Turkish/Cases

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Cases[edit]

Cases are familiar to some languages such as Latin, German, Polish or Finnish. However, if your native language is English, it may be difficult to learn cases immediately. But, if you use and/or study Turkish, you will understand the importance of case. In Turkish, prepositions like "to", "from", "at","in" etc. do not exist. Case suffixes are employed instead.

Nevetheless, some "postpositions" that act very similar to "prepositions" do exist, e.g. "üstünde"(on), "altında" (under), "içinde" (in), "ile" (with / by) etc. These come after a noun - much like a preposition comes before a noun. For example "masanın üstünde" means "on the table". Usually one will simply say "Masada" omitting the postposition altogether, unless he or she wants to stress the state of being specifically "on" the table but not inside etc. Similarly "evin içinde" (in the house) often becomes "evde". The case of "ile" (with or by) is a bit different. This postposition simply transforms into the "instrumental case suffix" by losing its first letter "i". Examples : "Uçak ile gideceğim." (I will go by plane.) becomes "Uçakla gideceğim." or "Arkadaşım ile buluştum." (I met with my friend.) becomes "Arkadaşımla buluştum.". Finally it must be noted that not all English prepositions have equivalent postpositions. For example English prepositions "to", "from" and "at" do not have any postposition equivalents and exist only as case suffixes.

Most standard Turkish grammar texts mention only 5 or 6 noun cases naming them simply with the suffix letters, i.e. "yalın hal/simple case", "i hali", "e hali", "de hali" and "den hali" often even omitting the genitive "in hali". The fact is Turkish noun declensions are much more numerous as can be seen below.

It should also be noted that in Turkish nouns may have more than one suffix or declension with each having a specific purpose. Often a noun may first be declensed for number and/or possession and than for other cases. Examples :

Okul-dan geldim. I came from the school. Ablative case.

Okul-um-dan geldim. I came from my school. Possessive ablative case.

Tüm kitap-lar-ım-ı sattım. I sold all of my books. Plural- possessive - accusative case.

Araba-sız-lık bir sorundu. Being without a car was a problem. Abasive - coverage case.


e, i ö, ü a, ı o, u bahçe "garden" araba "car"
Yalın Hal "Nominative" bahçe "garden" araba "(a) car"
İlgi Hali "Genitive" -(n)in -(n)ün -(n)ın -(n)un bahçenin "garden's" arabanın "car's"
Belirtme Hali "Accusative" -(y)i -(y)ü -(y)ı -(y)u bahçeyi "(the) garden (as an object)" arabayı "(the) car (as an object)"
Yönelme Hali "Dative" -(y)e -(y)e -(y)a -(y)a bahçeye "to garden" arabaya "to car"
Bulunma Hali "Locative" -de -de -da -da bahçede "in garden" arabada "on car"
Ayrılma Hali "Ablative" -den -den -dan -dan bahçeden "from garden" arabadan "from car"
Eşitlik Hali "Essive" -ce -ce -ca -ca bahçece "as a garden" arabaca "as a car"
Aracılık Hali "Instrumental" -(y)le -(y)le -(y)la -(y)la bahçeyle "(dealing)with garden" arabayla "with/by car"
İlgililik Hali "Inclusive" -li -lü -lı -lu bahçeli "with/having a garden" arabalı "with/having a car"
İlgisizlik Hali "Abesive" -siz -süz -sız -suz bahçesiz "without garden" arabasız "without car"
Andırım Hali "Likeliness" -(i)msi -(ü)msü -(ı)msı -(u)msu bahçemsi "gardenlike" arabamsı "carlike"
Kapsama Hali "Coverage" -lik -lük -lık -luk bahçelik "for/as garden" arabalık "for/as car"
Özellik Hali "Qualitative" -sel -sel -sal -sal bahçesel "of a garden" arabasal "of a car"
Koşulluk Hali "Conditional" -(y)se -(y)se -(y)sa -(y)sa bahçeyse "in case of a garden" arabaysa "in case of a car"
Sahiplik Hali "Possesive" (*) -(i)m -(ü)m -(ı)m -(u)m bahçem "my garden" arabam "my car"
Çoğul Hali "Plural" (*) -ler -ler -lar -lar bahçeler "gardens" arabalar "cars"

(*) Possessive case is given only for first person singular. The suffixes for all persons are as follows : 1st S : "(i)m", 2nd S : "(i)n", 3rd S : "(s)i", 1st P : "(i)miz, 2nd P : (i)niz, 3rd P : "leri". These should be changed as needed in accordance with the rules of wovel harmony.

Example[edit]

Kitap yere düştü. "The book fell on the floor." Nominative as definite subject of sentence.

Bir kitap yere düştü. "A book fell on the floor." Nominative as indefinite subject of sentence.

Kitap okuyorum. "I'm reading some book." Nominative as indefinite object.

Bir kitap okuyorum. "I'm reading a book." Nominative as indefinite object.

Kitabı okuyorum. "I'm reading the book." Accusative as definite object.

Bir kitabı okuyorum. "I'm reading one specific book." Accusative as definite object.


Evin kapısı. "The door of the house." Genitive

Eve gidiyorum. "I'm going to the house." Dative

Evde bekliyorum."I'm waiting in the house" Locative

Evden geldim. "I came from the house." Ablative

Arabayla gidiceğiz. "We will go by car." Instrumental

Arabasız gidemeyiz. "We can't go without a car." Abasive


Suffixes attached to proper names (people, cities, countries) are preceded by an ' . Ali => Ali'ye (to Ali, male name)
Tarkan => Tarkan'a (to Tarkan, male name)
Ayşe => Ayşe'ye (to Ayşe, girl name)
Sibel => Sibel'e (to Sibel, girl name)

The dative (-a, -e) and accusative (ı, i, u, ü) case suffixes require a buffer consonant y in words ending with a vowel and become (-ya, -ye) and (yı, yi, yu, yü) respectively as in:
Ankara'ya (to Ankara); I am going to Ankara => Ankara'ya gidiyorum.
Türkiye'ye (to Turkey); I am going to Turkey => Türkiye'ye gidiyorum.
halıyı (the carpet); I am buying the carpet. => Halıyı alıyorum.

The genitive case requires an additional n in words ending with a vowel as in:
Ayşe'nin (Ayşe's) => Ayşe'nin babası (Ayşe's father)
Ali'nin (Ali's) => Ali'nin annesi (Ali's mother)
Atilla'nın (Atilla's) => Atilla'nın abisi (Atilla's [elder] brother)
Arto'nun (Arto's) => Arto'nun ninesi (Arto's grandmother)
Hüsnü'nün (Hüsnü's) => Hüsnü'nün evi (Hüsnü's house)


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