basics > Turkish Buffer Letters

Turkish makes use of three buffer letters -n- -y- -s- to keep vowels apart when adding suffixes. There are rules on the choice of these suffixes:
The letter Y is a consonant in the Turkish alphabet.

The buffer letter -S-

Only used with the third person suffix he, she, it the form -si -sı -sü -su when added to a root word which ends in a vowel.
It is not used in any other instance.

Turkish Buffer Letter -S-
Simple NounSuffixed NounMeaning
kedi catkedisi [kedi-si]his/her cat
şemsiye umbrella şemsiyesi [şemsiye-si]his/her umbrella
kapı doorkapısı [kapı-sı]his/her/its door
palto overcoatpaltosu [palto-su]his overcoat
ütü flatironütüsü [ütü-sü]his/her iron
araba cararabası [araba-sı]his/her car
kuzu lambkuzusu [kuzu-su] his/her lamb

Turkish buffer letter -Y-

Buffer letter -Y- is only used with simple nouns which are not suffixed.

This -Y is used ON PLAIN SIMPLE UNSUFFIXED NOUNS with the direct object Condition suffix -i the to become -yi -yı -yu -yü when added to a root word which ends in a vowel.
kedi cat becomes kediyi the cat (object)
banka bank becomes bankayı the bank (object)

This -Y is used ON PLAIN SIMPLE UNSUFFIXED NOUNS with the the Movement Toward Condition [dative] -a, -e to, towards to become -ya -ye when added to a root word which ends in a vowel.
kedi cat becomes kediye [kedi-y-e] to the cat
banka bank becomes bankaya [banka-y-a] to the bank
baba father becomes babaya [baba-y-a] to the father

The buffer letter -N- with Ownership Condition

Buffer letter -N- is always used for the Ownership condition [genitive] -in -ın -ün -un for owners tht end in a vowel to become -nin -nın -nün -nun
Bare nouns in the ownership condition do not use -Y- as a buffer letter.

Turkish Buffer letter -N- Ownership Condition
Bare NounExtended Noun
köprünün
[köprü‑nün]
of the brıdge, the brıdge'sköprüsünün
[köprü‑sü‑nün]
of his brıdge, his brıdge's
masanın
[masa‑nın]
of the table, the table'smasalarının
[masa‑ları‑nın]
of their table, their table's
pencerenin
[pencere‑nin]
of the window, the window'spenceresinin
[pencere‑si‑nin]
of its window, its window's
yolcunun
[yolcu‑nun]
of the traveller, the traveller'syolcularının
[yolcu‑ları‑nın]
of theır traveller, theır traveller's

Buffer letter -N- is used with nouns that have already been suffixed.

This shift of buffer letter y to n enables the listener to discern that the word is already agglutinated (extended) by previous suffixes.
Buffer letter -N is used on ALREADY SUFFIXED NOUNS

kedisi his/her cat becomes kedisini [kedi-si-ni] his/her cat [3rd person possessed object]
bankası his/her bank becomes bankasını [banka-sı-nı] his/her bank [3rd person possessedobject]
kedileri their cat becomes kedilerine [kedi-leri-ne] to their cat [3rd person plural possessed motion toward]

The Buffer Letter -N- with -da/-de and -dan/-den

The suffixes -de and -dan are added directly to basic nouns
kedi cat becomes kedide [kedi-de] on the cat
kediden [kediden] from the cat
kapı door becomes kapıda [kapı-da] on/at the door
kapıdan [kapıdan] from the door

They become -nda/-nde and -ndan/-nden when added to ALREADY SUFFIXED nouns to separate them from the extended word:
kedisi his/her cat becomes kedisinde [kedi-si-nde] on his/her cat
kedisinden [kedi-si-n-den] from his/her cat
kapısı his/her door becomes kapısında [kapı-sı-nda] on/at his/her door
kapısından [kapı-sı-n-dan] from his/her door

‑de and ‑den require a buffer ‑n‑ when added to an extended word.
Simple NounExtended Noun
bankadan
[banka‑dan]
from the bankbankasından
[banka‑sı‑ndan]
from his bank
bankada
[banka‑da]
in/at the bankbankasında
[banka‑sı‑nda]
in/at his bank
bankalardan
[banka‑lar‑dan]
from the banksbankalarından
[banka‑ları‑ndan]
from their bank(s)
evden
[ev‑den]
from the house/from homeevinden
[ev‑i‑nden]
from his house/home
evlerde
[ev‑ler‑de]
in the housesevlerinde
[ev‑leri‑nde]
in their houses

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