|basics > 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.
When the noun is an object of a verb as in Mehmet mended the radio then Turkish does use an objective suffix the [accusative]. The Subject Definite Article the does not exist as a word in Turkish, but it does exist as an objective suffix.
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.
-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-yı] 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.
However 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.
Noun ending in a consonant: kilit the lock
Adam kilidi [kilid-i] kapattı The man locked THE LOCK
The -i suffix modifies the bare noun kilit to kilidi THE LOCK substantive as a direct object.
kilit assumes a vowel harmony change to kilidi when the object -i is suffixed.
Extended noun ending in a consonant: kilidim [kilit+im] my lock
Adam kilidimi [kilid-im-i] kapattı The man locked MY LOCK
The -i suffix makes the extended [already suffixed] noun kilidim-i MY LOCK substantive as a direct object.
Noun ending in a vowel: kapı the door
Adam kapıyı [kapı-yı] kapattı The man closed THE DOOR
The -yı suffix makes the bare noun kapı- THE DOOR substantive as a direct object
Extended noun ending in a vowel: kapısı [kapı+sı] his door
Adam kapısını [kapı-sı-nı] kapattı The man closed HIS DOOR
The -nı suffix makes the extended noun kapısı-nı HIS DOOR substantive as a direct object
The use of verbs needs an object pointer [Accusative] in Turkish which is suffix -(y)i -(y)ı -(y)ü -(y)u using buffer letter -y- after vowels. When the object pointer follows another suffix then the buffer letter used is -n- to produce -ni -nı -nü -nu when attached to possessed objects.
Turkish Object Pointers [accusative]
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 -ı 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]
Positive statements use some in English:
Bahçede birkaç kapı var. There are some gates in the garden.
Bahçede birkaç kedi var. There are some cats in the garden.
Caddede birkaç araba var. There are some cars in the road.
The Negative Singular/Plural Indefinite Article is hiçbir not one or just hiç not any
Negative Statements use any (usually with the plural) in English.
Bahçede hiçbir kapı yok./Bahçede hiç kapı yok. There is not a gate in the garden at all. / There aren't any gates in the garden.
Bahçede hiçbir kedi yok./Bahçede hiç kedi yok. There is not a (single) cat in the garden. / There aren't any cats in the garden.
Caddede hiçbir araba yok./Caddede hiç araba yok. There is not a car in the road (at all). / There aren't any cars in the road.
Both Positive and Negative Questions use a (single)? at all? in English
Bahçede hiçbir kapı yok mu? Isn't there a (single) gate in the garden?
Bahçede bir kedi var mı? Is there there a cat in the garden?
Caddede hiçbir araba yok mu? Isn't there a car in the road at all?
Caddede bir araba var mı? Is there a car in the road?
The Negative Plural Indefinite Article is hiç any, none at all
Negative Statements use any in English:
Bahçede hiç kapı yok. There are not any gates in the garden.
Bahçede hiç kedi yok. There are not any cats in the garden.
Caddede hiç araba yok. There are not any cars in the road.
Both Positive and Negative Questions use any in English
Bahçede hiç kapı yok mu? Aren't there any gates in the garden?
Bahçede birkaç kedi var mı? Are there any cats in the garden?
Caddede hiç araba yok mu? Aren't there any cars in the road?
Caddede birkaç araba var mı? Are there any cars in the road?
birkaç some and hiç not any always take a singular noun in Turkish but the meaning is plural in both Turkish and English. birkaç kadın some ladies, hiç ev not any houses
hiçbir not a single one is used for the singular both in Turkish and English:
Caddede hiçbir araba yok. There is not a car in the road?
Hiç meaning ever or never
In normal verbal positive questions hiç translates as ever
Hiç Alanya'ya gittiniz mi? Have you ever been to Alanya?
In normal verbal negative questions hiç translates as never
Hiç Alanya'ya gitmediniz mi? Have you never been to Alanya?
Other Indefinites are:
Caddedeki bazı arabalar vardı, şimdi artık hiç yok. There were some cars in the road, now there are none.
To reiterate:: bazı some always takes the plural bazı kadınlar some ladies, bazı evler some houses
birçok a lot of or many
caddede birçok araba var there are a lot of cars on the road.
caddede birçok araba var there are many cars on the road.
biraz a little, a small amount
Biraz şeker, lütfen. A little sugar, please.
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, however 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|
|elder brother||abi (ağabey)|
|elder brother's wife||yenge|
|elder sister's husband||enişte|
|son||oğul, erkek çocuk|
|daughter||kız, kız çocuk|
|aunt (mother's side)||teyze|
|aunt (father's side)||hala|
|grandmother (mother's side)||anneanne|
|grandmother (father's side)||babaanne|
|uncle (father's side)||amca|
|uncle (mother's side)||dayı|
|sister-in-law (of a male)||baldız|
|sister-in-law (of a female)||görümce|
|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|
|grandson ; granddaughter, grandchild||torun|
|twin brother, twin sister||ikiz kardeş|
|wife||eş, hanım, karı|
|step mother||üvey anne|
|step father||üvey baba|