The word ‘sagol’ is probably by far the most used word in Azerbaijani. It means:
- Thank you;
- Cheers (when people drink alcohol).
Its literal translation is ‘be alive’ – ‘sag’ (alive); ‘ol’ (be).
Paradoxically, despite its wide application, within families this word is used sparsely. So, if a family member wanted me to make a cup of tea, they’d say:
‘Gulush, get me tea.’
No please. No thank you.
There are two assumptions:
- Of course you are there to serve your family members, especially as a woman; and
- Of course they are grateful.
And if you were to challenge someone for not saying thank you, they might say, well, it’s in the tone. You can say the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and be totally rude.
Having lived in England for 10 years, I’ve learnt to say a lot of thanks and pleases. When I used to visit Azerbaijan in the past few years, I caused a lot of offence by my behaviour.
‘What are we strangers to you?’ People close to me said on more than one occasion.
You see, thanks and please are used with strangers, but not necessarily with family members.
Then a few months ago, my husband and I talked about my habit of not saying enough thanks at home. It took me by surprise. Of course, I’m grateful when he washes up or does laundry. Who wouldn’t be? I’m making more effort to show my gratitude explicitly these days. I think everyone is happier for it. We even started socialising my son to say thank you and please when he asks for something. Some of our attempts are comical, but I think he got the message that those are important words to know and say. I’m hoping he’ll be very British in this respect.
With the Thanksgiving this week, I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who reads my post and supports me on my writing journey. I don’t think one could ever show too much gratitude, especially to the near and dear.
This is Day 7 of the 30-Day Blogging Challenge run by LearnToBlog.com. The theme I’m exploring in these 30 days is Azerbaijan, the setting of my memoir(s). I’ll show you places and share memories that shape my books.