Turkish Adverbial Clauses Explained
This page is an explanation of Adverbial Clauses which are treated differently in Turkish.
Order of Main and Subordinate Clauses
In English we always put the main part of the meaning at the beginning of a sentence as below:
I shall go home when the party is over.
I went out to the library after (eating) dinner.
He put on his pyjamas before he went to bed.
We can have supper as soon as we arrive at the hotel.
All the above are ways of describing what will or did happen, with the adverb shown in -bold print. Turkish as always says it backwards. So generally the Turkish construction to put the most important part last, with the main verb at the end of the sentence.
English Construction: I shall go home when the party is over.
Turkish Construction: When the party is over, I shall go home.
Parti bitince, eve gidiyorum.
ENG: I went out to the library after (eating) dinner.
TUR: After (eating) dinner, I went out to the library.
Yemek yedikten sonra, kütüphaneye çıktım.
ENG: Ali put on his pyjamas before he went to bed.
TUR: Before he went to bed, Ali put on his pyjamas.
Ali, yatmadan önce, pijamasını giydi
ENG: We can have supper as soon as we arrive at the hotel.
TUR: As soon as we arrive at the hotel, we can have supper.
Otele varır varmaz (varınca), akşam yemeğini yeyebiliriz.
The Turkish construction puts the main verb last in the sentence, which is one of the main rules of Turkish grammar.
Differing Aspects of Adverbial Clauses
"Who did or will do what? and When?"
How does Turkish manage these time modifying words (before, after, as soon as, etc.) and clauses? One of the problems to contend with is the relationship between temporal adverbs with subjects and objects. This is best shown by example. Let us slightly change one of our examples viz.
English Construction: I went out to the library after dinner.
Turkish Construction: After (eating) dinner, I went out to the library
Yemek yedikten sonra, kütüphaneye çıktım.
Showing this example in other forms, the choice to change the subject or object is easily done in English. Turkish treats this problem from another angle just because of the different constructions involved.
Aspects of Turkish Time Clauses
-dikten sonra means after doing i.e. yazdıktan sonra means after writing.
Mektubu yazdıktan sonra çıktık After writing the letter we went out.
The tense and person is taken from the final verb.
Showing a different tense and person:
Sen mektubunu yazdıktan sonra çıkabilirsin. After writing your letter you can go out.
English Model: I went out to the library after (eating)dinner.
Turkish Model: Yemek yedikten sonra, kütüphaneye çıktım.
Mehmet went out to the library after he had (eaten) dinner.
Mehmet, yemek yedikten sonra kütüphaneye çıktı.
You went out to the library after Mehmet had (eaten) dinner.
Siz, Mehmet yemek yedikten sonra kütüphaneye çıktınız.
He went out to the library after (eating/having eaten) dinner.
O, yemek yedikten sonra kütüphaneye çıktı.
I went out to the library after you had (eaten) dinner.
Ben, siz yemek yedikten sonra kütüphaneye çıktım.
They will go out to the library after (having eaten) dinner.
Onlar, yemek yedikten sonra kütüphaneye çıkacaklar.
I used to out to the library after we had (eaten) dinner.
Ben, biz yemek yedikten sonra kütüphaneye çıkardım.
You went out to the library after we had (had) dinner.
Siz, biz yemek yedikten sonra kütüphaneye çıktınız.
In the examples above we can see that the changes in the final verb tense in Turkish changes the English tense of the actual aspect of "eating dinner". It is not usual for us to state this "eating aspect" in English as it is normally understood and has become redundant. You can see there are many differing aspects of subject, object and tenses in this simple sentence and changes have to be made in Turkish just as in English. The problem does not end here as it can be applied to any adverbial clause but the same rules apply.
Turkish Clauses of Place Where, Wherever
English Model: I can not remember where I left my bicycle.
Turkish Model: Bisikletimi bıraktığım yeri hatırlayamıyorum. [hatırla-ya-m-ıyorum.]
This is a Noun Clause as I cannot remember where I left it as the pronoun it replaces a noun the bicycle.
I can not remember where you left my bicycle.
Bisikletimi bıraktığınız yeri hatırlayamıyorum.
I can not remember where he left my bicycle.
Bisikletimi bıraktığı yeri hatırlayamıyorum.
I can not remember where I left his bicycle.
Bisikletini bıraktığım yeri hatırlayamıyorum.
We will not remember wherever our bicycles are.
Bisikletimizi bıraktığımız yeri hatırlayamıyacağız.
He can never remember where to leave your bicycle.
Her zamanki gibi (Asla) bisikletini bırakacağı yeri hatırlayamaz.
You could not remember where you left my bicycle.
Bisikletimi bıraktığın yeri hatırlayamadın.
They can not remember where they left their bicycles.
Bisikletlerini bıraktıkları yeri hatırlayamıyorlar.
The Turkish constructions puts the verb last. The adverbial clause takes the tense and person from this verb, which is alien to English thinking.