Turkish/Cases

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 adverbs that act very similar to prepositions do exist, e.g. "üstünde"(on), "altında" (under), "içinde" (in) 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 adverb 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".

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.

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 then 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.

GenitiveEdit

FormationEdit

The genitive case is normally formed with the ending -ın/in/un/ün. The buffer consonant n is added if the stem ends with a vowel.

evin
arabanın

Important exceptions are su (water) and ne (what), which takes y as a buffer consonant instead, and the pronouns ben and biz.

suyun
neyin
benim
bizim

UsageEdit

The genitive is used in:

  1. The modifier in a genitive-possesive construct
    • arabanın farı the car's headlights
    • evin önü the front of the house
    • Türkiye'nin başkenti Turkey's capital
    • yolun sonu the end of the road
  2. As the predicate in a noun sentence.
    • Bu kitap benim. This book is mine.
  3. The subject in a relative clause
    • Zeynep'in gördüğü (şey) (the thing) that Zeynep saw
    • Türkiye'nin konuştuğu (şey) (the thing) that Turkey is speaking about
    • Yolun çıktığı (yer) (the place) that the road leads to
  4. Pronouns in nominative postpositional phrases and in the instrumentative ending -le (omitted in informal speech)
    • Senin gibi
    • Benimle
    • Onun kadar

All of these uses are covered in greater detail in their respective articles.

Accusative, Dative, Ablative and LocativeEdit

FormationEdit

The accusative is formed with the ending -ı/i/u/ü, and the dative is formed with the ending -a/e. If the stem of the noun ends in a vowel, the buffer consonant y is added.

evi
arabaya

The demonstrative pronouns are an exception to this, taking n instead.

ona
buna
şuna

Noun and adjective constructions, and nouns ending with the third person possesive ending take n as well.

evine
araba

This also holds true for place names and other idiomatic expressions.

Beylikdüzü'nü
Beyoğlu'na
pazartesine[1]

^ Some speakers say pazartesiye as well

Consonant softening occurs where applicable.

çocuğa
kitabı

The 1st and 2nd person singular pronouns are declined irregularly in the dative.

Bana
Sana

The locative is formed with the ending -da/de, and the ablative is formed with the ending -dan/den. No buffer consonants are needed if the noun ends in a vowel, but a n is added nonetheless if the noun has the posessive ending, and in the pronouns o, bu and şu.

evde
arabadan
evinden
arabanda
ondan
bundan
şundan

Town, city and other place names ending with the posessive ending take the buffer consonant n as well.

Beylikdüzü'nde
Beyoğlu'ndan
Eminönü'nden
Beypazarı'nda

UsageEdit

AccusativeEdit

Further information: Turkish/Accusative

DativeEdit

The dative case is used to show direction, loosely corresponding to the English prepositon to. It can be used to show the destination of an action:

  • Yarın Milano'ya gidiyoruz. We are going to Milan tomorrow.
  • Eve yürüyeceğim. I'll walk home.
  • Vapura biniyoruz. We are embarking the ferry.

It can also be used to show the recipent of an action:

  • Annene her şeyini anlattım. I told everything (you did) to your mother.
  • Oğluna daha fazla ilgi göster lütfen. Please give more attention to your son.
  • Devlete her ay vergi ödüyoruz. We pay the government taxes every month.

Certain verbs (particularly of emotion) take dative in the object:

  • Sana güvenmiştim! I had trusted you!
  • Selen, oğluna çok kızdı. Selen got very angry at her son.
  • Gitgide İngilizlere benziyoruz. We get more similar to the British every day.

Some prepositions (doğru, göre, kadar) and adjectives also require the dative:

  • Eve doğru yürüyoruz. We are walking towards home.
  • Sana göre her gün bayram. Everyday is a holiday according to you!
  • Saat 1'e kadar uyumuşum. I slept till 1 o'clock.
  • Bizim ev metroya yakın. Our house is close to the subway.

The causee in a causative verb is in the dative case:

  • Tüm işlerini kocasına yaptırdı. She made her husband do all of her chores.
  • Köpeğin beni tüm gece uyutmadı. Your dog didin't let me sleep all night.

The dative is also used in adverbs of purpose:

  • Bu oyunu kazanmaya geldik. We came here to win this game.
  • Ayşe uyumaya çalışıyordu. Ayşe was trying to sleep.

Finally, the price of an item is expressed in the dative.

  • Bu evi 1.000.000 TL'ye satıyorum.

LocativeEdit

The locative case is normally used to indicate location, roughly corresponding to the English at.

  • Evdeyim. I'm home.
  • Ankara'da terör saldırısı olmuş. There was a terror attack in Ankara.
  • Kadıköy'de buluşalım mı? Shall we meet in Kadıköy?

It may also be used to show time, though not all temporal adverbs take the locative ending.

  • Saat 3'te toplantım var. I have a meeting at 3 o'clock.
  • Yaz tatilinde Bodrum'a gidiyoruz. We go to Bodrum in the summer vacation.

A small amount of verbs have the object declined in the locative ending.

  • Sonuçta hamburgerciye gitmekte karar kıldık. Eventually, we decided on going to the burger restaurant.
  • Beni dinlememekte ısrar etti. He insisted on not listening to me.

In rare cases, the locative noun may be used as an adjective as well.

  • 25 kilometre uzunluğunda yol 25-km-long road

AblativeEdit

The ablative case roughly corresponds to the English from. It implies departure, seperation or cause.

  • Bulgaristan'dan dönüyorum. I'm returning from Bulgaria.
  • Düşünmekten otobüsü kaçırmış. He missed the bus because of thinking.

It sometimes corresponds to the English through as well, especially when used with the verb geçmek.

  • Tren istasyondan geçiyor. The train is passing through the station.

Other verbs take the ablative as the object as well.

  • Hakkımdan vazgeçtim. I gave up my right.
  • Zamanınızdan iyi faydalanın. Make good use of your time.

Some postpositions and adjectives are formed with the ablative.

  • 3'ten önce evde ol. Be home by 3 o'clock.
  • Annesinden memnundu. He was happy with his mother.

The ablative is also used often as the predicate, to specify the material something is made out of ...

  • Kadının her şeyi plastiktendi. Everything of her was out of plastic.

... and to specify that the noun is a part of a larger group.

  • Öğretmen, sınıftan iki kişi seçti. The teacher selected 2 people from the class.

It is also used in comparative clauses.

  • Sizden daha çok çalışıyorum. I work more than you do.

InstrumentalEdit

FormationEdit

The instrumental case is counted as a postposition by some sources, but nevertheless acts like another case in colloquial language. It is therefore possible to form this using the postposition ile, or with the ending -la/le. The buffer consonant y is added if the word stem ends in a vowel, with no exceptions in formal speech.

evle
arabayla

Pronouns that don't end in -lar/ler receive the genitive ending first before receiving the instrumental ending in formal speech, however this is often omitted in colloquial language. While omitting the genitive ending in colloquial language, the buffer consonant n is added instead of y in demonstratives.

benimle benle
seninle senle
onunla onla

In all cases, the syllable before the suffix -la/le is stressed.

UsageEdit

Further information: Turkish/Postpositions

Other casesEdit

There are a lot more endings which may qualify as cases, but these will be covered in a later article.

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