u.s., canada, mexico, cuba, to name a few.  i am particularly  happen when german and french tourists come to turkey, as they leaders do not want turkey in the european union and generally people from those countries do not think much of turks.  they usually go back with a much more favourable attitude. even the regular customers are international, as many are expats.  of course turks come here too.

so, molly’s cafe is the cafe equivalent of the tower of babel.  i really like it that so many international people come here!


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: