BASICS OF TURKISH

BASICS OF TURKISH GRAMMAR

Pronouns & Nouns, Possession, Postpositions, Adjectives, Adverbs, Conjunctions

  

Absolute /
Nominative
ben biz   I we
sen siz   you you
o onlar   he / she / it they
           
Accusative /
Direct object
beni bizi   me us
seni sizi   you you
onu onları   he / she / it them
           
Genitive /
Possessive /
Owner-of, of-X
benim bizim   my ... our ...
senin sizin   your ... your ...
onun onları   his / her / its ... their ...
           
Dative /
Indirect object /
motion toward
bana bize   to me to us
sana size   to you to you
ona onlara   to him / her / it to them
           
Locative bende bizde   in me in us
sende sizde   in you in you
onda onlarda   in him / her / it in them
           
Ablative /
comparison /
motion from/through
benden bizden   from/than me from/than us
senden sizden   from/than you from/than you
ondan onlardan   from/than him / her / it from/than them

 

kaç? how much? or how many?
ne? what?
kim? who?
kimin? whose?
hangi? which?
niç? why?
ne zaman? when?
nasıl? how?

 

Noun declension

Case Application Singular Plural
Absolute nominative -- -ler
Accusative direct object -(y)i -leri
Genitive owner-of, of-X -(n)in -lerin
Dative indirect object, motion toward -(y)e -lere
Locative in a place -de -lerde
Ablative motion from -den -lerden

Lewis' book distinguishes between the indefinite accusative, which uses the absolute form, and the accusative case. His examples are as follows, the distinction is not at all clear to me...

  • Gazete çıkarmak zor bir iş.
    To publish newspapers is a hard job. (absolute form)
  • Bu gazeteyi çıkarmak zor bir iş.
    To publish this newspaper is a hard job. (accusative form)
  •  

Noun declensions by example

Front vowels un-round   round
house   coffee   front   roof
Absolute ev evler   kahve kahveler   ön önler   örtü örtüler
Accusative evi evleri   kahveyi kahveleri   önü önleri   örtüyü örtüleri
Genitive evin evlerin   kahvenin kahvelerin   önün önlerin   örtünün örtülerin
Dative eve evlere   kahveye kahvelere   öne önlere   örtüye örtülere
Locative evde evlerde   kahvede kahvelerde   önde önlerde   örtüde örtülerde
Ablative evden evlerden   kahveden kahvelerden   önden önlerden   örtüden örtülerden
 
Back vowels un-round   round
ceiling   handle   ball   neighbor
Absolute tavan tavanlar   kabza kabzalar   top toplar   komşu komşular
Accusative tavanı tavanları   kabzayı kabzaları   topu topları   komşuyu komşuları
Genitive tavanın tavanların   kabzanın kabzaların   topun topların   komşunun komşuların
Dative tavana tavanlara   kabzaya kabzalara   topa toplara   komşuya komşulara
Locative tavanda tavanlarda   kabzada kabzalarda   topda toplarda   komşuda komşularda
Ablative tavandan tavanlardan   kabzadan kabzalardan   topdan toplardan   komşudan komşulardan
 
Variable
consonants
Dog   Book  
Absolute köpek köpekler   kitap kitaplar  
Accusative köpeği köpekleri   kitabı kitapları  
Genitive köpeğin köpeklerin   kitabın kitapların  
Dative köpeğe köpeklere   kitaba kitaplara  
Locative köpekte köpeklerde   kitapta kitaplarda  
Ablative köpekten köpeklerden   kitaptan kitaplardan  

 

forms and modified nouns

-li with or with the quality of or belonging to sulu = "with water"
atlı = "horseman"
köylü = "villager"
-siz without susuz = "without water"
-çi, -ci The professional gazeteci = "journalist", çaycı = "tea seller", dişçi = "dentist"
-[y]ici The habitual yazmak = "to write", so yazıcı = "writer"
-çe -ish or as for çocukça = "childish[ly]"
türkçe = "Turkish"
bence = "as for me"
-(i)msi, -(i)mtrak, -si -ish or -like duvarımsı = "wall-like"
beyazımtrak = "whitish"
çocuksu = "child-like"
-daş fellow- okuldaş = "schoolmate"
-daş does not follow vowel harmony
-lik abstract noun formation büyüklük = "largeness" or "size"
susuzluk = "waterlessness" or "thirst"
Granted, susuzluk is rather stilted, a Turk would more likely ask "Susadın mı?" for "Are you thirsty?"
-igde, -ligi of the, similar to -lik  
-sel abstract adjective formation tarih = "history", tarihsel = "historic"
-ki abstract adjective formation sabahki hava = "morning weather"
Amerikadaki çocuklar = the children in America
Ahmet'inki = "Ahmet's" (with possessive)
-ki added to genitive case to form a possessive pronoun Bu kalem benim değil. = "This is not my pencil." (simple denial)
Bu kalem benimki değil. = "This pencil is not mine (I do have a pencil, but this one is not it)."
Bu köpek benimki. = "This dog is mine."
-çik, -cik, -ceğiz, -ce Diminutive Ahmetçik = "my pal Ahmet"
Köyceğiz = "the dear little village" and a lakeside town in southwestern Turkey.
-[y]iş Add to a verb stem for the noun form girmek = "to enter", so giriş = "entrance"
çıkmak = "to exit", so çıkış = "exit"
-leyin by or at geceleyin = "by night"
akşamleyin = "at evening"
-ken while yazarken = "while writing"
-oğlu son of Köseoğlu Bey = "Mr Son-Of-The-Bald-Man"

 

Comparison For adjectives or adverbs,
use daha for "more":
daha büyük = "bigger" (more big)
daha iyi = "better" (more good)
For nouns, use:
ablative measure
benden büyük = "bigger than me"
benden iyi = "better than me"
 
Superlatives Use en for "most": en büyük = "biggest" (most big)
en iyi = "best" (most good)

 

Demonstratives

bu this,
close to the speaker
Bu köpek benimki.
This dog is mine.
şu this or that,
further away
Şu dağ Ağrı Dağı.
That mountain is Mount Ararat.
o that O Ağrı Dağı.
That is Mount Ararat.

 

nere-si where?
bura-sı here
ora-sı there

Add from/in/to endings to demonstrative pronouns to yield:

burada here   orade there   nerede? where?
buradan from this place oradan from there nereden? from where?
buraya to this place oraya to there nereye? to where?

 

Possession

There is what G.L. Lewis terms "indefinite" ownership, in which -i is added to the noun which is owned in a way that is not very possessive. Compare this to the more possessive "definite" version:

Indefinite   Sultan Ahmet Camii Sultan Ahmet Mosque   Atatürk Bulvarı Atatürk Boulevard
Definite   Sultan Ahmed'in türbesi Sultan Ahmet's tomb   Atatürk'ün evi Atatürk's house

The definite possessive is complicated, and I'm skipping details here, but the form is:
       owner(n)in ownedX
where X is replaced by:

-(i)m -(i)miz   owned by me owned by us
-(i)n -(i)niz owned by you owned by you
-(s)i -leri owned by it owned by them

So, since fil is "elephant" and ev is "house," filin evi means "the elephant's house", and fillerin evleri means "the elephants' houses". Note that you often leave off the possessor, especially when it's a pronoun or can be derived from context. Thus:
       Filim büyük. = My elephant is big.
       Bu benim büyük filimdir. = Hey, this is my big elephant, get your own!
              (-dir is formal or for emphasis to say ".... is")
filim would mean "my elephant", while benim filim would very adamantly make the case that the elephant was, in fact, mine, and not anyone else's.

Sahip means "owner" or "master", and halı means "rug". Note the logic of "the owner of the rug", where the rug has an owner, and thus "rug" is the possessor (of an owner) and the owner is the thing possessed (by the rug). Thus halının sahibi for "the rug's owner".

Finally, note that çocukların bahçeleri is ambiguous, it could mean either "the garden of the children" or "the gardens of the children". It must be derived from context (about the number of gardens), or by intentionally malforming the possessed item as çocukların bahçesi to explicitly mean the one garden of the multiple children.

 

They work somewhat as prepositions do in English, and fall into three classes depending on the declension of the modified word.

Class 0 -- absolute üzere,
üzre
on
yol üzere = on the road
Class I -- ablative: -den başka other than, except for
bizden başka = except for us
köpeklerimden başka = except for my dogs
beri since, subsequent to
on saatten beri = for the past 10 hours
saat ondan beri = since 10:00
bu yana since
Cumadan bu yana = since Friday
dolayı because of
Atatürk'den dolayı, buradayız.
Because of you, we are here.
evvel before, earlier than (also önce in some regions)
bizden evvel = earlier than us
saat ondan evvel = before 10:00
içiri inside, into
Kebapçıdan içiri girdik = We went into a kebap shop.
itibaren with effect from, starting from
Cumadan itibaren her gün, kebapçıya gideceğiz.
Every day starting from Friday, we will go into a kebap shop.
sonra after, later than
bizden sonra = later than us
saat ondan sonra = after 10:00
Class II -- dative: -(y)e dair about, concerning
Osmanlı tarihe dair bir kitap = A book about Ottoman history
doğru straight toward
Bu yol İstanbul'a doğru gitiyor.
This road goes straight toward Istanbul
göre according to
Gazeteye göre, hava güzel olacak.
According to the newspaper, the weather is going to be nice.
kadar up to, until, as far as, as much as
saat ona kadar = until 10:00
evime kadar = as far as my house
Bir saat kadar otobüse bindim = I rode the bus for one hour.
Halk İndiana'da filler kadar şişman. = People in Indiana are as fat as elephants.
karşı against, opposite
bana karşı = against me
nazaran compared to, in regard to
Kediye nazaran filim daha büyük. = Compared to a cat, my elephant is larger.
rağmen despite
ona rağmen = despite that
Class III -- possessive
for personal pronoun,
singular interrogative
pronoun, or singular
demonstrative pronoun;
otherwise no suffix
gibi like, similar to
kedi gibi = like a cat
sizin gibi = like you
için because of, for, for the purpose of
bunu için = because of this
ile / -(y)le with, by the
kedi ile -or- kediyle = with a cat 
Elmayı kilo ile satıyorum. = I sell apple by the kilogram.

 

Other qualifiers or pronouns

bazı, kimi some bazı adam, kimi adam = "some man"
bazı adamlar, kimi adamlar = "some men"
her every Bu tren her gün Istanbul'a gidiyor. = "This train goes to Istanbul every day."
biraz a little,
from az, little
Az şarapı içerim. = I drink little wine.
Ahmet Bey dedi, "Biraz içerim". = "Mr. Ahmet said, 'I drinks a bit'".
kimse whoever,
or no one in the negative
Bir kimse size arıyordu. = "Someone was looking for you."
Kimse aldırış etmiyor. = "No one is paying attention."

 

Conjunctions

ve and   Evimde su sıcak ve soğuk var. In my house there is hot and cold water
veya or   Kedisiniz kara veya ak? Is your cat black or white?
ki that   Diroylar ki olmıyacak. They are saying that it will not happen
de too, also   Biz de mi gidelim? Shall we too go?

 

 


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