Turkish is the primary language of some thirty million people. Anyone concerned with current social, political, and cultural developments in Turkey knows that a practical understanding of the basic patterns of modern Turkish is an invaluable skill that until now has been difficult to attain without extensive training.
This superb grammar and exercise text, used successfully for years in Princeton University, enables English-speaking students — in and out of the classroom — to gain a quick and thorough understanding of modern Turkish. In a carefully arranged sequence of 23 lessons, Lewis V. Thomas, late Professor of Oriental Studies at Princeton, presents thorough coverage that allows the student to begin to use the basic patterns of modern Turkish without time-consuming and expensive private instruction.
The method of instruction was devised after an extensive analysis of results in Princeton classrooms, and relies on exercises at the end of each lesson to test the student's grasp of the material. Beginning with the alphabet and numbers, Professor Thomas offers clear, concise coverage of articles, adjectives and nouns, common infinitives, personal pronouns, and elementary verbs. As the student's comprehension of basic elements develops, further lessons deal with more complicated subjects such as the possessive construction, past general verbs, postpositions, the partitive, progressive verb forms, and abbreviating verb forms. A complete Turkish-English glossary translates new vocabulary occurring in the exercises.
Norman Itzkowitz, Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, has skillfully made the necessary revisions and additions to complete Professor Thomas' work. For anyone who needs to communicate in this important and influential language, Professor Thomas' proven course, now in an inexpensive paperback edition, is the most effective method available.
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By Lewis V. Thomas, Norman Itzkowitz
Dover Publications, Inc.Copyright © 1967 Norman Itzkowitz and Mrs. Ethel Thomas
All rights reserved.
The Alphabet. 'Soft g.' Doubled Consonants.
The Circumflex Accent. Spelling.
I. The alphabet
The Turkish alphabet contains 29 letters. Q, w, and x do not occur. Six Turkish letters are unfamiliar to the American student's eye. They are the three consonants ç, g, and s, and the three vowels i, ö, and ü. The capital forms of these letters are ç, Ç, g, G, s, S, i, I, ö, Ö, and ü, Ü. Note that the capital form of i (called the 'undotted i') is I; that of i (the 'dotted i') is I.
In general, stress tends to be placed on the last syllable in a word.
2. 'Soft g'
G, g (yumusak ge 'soft g'). This letter never begins a word. When it immediately follows a back vowel, a vowel formed in the back of the mouth (a, i, o, u: see Lesson 4, section 4), its sound resembles the glide one hears between the words 'go on' or between the words 'go over' when either of these pairs of words is slurred (as in agaç 'tree'). When yumusak ge immediately follows a front vowel, a vowel formed in the front of the mouth (e, i, ö, ü: see Lesson 4), its sound is approximately that of y in 'yet' (as in diger 'other').
3. Doubled consonants
The sound of a doubled consonant is prolonged well beyond that of the same consonant when single.
elli fifty eli the hand (objective)
4. The circumflex accent
The circumflex accent (^) may stand over the vowels a, i, and u (â, î, û). It has two distinct functions.
a. Standing over the letter a which is preceded by g, k, or l (gâ, kâ, lâ), the circumflex indicates that a y sound is to be pronounced between the consonant and the following a. In the syllable lâ, the y sound is fainter than in the syllables gâ and kâ.
kâr profit (compare kar 'snow')
b. Except in the syllables gâ, kâ, and lâ, the circumflex indicates that the vowel sound is to be prolonged. This is the case in the many (originally Arabic) adjectives ending in î.
Samî Damascene (Sam 'Damascus')
Lübnanî Lebanese (Lübnan 'the Lebanon')
iktisadî economic, economical
Sometimes the circumflex is used to distinguish between two words which, without it, would be spelled and pronounced identically.
Ali proper name (of a man) âli lofty, sublime
Occasionally a word beginning with ga, ka, or la has a long vowel in the first syllable but does not have in that syllable the y sound which the use of a circumflex (gâ, kâ, lâ) would indicate. This may be shown by doubling the a, e.g. kaatil 'murderer.' Compare katil 'murder.'
Turkish spelling is phonetic, the same letter always indicating the same sound. Words borrowed from other languages are frequently spelled out phonetically.
Note: Any sequence of vowel immediately followed by vowel is to be pronounced with a full stop between the two vowels. (The use of aa to indicate long a in a word like kaatil 'murderer' [see above, section 4b] is the sole exception to this rule.) Words containing the sequence vowel-vowel are always of non-Turkish origin. Some Turkish writers and presses use an apostrophe to show the full stop between the two vowels, but this is now very rare. The stop is always to be made, whether an apostrophe is used or not.
saat or sa'at hour, time: watch, clock
Sait or Sa'it proper name (of a man)
(For other uses of the apostrophe, see Lesson 4.)
Turkish admits six syllable patterns (V=vowel; C=consonant).
V o he, she, it;
VC ak white
CV ve and
CVC dag mountain
VCC üst top
CVCC genç young
Each syllable begins with a single vowel or with a single consonant. Borrowed words which begin with two consonants may undergo one of two changes.
a. A vowel is inserted between the two initial consonants
b. A vowel is prefixed to the first consonant.
ispirto spirits, alcohol
c. With some borrowings, however, this does not occur.
Turkey's authors, editors, and publishers have not yet standardized punctuation. The period and question mark are ordinarily used as they are in English. A comma often indicates the end of the subject. Direct quotations may be shown by single or double quotation marks, by continental quotation marks, by dashes, or even by parentheses. Frequently, only the beginning of a quotation is shown. Often, a quotation is not indicated at all.
A. Practice aloud.
B. Practice the following words aloud.
5. Proper Names
Note 1: Mehmet is the Turkish form of the Arabic name Muhammad. The full form (Muhammed) is used in Turkish only to indicate the prophet of Islam.
Note 2: In modern usage, Bay, placed before a man's full name, represents English 'Mr.'
Bay Mehmet Timuroglu Mr. Mehmet Timuroglu
For the names of women, Bayan indicates either 'Mrs.' or 'Miss.'
Bayan Selma Timuroglu Mrs. Selma Timuroglu (or) Miss Selma Timuroglu
In addition to this modern and official usage, there remains in everyday currency an older usage, dating from the time when Turks had not yet adopted last names. In this style of address, the word Bey placed after a man's given name represents English 'Mr.'
Mehmet Bey (Mr.) Mehmet
Ismail Hakki (Mr.) Ismail Hakki (ismail Hakki is a double given name, not a first and last name in the Western sense. Today this man might also appear as
Bey Bay I. H. Agaoglu.)
In the older usage the word Hamm placed after the given name (or names) represents English 'Mrs.' or 'Miss.'
Mihri Hamm Mrs. Mihri (or) Miss Mihri
Persons who continue to use the older forms regard them as being no less formal than the new forms.
9. The Body
10. The City
C. Practice saying the names of these Turkish cities and geographical features. Write them, dividing them into syllables.
2. Geographical FeaturesCHAPTER 2
Cardinal Numbers. 'One Half.'
Kaç, Çok, and Az. Parça and Tane
1. Cardinal numbers
bir ev one house, a house
bir kere one time, one occurrence, once
bir defa one time, one occurrence, once
iki ev two houses, the two houses
Note: Turkish has no separate word for 'the' (the definite article). Hence every 'absolute' noun (i.e., the simple noun form with no suffix attached) may mean 'X' or 'the X.'
Cardinal numbers are followed by singular nouns.
The cardinal numbers are:
2. 'One half'
There are two common words for 'one half.'
yarim, used when no other number is mentioned in the expression
yarim kilo ½ kilogram
bes yüz gram 500 grams
yarim kilometre ½ kilometer
bes yüz metre 500 meters
yarim saat ½ hour
otuz dakika 30 minutes
buçuk, used with numerals
bir buçuk saat 1 ½ hours
on buçuk kilometre 10 ½ kilometers
iki buçuk kilo 2 ½ kilos
3. Kaç, çok, and az
Like the cardinal numbers, the 'counting words' kaç 'how much?' 'how many?' çok 'much,' 'many,' and az 'few, 'a little' are followed by singular nouns.
4. Parça and tane
These two 'counting words' are to be distinguished from each other:
parça 'piece' (one part, section, segment, etc., of a whole);
tane 'piece' (the meaningless pidgin English counting word 'piece' as in 'one piece man,' 'one piece house,' i.e., 'one man,' 'one house')
Tane may be used or omitted after the cardinal numbers.
kaç parça ekmek? how many pieces of bread? (For 'slice' use dilim.)
kaç tane ekmek? how many 'breads?' how many loaves of bread?
kaç ev? how many houses?
kaç tane ev? how many houses?
bes ev five houses
bes tane ev five houses
bes tane five (of whatever is being counted)
A. Count aloud to 100, from 100 to 200 by 5's, from 200 to 300 by 10's, from 300 to 500 by 20's.
B. Practice aloud. Translate.
1. Kaç kilo et?
2. ½ kilo kahve
3. az su
4. 1½ kilo seker
5. birkaç kere
6. birkaç kilo elma
7. 250 gram tereyag
8. 5 fincan çay
9. çok az limon
10. 12 tane portakal
11. 1½ saat
12. 30 cadde
13. 1½ lira
14. Kaç tane elma?
15. Kaç kurus?
16. 1½ elma
17. 60 saniye
18. 60 dakika
19. 24 saat
20. I gün
21. 7 gün
22. 4 hafta
23. 12 ay
24. 365 gün
25. 100 yil
26. 2 agaç
27. 3 ogul
28. Kaç kilo seker?
29. ½ kilo seker
30. 100 defa
31. Kaç para?
32. az para
33. Kaç tane limon?
34. çok elma
35. 1 bas
36. 2 el
37. 2 ayak
38. 2 göz
39. çok az limon
40. 2 bardak su
41. az su
42. biraz süt
43. çok az süt
44. 10,000 kilometre
45. 8 gazete
46. ½ bardak su
47. 7 ½ saat
48. 2dilim ekmek
49. 3 kasik seker
50. 3 tane ekmek
C. Write in Turkish. Practice aloud. Spell out all numbers.
1. one half kilo of tea
2. three kilos of sugar
3. two hundred grams of meat
4. a slice of bread
5. two cups of coffee
6. eight apples
7. How many houses?
8. two minarets
9. one mosque
10. three years
11. four days
12. two weeks
13. six months
14. much milk
15. a little water
16. two loaves of bread
17. two slices of bread
18. very little sugar
19. many trees
20. three rivers
21. seventy-seven lakes
22. three cities
23. sixty-four boys
24. one hundred children
25. one eye
26. two eyes
27. two feet
28. thirty-two teeth
29. one head
30. five hundred and fifty-five days
31. fifteen years
32. twelve girls
33. nineteen times
34. sixteen gardens
35. thirty-five nights
36. thirty-six days
37. fifty-seven and a half grams
38. one hundred liras
39. two and a half liras
40. two thousand kilowatts
41. many mosques
42. How many mosques?
43. a good many streets
44. much water
45. little water
46. How many glasses of water?
47. a little water
48. four times
49. much fruit
50. many applesCHAPTER 3
Position of Adjectives. Indefinite Article with Adjectives. Predicate Modifiers
1. Position of adjectives
büyük kiz (the) big girl
küçük kiz (the) little girl
genç adam (the) young man
yasli kadin (the) old woman (yasli 'old,' of humans; otherwise use eski)
When an adjective precedes a noun, it modifies that noun, as in English.
2. Indefinite article with adjectives
bir köpek a dog; one dog
bir gün a day; one day
bir elma an apple; one apple
bir bardak su a glass of water; one glass of water
büyük bir kiz a big girl
küçük bir kiz a little girl
çok küçük bir kiz a very little girl
iki çok küçük kiz two very little girls
küçük güzel kiz (the) little, pretty girl
küçük güzel bir kiz a little, pretty girl
küçük ve güzel bir kiz a little and pretty girl
The word bir serves as the number 'one' and as the indefinite article 'a,' 'an.' When the indefinite article and one or more other adjectives modify one noun, Turkish reverses the English order. The adjective or adjectives come first, and the indefinite article immediately precedes the noun. When the word bir means 'one,' however, it precedes the adjective (or adjectives), as in English, e.g., büyük bir kiz 'a big girl,' bir büyük kiz 'one big girl.'
Note 1: Turkish sometimes uses bir with a plural noun. (See Lesson 4, section 5.)
Note 2: Bir may be omitted from a Turkish sentence in which the English would require the indefinite article. (See Lesson 14, section 1.)
3. Predicate modifiers
O kiz uzun.
That girl is tall.
Bu kiz kisa.
This girl is short.
Küçük kiz güzel.
The little girl is pretty.
Güzel kiz küçük.
The pretty girl is little.
Bu küçük kiz çok güzel.
This little girl is very pretty.
Bu çok küçük kiz güzel.
This very small girl is beautiful.
Bu kiz çok küçük ve çok güzel. This girl is very tiny and very pretty.
Bir kiz uzun, bir kiz kisa.
One girl is tall, (and) one girl is short.
Bu çay çok iyi.
This tea is very good.
Güzel kiz uzun, diger kiz kisa. The pretty girl is tall; the other girl is short.
This is good.
In speech (and to a lesser degree in the formal written language), the third person forms, singular and plural, present tense of the Turkish verb 'to be' are not expressed. Hence a Turkish adjective in the predicate position (i.e., following the noun it modifies) expresses a complete sentence, e.g., O kiz uzun 'That girl (is) tall.'
A. Practice aloud. Translate.
1. güzel bir anne
2. O anne güzel.
3. Çocuk çok uzun.
4. çok uzun bir çocuk
5. genç bir kiz
6. Bir kiz genç.
7. Genç kiz küçük.
8. Bu genç kiz çok küçük.
9. Bu iki kadin iyi.
10. on iki iyi kadin
11. Bu çok küçük.
12. iki yasli kadin
13. Iki kadin yasli.
14. Iki yasli kadin kisa.
15. Baba iyi.
16. bir iyi baba
17. iki iyi baba
18. Iki baba iyi.
19. Kaç tane baba?
20. Kaç gün?
21. Kaç tane elma?
22. iyi bir gün
23. Bugün iyi.
24. Bu, iyi bir gün.
25. büyük otomobil
26. iki büyük otomobil
27. Iki otomobil büyük.
28. Bu, küçük bir otomobil.
29. Bir otomobil yeni, diger otomobil eski.
30. Büyük otomobil yeni.
31. Diger otomobil çok eski.
32. Bu, çok eski.
33. Bu seker iyi.
34. biraz seker
35. O göl çok büyük.
36. iki güzel göl
37. Iki göl güzel.
38. az para
39. Bu para çok az.
40. biraz para
41. üç fincan kahve
42. üç kahve
43. üç tane kahve
44. birçok fincan
45. birçok fincan çay
46. Kaç para?
47. otuz bes lira on bes kuru?
48. bes eski ev
49. Bes ev eski.
50. Bu çok eski.
Excerpted from Elementary Turkish by Lewis V. Thomas, Norman Itzkowitz. Copyright © 1967 Norman Itzkowitz and Mrs. Ethel Thomas. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 The Alphabet. 'Soft g.' Doubled Consonants. The Circumflex Accent. Spelling. Syllabification. Punctuation,
2 Cardinal Numbers. 'One Half.' Kaç, çok, and Az. Parça and Tane,
3 Position of Adjectives. Indefinite Article with Adjectives. Predicate Modifiers,
4 Definite Article. Adjective and Noun. Agglutination. Vowel Harmony. The Plural,
5 Common Infinitive. Variable Consonants. Past Definite Verb. Agreement of Subject and Verb,
6 Verbs of the Type Gitmek (Gider). The Objective Definite. Variable Consonants Followed by Objective Definite. Doubled Consonants Followed by Objective Definite. 'Ayn Followed by Objective Definite. Final k Followed by Objective Definite. Nouns of the Type Ogul Followed by Objective Definite,
7 Personal Pronouns. Interrogative Pronouns. Demonstratives. The Imperative. Word Order,
8 Nere*, Burn*, Ora*. Dative Suffix -(y) V2. Locative Suffix -t/d V2. Ablative Suffix -t/d V2n. Dative, Locative, and Ablative Forms of Nere*, Bura*, Ora*, the Personal Pronouns, the Interrogatives, and the Demonstratives. Fractions. Calendar. The Word d V2,
9 Negative Verb. Interrogative Particle (m V4). Negative Interrogative. Negative Expressions,
10 The Possessive Construction. Possessive Definite Suffix -(n) V4 n. Possessive Suffixes. The Possessive Construction, Types I and II. Personal Pronouns as Members of Possessive Constructions. Possessive Complexes. The Word Sahip in Possessive Constructions. Suffixes added to a Possessive Suffix. Kendi,
11 Infinitives. General Verbs,
12 Past General Verbs. Future Verbs. Adverbs. Comparison. Emphatics. The Suffix - ç/c V2,
13 Postpositions. Expressions of Location,
14 The Verb 'to Be.' Var and yok. The Resumptive Question,
15 The Suffixes -l V4, -s V4 z, and -l V4 k. Past Indefinite, Past Narrative, and Past Perfect Verb Forms,
16 The Partitive. Participles. Gerund -t/d V4 k. Indirect Discourse. Relative Gerundive and Adverb,
17 -ki. Ki. Çünkü. The Professional Doer. The Habitual Doer. Diminutives. Noun of Manner,
18 Progressive Verb Forms. Common Infinitive plus the Locative with 'to Be.' Ordinals and Distributives. Gerundive in -(y) V2,
19 'To Be Able,
20 Auxiliary Verb. Optative-Subjunctive. Necessity. Condition,
21 Passive Verbs. The Agent. Causative, Reflexive, and Mutual Verbs,
22 Abbreviating Verb Forms. Attendant Circumstances. Verb Form in -(y) V4 n c V2. Verb Form in -t/d V4 k ç V2,
23 Statement on Verb Forms. True and Untrue Conditions,
KEY TO EXERCISES,
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