basics > Turkish Articles & Gender

The Subject Definite Article "the"

There is no Turkish word for the subject definite article, only the context tells us when to insert "the" in English:

Çay pahalı. Tea is expensive.
Çay soğuk. The tea is cold.
Araba caddede. The car is in the road.

The Subject Definite Article "the" does not exist as a word in Turkish.
Subjects are understood as being "specific".

The Object Definite Article is suffixed with -i -ı -u -ü "the" (accusative)
Mehmet telsizi [telsiz-i] tamir etti.
Mehmet mended the radio

Turkish Direct Object Suffix "the"

The Turkish Direct Object Suffix which makes the object substantive is one of the most difficult hurdles for English speakers to surmount when speaking, reading and understanding the Turkish language.

The suffix -i/-ı/-u/-ü used with bare nouns which end in a consonant.
-yi/-yı/-yu/-yü used with bare nouns which end in a vowel.
-ni/-nı/-nu/-nü used with extended (already suffixed) nouns ending in a vowel.

This suffix is called the accusative case in classical grammar.

In English both the subject and object of a sentence are made substantive by the use of the same definite article "the".

Adam kapıyı [kapı-] kapattı.
The [subject substantive] man closed the [object substantive] door.

Turkish grammar does not use classical grammar nomenclature. The subject definite article "the"does not exist in Turkish.

There is no "The man" as the subject definite article "the" is already understood as substantive and does not need a definite article.

There is an object definite article "the" in Turkish which appears as the suffix -(y)i -(y)ı -(y)ü -(y)u or -ni -nı -nü -nu for already suffixed nouns.

  1. Noun ending in a consonant: kilit lock
  2. Adam kilidi [kilid-i] kapattı The man locked THE LOCK
  3. The -i suffix modifies the bare noun kilit to kilidi THE LOCK substantive as a direct object.
  1. Extended noun ending in a consonant: kilidim [kilit+im] my lock
  2. Adam kilidimi [kilid-im-i] kapattı The man locked MY LOCK
  3. The -i suffix makes the extended (already suffixed) noun kilidim-i MY LOCK substantive as a direct object.
  1. Bare bouns ending in vowel: kapı door
  2. Adam kapıyı [kapı-yı] kapattı The man closed THE DOOR
  3. The -yı suffix makes the bare noun kapı THE DOOR substantive as a direct object
  1. Extended noun ending in a vowel: kapısı [kapı+sı] his door
  2. Adam kapısını [kapı-sı-nı] kapattı The man closed HIS DOOR
  3. The -nı suffix makes the extended noun kapısı-nı HIS DOOR substantive as a direct object

Summary:
A Turkish verb needs the object pointer (accusative) -(y)i -(y)ı -(y)ü -(y)u (buffer -y- after vowels.)

When the object pointer follows another suffix then the buffer letter used is -n- to produce -ni -nı -nü -nu.

Turkish Object Pointers (accusative suffixes)

Direct Object pointer -y-i for simple nouns.
Arabayı boyuyorum. [araba-yı] I am painting the car.

Possessive Pronoun -sı his plus direct object pointer -nı for extended nouns.
Arabasını boyuyorum. [araba-s-ı-n-ı] I am painting his car (the his car)

Possessive pronoun -ları their plus object pointer -nı for extended nouns.
Arabalarını boyuyoruz. [araba-ları-n-ı] We are painting their car. (the their car)

Possessive Pronoun -sı his plus direct object pointer -nı for extended nouns
Arabasını boyuyor musunuz? [araba-s-ı-n-ı] Are you painting his car?

Possessive Pronoun -ınız your plus direct object pointer for extended nouns.
Mehmet, arabanızı boyamıyor mu? [araba-nız-ı] Isn't Mehmet painting your car?

Possessive Pronoun -si his plus direct object pointer -ni for extended nouns.
Kedisini aramıyor muyum? [kedi-s-i-n-i] Aren't I looking for his cat?

Direct Object Pointer -i for personal pronouns
Beni istiyor musun? [ben -i] Do you want me?

Direct Object Pointer -i for personal pronouns
Seni istemiyor muyum? [sen -i] Don't I want you?

The Singular Turkish Indefinite Article - bir - a, an, one

bir kapı a gate
bir elma an apple
bir bardak one glass
Caddede bir (tek) araba var. There is a (single) car in the road

Turkish Positive Plural Indefinite Article birkaç some

In English the Article "some" is only used in Positive Statements. "any" is used in Negative Statements and also both in Positive and Negative Questions. Both some and any are translated as bazı.
bazı always governs a plural noun: bazı masalar = some tables]

Turkish Lack of Gender

Generally Turkish has no gender. There is only one form of the noun, no masculine as actor and feminine as actress as in English, which has two forms of these nouns.

When gender distinction is necessary within the context, then Turkish uses simple locutions:
kız girl or kadın lady can be placed in front of the noun to show human femininity:
terzi tailor becomes kadın terzi tailoress
arkadaş friend becomes kız arkadaş girl friend

dişi female can be used before nouns to show a female animal
köpek dog becomes dişi köpek bitch

erkek male/man can be used to show maleness
kardeş sister/brother becomes erkek kardeş brother

kız girl/maiden can be used to show femininity
kardeş sister/brother becomes kız kardeş sister
This method is used whenever it is necessary to differentiate between the sexes of your brother/sisters.

Turkish Family Relationships

There is no gender distinction in Turkish; unhappily this does not apply to close family relationships. Many relations on the mother's side will have a different word than the father's side: Just two examples here but they are myriad!
amca uncle [father's brother] and dayı uncle [mother's brother]
teyze aunt [mother's sister] and hala aunt [father's sister]

A word list of Turkish Family Relations
father baba
mother anne
baby bebek
brother erkek kardeş
sister kız kardeş
elder brother abi (ağabey)
elder brother's wife yenge
elder sister abla
elder sister's husband enişte
son oğul, erkek çocuk
daughter kız, kız çocuk
aunt (mother's side) teyze
aunt (father's side) hala
grandfather dede, büyükbaba
grandmother nine, büyükanne
grandmother (mother's side) anneanne
grandmother (father's side) babaanne
nephew, niece yeğen
uncle (father's side) amca
uncle (mother's side) dayı
cousin kuzen
father-in-law kayınbaba, kayınpeder
mother-in-law kaynana, kayınvalide
sister-in-law (of a male) baldız
sister-in-law (of a female) görümce
brother-in-law kayınbirader
brother-in-law's wife of a female elti
sister-in-law's husband of a male bacanak
son-in-law ; bridegroom damat
daughter-in-law ; bride gelin
sister's husband enişte
grandson ; granddaughter, grandchild torun
twin ikiz
twin brother, twin sister ikiz kardeş
wife eş, hanım, karı
husband koca
step mother üvey anne
step father üvey baba

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