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Turkish Verbal Nouns
Part 1 -- An Introduction

In Turkey - Türkiye'de

Tüm parfüm fırsatları için tıklayın !

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  • Translating Turkish, the basics
  • Essential Turkish Vocabulary
  • Turkish Verbs
  • Essential Idioms, Index
  • Essential Suffixes, Index
  • Sentence Structure, Standard
  • Turkish Pronunciation
  • Turkish Accenting
  • Turkish Numbers Revealed
  • NewsReaders' Dictionary, Index

  • "The time has come," the jester said,
    To speak of  fickle things,
    Of verbal nouns -- the way they work,
    Of suffixes I sing..."

    A Loose Carol
    1962

    What's a Turkish verbal noun?

    It's a 'word' derived from a Turkish verb that may be used as:

    1) a noun in a phrase

    Türkçe öğrenmeye çalışıyorum.
    I'm trying to learn Turkish.

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    [The single Turkish word öğrenmeye is
    the Turkish verbal noun that translates as
    to learn.]

    2) an ordinary stand-alone noun

    Öğrenmeyi son derece zor buluyorum.
    I find the learning extremely difficult.

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    [The Turkish verbal noun is öğrenmeyi that translates as learning.]

      3) an adjective

    İyiki dayanma gücüm var.
    Yoksa yapamazdım.

    It's a good thing I have staying power.
    Otherwise I couldn't cope.
    Otherwise I couldn't do [it].

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds
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    [The Turkish verbal noun is dayanma that translates as staying.]


    I don't like the looks of that last example, Marvin.
    It's ringing bells somewhere in the back'a my head...

    Hold on to my belt buckle, Mabel.
    We'll make it through -- comme d'habitude...

    I get passionate when you speak in foreign tongues, Marv...
    Kolombangara, Pregolya, Wijmbritseradeel, Zalaegersz...
    Put the 'Oxford International Pronouncing Dictionary' away, Marvin...

    Spotting Turkish verbal nouns...
    What are their tell-tale signs?

    A) They start with a verb stem,
    like
    öğren (from öğrenmek -- to learn)
    or
    ağla (from ağlamak -- to cry)...

    B) After the verb stem, comes a special Turkish verbal-noun suffix,
    selected from one the following categories
    that are consistent with the Rules of Vowel Harmony...

    Category 1) -(y)ış, -(y), -(y), -(y)üş
    Category 2) -mak, -mek
    Category 3) -ma, -me

    We're sticking to basics for now,
    but, in subsequent parts of this article,
    we'll examine the details of all
    the verbal-noun suffix-categories
    (including a few more exotic ones).

    So, for example, you might see a verbal noun like
    ağlayış
    which, standing alone like that, means
    (a way of) crying...

    C) They frequently end with a final case suffix that depends on their purpose in the sentence.
    That's right.
    The verbal noun is like any other Turkish noun.
    And you often append
    case suffixes to it -- like any other Turkish noun.

    So, as shown in an earlier example above...

    Öğrenmeyi son derece zor buluyorum.
    I find the learning extremely difficult.

    ...the verbal noun, öğrenmeyi, is used as
    the direct object of the sentence.
    It ends, therefore,
    with the Direct Object Case suffix yi.
    Click here to learn more about the Direct Object Case suffix yi.

    Whaddya think, Mabel?
    Whaddya think I think, Marvin..?
    Dunno.
    Yer on the right track...

    More Examples that illustrate
    the tell-tale signs
    of Turkish verbal nouns


    Example A: In the following sentence, the verbal noun functions as the sentence's direct object -- so it has an attached Direct Object Case suffix.

    O ördeğin olağanüstü bir yürüyüşü var.
    That duck has an extraordinary way of walking.

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds (26k bytes)

    Here, we first add the Category 1 verbal-noun suffix yüş to the
    verbal stem yürü (from yürümek -- to walk).
    After that, we add the final Direct Object Case suffix
    ü.
    Click here to learn more about the Direct Object Case suffix ü.

    Example B: In the following sentence, the verbal noun has a directional quality about it -- so it has an attached
    To/For Case suffix.

    Ördek biraz yürümeğe çıktı.
    The duck went out for a little walk(ing).

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds (22k bytes)

    Note how the Category 2 verbal-noun suffix mek must change to meğ -- before the final To/For Case suffix e is appended.
    Click here to learn more about the To/For Case suffix e.
    Note: As Yasemin R. points out in her email message to us, an alternative rendition of the Turkish sentence above is:
    Ördek biraz yurumeye cikti.
    Both Turkish sentence renditions have the same meaning.


    Example C: In the following sentence, the verbal noun has a possessive quality about it -- so it has an attached Possessive Case suffix.

    Öyle hareket etmesinin
    nedeni nedir, acaba?

    I wonder what's the reason of its moving like that?
    (I wonder why it moves like that?)

    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds (26k bytes)

    Note how the Category 3 verbal-noun suffix me is added to the verbal stem hareket et (from hareket etmek -- to move).

    After that come the Personal Possessive Ending letters si which,
    in this instance,
    refer to the [waddling] duck -- specifically to 'its moving'.

    Click here to learn more about the Personal Possessive Ending letters si.

    Reminder:
    Try not to confuse the purpose of a Personal Possessive Ending with the purpose of a Possessive Case suffix
    (see two paragraphs below)...

      Then comes the buffer-letter n --
    which is required to avoid the presence of consecutive vowels...
    Click here to learn more about the buffer-letter n.

    And finally comes the Possessive Case suffix in --
    which translates to English as of.
    Click here to learn more about the Possessive Case suffix in.

    Some of those Turkish verbal nouns bear a sneaky resemblance
    to negative Turkish verbs, Marvin.

    Wha...?
    That's downright unfriendly, Mabel...
    Now wha'der'we s'posed to do...?

    Verbal Noun or Negative Verb?

    This question arises because, in fact,
    Turkish verbal nouns do sometimes look a lot like
    (and in some cases exactly like)
    negative Turkish verbs.
    But Turkish verbal nouns have
    no inherent negative meaning.
    Still... If you want to...
    You may create negative verbal nouns too...
    Such nouns often resemble double negative verbs!
    But, we'll talk about that later...

    Example:
    Take yüzmek -- to swim...
    Clip it off at the root giving
    yüz.
    Add the me suffix giving yüzme
    and what have we got?

    Hmmm... What exactly do we have?

    Is it a verbal noun meaning swimming
    or is it the negative verbal command meaning don't swim?
    Well...standing alone in written-form like that,
    it's impossible to know.

    I told you I heard bells, Marvin!
    Oh nooo...
    This is worse than haggis for breakfast...

    Will the real yüzme please stand up...

    You have to see yüzme in comparative sentences
    (such as in the two following)
    to be sure of its meaning....

    Verbal Noun Example:
    Okyanusda köpek balığı vardı.
    O yüzden ben yüzme havuzunda yüzdüm.

    There were sharks in the ocean.
    So, I swam in the swimming pool.

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    Negative Verb Example:
    Okyanusda köpek balığı var. O yüzden orada yüzme.
    There are sharks in the ocean. For that reason, don't swim there.

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    Note:
    The out-loud pronunciation of these
    ambiguous-looking words helps us strugglers to understand them --
    even if they're spoken solo.
    Because, if we hear
    YÜZ-me (with the accent on the first syllable) then
    we know the meaning is
    Don't swim.
    But if we hear
    yüz-ME (with the accent on the second syllable) then
    we know the meaning is
    swimming.


    Recaping...

    Before proceeding into deeper waters
    on the subject of Turkish verbal nouns,
    let's gather round and take a whack at a few more examples that
    (taken together with LPT's useful, subterranean Mini-Notes)
    may serve to summarize our understanding of the subject so far...

    1) Verbal Nouns used in phrases
    Examples:
    a) Pamela ile Tommy Lee türkçe öğrenmek istiyorlar.
    Pamela and Tommy Lee want to learn Turkish.
    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds
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    Mini-Note -- öğren (verb root), mek (Category 2 verbal-noun suffix).

    b) Pamela lisanı anlamaya uğraşıyor.
    Pamela is struggling to understand the language.
    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds
    Only on CD...

    Mini-Note -- anla (verb root), ma (Category 3 verbal-noun suffix),
    ya (To/For Case suffix).

    c) Başarma gerekli sanıyor.
    She feels her succeeding [is] necessary.
    (She feels she has to succeed.)

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    Mini-Note -- Başar (verb root), ma (Category 3 verbal-noun suffix),
    (Personal Possessive Ending).




    2) Verbal Nouns used as ordinary stand-alone nouns
    Examples:
    a) Tommy, "Ezberlemeyi son derece kolay buluyorum," diye söylüyor.
    "I find the memorizing incredibly easy," says Tommy.
    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds
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    Mini-Note -- Ezberle (verb root), me (Category 3 verbal-noun suffix),
    yi (Direct Object Case suffix).

    b) Pamela, ona vurmandan önce, "Övünüşünden nefret ediyorum,"
    diye anlatıyor.

    Before she smacks him, Pamela says, "I hate the way you brag."
    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds
    Only on CD...

    Mini-Note -- vur (verb root), ma (Category 3 verbal-noun suffix),
    (Personal Possessive Ending), n (buffer letter),
    dan (From/Than Case suffix).

    Mini-Note -- övün (verb root),üş (Category 1 verbal-noun suffix),
    ü (Direct Object Case suffix), n (buffer letter),
    den (From/Than Case suffix).

    Mini-Note -- We've smoothed the translation above of
    'ona vurmandan önce'...
    Its literal translation would be 'Before her hitting him.
    '




    3) Verbal Nouns used as adjectives
    Examples:
    a) Şimdi, Tommy Gümüldür polikliniğinin bekleme salonunda oturuyor.
    Now Tommy sits in the Gümüldür medical-clinic's waiting room.
    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds
    Only on CD...

    Mini-Note -- bekle (verb root), me (Category3 verbal-noun suffix).

    b) Pamela, ona vurmandan sonra,
    "Defol git ve geri dönme," dedi.

    After Pamela punched him, she said, "Get out and don't come back."
    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds
    Only on CD...

    Mini-Note -- vur (verb root), ma (Category 3 verbal-noun suffix),
    (Personal Possessive Ending),
    n (buffer letter), dan (From/Than Case suffix).

    Mini-Note -- dön (verb root), me (Negative Command suffix).
    Mini-Note -- We've smoothed the translation above of
    'ona vurmandan sonra'...
    Its literal translation would be 'After her hitting him.
    '

    c) Ama şimdi üzülüp alışver merkezi dışında onu bekliyor.
    But, she's sorry now and awaits him outside the Özdere shopping center.
    Learn Turkish Language -- sounds
    Only on CD...

    Mini-Note -- al (verb root), ış (Category 1 verbal-noun suffix).
    Mini-Note -- ver (verb root), (Category 1 verbal-noun suffix).

    Ya' know, Marvin... I feel sorry for Pamela and Tommy.
    They've got a real communication problem...

    It wasn't always so, Mabel.
    Did you ever see their, er, personal video?
    Ah mean...Talk about yer suspension-of-disbelief...!

    Are you telling me they made a full-communication video, Marvin?
    Well, iddn' tha' nice...

    uhm...
    well, i s'pose it does have a certain appeal...

    Previews of Coming Attractions
    In Part 2 of this article,
    we'll pick up the subject with a
    much more detailed discussion
    of the three special verbal-noun suffix forms...
    Category 1) -(y)ış, -(y)iş, -(y)uş, -(y)üş
    Category 2)
    -mak, -mek
    Category 3) --ma, -me

    ...and introduce a few new, and more exotic ones.
    Until then, we'll leave you with the following handy little chart
    (plus A final afterword to Part 1 ...)
    to help you decide which suffix category is most suitable for
    which kind of situation/occasion.

    Verbal-noun suffixes chart
    Which Verbal-Noun suffix category is most suitable for different situational needs?

    Verbal Noun
    Suffix Category

    Suffix options (that abide by
    'vowel harmony rules')

    This Suffix Category is suitable for use with verbal nouns that denote...

    Examples

    Category 1

    -(
    y)ış, -(y)iş
    ,
    -(
    y)uş, -(y)üş

    1) ...the manner or way an action is done.
    2)
    ... the amount or quality of an action.
    3)
    ...action in relation to another person, place, or thing.

    Onun bir rakı içişi var.

    She has her own way of drinking rakı.

    bir saat yürüyüş
    an hour's worth of walking

    alışveriş merkezi

    shopping center

    Category 2

    -mak, -mek
    -mağ-, -meğ-

    ...pure action or the idea of pure action.

    Çalışmak istiyorum

    I want to work.

    Şehre inmeği düşünüyordum. I was thinking
    of going to town.
    [I was thinking to go down to town.]

    Category 3

    -ma-,-me-

    1)
    ...an action
    2)
    ...a result of an action
    3)
    ... action in relation to another person, place, or thing.

    Bu mazereti kullanmasından nefret ediyorum.

    I hate his using this excuse.

    Perihanın yemeğimi mahvetmesini affettim.
    I forgave Perihan's ruining my food.

    çalışma saatleri
    working hours
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    A final afterword to Part 1...
    Fuzzy Wuzzy?

    The astute LPT site visitor will have noticed a certain fuzziness in the above chart's suitability-advice. That's because the line separating Turkish verbal-noun meanings is not as definite
    as one would like...
    Except with one verbal-noun category,
    we think.
    That's with the verbal nouns of Category 1 --
    which routinely (though not always) provide 'abstract meaning'
    that's not within the 'intended' scope
    of Category 2 and Category 3 verbal nouns.

    An Example
    Verbal noun comparison...

    görünmek (Category 2) and görünme (Category 3)
    versus görünüş (Category 1)...

    The first two verbal nouns indicate the simple action of  'appearing'.
    Only the latter (Category 1) verbal noun is specifically designed to furnish additional, abstracter meaning --
    when the situation requires...
    So, in most circumstances, görünüş suggests 'the way of appearing' or 'the manner of appearing' -- more precisely, it connotes the 'appearance' of something (its outward looks).

    Generally speaking, only the Category 1 verbal-noun offers this sort of  abstract meaning.
    And the observer would do well to note that fact,
    as it can prove quite useful -- whether one's translation skills are
    slow and laborious
    (like ours)...
    or

    fast and furious
    (like the fortunate few)...

    In Turkey - Türkiye'de

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