basics > About Turkish Nouns

Formation of Turkish Abstract Nouns

Suffix -lik -lık -luk -lük equates to English nouns ending -ness -tion -ity

  • güzel beautiful becomes güzellik beauty
  • mutlu happymutluluk happiness
  • iyi goodiyilik goodness
  • zor difficultzorluk difficulty, complication

These nouns can be further suffixed according to their function:

mutluluğumdan [mutlu-luğ-um-dan] from my happiness

  • onun mutluluğu
    [o-nun mutlu-luğ-u]
    her happiness
  • Kız arkadaşımın mutluluğu mu kendi mutluluğumdan daha önemlidir?
  • Is my girlfriend's happiness more important than my own happiness?
  • güzelliğine
    [güzel-liğ-i-n-e]
    to her/its beauty
  • Şu manzaranın güzelliğine bakın!
  • Regard the beauty of this view/vista!
  • zorluklarımızdan
    [zor-luk-lar-ımız-dan]
    from our difficulties.
  • Tabi bu zorluklarımız oldu, ama hiçbir zaman bu zorluklarımızdan yılmadık!
  • We are subject to difficulties, but we have never been afraid of our difficulties!

Turkish Diminutive suffix cik -cık -cuk -cük

  • This suffix can be added to both nouns and adjectives.
  • baba fatherbabacık daddy
  • kedi catkedicik pussycat
  • köpek dogköpecik puppy

The suffix mutates to -çık -çik -çuk -çük when added to words ending in voiceless consonants p ç t k f h s ş

Otobüs Hat ve Güzergahları Kitapçığı.
[Kitap-çığ-ı]
Auto-bus Lines and Routes Booklet.

Hoşgeldin arkadaşçığım!
Welcome my dear friend!

  • Terminal -k is dropped when adding "-cik".
  • küçük smallküçücük [küçü(k)cük] little
  • ufak smallufacık tiny, minute
  • minik small and niceminicik wee, tiny
  • In a few words an extra vowel is inserted: -cik-icik
  • az lessazıcık little less birazıcık just a little
  • bir onebiricik unique
  • dar narrowdaracık narrowish

This inserted vowel is often glossed over in actual speech:
spoken azcık, birazcık.

  • Adding Possessive pronouns -im -in my, your
  • babacık + ımbabacığım! daddy!
  • Child talk often uses the diminutive.
  • babacığım
    [baba-cığ-ım]
    my daddy
  • anneciğim
    [anne-ciğ-im]
    my mummy
  • köpeciğin!
    your little puppy!

1C. Turkish Collective Nouns with -lik -lık -luk -lük

  • genç younggençlik youth
  • yaşlı old yaşlılık the aged
  • çocuk childçocukluk childhood
  • insan person/humaninsanlık human-kind
  • kişi person/individualkişilik personality/identity
  • Bakan MinisterBakanlık Ministry
    Adalet Bakanlığı
    Ministry of Justice

Suffixes can be "chained" to produce further extended meanings:

balık fish
balıkçı fisherman
Balıkçılık
[Balık-çı-lık]
Fishing Club, Group, Association

Altın Yunus Balıkçılığı Akdeniz'in en önemli balıkçılıklarından biridir.
[Balık-çı-lık-lar-ı-ndan]
The Golden Dolphin Fishıng Association is one of the most important Fıshıng Clubs of the Mediterranean.

Turkish Nouns of Usage with -lik -lık -luk -lük

-lik suffixed to nouns or verbs forms the meaning suitable for, intended for

  • tuz salttuzluk salt cellar
  • biber pepperbiberlik pepper shaker
  • göz eyegözlük spectacles
  • kira hirekiralık for hire
  • yağmur raınyağmurluk raincoat, mackintosh, oilskin

Turkish Nouns of Location with -lik -lık -luk -lük

-lik suffixed to nouns forms the meaning place of..

  • bakan minister
    bakanlık ministry
    bakanlık binası
    ministry building
  • kaya rock
    kayalık rocky place
    kayalık bahçe
    rock garden

  • çamaşır linen, laundry items
  • çamaşırlık a laundry room
  • orman forest
    ormanlık forest place
    ormanlık alan
    forested area / woods

Substantive Noun of Location -lik:

O tepenin arkasında büyük bir ormanlık bulunur
There is a large forest behind that hill.

We may go on to talk about this particular orman itself:
O ormanda çok yabani hayvan varmış.
It seems there are many wild animals in that forest.

Many place names (take a look at a Turkish map) often end in the suffix -lik

Ayvalık Place of the Quince ["ayva - quince"].

A place near Çeşme is called Değirmenlik Place of the Mill ["değirmen - mill"]

It is difficult to translate this suffix directly into English.

We can only say "Quince" or "Quinceville" and "Milltown" or "Millhill".

  • Nouns formed with -lik place of…
  • elmalık apple orchard from elma apple
  • sebzelik vegetable garden, stall from sebze vegetable
  • çiçeklik flower garden, stall from çiçek flower
  • kitaplık book case from kitap book

Turkish Suffix -lik with Numbers:

A number is normally used as an adjective thus the number 10 as an adjective → on yumurta ten eggs.

Turkish changes numbers and numeric expressions into nouns by the addition of the -lik suffix

The number 10 ononluk the amount of ten.

This is like saying Lend me a "tenner" in English.
The number 10 has become a noun of the amount "ten."

The suffix -lik is often added to counted nouns to produce a complex counted noun.

take the example on yumurta ten eggs.

If English says "I want a ten egg box." we understand the requirement is:

"A box that will contain the amount of ten eggs."

Let us look at some possibilities in Turkish:

on yumurta bir kutu ten eggs one box.

This has no meaning in Turkish.
It is just two items "ten eggs" and "one box".

Turkish will use a counted noun on yumurtalık ten eggs-amount

I want a ten egg box.
On yumurtalık bir kutu istiyorum.
[LIT: I want a ten egg-amount box.]

To say I want a box of ten eggs.
Turkish uses the -li furnished with, containing suffix:

On yumurtalı bir kutu istiyorum.
I want a box containing ten eggs.

İki kişilik çadır var mı?
[LIT: Is there a tent of two person-amount?]
Is there a double tent?

Evet var. Kaç günlük?
[LIT: Yes, there is. How many day-amount?]
Yes there is. For how many days?

Turkish Negative Abstract Nouns -sizlik - sızlık -suzluk -süzlük

The -lik suffix is often added to the -siz without, lacking in suffix to form Negative abstract nouns in -sizlik

sabır patiencesabırsız impatient
sabırsızlık impatience

dikkat caredikkatsiz careless
dikkatsizlik carelessness

Further suffixes can be added to show the noun condition:

Mutsuzluğumdan kimseye söz etmedim. [Mut-suzluğ-um-dan]
I have not said a word to anyone about my unhappiness.

Dikkatsizliğimi bağışlayın lütfen!
[dikkat-siz-liğ-im-i]
Please excuse my carelessness!

dikkat and other nouns endng in -aat are historically an Arabic Feminine Plural.

The final letter -a- is pronounced quite long dikkAAt.

Added suffixes use E-Dotted forms.

Vowel Harmony and Consonant Change do not operate.

meşrubat beverage, (cola, tea, coffee)
meşrubatim (NOT meşrubad-ım)
my beverage

Turkish Compound Nouns

Turkish Definite Compound Nouns

The first noun "possesses" the noun it owns.

The second "possessed noun" is then suffixed as definitive.

Both components retain their grammatical function as as nouns.

  • Definite Compound Noun examples
  • bisikletimin garajı
    [Bisiklet-im-in garaj-ı]
    my bicycle's garage
    [LIT: the garage of my bicycle]
  • kapının zili
    [kapı-nın zil-i]
    the door-bell
  • Mehmet'in arabası
    [Mehmet'-in araba-sı]
    Mehmet's car
  • pencerenin perdesi
    [pencere-nin perde-si]
    the window-curtain

These examples are Definite Compound Nouns and each noun is specific.

pencerenin perdesi the window's curtain
[the window its-curtain] is a particular curtain belonging to a particular window.

The first noun is a DESCRIBING noun is marked by the ownership (genitive) suffix -in -in -un -ün.

It is an adjective and "owns" the second DESCRIBED noun and

Buffer letter -n- is used with the ownership suffix -nin -nin -nun -nün is added to an owning noun which ends in a vowel.

evin anahtarı [ev-in anahtar-ı] the house key
[LIT: the key of the house, the house's key]

It is the particular key of a particular house. It is specifically owned.

Difference between Definite Compound Nouns and Indefinite Compound Nouns.

To make this an Indefinite Compound Noun "any window curtain" pencere perdesi window curtain the ownership suffix "-nin" is removed from the Possessor "the window".

Compare this with the indefinite compound noun for speaking generally by removing the ownership suffix from the DESCRIBING noun:

ev anahtarı
[ev anahtar-ı]
house key
[LIT: house the-key]

ev anahtarları
[ev anahtar-lar-ı]
house keys
[LIT: house the-keys]

Definite Compound Noun:

arabanın kapısı
[araba-nın kapı-sı]
the car door
(a particular door of a particular car.)

Indefinite Compound Noun:

araba kapısı
[kapı-sı]
car door (generally)

araba kapıları
[kapı-ları]
car doors (generally)

Turkish Indefinite Compound Nouns

The first noun acts as an adjective to describe the second noun which is suffixed as a definitive noun.

When two nouns are joined as in lamp-post the second noun takes the third person possessive suffix:

ışık direği [ışık direğ-i]
lamp-post
[LIT: Lamp its-post]

gece kulübü [gece kulüb-ü]
nightclub [LIT: night its-club]

Turkish shows a connection between the two words to make an Indefinite Compound Noun.

The first noun "lamp" is an adjective to describe the second "post" which is made into a definitive noun by the addition of the third person suffix.

Further suffixes can be added to this complex noun as required:

  • ışık direği
    [direğ-i] (from direk)
    lamp post
    [LIT: lamp its-post]
  • onun ışık direği
    [o-nun ışık direğ-i]
    his lamp post
  • Mehmet'in ışık direği
    [direğ-i]
    Mehmet's lamp post
    [LIT: of-Mehmet lamp post-his]
  • onun ışık direğinden
    [direğ-i-nden]
    from his lamp post
  • Mehmet'in ışık direğinden
    [direğ-i-nden]
    from Mehmet's lamp post
  • kapı kolundan
    [kapı kol-u-ndan]
    from the door handle
  • yaz okulu
    [yaz okul-u]
    the summer school
  • Ali'nin elma ağacı
    [Ali-nın elma ağac-ı]
    Ali's apple tree
  • bilgisayar ekranı
    [bilgisayar ekran-ı]
    the computer screen
  • deniz suyu
    [deniz su-yu]
    the sea water

The first noun is a DESCRIBING ("tamlayan") general noun which acts as an adjective and remains in its basic form.

The second noun is a DESCRIBED ("tamlanan") second noun is made specific by the addition of possessive singular third person suffix -i -ı -u -ü.

This makes the noun specific and can be translated as "the" in English

  • kadın doktoru
    [doktor-u]
    lady doctor
    [LIT: lady the-doctor]
  • otobüs durağı
    [durağ-ı]
    bus stop
  • cep telefonu
    [telefon-u]
    mobile phone
    [LIT: pocket the-phone]
  • futbol maçı
    [maç-ı]
    football match
  • taksi şoförü
    [şoför-ü]
    taxi driver

If the DESCRIBED noun ends in a vowel the buffer letter -s- is used.
The added suffix → -si -sı -su -sü.

  • çamaşır makinesi
    [makine-si]
    washing machine
    [LIT: washing the-machine]
  • posta kutusu
    [kutu-su]
    post box
    [LIT: post the-box]
  • Türk kahvesı
    [kahve-sı]
    Turkish Coffee
  • yangın kovası
    [kova-sı]
    fire bucket
  • polis arabası
    [araba-sı]
    police car

The only exception is the word su water

Su uses the buffer letter -y- is used in place of -s-

This is the only grammar exception in Turkish.

  • meyve suyu
    [su-yu]
    fruit juice
    [LIT: fruit the-juice]
  • elma suyu
    apple juice
  • et suyu
    gravy
    [LIT: meat water]
  • pınar suyu
    spring water

Plural DESCRIBED nouns are made specific by the addition of possessive plural third person suffix -leri -ları.

  • otobüs durakları
    [durak-lar-ı]
    bus stops
    [LIT: bus the-stops]
  • cep telefonları
    [telefon-lar-ı]
    mobile phones
    [LIT: pocket the-phones]
  • futbol maçları
    [maç-lar-ı]
    football matches
  • taksi şoförleri
    [şoför-ler-i]
    taxi drivers
  • çamaşır makineleri
    [makine-ler-i]
    washing machines
  • posta kutuları
    [kutu-lar-ı]
    post boxes
  • yangın kovaları
    [kova-lar-ı]
    fire buckets

Turkish Non-attached Compound Nouns

Used to indicate the material from which the noun is made . Neither noun is made definitive.

The first noun of material acts as an adjective describing the main noun which follows:

  • tahta kapı.
    wooden door.
  • alüminyum pencere.
    aluminium window.
  • demir köprü.
    iron bridge.

Summary of Turkish Complex Noun Completion Suffixes

  1. The Describing Noun suffixes are always the ownership suffix [genitive] -(n)in -(n)ın -(n)ün -(n)un
  2. Describing Nouns which end in a vowel always use buffer letter -n-
  3. The Described Noun suffixes are always 3rd person singular (owned suffix) -(s)i -(s)ı -(s)ü -(s)u or plural -leri/-ları.
  4. Described Nouns which end in a vowel always use buffer letter -s-
  5. The single exception su water which takes buffer letter -y-
    both as Describing Noun suyun rengi the color of the water
    and Described Noun maden suyu mineral water.

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