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Turkish vocabulary

This article is a companion to Turkish grammar and con- ern Turkish alphabet, based on the Latin script, was intro-
tains some information that might be considered gram- duced. Also, Arabic and Persian words were replaced, as
matical. The purpose of this article is mainly to show possible, by: Turkish words surviving in speech, obsolete
the use of some of the yapm ekleri structural suxes Turkish words, new words formed regularly from the ag-
of the Turkish language, as well as to give some of the glutinative resources of Turkish, thoroughly new words
structurally important words, like pronouns, determiners, or formations. However, still a large portion of current
postpositions, and conjunctions. Turkish words have Arabic or Persian origins. Turkish
has words borrowed from Greek due to the Ottoman Em-
pire having conquered the Byzantine Empire. There are
1 Origins also borrowings from other European languages, or from
the common technical vocabulary of Europe. In the lat-
ter case, the borrowings are usually taken in their French
See also Turkish language#Vocabulary. pronunciation.
In the ninth century, Turks began to convert to Islam and
to use the Arabic (or Arabo-Persian) alphabet. When the
Seljuk Turks overran Persia, they adopted for ocial and 1.1 Origin of the words in Turkish vocab-
literary use the Persian languagewhich meanwhile had ulary
borrowed many Arabic words. Thus educated Turks had
available for their use the vocabularies of three languages: The 2005 edition of Gncel Trke Szlk, the o-
Turkish, Arabic, and Persian. cial dictionary of the Turkish language published by
When the Ottoman Empire arose out of the remains of Turkish Language Association, contains 104,481 words,
the Selcuk Empire in Anatolia, its ocial language, Os- of which [1]
about 86% are Turkish and 14% are of foreign
manlca or Ottoman Turkish, became the only language origin. Among the most signicant foreign contribu-
to approach English in the size of its vocabulary (ac- tors to Turkish vocabulary are Arabic, French, Persian,
cording to #Lewis). However, common people continued Italian, English, and Greek.[2]
to use kaba Trke or rough Turkish which contained
much fewer loanwords and which is the basis of the mod-
ern Turkish language. 2 Nouns

2.1 Nouns from nouns and adjectives

The sux -ci attached to a noun denotes a person involved

with what is named by the noun:
ii worker (i work"; iadam businessman uses
adam man); balk shmonger (balk sh); gazeteci
newsagent or journalist.
The sux -lik attached to a noun or adjective denotes an
abstraction, or an object involved with what is named by
the noun:
iyilik goodness (iyi good); tuzluk saltcellar (tuz
salt); gnlk diary, daily (adverb) (gn day); gece-
Origin of the words in Turkish vocabulary, which contains lik nightgown (gece night)
104,481 words, of which about 86% are Turkish and 14% are
of foreign origin
2.2 Nouns from verbs
With the advent of the Turkish Republic in 1923 came
the attempt to unify the languages of the people and the The noun in -im denoting an instance of action was men-
administration, and to westernize the country. The mod- tioned in the introduction to Turkish grammar.


yat- lie down, yatr- lay down, yatrm investment. tane, literally grain";
For more examples on word derivations, see the related kii person.
article: List of replaced loanwords in Turkish.
Remembering that the plural sux is not used when num-
bers are named, we have:
3 Adjectives
drt tane bira four beers"; Alt kiiyiz We are six.

3.1 Classication of adjectives From the cardinal numbers, others can be derived with
Adjectives can be distinguished as being
ordinal -(i)nci;
descriptive (niteleme qualifying), or
distributive -()er;
determinative (belirtme): in particular:
collective -(i)z.
demonstrative (gsterme to show or iaret
sign), Srada yedincisiniz You are seventh in line"; birer, ikier
numerical (say number), one each, two each"; ikizler twins.
indenite (belirsizlik or belgisiz),
interrogative (soru question). 3.1.3 Indenite adjectives

For an intensive form, the rst consonant and vowel of a The cardinal bir one can be used as an indenite
(descriptive) adjective can be reduplicated; a new conso- article. Other so-called indenite adjectives might be
nant is added too, m, p, r, or s, but there is no simple rule listed as follows:
for which one:
baka other"; bambaka completely dierent"; kat universal: her each, every, tm the whole,
hard"; kaskat hard as a rock"; kuru dry"; kupkuru dry btn whole, all";
as a bone"; temiz clean"; tertemiz clean as a whistle.
existential: baz some, biraz a little, birka a
The determinative adjectives, or determiners, are an es- few, several";
sential part of the language, although Turkish takes some
of its determiners from Arabic and Persian. negative: hi none";

quantitative: az little, few, ok much, many";

3.1.1 Demonstrative adjectives
distinguishing: baka, dier, teki, br other";
o that,
identifying: ayn same.
bu this,
u this or that (thing pointed to). 3.1.4 Interrogative adjectives

These are also demonstrative pronouns. Used with plural hangi which?";
nouns, these adjectives represent the English those and
these"; there is no such inexion of adjectives in Turkish. ka how much?" or how many?";

nasl what sort?" (this is also the interrogative ad-

3.1.2 Numerical adjectives verb how?").

The cardinal numbers are built up in a regular way from Saat ka? What time is it?" Ka saat? How many
the following: hours?"
Units follow multiples of ten; powers of ten come in de-
scending order:
3.2 Adjectives from nouns
yz krk dokuz milyar be yz doksan yedi milyon sekiz
yz yetmi bin alt yz doksan bir metre 149 597 870 Added to a noun, -li or -siz indicates presence or absence
691 metres. of what is named by the noun:
The cardinals are generally not used alone, but a general tuzlu/tuzsuz salted/salt-free"; mitli/mitsiz hope-
word for a unit is used, such as: ful/hopeless.

Also, -li indicates origin: nereye/buraya/oraya whither?/hither/thither";

Ankaralym I am from Ankara. nerede/burada/orada where?/here/there";
Finally, added to the verbal noun in -me, the sux -li cre-
nereden/buradan/oradan whence?/hence/thence.
ates the necessitative verb:
Gitmeliyim I must go.
The pattern is 5 Postpositions
(verb-stem) + meli + (personal ending). 5.1 With genitive and absolute
The native speaker may perceive -meli as an indivisible The following are used after the genitive pronouns benim,
sux denoting compulsion; the analysis here is in #Lewis bizim, senin, sizin, onun, and kimin, and after the absolute
[VIII,30]. case of other pronouns and nouns:
Added to a noun for a person, -ce makes an adjective
#Lewis [IV,4]: gibi like, as";
ocuka childish (ocuk child); kahramanca heroic iin for";
(kahraman hero).
ile with";

4 Adverbs kadar (Arabic) as much as.

Adjectives can generally serve as adverbs: For example, a certain corporation may describe its soft-
drink as
iyi good or well.
buz gibi like ice, that is, ice cold.
The adjective might then be repeated, as noted earlier. A
repeated noun also serves as an adverb: However, another corporation may say of itself

kap door"; kap kap door-to-door. Gibisi yok Its-like non-existent, that is, Theres nothing
like it.
The sux -ce makes nouns and adjectives into adverbs.
One source [zkrml, p. 155] calls it the benzerlik Thus the label of postposition does not adequately de-
(similarity) or grelik (from gre according to) eki, scribe gibi; Turkish vocabulary#Schaaik proposes calling
considering it as another case-ending. it a predicate, because of its use in establishing similarity:
Eek gibisin Thou art like a donkey"; beni kmseye-
Attached to adjectives, -ce is like the English -ly: cekmi gibi bir duygu me s/he-will-look-down-on like a
feeling, that is, a feeling as if s/he will look down on
gzelce beautifully. me.
The particle ile can be both comitative and instrumental;
Attached to nouns, -ce can be like the English like: it can also join the preceding word as a sux:
Trke konu-, speak like Turks": speak Turkish. Deniz ile konutuk or Deniz'le konutuk Deniz and I [or
we], we spoke":
Adverbs of place include:
here the literal translation We spoke with Deniz may be
aa/yukar down/up"; incorrect;

geri/ileri backwards/forwards"; eki ile vur- or ekile vur- hit with a hammer.

dar/ieri outside/inside";
5.2 With dative
beri/te hither/yon";
kar opposite. Used after nouns and pronouns in the dative case are:

These can also be treated as adjectives and nouns (in par- doru towards";
ticular, they can be given case-endings). Also, to the
demonstrative pronouns o, bu, and u, as well as to the gre according to";
interrogative pronoun ne, the sux -re can be added; kadar as far as";
treated as a noun, the result has cases serving as adverbs
of place: kar against.

5.3 With ablative 7.1 Logical conjunction

nce/sonra before/after"; The cumulative sense of the English A and B can be

expressed several ways:
beri since";
A ve B (an Arabic borrowing);
itibaren (Arabic) fromon";
B ile A (ile is also a postposition);
dolay because of.
A, B de.

5.4 With absolute For the adversative sense of but or only, there are ama
and fakat (both Arabic), also yalnz (which is also an ad-
The following postpositions are case-forms of nouns with jective corresponding to alone).
the third-person possessional sux; they can be under-
stood as forming nominal compounds, always inde- For emphasis: hem A hem B both A and B.
nite, with the preceding words (see also Turkish gram-
7.2 Logical disjunction
bakmdan from the point of view of (bak- look); For the sense of English "(either)or":

hakknda concerning, about (hak right, justice);

A veya B;
tarafndan by the agency of (taraf side);
ya A veya B;
yznden because of (yz face).
ya A ya da B.

The pattern of the last two can be extended:

6 Interjections
ya A ya B veya C;
Some samples include:
ya A ya B ya da C.

f [disgust]; 7.3 Logical non-disjunction

Haydi Come on": Haydi kzlar okula Girls to
Ne A ne B Neither A nor B":
school!" (slogan for an education campaign);


TRKYE Neither USA nor EU: Fully Independent
implicitly: Democratic Turkey
Aman Mercy"; (slogan on placard at demonstration);
ok kr Much thanks";
explicitly: Ne A ne B ne C Not A or B or C.

Allah Allah (pronounced as Allahallah)

Goodness gracious"; 7.4 Implication
Hay Allah;
Vallah By God [I swear it]". B, nk A B, because A.

((Eer)) A'ysa, (o zaman) B'dir. If A, then B.

(Eer is not generally used.)
7 Conjunctions
Both nk and eer are Persian; the latter is not gener-
Some Turkish conjunctions are borrowed from Persian ally needed, because the conditional form of the verb is
and Arabic. available.

7.5 The conjunction ki (But there are exceptions: sevimek does not mean to
love one another (from sevmek to love) but rather to
make love with each other.
The Persian conjunction ki brings to Turkish the Indo- Many causative verbs are formed with -dir-.
European style of relating ideas (#Lewis [XIII,15]):
Beklemesini istiyorum Her-waiting I-desire"; but stiyo- ldrmek to kill (from lmek to die)
rum ki beklesin I-desire that he-wait.
yaptrmak to have something done
Thus ki corresponds roughly to English that, but with a (from yapmak to do)
broader sense:
Gne batmt ki kye vardk The-sun had-set [when]
that at-the-village we-arrived. Kiraz yedim ki eker gibi 9 References
The-cherry I-ate [and found] that [it was] sugar like.
The following is from a newspaper: [1] Gncel Trke Szlk (in Turkish). Turkish Language
Association. 2005. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
"Vahdettin ne yazk ki haindi ...Bu iki aklamadan an-
lyoruz ki Ecevit, Osmanl Tarihi adl bir kitap hazr- [2] Trke Szlk (2005)'teki Szlerin Kkenlerine Ait
lyormu... Vahdettin, Tevk Paa ve Londra Konfer- Saysal Dkm (Numerical list on the origin of words in
Trke Szlk (2005))" (in Turkish). Turkish Language
ans hakkndaki aklamalar gsteriyor ki Sayn Ecevit,
Association. 2005. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
yakn tarihimizi ciddi olarak incelememi, bu konudaki
gvenilir aratrmalar ve salam belgeleri grmemi...
Diyor ki: Benim ahsen ocukluumdan beri dinlediim Books of use in the writing of this article include:
eyler var... "...From these two accounts, we understand
that Ecevit is preparing a book called Ottoman History... Grammars:
His accounts concerning Vahdettin, Tevk Pasha and the
London Conference show that Mr Ecevit has not seri- Kaya Can, Yabanclar in Trke-ngilizce
ously studied our recent history, has not seen trustwor- Aklama Trke Dersleri, Ankara: Orta Dou
thy research and sound documentation on this subject... Teknik niversitesi, Fen ve Edebiyat Fakl-
He says that: "'There are many things I heard personally tesi, 1991. Turkish lessons with Turkish-
from my childhood till today...'" English explanation[s] for foreigners.
(Source: Cumhuriyet 19 July 2005.) G. L. Lewis, Turkish Grammar, Oxford Uni-
versity Press, 1967; second edition, 2000.
[Structural dierences between the two edi-
tions are not named in the second, but ap-
8 Verbs pear to be as follows: IV,4 "-e", VI,7 Arith-
metical terms, XI,16 "-diinde", and XII,25
The verb-stem temizle- make clean is the adjective temiz "t" are new, while XV,1 Nominal sentences
clean with the sux -le-. Many verbs are formed from and verbal sentences in the rst edition was
nouns or adjectives with -le: dropped.
Eran Oyal, Szcklerin Anlamsal ve Yapsal
bala- make a head, that is, begin (in- zellikleri: Konular, rnekler, Sorular, Ak-
transitive; ba head); lama Yantlar (SS ve YS iin Dil Yetenei
kilitle- make locked, that is, lock (kilit Dizisi 2), Ankara, 1986. Semantic and syn-
lock); tactic properties of words: subjects, exam-
ples, questions, answers with explanation (lan-
kirle- make dirty (kir dirt)
guage ability for the university entrance exam-
kpekle- (from kpek dog, discussed at inations, 2)".
Turkish grammar#Parts of speech).
Atilla zkrml, Trk Dili, Dil ve Anlatm, s-
tanbul Bilgi niversitesi Yaynlar 2001. The
The sux -i- indicates reciprocal action, which is ex- Turkish language, language, and expression.
pressed in English by each other or one another.
Bengisu Rona, Turkish in Three Months,
Hugos Language Books Limited, 1989.
grmek to see one another (from
grmek to see, for example Grrz, Gerjan van Schaaik, The Bosphorus Papers:
Goodbye Studies in Turkish Grammar 19961999, s-
tanbul: Boazii University Press, 2001.

(literally We see one another)) Dictionaries:


smet Zeki Eyubolu, Trk Dilinin Etimoloji

Szl, expanded and revised second edition,
H.-J. Kornrumpf, Langenscheidts Universal
Dictionary: English-Turkish, Turkish-English,
Istanbul; new edition revised and updated by
Resuhi Akdikmen, 1989.
Redhouse Yeni Trke-ngilizce Szlk. New
Redhouse Turkish-English Dictionary. Red-
house Yaynevi, stanbul, 1968 (12th ed.,
Redhouse Byk Elszl ngilizce-Trke,
Trke-ngilizce. The Larger Redhouse
Portable Dictionary English-Turkish, Turkish-
English. Redhouse Yaynevi, stanbul 1997
(9th printing, 1998).
Trk Dil Kurumu [Turkish Language Foun-
dation], Trke Szlk, expanded 7th edition,

10 External links
Turkish dictionaries at DMOZ

Turkish language at DMOZ


11 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses

11.1 Text
Turkish vocabulary Source: Contributors: Rursus, Kwamikagami,
PaulHanson, Woohookitty, ScottDavis, Nneonneo, Nucleusboy, David Pierce, Curpsbot-unicodify, SmackBot, Alex earlier account,
Khoikhoi, Behmod, Tuluat, Cydebot, Yill577, CapnPrep, Saguamundi, Brenont, Wilkenson, Aliakpinar, Themfromspace, WildBot,
Zafran59, Tijfo098, Frietjes, Lfdder, Monkbot and Anonymous: 24

11.2 Images
File:TurkishVocabulary.png Source: License: CC BY
2.5 Contributors: Own work Original artist: Atilim Gunes Baydin

11.3 Content license

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