As new concepts are invented, languages naturally need to invent new vocabulary to accommodate for them. This is done through derivation, the process of creating new words from existing words. In Turkish, this is mostly done through suffixation, and subsequently, Turkish contains a large number of derivational suffixes for this job.



Before the language reform of 1928, derivation through Arabic inflection was commonplace. While words derived in this manner are still common in Turkish, the productivity of these methods have decreased substantially, and as such, learning these principles are not worth the learner's time. Some examples of nouns derived in this manner are as follows:

Examples of Arabic Derivation
Zulüm Zalim Mazlum
Oppression Oppressor Oppressed
Hüküm Hâkim Mahkûm
Verdict Judge Convict
Emir Amir Memur
Order Chief Officer
Kabul Kabil Makbul
Acceptance Able Acceptable
Sükûn Sakin Meskûn
Silence SilentResident Residential

In its place, a large number of derivational suffixes were introduced. Some of these suffixes were loaned from other Central Asian languages, some of them were reintroduced from Old Turkic, some of them were dialectical suffixes used in rural dialects, and some were outright invented for the reform. With this, a number of loanwords were replaced with native Turkish ones.

Examples of replaced loanwords
Loanword Replacement Translation
Harp Savaş War
Mektep Okul School
Hikâye Öykü Story
Nazır Bakan Minister
İlim Bilim Science

Structure of this chapter


According to Turkish grammarians, there are 4 kinds of derivational suffixes:

  • Suffixes deriving nouns from other nouns
  • Suffixes deriving verbs from nouns
  • Suffixes deriving nouns from verbs
  • Suffixes deriving verbs from other verbs

The most productive and regular category out of these is the 4th one, suffixes deriving verbs from other verbs. As such, most of these suffixes have their own article in the chapter about verbs. All other kinds of derivational suffixes are covered in this chapter's articles.

In addition to suffixiation, another method of derivation is compounding. This form of derivation is covered in greater detail in Turkish/Noun Constructions, and the subchapter about auxiliary verbs.

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