An Introduction to Turkish Grammar

Getting started with Turkish Grammar

The first thing is don’t get put off by the word grammar! Let us look at the way the language works:-

At this stage just try to understand the basic principles
(1)     Turkish is a building blocks language :
Turkish is an agglutinative language; that is to say that it works by building words using endings or suffixes.   This is a more complex process than we see in English which has some suffixes for example:
     Mind      :     mindful     :   mindless 
In Turkish we can say in one word what you need a phrase or even a sentence for in English!!!!   For example:-
El     =   hand            
 If El is the base word a suffix is added to make the plural :
El+ler  =    hand      Eller
And another suffix to convey the meaning of "my"
Eller+im=   my hands   Ellerim
And another "locative" suffix to convey the meaning in or at                   
Ellerim+de =         el   + ler +im+de     Ellerimde    
hand+ s+my+in   (in my hands)
Here''s an example of a word built with a series of suffixes which you need a whole sentence to say in English!
Gel-ebil-meli-y-din: You should have been able to come.
(Come + able to+ should have been + you)
(2)     Sound is important – vowel harmony or Euphony...
Suffixes must fit to the sound of the word.   In order to do this the suffix has different forms which follow a rule where the last vowel in the word will determine the vowel used in the suffix.
This can be seen simply in the suffix that makes a plural:
Ev   + ler   =   Evler  
House+s   =   Houses
 Elma + lar   =   elmalar                                       
Apple +s = apples
The same principle applies with the suffix which signifies presence at or in a place (locational suffix or locative case).     This time there are four variants : -de, -da, -te and –ta
Ev + de =   Evde  at home
Sinema + da = sinemada            at/in the cinema
Sokak + ta = Sokakta                   at/in the stree
Ofis+ te   =   Ofiste                        at/in the office
In the written language this may make little sense but it is all about the sound and HARMONIOUS sounds...
(3)    Verb forms
It won’t surprise you to learn that we add suffixes to the base ofa verb to indicate who is doing what!      (Or more accurately who is the subject of the verb):-
Gelmek : to come or to arrive
Gelmek   = infintive   = to come/arrive
Gel         =   base      = come/arrive
In the present progressive or continuous form :-
Gel +iyor =                base + present continuous signifier         = is arriving
Gel + iyor + um        basepresent continuous + I                = I am arriving
Gel + iyor + sun       base + present continuous + you (fam) = you are arriving
Gel + iyor            base + present continuous + nothing     = he/she/it is arriving
Gel+iyor+uz              base+ present continuous + we             = we are arriving
Gel+iyor+sunuz      base + present continuous + you (form)= you are arriving
Gel+iyor+lar  :base + present continuous + they            = they are arriving
Geliyorum         =             I am arriving
Geliyorsun        =            You are arriving    (familiar you for a  child, friend etc)
Geliyor              =             He/she/it is arriving
Geliyoruz          =             We are arriving
Geliyorsunuz   =   You are arriving (formal you spoken to an official etc)
Geliyorlar         =             They are arriving.
(4)    Simple sentences
Lets put some of the things we’ve learnt together to make some simple sentences, you will note that the verb comes at the end of the Turkish sentence:
Evden geliyorum.
Sokaktan geliyorsun.
Sinemadan  geliyoruz.
Ofisten  geliyor.


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