Language Canvas Course Home   Beginning Turkish: Grammar 2

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GR 2. PHONOLOGY
2.1. Turkish Vowels
Turkish vowels can be divided into:
back vowels a ı o u
and front vowels e i ö ü
2.2. Vowel Harmony
2.2.1. In original Turkish words there are only front or back vowels. E.g.,
soğuk 'cold' deniz 'sea'
tavuk 'hen' gelin 'bride'
bozuk 'broken' eşik 'threshold'
2.2.2. There are a few Turkish words [most of them are lexicalized compounds] which do not comply with this rule. E.g.,
hangi 'which' Karadeniz (kara deniz) 'Black Sea'
elma 'apple' bugün (bu gün) 'today'
anne 'mother' Beşiktaş (beşik taş) 'suburb of İstanbul'
kardeş 'brother or sister'
inanmak 'to believe'
2.2.3. Words of foreign origin may have front and back vowels in the same word [mixed vocalism]. E.g.,
tasvir 'description' kitap 'book'
maden 'mine' şahit 'witness'
2.3. Vowel Harmony of Suffixes and Particles
2.3.1. Most particles and suffixes comply with the basic rules of vowel harmony. Their vowels are front or back vowels, depending on the last vowel of the preceding word.
2.3.2. Suffixes and particles with open /a, e/ vowels have two shapes: one with /e/, such as -ler, de, and one with /a/, such as -lar, da. E.g.,
evde 'in the house' fırında 'in the oven'
köyden 'from the village' dağdan 'from the mountain'
sen de 'you too' kız da 'the girl too'
2.3.3. Suffixes and particles with closed /i, ü, ı, u/ vowels have four forms: -mi, -mü, -mı, -mu.
mi follows -e or -i: Bu ev mi? 'Is this a house?'
Bu ceviz mi? 'Is this a walnut?'
mı follows -a or -ı: Bu taş mı? 'Is this a stone?'
O baktı mı? 'Did he look?'
mü follows -ö or -ü: Erol profesör mü? 'Is Erol a professor?'
Ayşe küçük mü? 'Is Ayşe young?'
mu follows -o or -u: Erol geliyor mu? 'Is Erol coming?'
Olur mu? 'Is it all right?'
2.3.4. Suffixes that do not comply with the rules of vowel harmony:
-ken bakarken 'while watching'
-ki onunki 'his'
-yor geliyor 'he is coming'
-leyin akşamleyin 'in the evening'
-imtırak yeşilimtırak 'greenish'


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