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Turkish Language - Turkish Nouns

Formation and recognizing nouns in TurkishFormation of nouns

from adjectives - the suffix -lik1. Formation of Abstract and
Collective Nouns2. Forming nouns of Usage3. Forming Nouns of
Location4. The Suffix -lik with Numbers:An "eggy" question5.
Formation of Negative Abstract Nouns - the suffix -sizlikDefinite
Noun CompletionIndefinite Noun CompletionNon-attached

Formation and recognizing nouns in Turkish

Diminutive and Affectionate - the suffix -cik
This suffix is vowel harmonized forms are cik -ck -cuk -ck.
It also becomes -k -ik -uk -k when it mutates to its hard
form when it is added to words which end in a hard consonant.
baba - father - becomes -baback - daddy
Mehmetik - [Lit: Little Mehmet] - is the general affectionate
word for a soldier. This would be a Tommy in English.
kedi - cat - becomes - kedicik - pussycat
kpek - dog - becomes - kpecik - puppy
Final -k in the noun stem is usually dropped when adding this
suffix. Because the terminal -k is dropped then the suffix takes its
soft form of -cik. The following examples also show this loss of
terminal "-k":
kk - small - becomes - kck - little
ufak - small - becomes - ufack - tiny, minute
minik - small and nice - becomes - minicik - wee, tiny
Vowel Production
Sometimes when adding the diminutive Suffix -cik it causes an
extra vowel to be inserted - in effect the suffix becomes -icik:
az - less - becomes - azck - little less as in birazck - just a
bir - one - becomes - biricik - unique
dar - narrow - becomes - darack -narrowish
In the word - azck - Although this inserted vowel is written, it is
often glossed over in actual speech.
If we add the possessive pronouns such as -im to the diminutives
- my - (baback + -m becomes babacm! - daddy!). So you
can often hear children crying - babacm - (baba-c-m) - (my
daddy or anneciim - (anne-ci-im) - (my mummy or even
kpeciim! - my little puppy!.

Formation of nouns from adjectives - the

suffix -lik
This suffix is vowel harmonized forms are -lik -lk -luk -lk.
The suffix -lik is very heavily used in Turkish. It has four main uses
in Turkish as follows;

1. Formation of Abstract and Collective

The main use of the suffix -lik is to form Abstract Nouns from
gzel - beautiful - becomes - gzellik - beauty
mutlu - happy - becomes - mutluluk - happiness
iyi - good - becomes - iyilik - goodness
ocuk - child - becomes - ocukluk - childhood
zor - difficult becomes zorluk - difficulty, complication
It should be noted that the English Abstract nouns end in -ness,
-tion, -ity, etc (generally)
Of course these abstract nouns can be further suffixed in Turkish
according to their function in meaning:
mutluluum - [mutlulu-um] - my happiness
Hepimiz, ocukluumuzu mutluluk iinde geirdik. O
zamanlarda mutluluum sonsuzdu.
- All of us passed our childhood in happiness. At that time
happinnes was endless
- [Hep-imiz, ocuk-lu-umuz-u mut-suz-luk i-i-nde ge-ir-dik. O
zaman-lar-da mutlu-lu-um son-suz-du.]
Formation of Collective Nouns
gen - young becomes genlik - youth
yal - old becomes yallk - age
insan - person becomes insanlk - human-kind
Bakan - Minister becomes Bakanlk - Ministry
balk - fish becomes balk - fisherman becomes Balklk Fishing Club, Group, Association
This last example shows that noun suffixes can be chained to
produce further extended meanings.

2. Forming nouns of Usage

When adding -lik to concrete nouns or verb stems it forms nouns
and adjectives meaning - suitable for.. intended for... place
tuz - salt - becomes - tuzluk - salt cellar
biber - pepper - becomes - biberlik - pepper shaker
gz - eye - becomes - gzlk - spectacles
kira - hire - becomes - kiralk - for hire
yamur - ran - becomes - yamurluk - raincoat, mackintosh,

3. Forming Nouns of Location

Bakan - Minister - becomes - Bakanlk - Ministry
amar - linen, laundry items - becomes - amarlk - a
orman - forest - becomes - ormanlk - forest place
In this example of - forest - we can see that Turkish uses -lik to
make a Substantive Noun of Location, as in the following example:
O tepenin arkasnda byk bir ormanlk bulunur - There is
a large forest (to be found) behind that hill. Here the word ormanlk - is used as a general Substantive Noun of Location. We
may go on to talk about this particular - orman - itself: O
ormanda ok yabani hayvan varm. - It seems there are
many wild animals in that forest.
Many place names - (have a look at a Turkish map) - often end in
the suffix -lik. One that springs to mind is Ayvalk - Place of the
Quince - [ayva], there is also a place near eme called
Deirmenlik - Place of the Mill - [deirmen]
It is difficult to translate this suffix directly into English, we can
only say - "Quince" or "Quinceville" and "Milltown" or "Millhill" or
whatever. Arising from the above we can also form nouns of "Place
of" as follows
elmalk - apple orchard - from - elma - apple
sebzelik - vegetable garden, stall - from - sebze - vegetable
ieklik - flower garden, stall - from - iek - flower
kitaplk - book case - from - kitap - book

4. The Suffix -lik with Numbers:

A number is normally used as an adjective thus the number 10 (as
an adjective) - on yumurta - ten eggs. Turkish changes numbers
and numeric expressions into nouns by the addition of the -lik
suffix thus the number 10 - on - becomes - onluk - the amount
of ten. This is like saying Lend me a "tenner" in English, where
the number 10 has become a noun of the amount ten. The suffix
-lik is often added to counted nouns to produce a complex
counted noun. Let us take our example of on yumurta - ten
eggs. If we say I want a ten egg box. in English we understand
that our requirement is "A box that will contain the amount of
ten eggs."
Let us look at some possibilities in Turkish:
on yumurta bir kutu - ten eggs one box - this example has no
meaning in Turkish - it is just two items - "ten eggs" and "one
box". Turkish will use a counted noun - on yumurtalk - ten
eggs-amount - thus - I want a ten egg box - becomes: On
yumurtalk bir kutu istiyorum - [Lit: I want a ten egg-amount
If we want to say - I want a box of ten eggs - the Turkish uses
the -li - furnished with, containing - suffix:
On yumurtal bir kutu istiyorum - I want a box containing
ten eggs.
ki kiilik adr var m? - [Lit: Is there a tent of two personamount?] - in English - Is there a double tent?
Evet var. Ka gnlk ? - [Lit: Yes, there is. How many dayamount?] - in English - Yes there is. For how many days?

An "eggy" question
Here is an "eggy" question from one of our Turkish friends,
showing the diference in Turkish logic:
Shouldn't that be? - "I want a ten egged box" - Cafer Bey by
My answer: To your suggestion:
"I want a ten egged box". I'm sorry I can not agree, I feel it should
be "I want a ten egg box", as I have written.
If we say it your way, it makes the box itself "modified" as in "I
want a black coloured box" or "I want a silk lined box".
But a "ten egg box" describes a box that can contain up to "ten

eggs" ; that is how it is understood. Let us not forget that

supermarkets in England sell their eggs in "egg boxes" not in
"egged boxes"
To understand the difference "I want a three key box" - a box to
put three keys into, and "I want a three keyed box" - a box which
need three keys to open it.

5. Formation of Negative Abstract Nouns the suffix -sizlik

The -lik suffix is often added to the -siz - without, lacking in
suffix to form Negative abstract nouns in -sizlik
sabr - patience - becomes - sabrsz - impatient - and the
abstract noun sabrszlk - impatience
dikkat - care - becomes - dikkatsiz - careless and the abstract
noun - dikkatsizlik - carelessness
Further suffixes can be added to show the noun condition
Hepimizin ocuk-luu mutsuzluk iinde geti [Hepimiz-in
ocuk-lu-u mutsuzluk i-i-nde geti] - All of our childhood(s)
passed in unhappiness.
Demin dikkatsizliini [dikkat-siz-li-i-ni] fark ettim - I just
noticed your carelessness.
dikkat - is from an Arabic Feminine Plural - and as such it does
not follow Turkish Vowel harmony Rules as the final letter -a- is
pronounced quite long - dikkAAt. Consequently any added
suffixes take the Dotted form.
More about Compound Nouns:
Bisikletimizi braktmz yeri hatrlayamayacaz - We will
not be able to remember the place where we leave/have
left our bicycle(s) [Bisiklet-imiz-i brak-t-mz yer-i hatrla-yama-y-acaz]
In these sentences - yer - is the place that we can not remember
where we left the bicycle, and - bisiklet - is the bicycle. Therefore
both of them should be in accusative case. If we had wanted to
say - I can't remember my bicycle's place - then we should
have said - Bisikletimin yerini hatrlayamyorum
In this sentence - Bisikletimin yeri - is a Definite Noun
Combination (both nouns are substantive)
The first component is in genitive form. The second component
gets the suffix -i (if it ends with a vowel it usually gets the buffer

letter -s except the word - su - water - which takes buffer letter

-y- to produce suyu - (the only irregular noun in Turkish)

Definite Noun Completion

Here the first noun possesses the noun it modifies. The second
noun is then suffixed as definitive. We should note that both
components retain their grammatical function as a noun in their
own right. bisikletimin garaj - [Bisiklet-im-in garaj-] - my
bicycle's garage - (the garage of my bicycle)
kapnn zili - [kap-nn zil-i] - the door-bell - (the bell of the door)
Mehmet'in arabas - [Mehmet'-in araba-s] - Mehmet's car (the car of Mehmet)
pencerenin perdesi - [pencere-nin perde-si] - the windowcurtain - (the curtain of the window)
All the above are Definite Compound nouns as they are both
particular and both Definite.
If we take the last example [the window its-curtain] - pencerenin
perdesi - the window's curtain - we can see that it is a
particular curtain belonging to a particular window. But we can
also make this an Indefinite noun "any window curtain" - pencere
perdesi - window curtain - This then is the difference between
Definite and Indefinite (see below) Compound Nouns.

Indefinite Noun Completion

Here the first noun acts as an adjective to describe the second
noun which is suffixed as a definitive noun. When two nouns are
joined - as in lamp-post, the second noun takes the third person
possessive suffix, e.g. k direi - (k dire-i) - lamp-post [Lit:
Lamp its-post].
Similarly - gece kulb - (gece kulb-) - nightclub [Lit: night
This is the way that Turkish shows a connection between the two
words to make a complex noun - the first noun "lamp" becomes an
adjective to describe the second "post" which is made into a
definitive noun by the addition of the third person suffix. Of course
further suffixes can be added to this complex noun as required:
k direi - [dire-i] - (from direk) - lamp post - [lamp its-post]
onun k direi - [dire-i] - his lamp post

Mehmet'in k direi - [dire-i] - Mehmet's lamp post

onun k direinden - [dire-i-nden] - from his lamp post
Mehmet'in k direinden - [dire-i--nden] - from Mehmet's
lamp post
If you say lamp post , that is k direi, and his lamp post
would be also k direi. Why? Because the -i at the very end
has the meaning of "Indefinite Noun Completion" as in the first
phrase, and "Possession for the 3rd. Person Singular" as in
the second. To avoid doubling only one of them is used. This
shows the conflict between Indefinite Noun Completion Suffix -i
and 3rd. Person Possessed Suffix -i. But how to distinguish
between them? In order to do that, you should bring onun - his,
her at the beginning, thus onun k direi is clearly about
For example - The minister for tourism would be turizm
bakan. If we want to say England's minister for tourism, we
should say Ingiltere'nin turizm bakan [not

"Ingiltere'nin turizm bakann" (or

bakans)]. so we can say - England's minister for
tourism is very young. - Ingiltere'nin turizm bakan ok
And if you want to say - from his lamp post - then similarly you
would say onun k direinden
k direinden - [dire-i-nden] - from the lamp post
bisiklet yeri - [bisiklet yer-i] - the bicycle place
kap kolundan - [kap kol-u-ndan] - from the door handle
yaz okulu - [yaz okul-u] - the summer school
yolcu gemisinde - [yolcu gemi-si-nde] - on the ferry boat (Lit: the traveller boat)
Ali'nin elma aac - [elma aac-] - Ali's apple tree
ayakkab boyas - [ayakkab boya-s] - the shoe polish
bilgisayar ekran - [bilgisayar ekran-] - the computer screen
kzmn renci karnesi - [renci karne-si]- my daughter's
student (school) report
su borusu - [su boru-su] - the water pipe
deniz suyu - [deniz su-yu] - the sea water
In the last example above you will see that the definitive of - su
(water) - is suyu - [not susu] - this is an exception, and is the
ONLY unique exception in The Turkish Language.

Non-attached Completion
Used for indicate the material used . Neither noun is made
definitive - thus producing a Combined Noun.
Here the first noun of material acts as an adjective describing the
main noun which follows. This shows that adjectives always
precede their noun in Turkish; it is important to realize this.
tahta kap - wooden door
alminyum pencere - aluminium window
demir kpr - iron bridge