Difficulties of Turkish-Language Learning -- Unusual Ways of Self Expression

Learn Turkish Language Online -- Turkish Learning Logo
[Learn Turkish: Home] [Turkish: Beginners]
[Table of Contents] [Questions/Comments]
[Learn Turkish: Downloads] [Blog: Our Turkish Life!]
[Turkish Love] [Learn Turkish: Website Updates]
[Turkish: Movies, Index]
[Learn Turkish: Personal Names]
[Turkish: Website Search Engine]
[Online Turkish Word Dictionary]
Learn Turkish language, 
Online color bar

Meet 'Turkish Road Rage'
though he's not very smart,
his off color Turkish language knowledge
is extensive...

Meet 'Turkish Road Rage' --  though he's not very smart his off color Turkish language knowledge is extensive...
Famous Türk Picture Series
In Turkey - Türkiye'de

Turkish Books, Interesting

In Turkey - Türkiye'de

Ads by HepsiBurada

Free updates for life!
Jim and Peri's
Commercial-free
CD/Broadband Editions
for Turkish Learning --
with triple ebook bonus!
Turkish movies and Turkish Language-learning CD/Broadband product


Bypass Turkish Government Censorship
Ask about our free Speed Trial account --
for in-country Türkiye

Turkish Movies, Turkish Films, Turk/Türk Filmleri, Turkce/Türkçe Filmler
Click the image to learn how to protect your Internet freedom for less than $8 a month!

Learning Turkish Language Difficulties

Expressing Yourself in Turkish

"...a completely new garb."
G.L. Lewis. 1953

Turkish Sentence Structure
In Turkey - Türkiye'de

Tüm sinema ve TV fırsatları için tıklayın !

Language-learning pages:
  • How To Learn Basic Turkish --
    A Practical Philosophy for beginners

    (Found in the 'Introduction to The Whole Earth Catalog of Turkish Movies'.)
  • Why Off-color language is important too...
  • Translating Turkish, the basics
  • Translating Turkish, advanced
  • Essential Turkish Vocabulary
  • Turkish Verbs
  • Essential Idioms, Index
  • Essential Suffixes, Index
  • Sentence Structure, Standard
  • Sentence Structure Variations
  • Turkish Pronunciation
  • Turkish Accenting
  • Turkish Numbers Revealed
  • Other Turkish Language Difficulties
  • You have to re-sequence the word order of an English sentence in order to create a correctly structured, meaningful Turkish sentence . For example, consider the following...

    The restaurant where we are going to eat is
    at the corner of this street.

    In Spanish and French, the shape of that sentence remains the same when it's translated. And we've read that the same would be true if you translated it to Russian, Greek, and even Arabic. But in Turkish, the shape is quite different...

    Yemek yiyeceğimiz restoran bu sokağın köşesindedir.
    Eat-future-our-restaurant, this-street's corner-its-at-is.

    Jump to the Reverse EnglishReverse English page for a more thorough treatment of this phenomenon. Or, check out the Standard Rules of Word Order...


    Var and Yok

    But it's not just the unusual Turkish word order -- that English speakers need to adjust for... It's also the basic method of expression.

    To illustrate what we mean, let's take a look at some examples using var and yok -- two very stand up Turkish words that every student of Turkish must understand, if not master. The meanings for var and yok are revealed in the examples...

    For instance, here's the way in English that we express personal possession,
    I have a forty-foot yacht. [yeah. right.]

    In Turkish, you don't express it the same way. Instead, you say,
    Kırk-ayak yatım var,
    which literally means,
    My forty-foot yacht exists...

    The negative expression,
    I don't have a forty foot yacht [the truth is out],
    would be,
    Kırk-ayak yatım yok,
    which literally means,
    My forty-foot yacht doesn't exist...

    And in English, when we want to express the pure presence
    [or absence] of a person, place, or thing -- we say, for example,
    There is a scorpion on the wall!
    [hey, i don't like'm either -- but they like the climate where I live. And that's what counts.]

    However, in Turkish it's,
    Duvarda akrep var;
    which literally means,
    On the wall, a scorpion exists.
    [Negative example: There isn't any bread in the basket;
    Sepette ekmek yok.]

    Also, var/yok is used on those occasions when a strictly literal translation is needed -- as in,
    The evidence against my client does not even exist!
    And the resulting Turkish sentence is an exact literal word-for-word translation [except for the 'unusual' word order, of course],
    Müvekkilimin aleyhine kanıt bile yok!

    So there you have the three most basic forms of var and yok -- which are used to say:
    1) have/don't have,
    2) there is/there isn't,
    3) it exists/it does not exist.

    And many of our visitors are
    probably already familiar with these forms.

    But these most basic forms are not the only forms that var and yok take. Shall we look at some other forms -- with a few more illustrative examples?


    Use in the Aorist (wide-time) verbal sense

    Istanbul'da çok hotel vardır;
    There are a lot of hotels in Istanbul.
    (Literally... In Istanbul, a lot of hotels exist.)

    Please note that the -dir suffix is seen/heard mostly in written Turkish, or when the speaker wishes to express more certainty in his meaning -- as in the previous and next example...

    Yarın parti yoktur;
    There isn't going to be a party tomorrow.
    (Literally... Tomorrow, a party won't exist.)

    Also,
    Bugün varım, yarın yokum;
    I am here today, gone tomorrow.
    (Literally... I exist today, I don't exist tomorrow.)

    And one more use for this construction... If you're in a card game and the betting gets around to you -- you should say, Varım, if you want to bet along with the others or Yokum, if you want to paasssss...


    Use in the Present Perfect

    Dünkü partide sen de varmışsın;
    You too have been (You have existed) at the party yesterday.

    Bodrum gezisinde sizler yokmuşsunuz;
    You haven't been (You haven't existed) on the Bodrum tour.


    Use in the Definite Past

    Ben dün toplantıda vardım;
    I was (I existed) at the meeting yesterday.

    Important note:
    In the above case, vardım; I existed, could be confused with vardım; I arrived -- one of possible cases of ambiguity in the Turkish language...
    [Click here to explore that ambiguity a little further...]

    Gece yarısı şehirde kimseler yoktu;
    There wasn't (There didn't exist) anyone in the city at midnight.


    Use in the conditional mood

    Aklınız varsa, bu işe para yatırmazsınız.
    If you are smart, you won't pay [good] money for this [bad] job;
    (Literally... If your intelligence exists, you won't pay [good] money for this [bad] job.)

    Cuma günü evde yoksanız, Pazar günü geliriz.
    If you (all) won't be at home on Friday, we'll come [to see you (all)] on Sunday.
    (On Friday, if you all won't exist at home, we'll come [to see you all] on Sunday.)


    Questions with var/yok

    Buralarda iyi bir lokanta var mı?
    Is there a good restaurant around here?
    (Around here, does a good restaurant exist?)

    Evimizde yemek yok mu?
    Isn't there any food at our house?
    (At our house, doesn't any food exist?)

    Proverbial Use

    Aşkın var ise (varsa) dağlara düş;
    If you're in love, flee to the mountains.
    (If your love exists, fall [back] to the mountains.)


    Kadın var ev yapar, kadın var ev yıkar;
    Women...Ya' can't live with 'em and ya' can't live without 'em.
    ( [Where] woman exists, the home is created; [where] woman exists, the home is destroyed.)


    Evladın varsa bin derdin var, evladın yoksa bir derdin var;
    If you have children, you have one-thousand worries;
    if you don't have children, you have one worry.
    (If your children exist, one-thousand worries exist ; if your children don't exist, one worry exists.)


    This last example usage of var/yok in a proverb has the potential to throw you for a small loop, so try to stay awake just a leetle longer...

    Vara "var", yoka "yok" denir...;
    To a rich man they say, "Yes, we have what you want."
    To a poor man they say, "No, we're out of what you want."

    (To the 'haves', "It exists." To the 'have nots', "It doesn't exist," they say...)

    The point here is that sometimes, as in the above case, var and yok can be used as nouns -- indicating a person's financial status or even his/her own personal essence, as in...
    Bütün varını yoğunu o işe harcadı;
    He put his whole heart and soul [and wealth] into that job.
    (He expended his complete-being to that job)


    Saying When and When Not...
    "When I go to the market, I'll buy a newspaper."

    How to handle When clauses in Turkish was one of the first things that confused us about the language. And, frankly it can still give us fits -- when it has a mind to. On a bad-language day, it is pretty uninspiring to hear us stumble through a sentence with a When clause in it.

    So as a language study aid, we prepared ourselves a little reference chart of typical When clauses -- similar to our verb conjugation charts -- if you remember how they look...starting with first person singular (When I go...), second person singular (When you go...), and so on down the line, all the way to When they go (the third person plural)...

    Here's the chart for your Turkish language-learning arsenal -- just in case you too suffer from 'wheningitis'...

    "When I go to the market..."
    For Present, Past, and Future Tense usage
    (Note: In the following kind of Turkish When clause, there is no distinction between Present and Past Tense, but there is a distinction between Present/Past and Future Tense, as indicated...)

    For Present and Past Tense usage

    Affirmative

    For Present and Past Tense usage

    Negative

    For Future Tense usage

    Affirmative

    For Future Tense usage

    Negative

    Either When I go to the market or When I went to the market --
    Either Markete gittiğim zaman or
    Markete gittiğimde
    [all the above may be
    used interchangeably]
    Either When I don't go to the market or When I didn't go to the market --
    Either Markete gitmediğim zaman or
    Markete gitmediğimde
    [used interchangeably]
    When I will go to the market --
    Either Markete gideceğim zaman or
    Markete gideceğimde
    [used interchangeably]
    When I will not go to the market --
    Either Markete gitmeyeceğim zaman or
    Markete gitmeyeceğimde
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When you go to the market or When you went to the market --
    Either Markete gittiğin zaman or
    Markete gittiğinde (note below table entry)
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When you don't go to the market or When you didn't go to the market --
    Either Markete gitmediğin zaman or
    Markete gitmediğinde (note below table entry)
    [used interchangeably]
    When you will go to the market --
    Either Markete gideceğin zaman or
    Markete gideceğinde (note below table entry)
    [used interchangeably]
    When you will not go to the market --
    Either Markete gitmeyeceğin zaman or
    Markete gitmeyeceğinde (note below table entry)
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When he/she/it goes to the market or When he/she/it went to the market --
    Either Markete gittiği zaman or
    Markete gittiğinde (note above table entry)
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When he/she/it doesn't go to the market or When he/she/it didn't go to the market --
    Either Markete gitmediği zaman or
    Markete gitmediğinde (note above table entry)
    [used interchangeably]
    When he/she/it will go to the market --
    Either Markete gideceği zaman or
    Markete gideceğinde (note above table entry)
    [used interchangeably]
    When he/she/it will not go to the market --
    Either Markete gitmeyeceği zaman or
    Markete gitmeyeceğinde (note above table entry)
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When we go to the market or When we went to the market --
    Either Markete gittiğimiz zaman or
    Markete gittiğimizde
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When we don't go to the market or When we didn't go to the market --
    Either Markete gitmediğimiz zaman or
    Markete gitmediğimizde
    [used interchangeably]
    When we will go to the market --
    Either Markete gideceğimiz zaman or
    Markete gideceğimizde
    [used interchangeably]
    When we will not go to the market --
    Either Markete gitmeyeceğimiz zaman or
    Markete gitmeyeceğimizde
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When you [plural] go to the market or When you went to the market --
    Either Markete gittiğiniz zaman or
    Markete gittiğinizde
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When you [plural] don't go to the market or When you didn't go to the market --
    Either Markete gitmediğiniz zaman or
    Markete gitmediğinizde
    [used interchangeably]
    When you [plural] will go to the market --
    Either Markete gideceğiniz zaman or
    Markete gideceğinizde
    [used interchangeably]
    When you [plural] will not go to the market --
    Either Markete gitmeyeceğiniz zaman or
    Markete gitmeyeceğinizde
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When they go to the market or When they went to the market --
    Either Markete gittikleri zaman or
    Markete gittiklerinde
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When they don't go to the market or When they didn't go to the market --
    Either Markete gitmedikleri zaman or
    Markete gitmediklerinde
    [used interchangeably]
    When they will go to the market --
    Either Markete gidecekleri zaman or
    Markete gideceklerinde
    [used interchangeably]
    When they will not go to the market --
    Either Markete gitmeyecekleri zaman or
    Markete gitmeyeceklerinde
    [used interchangeably]

    So, now you can print out this chart and all your problems using and understanding When clauses will be over, right?
    You didn't think you were going to get away that easily, now did you?

    Firstly, the chart above only addresses Turkish verbs with infinitives ending in 'mek' -- like gitmek; go and gelmek; come.
    (Did you remember that there are two Turkish verb types -- one with its infinitive ending in 'mek' and the other ending in 'mak'?)
    Well, for verbs ending in 'mak' -- like satmak; sell and kosmak; run, you need a separate When clause chart. It is very similar to the one above, with just a few spelling modifications to reflect the appropriate vowel harmony.

    "When I run to the market..."
    For Present, Past, and Future Tense usage
    (Note: In the following kind of Turkish When clause, there is no distinction between Present and Past Tense, but there is a distinction between Present/Past and Future Tense, as indicated...)

    For Present and Past Tense usage

    Affirmative

    For Present and Past Tense usage

    Negative

    For Future Tense usage

    Affirmative

    For Future Tense usage

    Negative

    Either When I run to the market or When I ran to the market --
    Either Markete koştuğum zaman or
    Markete koştuğumda
    [all the above may be
    used interchangeably]
    Either When I don't run to the market or When I didn't run to the market --
    Either Markete koşmadığım zaman or
    Markete koşmadığımda
    [used interchangeably]
    When I will run to the market --
    Either Markete koşacağım zaman or
    Markete koşacağımda
    [used interchangeably]
    When I will not run to the market --
    Either Markete koşmayacağım zaman or
    Markete koşmayacağımda
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When you run to the market or When you ran to the market --
    Either Markete koştuğun zaman or
    Markete koştuğunda (note below table entry)
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When you don't run to the market or When you didn't run to the market --
    Either Markete koşmadığın zaman or
    Markete koşmadığında (note below table entry)
    [used interchangeably]
    When you will run to the market --
    Either Markete koşacağın zaman or
    Markete koşacağında (note below table entry)
    [used interchangeably]
    When you will not run to the market --
    Either Markete koşmayacağın zaman or
    Markete koşmayacağında (note below table entry)
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When he/she/it runs to the market or When he/she/it ran to the market --
    Either Markete koştuğu zaman or
    Markete koştuğunda (note above table entry)
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When he/she/it doesn't run to the market or When he/she/it didn't run to the market --
    Either Markete koşmadığı zaman or
    Markete koşmadığında (note above table entry)
    [used interchangeably]
    When he/she/it will run to the market --
    Either Markete koşacağı zaman or
    Markete koşacağında (note above table entry)
    [used interchangeably]
    When he/she/it will not run to the market --
    Either Markete koşmayacağı zaman or
    Markete koşmayacağında (note above table entry)
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When we run to the market or When we ran to the market --
    Either Markete koştuğumuz zaman or
    Markete koştuğumuzda
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When we don't run to the market or When we didn't run to the market --
    Either Markete koşmadığımız zaman or
    Markete koşmadığımızda
    [used interchangeably]
    When we will run to the market --
    Either Markete koşacağımız zaman or
    Markete koşacağımızda
    [used interchangeably]
    When we will not run to the market --
    Either Markete koşmayacağımız zaman or
    Markete koşmayacağımızda
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When you [plural] run to the market or When you ran to the market --
    Either Markete koştuğunuz zaman or
    Markete koştuğunuzda
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When you [plural] don't run to the market or When you didn't run to the market --
    Either Markete koşmadığınız zaman or
    Markete koşmadığınızda
    [used interchangeably]
    When you [plural] will run to the market --
    Either Markete koşacağınız zaman or
    Markete koşacağınızda
    [used interchangeably]
    When you [plural] will not run to the market --
    Either Markete koşmayacağınız zaman or
    Markete koşmayacağınızda
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When they run to the market or When they ran to the market --
    Either Markete koştukları zaman or
    Markete koştuklarında
    [used interchangeably]
    Either When they don't run to the market or When they didn't run to the market --
    Either Markete koşmadıkları zaman or
    Markete koşmadıklarında
    [used interchangeably]
    When they will run to the market --
    Either Markete koşacakları zaman or
    Markete koşacaklarında
    [used interchangeably]
    When they will not run to the market --
    Either Markete koşmayacakları zaman or
    Markete koşmayacaklarında
    [used interchangeably]

    Secondly, there are two more ways you can make a Turkish When clause. You can do it by adding either the 'ince' or the 'ken' suffixes to Turkish word stems...
    You just need to be a little careful, that's all.
    Here's how.


    Other Ways of Saying When...

    These are pretty straight forward actually (if not without controversy), but there are a couple of points you need to consider -- before you put either of these methods into practice.

    Point, the first...

    When you add 'ince' to the verb stem [sorry, it only works with verbs] you convey the meaning 'on doing' or 'when doing' which is not exactly the same as 'when'.

    But it's close. And since all the Turks we know employ it quite matter-of-factly to construct When clauses, then we think it's good enough for us Practical Turkish speakers...

    A significant feature of the 'ince' suffix, is that it takes its 'tense' from the closest main verb in the sentence. You'll see what we mean in the following examples.

    And another feature of 'ince'-- the worst one, actually -- is that it obeys the Rule of Vowel Harmony. So, you may need to use a spelling varient of it, according to the last vowel in the word it's attached to... Which means that besides the suffix 'ince', you also have to contend with its spelling varients 'ünce', 'ınca', and 'unca' when you want to build a When clause.
    (By contrast, the suffix 'ken', discussed in the second point below,
    is free from this requirement.)

    Examples:
    Çocukları okula gidince, Hande Hanım kahvaltısını yapar.
    When her children have gone to school, Ms. Hande has her breakfast.

    Geri dönünce lütfen beni arasın;
    When he returns, please ask him to call me [on the phone].

    Hava sıcak olunca, denizde yüzmelisiniz;
    When the weather gets hot, you must swim in the sea.

    Havasına alışınca, Londrayı seveceksin;
    When you'll get used to the weather, you will love London.

    Sorunlarımız büyüyünce,
    ilişkimizi bitirmek zorunda kaldık;

    When our problems grew, we had to end the [our] affair.
    (When our problems grew, we remained forced to end our affair.)


    the second point below

    When you add 'ken' ('yken' after vowels') as a suffix to a verb stem or to a noun, it conveys the meaning of, 'while (doing)'.

    Again, that's not the same as 'when', but since our Turkish friends use it to construct When Clauses, then why can't we...?

    Nonetheless, we have a feeling that the Turkish language police are liable to track us down for this kind of controversial usage -- and thrash us to within a syllable of our interrogatives...
    But how bad can that be?

    BTW, as mentioned in Point, the first, notice that the 'ken' suffix does not obey the Rule of Vowel Harmony. So, mercifully, its spelling is always 'ken' regardless of the word it's attached to.
    Now, iddin tha' nice...

    Examples in the Past Tense:
    Ben koşarken kar yağmaya başladı;
    When (while) I was [out] jogging, it started to snow.

    Sen dans ederken, sarhoştum;
    When (while) you were [off] dancing, I got drunk.

    O yemeği yerken, sinemaya gittiler;
    When (while) he ate lunch, they ran to the movies.

    Biz Izmirdeyken, televizyon seyretti;
    When (while) we were in Izmir, she watched television.

    Siz Ankaradayken, John markete gitti;
    When (while) you all were in Ankara, John went to the market.

    Onlar bardayken, uyudum;
    When (while) they were at the bar, I slept.

    Examples of 'ken' with other verb tenses

    Sen konuşurken, gülüyorum;
    When (while) you are talking, I am laughing.

    Sen İstanbul'dayken, Hillary köye gidecek;
    When (while) you are in Istanbul, Hillary will go to the village.

    In Turkey - Türkiye'de

    Ads by HepsiBurada

    In Turkey - Türkiye'de
    Sexy Turkish Frikikler (Free Kick)

    International

    In Turkey - Türkiye'de

    Tüm makyaj ve kozmetik ürün fırsatları için tıklayın !

    Language-learning pages:
  • How To Learn Basic Turkish --
    A Practical Philosophy for beginners

    (Found in the 'Introduction to The Whole Earth Catalog of Turkish Movies'.)
  • Why Off-color language is important too...
  • Translating Turkish, the basics
  • Translating Turkish, advanced
  • Essential Turkish Vocabulary
  • Turkish Verbs
  • Essential Idioms, Index
  • Essential Suffixes, Index
  • Sentence Structure, Standard
  • Sentence Structure Variations
  • Turkish Pronunciation
  • Turkish Accenting
  • Turkish Numbers Revealed
  • Other Turkish Language Difficulties
  • Unrelated fun:
  • Maganda, The Racy Turkish Lout -- a risqué illustration of the word zipper
  • Aysel, The Turkish Lout's daughter -- has a sexy job interview technique
  • Ferdi Tayfur - Arabesque (Arabesk) Singing Sensation
  • Turkish Movies - Best-Looking Bad Girl of the 1970s, Sevda Ferdağ
  • Bad Girls of the 1970s Turkish Cinema, Aliye Rona
  • Frequently asked questions about Turkey and the Turkish language
  • llustrated Nargile Users Guide -- and Encyclopedia
  • Our Honda Generator -- A Member of the Family
  • Habibullah and The Great Cannon Caper
  • Turkish Tongue Twisters
  • Turkish Belly Dancers
  • Turkish Tango, Dance the Romance
  • Turkish Terms Of Endearment
  • Turkish Personal Names
  • Politically Incorrect Turkish Humor
  • Why Off-Color Turkish is important too
  • Gossipy Turkish Who's Who
  • Turkish Kinsey Report #6 - Turkish Turn-Ons
  • Turkish Kinsey Report #1 - Turkey opens up about its seks
  • Turkish Kinsey Report #2 - Did they hear it through the grapevine?
  • Turkish Kinsey Report #3 - Was it good for you?
  • Turkish Kinsey Report #4 - The first time, by age group...
  • Turkish Kinsey Report #5 - Who's gotta have it? He? Or she?
  • Hülya Avşar -- in a league of her own
  • Translating Danielle Steele
  • Post a comment...»

    Learn Turkish language

    [Learn Turkish: Home] [Learning Practical Turkish Table of Contents] [Turkish Learning Message Center]Please email us and tell us how we can improve the Learning Practical Turkish Web site.

    © Learn Turkish of the People! -- Self Expression