See also Turkish language#Vocabulary.
In the tenth 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 official and literary use the Persian language—which meanwhile had borrowed many Arabic words. Thus educated Turks had available for their use the vocabularies of three languages: Turkish, Arabic, and Persian.
When the Ottoman Empire arose out of the remains of the Selcuk Empire in Anatolia, its official language, Osmanlıca or Ottoman Turkish, became the only language to approach English in the size of its vocabulary (according to #Lewis). However, common people continued to use kaba Türkçe or "rough Turkish". With the advent of the Turkish Republic in 1923 came the attempt to unify the languages of the people and the administration, and to westernize the country. The modern Turkish alphabet, based on the Roman alphabet, was introduced. Also, Arabic and Persian words were replaced, as possible, by: Turkish words surviving in speech, obsolete Turkish words, new words formed regularly from the agglutinative resources of Turkish, thoroughly new words or formations. However, still a large portion of current Turkish words have Arabic or Persian origins. The Ottoman Empire having been the successor of the Byzantine Empire, Turkish has words borrowed from Greek. There are also borrowings from other European languages, or from the common technical vocabulary of Europe. In the latter case, the borrowings are usually taken in their French pronunciation.
işçi "worker" (iş "work"; işadamı "businessman" uses adam "man");
balıkçı "fishmonger" (balık "fish");
gazeteci "newsagent" or "journalist".
The suffix -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");
günlük "daily" (gün "day");
gecelik "nightgown" (gece "night")
The noun in -im denoting an instance of action was mentioned in the introduction to Turkish grammar.
yat- "lie down",
yatır- "lay down",
For an intensive form, the first consonant and vowel of a (descriptive) adjective can be reduplicated; a new consonant is added too, m, p, r, or s, but there is no simple rule for which one:
başka "other"; bambaşka "completely different";
katı "hard"; kaskatı "hard as a rock";
kuru "dry"; kupkuru "dry as a bone";
temiz "clean"; tertemiz "clean as a whistle".
The determinative adjectives, or determiners, are an essential part of the language, although Turkish takes some of its determiners from Arabic and Persian.
These are also demonstrative pronouns. Used with plural nouns, these adjectives represent the English "those" and "these"; there is no such inflexion of adjectives in Turkish.
yüz kırk dokuz milyar beş yüz doksan yedi milyon
sekiz yüz yetmiş bin altı yüz doksan bir metre "149 597 870 691 metres".The cardinals are generally not used alone, but a general word for a unit is used, such as:
Remembering that the plural suffix is not used when numbers are named, we have:
dört tane bira "four beers";
Altı kişiyiz "We are six."From the cardinal numbers, others can be derived with suffixes:
Sırada yedincisiniz "You are seventh in line";
birer, ikişer "one each, two each";
Saat kaç? "What time is it?"
Kaç saat? "How many hours?"
Added to a noun, -li or -siz indicates presence or absence of what is named by the noun:
ümitli/ümitsiz "hopeful/hopeless".Also, -li indicates origin:
Ankaralıyım "I am from Ankara."Finally, added to the verbal noun in -me, the suffix -li creates the necessitative verb:
Gitmeliyim "I must go".The pattern is
Added to a noun for a person, -ce makes an adjective #Lewis [IV,4]:
çocukça "childish" (çocuk "child");
kahramanca "heroic" (kahraman "hero").
Adjectives can generally serve as adverbs:
iyi "good" or "well".The adjective might then be repeated, as noted earlier. A repeated noun also serves as an adverb:
kapı "door"; kapı kapı "door-to-door".
The suffix -ce makes nouns and adjectives into adverbs. One source [Özkırımlı, p. 155] calls it the benzerlik ("similarity") or görelik (from göre "according to") eki, considering it as another case-ending.
Türkçe konuş- "speak Turk-wise", that is, "like the Turks": "speak Turkish".
Adverbs of place include:
These can also be treated as adjectives and nouns (in particular, they can be given case-endings). Also, to the demonstrative pronouns o, bu, and şu, as well as to the interrogative pronoun ne, the suffix -re can be added; treated as a noun, the result has cases serving as adverbs of place:
The following are used after the genitive pronouns benim, bizim, senin, sizin, onun, and kimin, and after the absolute case of other pronouns and nouns:
For example, a certain corporation may describe its soft-drink as
buz gibi "like ice", that is, "ice cold".However, another corporation may say of itself
Gibisi yok "Its-like non-existent", that is, "There's nothing like it".Thus the label of postposition does not adequately describe gibi; #Schaaik proposes calling it a predicate, because of its use in establishing similarity:
Eşek gibisin "Thou art like a donkey";
beni küçümseyecekmiş 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 me".
The particle ile can be both comitative and instrumental; it can also join the preceding word as a suffix:
Deniz ile konuştuk or Deniz'le konuştuk "Deniz and I [or we], we spoke":here the literal translation "We spoke with Deniz" may be incorrect;
çekiç ile vur- or çekiçle vur- "hit with a hammer".
Used after nouns and pronouns in the dative case are:
The following postpositions are case-forms of nouns with the third-person possessional suffix; they can be understood as forming nominal compounds, always indefinite, with the preceding words (see also Turkish grammar#Nouns):
The cumulative sense of the English "A and B" can be expressed several ways:
For the adversative sense of "but" or "only", there are ama and fakat (both Arabic), also yalnız (which is also an adjective corresponding to "alone").
For emphasis: hem A hem B "both A and B".
The pattern of the last two can be extended:
NE ABD NE AB TAM BAĞIMSIZ DEMOKRATİK TÜRKİYE
"Neither USA nor EU: Full Independent Democratic Turkey"(slogan on placard at demonstration);
Both çünkü and eğer are Persian; the latter is not generally needed, because the conditional form of the verb is available.
Beklemesini istiyorum "Her-waiting I-desire"; but
İstiyorum ki beklesin "I-desire that he-wait."Thus ki corresponds roughly to English "that", but with a broader sense:
Güneş batmıştı ki köye vardık "The-sun had-set [when] that at-the-village we-arrived."
Kirazı yedim ki şeker gibi "The-cherry I-ate [and found] that [it was] sugar like."The following is from a newspaper:
"Vahdettin ne yazık ki haindi"
...Bu iki açıklamadan anlıyoruz ki
Ecevit, Osmanlı Tarihi adlı bir kitap hazırlıyormuş...
Vahdettin, Tevfik Paşa ve Londra Konferansı hakkındaki açıklamaları gösteriyor ki
Sayın Ecevit, yakın tarihimizi ciddi olarak incelememiş,
bu konudaki güvenilir araştırmaları ve sağlam belgeleri görmemiş...
"Benim şahsen çocukluğumdan beri dinlediğim şeyler var..."
"...From these two accounts, we understand that
Ecevit is preparing a book called Ottoman History...
His accounts concerning Vahdettin, Tevfik Pasha and the London Conference show that
Mr Ecevit has not seriously studied our recent history,
has not seen trustworthy research and sound documentation on this subject...
He says that:
"'There are many things I heard personally from my childhood till today...'"(Source: Cumhuriyet 19 July 2005.)
The verb-stem temizle- "make clean" is the adjective temiz "clean" with the suffix -le-. Many verbs are formed from nouns or adjectives with -le:
The suffix -iş- indicates reciprocal action, which is expressed in English by "each other" or "one another".
(But there are exceptions: sevişmek does not mean "to love one another" (from sevmek "to love") but rather "to make love with each other."
Many causative verbs are formed with -dir-.