Proto-Turkic/Pronouns and numbers

Welcome to your first Proto-Turkic lesson!


  • I - *bẹ /be/, *ben- /bɛn-/
  • we - *biŕ /birʲ/
  • you (singular) - *sẹ /se/, *sen- /sɛn-/
  • you (plural) - *siŕ /sirʲ/
  • he/she/it - *ol /ol/, *an- /än-/
  • they - *olar /olär/ (unclear)

Whether the Chuvash эпӗ derives from *ben or *bẹ is a matter of debate. However, the word п becomes м when it is suffixed in Chuvash and this phonetic change is not seen in эпӗ (epĕ), indicating that it is more likely to derive from *bẹ. The pronoun *olar is unclear, since it was derived from *ol with a plural ending, Common Turkic have the reflexes of it, but Chuvash has вӗсем (vĕsem) instead (many plural endings of Proto-Turkic are disputed, see also the Plurality section of the third lesson).

The fact that the word has not experienced m-n affinity in Tonyukuk inscription, Old Anatolian Turkish, Ottoman Turkish and Turkish is proof that this is a sound development that developed later. Therefore, the letter b does not turn into m when we add a suffix starting with n to the pronoun that starts with b. Also, pronouns ending in a vowel always take the n consonant when adding suffixes.

  • my - *bẹ- > *beniŋ /beniŋ/
  • our - *biŕ- > *biŕniŋ /birʲniŋ/
  • your - *sẹ- > *seniŋ /seniŋ/
  • your (plural) - *siŕ- > *siŕniŋ /sirʲniŋ/
  • him/her/its - *an- > *anïŋ /änɨŋ/
  • their - *olar- > *olarnïŋ /olärnɨŋ/ (unclear)

And unlike many other languages, there is no grammatical gender in Proto-Turkic. So there is no distinction between he, she and it. There's only ol. And unlike modern Turkic languages, there are no words like "am/is/are".


Numbers in Proto-Turkic are in decimal basis, so the components for tens are often less clear, like suppletion between *ẹki "two" and *yẹgirmi "twenty", or adding suffixes which unclear in meaning like *altï "six" and *altmïĺ "sixty". To make teens, simply add numbers after tens (*ōn bīr "eleven", *ōn ẹki "twelve", *ōn üč "thirteen", ...).

  • one - *bīr /biːr/
  • two - *ẹki /eki/
  • three - *üč /ytʃ/
  • four - *dȫrt /døːrt~dœːrt/
  • five - *bēĺ(k) /bɛːlʲ(k)/
  • six - *altï /ältɨ/
  • seven - *yẹti /jeti/
  • eight - *sẹkiŕ /sekirʲ/
  • nine - *tokuŕ /tokurʲ/
  • ten - *ōn /oːn/
  • twenty - *yẹgirmi
  • thirty - *otuŕ
  • forty - *kïrk
  • fifty - *ellig
  • sixty - *altmïĺ
  • seventy - *yẹtmiĺ
  • eighty - *sẹkiŕ ōn
  • ninety - *tokuŕ ōn
  • hundred - *yǖŕ
  • thousand - *bïŋ

In Proto-Turkic we provide questions with *ka- and *nē-. In this case, the words *kanča and *nēnče are used to ask how much something is.

A: How much barley is there? - Kanča/nēnče arpa bār?

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