Proto-Turkic/Abilities, future tense and present continuous

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Welcome to the final lesson of the Proto-Turkic! Thank you for being with us so far and choosing the Wikibooks Proto-Turkic course.


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Ability by *bil-

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In Chuvash and most Turkic languages, the meaning of competence is provided by the verb to know. However, while it is not a stand-alone structure in Chuvash, it is a stand-alone structure in other Turkic languages. We will consider the case that it is not a structure by itself, because system in Chuvash is a strictly correct sentence in terms of its structure.

  • *kẹlme (“coming”) → *kẹlme bilür (“s/he knows to come; s/he can come”)
  • *yu(b)ma (“washing”) → *yu(b)ma bilür (“s/he knows to wash; s/he can wash”)
  • *sebme (“loving”) → *sebme bilür (“s/he knows to loving; s/he can love”)
  • *yạŕma (“writing”) → *yạŕma bilmeŕ (“s/he doesn't know to writing; s/he can't write”)
Modern usage
Turkish - Anadolu Türkçesi Chuvash - Чӑвашла[1]
Original Ben şu ağaç dalının bittiği yere kadar zıplayabilirim. хурсем вӗсем валли хӑйсемех апат тупма пӗлеҫҫӗ.
Transcription (the text is already written in latin script) Hursem vĩsem valli hĭysemeh apat tupma pĩleşşĩ.
English translation I can jump up to where that bough ends. Geese can find food on their own.

Ability by *bōl-

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It is also a proficiency structure found in some Turkic languages, including Chuvash.

  • *kẹlme (“coming”) → *kẹlme bōlur (“s/he becomes to come; s/he can come”)
  • *yu(b)ma (“washing”) → *yu(b)ma bōlur (“s/he becomes to wash; s/he can wash”)
  • *sebme (“loving”) → *sebme bōlur (“s/he becomes to loving; s/he can love”)
  • *yạŕma (“writing”) → *yạŕma bōlmaŕ (“s/he doesn't become to writing; s/he can't write”)
Modern usage
Tuvan - Тыва дыл Chuvash - Чӑвашла[1]
Original Бир эвес орук дуглаглыг апарза, өске оруктарны тып ап болур. Улӑп ҫичӗ хуйха та чӑтма пултарнӑ.
Transcription Bir eves oruk duglaglıg aparza, öske oruktarnı tıp ap bolur. Ulĭp çiçĩ huyha ta çĭtma pultarnĭ.
English translation If you encounter an obstacle, you can go another way. Alp(warrior) was able to endure all seven worries.

Ability by *ạl- (Shaz)

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Today it is used in Central Asia.

  • *kẹlme (“coming”) → *kẹl(m)e ạlar (“s/he takes to come; s/he can come”)
  • *yu(b)ma (“washing”) → *yu(b)(m)a ạlar (“s/he takes to wash; s/he can wash”)
  • *sebme (“loving”) → *seb(m)e ạlar (“s/he takes to loving; s/he can love”)
  • *yạŕma (“writing”) → *yạŕ(m)a ạlmaŕ (“s/he doesn't take to writing; s/he can't write”)

Ability by *u(y)- (Shaz?)

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Used in Old Turkic, Old Uyghur, Yakut, Chuvash (not certain), Azerbaijani, and Turkish (in a form of a suffix in two last languages). In many of Turkic languages this verb becomes dead, or merged as an inflectional suffix. It takes the auxiliary converbs *-(y)A or *-(y)U, and negative tense suffixes in the verb *u(y)- (umaŕ, umadï, ...).

  • *kẹlme (“coming”) → *kẹle u(y)(u)r, *kẹlü u(y)(u)r (“s/he can come”)
  • *yu(b)ma (“washing”) → *yu(b)(y)a u(y)maŕ, *yu(b)(y)u u(y)maŕ (“s/he cannot wash”)
  • *sebme (“loving”) → *sebe u(y)maŕ, *sebü u(y)maŕ (“s/he cannot love”)

Future Tense

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There is no future tense in the Proto-Turkic language. There is no future tense in most of today's Turkic languages, as well. The future tense is often provided with the present tense suffix.

Present-Future tense (*-Ur, *-r)

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Just specify the time.

  • *kẹlür (“s/he comes”) → *yạrïn kẹlür (“s/he comes tomorrow”)
  • *barur (“s/he goes”) → *bu āń(k) barur (“s/he goes this month”)

Future tense by *-čX

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With this suffix we mentioned earlier, the future tense is provided in today's Turkic languages. Considering the usage logic of the suffix, the future tense can be provided in the Proto-Turkic language with this suffix. But it may not be used in this way at that time.

  • *kẹlme(k) (“coming”) → *kẹlme(k)či (“cominger”) → *Ol kẹlme(k)či (“s/he is cominger; s/he is going to come.”)
  • *barma(k) (“going”) → *barma(k)čï (“goinger”)→ *Biŕ barma(k)čï (“We are goingers; we are going to go.”)
  • *sebme(k) (“loving”) → *sebme(k)či (“lovinger”) → *Bẹ sebme(k)či (“I am lovinger; I will love.”)
  • *olturma(k) (“sitting”) → *olturma(k)čï (“sittinger”)→ *Sẹ olturma(k)čï (“You are sittinger; you will sit.”)

Future tense by *-sXk (Shaz, Old Turkic)

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This suffix only exists in Old Turkic and creates necessitive future tense. Can take personal suffixes like -dI past tense.

  • *ölme(k) (“to die”) → *ölsüküm (“I will inevitably die”)

Present continuous

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Present continuous by locative

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Present continuous, can be provided with locative. This is similar to logic of *-čX suffix in Proto-Turkic. Such a sentence structure can be established in most of modern Turkic languages.

  • *kẹlme(k) (“coming”) → *kẹlme(k)de (“on coming”) → *Ol kẹlme(k)de (“s/he is on coming; s/he is coming.”)
  • *barma(k) (“going”) → *barma(k)da (“on going”)→ *Biŕ barma(k)da (“We are on going; we are going.”)
  • *sebme(k) (“loving”) → *sebme(k)de (“on loving”) → *Bẹ sebme(k)de (“I am on loving; I am loving.”)
  • *olturma(k) (“sitting”) → *olturma(k)da (“on sitting”)→ *Sẹ olturma(k)da (“You are on sitting; you are sitting.”)

Helper verbs (Shaz)

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It is provided with verbs that called helper in some Shaz languages.

  • *kẹlip (“while coming”, (Shaz)) → *kẹlip yorï/yüri (literally “walk while coming” but means ”s/he is coming.”)
  • *bara (“to go with -A suffix”) → *bara tur (”s/he is going.”) (helper verb is *tur- to stand.)


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We are very happy to have you with us on this long journey. But unfortunately now it's time to say goodbye.

Now you know everything about the Proto-Turkic language. Of course, you will encounter configurations created by different linguists, but it is an undeniable fact that they will not differ much from the configurations of other linguists, that is, they will all look alike. Note though that every Proto language is a configuration. While writing this in the back of your mind, imagine that this language was spoken in the steppes of East Asia, under the rule of the Huns.

Goodbye everyone! Take care of yourself!


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