Sevmek (v. infinitive: to love; to like; to enjoy; to fancy; to affect; to caress)

I remember when I was studying abroad in Turkey my girlfriends and I used to comment on how quickly Turkish boys would tell a girl they loved her… then I learned the verb that we native English speakers translate as “to love” can actually mean a whole slew of different things.  While we have many different words that all basically mean the same thing in English, thus making is frustrating for students of the language, a single Turkish word can mean many different things.  For the record, as a student, this is also frustrating and can be confusing until you learn to use it to your advantage and just start making things up.  As much as I’d like to go on a rant about how one word can have two totally different meanings that can be confused even in context, I won’t.  But know it’s there just bubbling under the surface.

While walking the pup the other day I learned a new meaning of ‘sevmek’.  Kids of all ages — including adults old enough to merit the respectful “uncle” or “auntie” title — stop us while we’re out for a walk or getting coffee (like I’m not going to Starbucks if I can) and ask if they “can love” her.  Or at least that’s how I choose to translate it even though I know it also means to pet and show attention when in the context of a ridiculously cute dog such as mine.

Who wouldn’t want to love this cutie? Okay… maybe when she’s clean.

Today as we were walking in our park where a group of kids were learning to ride bikes — with hills no less — we were attacked with requests to love her.  So much so that I think she now knows what “sevebilir miyim?” means.  Probably not since expecting love and attention is her normal response to any sort or attention, but I’m going to pretend my pup really is learning Turkish.

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