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Turkish Possessive Relationship

Formation of Turkish Possession

There is a construction in Turkish which means belonging to In English generally only the Possessor is marked as in Janet's house where the 's tells us that the house belongs to Janet. However, possession can also be marked by both the Possessor and the Possessed in English as in the hair of the dog. In this case both words hair and dog are marked THE hair and OF THE dog.

This construct is the method that Turkish uses. Both the Possessor and the Possessed are always marked:
köpeğin tüyü [Köpeğ-in tüy-ü] The hair of the dog [Lit: dog-the-of hair-the]

The Possessor in Turkish

In Turkish the possessor is suffixed with -in -ın -un -ün (or after vowels - buffer letter -n- is used to produce -nin -nın -nun -nün.)
The -in suffix means of, belonging to. In grammar this is called the Genitive Case. Turkish Grammar calls it Suffix of Ownership.

Formation of the Possessor:

Words ending in a consonant add -in, -ın, -un, -ün
adam beomes adamın [adam-ın] the man's, of the man
göz becomes gözün [göz-ün] the eye's, of the eye

All plural forms end in a consonant -ler/-lar.
adamların [adam-lar-ın] the men's, of the men
fareler farelerin [fare ler in] - the mice's, of the mice,
lastikler lastiklerin [lastik-ler-in] the tyres', of the tyres

Nouns ending in vowels use buffer letter -n to form -nin
banyonun [banyo-nun] the bath's, of the bath.
köprünün [köprü-nün] the bridge's, of the bridge

The plurals are formed without the buffer -n-
banyoların [banyo-lar-ın] the baths', of the baths.
köprülerin [köprü-ler-in] the bridges', of the bridges

Formation of the Possessed

The possessed item in Turkish is suffixed with -i, -ı, -u, -ü his, hers, its.
If the word being suffixed already ends in a vowel then the buffer letter -s- is used after this final vowel, thus the forms -si, -sı, -su, -sü are used.
The only exception is su water. This word historically uses the buffer letter -y- producing suyu [susu is wrong]

The Possessive Relationship Explained

Both the Possessor and Possessed are suffixed in Turkish. This is the model for all Possessive Relationships in Turkish.:
The Possessor adam man with the ownership suffix adamın [adam-ın] of the man and becomes:
adamın eli [adam-ın el-i] the man's hand, the hand of the man [LIT: man-of hand-his.]
The Possessor Mehmet Mehmet with the Possessed palto overcoat becomes:
Mehmet 'in paltosu [Mehmet-'in palto-su] Mehmet's overcoat [LIT: Mehmet-of overcoat-his.]
The irregular noun su water becomes adamın suyu [adam-ın su-y-u] the man's water

When adding suffixes to Proper Names the suffix is separated by an apostrophe. The easy way to remember is that any noun beginning with a capital letter should be separated from its suffix: Londra London becomes Londra'nın London's, of London.

Turkish Possessive Relationship - Plural

The plurals are formed by the addition of -ler or -lar to either the possessor or the possessed or to both according to context. The following examples should make this clear:

Both Possessor and Possessed Singular
adamın arabası [adam-ın araba-sı] the man's car
evin damı [ev-in dam-ı] the roof of the house

The Possessor Plural and Possessed Singular
yıldızların ışığı [yıldız-lar-ın ışığ-ı] the light of the stars
adamların arabası [adam-lar-ın araba-sı] the men's car

The Possessor Singular and Possessed Plural
adamın arabaları [adam-ın araba-lar-ı] the man's cars
odanın duvarları [oda-nı duvar-lar-ı] the walls of the room

Both Possessor Plural and Possessed Plural
adamların arabaları [adam-lar-ın araba-lar-ı] the men's cars
çocukların oyunları [çocouk-lar-ın oyun-lar-ı] the children's games

Turkish Possessive Relationship in Use

The possessive relationship is a compound noun, and as such can have further suffixes such as -dan/-den from, -da/-de in, on at , -(y)a/-(y)e to, towards etc. added to the possessed item(s) to modify the meaning according to context:
Adamın arkadaşına kitabı verdim. I gave the book to the man's friend.
Adam-ın arkadaş-ı-na kitabı verdim. [LIT: Man-of friend-his-to book-the gave-I.]

Adamın arkadaşından kitabı aldım. I took the book from the man's friend.
Adam-ın arkadaş-ı-ndan kitabı aldım. [Lit: Man-of friend-his-from book-the took-I.]

Turkish Possessive Relationship Model

Both the Possessor and the Possessed Singular
adamın arabası the man's car
adamın arabasının of the man's car, the man's car's
adamın arabasına to the man's car
adamın arabasını the man's car (object)
adamın arabasında in the man's car
adamın arabasından from the man's car
adamın arabasıyla with the man's car
Possessor Singular with Possessed Plural
adamın arabaları the man's cars
adamın arabalarının of the man's cars, the man's car's
adamın arabalarına to the man's cars
adamın arabalarını the man's cars (object)
adamın arabalarında in the man's cars
adamın arabalarından from the man's cars
adamın arabalarıyla with the man's cars
Possessor Plural with Possessed Singular
adamların arabası the men's car
adamların arabasının of the men's car, the men's car's
adamların arabasına to the men's car
adamların arabasını the men's car (object)
adamların arabasında in the men's car
adamların arabasından from the men's car
adamların arabasıyla with the men's car
Both Possessor and Possessed Plural
adamların arabaları the men's cars
adamların arabalarının of the men's cars, the men's cars'
adamların arabalarına to the men's cars
adamların arabalarını the men's cars (object)
adamların arabalarında in the men's cars
adamların arabalarından from the men's cars
adamların arabalarıyla with the men's cars

Separation of Possessor and Possessed in Turkish

The Possessive Relationship may be separated by other words such as an adjective or an adjectival phrase:
Adamın eski arkadaşından. From the man's old friend.
Adamın büyük ve pahalı arabasında. In the man's large and expensive car.

Chaining Turkish Possessors

The chaining of Possessors is easy in Turkish:
evin kapısının penceresi. the house's door's window.
And with various plural forms:
evin kapısının pencereleri. the house's door's windows.
evlerin kapısının penceresi. the houses' door's window.
As you can see each "chained" possessor takes both the possessed suffix in -i and the ownwership suffix in -in [hence kapı-sı -nın door-the-of] , and the possessed item suffix is -i [hence pencere-si window-the (Sing.) or pencere-ler-i windows-the (Plural]

Ali'nin defterinin sayfaları yırtılmıştır. Ali's notebook's pages are torn. [LIT: have been torn]
Bahçenin duvarlarının tuğlaları kırılmıştır. The garden's walls' bricks are broken. [LIT: have been broken]
Mehmet'in bisikletinin lastikleri aşınılmıştır. Mehmet's bicycle's tyres are worn down. [LIT: have been worn down]
Arabamızın motorunun benzin deposunun doldurma kapağı eksiktir. Our car's engine's petrol tank's filler cap is missing. [LIT: is absent, -tir makes this definite]

In English we would say something like:
Ali's notebook pages are torn.
The garden walls' bricks are broken.
Mehmet's bicycle tyres are worn down.
But in Turkish the "possessed nouns" have to be made definite.