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Solutions of Turkish Vowel Harmony Problems in Turkish Grammar

Just for your information, that a vowel which following another in a word is not allowed in Turkish. When the vowel harmony is a rule for joining a noun, verb, or adjective with a suffix, then we will have a vowel rule. The task of a vowel rule is arranging two vowels which meet in a word to become a vowel or probably need a consonant between them.

How to merger two vowels which meet in a word

This article will answer our question about what should we do when we need to add a suffix which is started with a vowel to a word which is ended with a vowel also? We can solve this problem by dropping a vowel or adding a buffer consonant, although it's not that simple to explain when we should remove a vowel, and when we have to add an extra consonant. It seems like I want to say that sometimes we have to do this, and sometimes we have to do that.

1. Remove one of them

When the vowels that meet are from the same letter, that they are one of the letters "-i, -ı, -u, -ü". Simply, I want to say that they are the same vowels, then it doesn't matter if we remove any letters. But, when one of the letter "-i, -ı, -u, -ü" meets one of the letter "a, e, o, ö", then we should drop the letter of "-i, -ı, -u, -ü". Please take a look the example below:

When I want to say, "My bag!", then according to the English-Turkish dictionary, Bag in Turkish is Çanta. And to indicate that something is mine, or we may say it as the possessive pronounce, in Turkish we will use the suffix "-im, -ım, -um, -üm". It means "my" in English. Please read our previous lesson about the vowel harmony rules to understand how to get the suit suffix for the word "Çanta".

Based on the vowel harmony rules, then we know that the pair of Çanta is the suffix "-ım". Do you think that Çanta + "-ım" will become Çantaım? For the first time I learned the vowel harmony rules, I thought the same as you. But, the native told me that two vowels don't allow to follow each other. We should remove one of them, or add a consonant between them.

I thought about Çantım. Well, for a few hours I have been thought that Çantım is correct. But the fact told me the opposite. I should make a correction from Çantım to Çantam. The explanation is shown in the picture below:

How to say Bag in Turkish?

Let's try once again. Now, I want to say, "my car". Let's look it up in our dictionary. What is the translation of "car" in Turkish? The answer is "araba". It means "car". Do you remember what is the possessive suffix of "my"? It could be "-im, -ım, -um, -üm", depends on the vowel harmony rules.

Because of the last vowel of Araba is the letter "a", then the following suffix should come from the hard and flat vowel, according to the vowel harmony rules. You can read and refresh your memory by reading the short article of tips to memorize vowel harmony rules faster over here. Okay! Let's continue this discussion. What will "Araba" + "-ım" be? If you remember the result of our study case above about "Çanta", you will get the right answer. Insyaa Allah...

Do you want to try another word? Friends, I ask you to try again with some words. How about if I want to say, "my mother, your father, his sister, and her brother"?

Because of having 2 vowels in the same word isn't allowed in Turkish, we can solve it by dropping one of them, or add an extra consonant between them.

First of all, we should learn about the possessive suffix in Turkish. When we want to say "my", then the possessive suffix could be "-im, -ım, -um, -üm". And to say "your", we can use the suffix "-in, -ın, -un, -ün". Then, to say "her" or "his", we could add one of the suffixes "-si, -sı, -su, -sü". Please open your English-Turkish dictionary to translate from "mother, father, sister" and "brother" to Turkish.

So, the answer to my question is "annem, baban, ablası, ve abisi". How about if the end vowel of a word is same as the first vowel of a suffix?

For example, what should I do, if I want to say "my shoe"? Shoe in Turkish is Ayakkabı. Then, to build "my shoe", we should add the suffix "-ım" after the word "Ayakkabı". As you see, the letter "ı" in the first vowel of the suffix "-ım" meets the letter "ı" in the last vowel of the word "Ayakkabı". In another word, we can say they have the same letter that meets. Ayakkabı + ım.

What will you do? Will you keep them going together? Or just blend them into one letter only?

How to say my shoe in Turkish?


2. Add an extra consonant between them

We don't have to erase a letter of the double vowels, in some case we should keep them and just insert an extra consonant between them, such as the letter y, n, m, and s. For example, when we want to make a direct object, in English we can add "the" before the object easily. In Turkish, we can add the suffix -i after the object.

If I want to say, "the car" in Turkish. How to do it? As we know that "car" in Turkish is Araba. Then, we should add the suffix -i to Araba. So it would be, Araba + i, right? We can't it say as Arabai. We had learned before that we can remove one of them or add a buffer consonant. Please take a note, if in this case, we remove one of the vowels from Arabai, then we won't get the word that we want. Keep reading to understand the condition and how do we solve it in the right way.

How to use the suffix -in properly in Turkish?

The suffix -in (the possessive nouns)

I assumed that you understand about the different of the possessive pronouns and the possessive nouns in English. Let's recall our memories. We can say that the word is a possessive noun when we see the apostrophe which is following by the letter S (someone's) or only apostrophe without the letter S (someone'), belongs the noun.

Well, if you are an Indonesian people, I can easily translate it for you as "milik seseorang / punya seseorang". Kindly read about the possessive case and the genitive case in Grammar Monster. In a short explanation, we can say that "the car's brush" has the same meaning with "the brush of the car", or in Bahasa Indonesia we can translate it as "kuasnya mobil itu / kuas kepunyaan mobil itu".

Let's learn from the Turkish sentence below. I want to build a sentence, "Sarah's bag is yellow."

As we known, that to show a possessive noun in Turkish, we should add the suffix -in after the object. The suffix -in gives us "of" as the possessive meaning. For example "Sarah's bag is yellow" has the same meaning with "The bag of Sarah is yellow". We will learn about how to use the possessive nouns in Turkish later.

How important suffixes in Turkish language?
Do you want to try to translate "Sarah's bag is yellow" into Turkish sentence? Please take a note, when the letter H in Sarah has a sound. We spell it normally as Sarah. Then, we should add the suffix -in without adding any buffer consonant. But, when the letter H in Sarah is silent. We spell it as Sara. Then, we should add the letter N as the buffer consonant between Sarah and the suffix -in.

The complete sentence will be, "Sarah'ın çantası sarı" or "Sarah'nın çantası sarı".

Alright! I am trying to provide to you more examples about the suffix -in.

English: The house of my cousin is very far == My cousin's house is very far.
Bahasa Indonesia: Rumah sepupu saya sangat jauh.
Turkish: Kuzenimin evi çok uzakta. (Kuzen-im-in)

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English: The aunt of someone had two daughters == Someone's aunt had two daughters == Her aunt had two daughters.
Bahasa Indonesia: Bibinya punya dua anak perempuan.
Turkish: Halasının iki kızı vardı. (Hala-sı-n-ın)


Anyway, the examples below, I have got from my friend from Turkey, Elif, when she tried to help me understand about the suffix -in. Please take a look.

English: My hair's color is black == The color of my hair is black.
Bahasa Indonesia: Warna rambut saya hitam == Rambut saya berwarna hitam.
Turkish: Saçımın rengi siyahtır. (Saç-ım-ın)

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English: The name of this country is Turkey == This country's name is Turkey.
Bahasa Indonesia: Nama negara ini adalah Turki.
Turkish: Bu ülkenin adı Türkiyedir. (Ülke-n-in)


The suffix -i

This suffix is used when we want to mention a specific object or subject. In English, usually we use "the". If the last letter of the word is a vowel, then we should add the letter Y as the buffer consonant.


The suffix -e

This suffix gives the meaning of  the preposition "to". If the last letter of the word is a vowel, then we should add the letter Y between them as the buffer consonant.


The suffix -le

Do you know how we add the preposition "with" and "by" in Turkish? We can use the suffix -le. If the last letter of the word is a vowel, then we should insert the letter Y between them as the buffer consonant.


The suffix -de

This suffix gives the word as a preposition meaning for place, in English we can say it as "at / in / on". If the last letter of the word is a vowel, then we should insert the letter N between them as the buffer consonant.


The suffix -den

If you want to use the preposition "from" in a Turkish sentence, we can add the suffix -den. If the last letter of the word is a vowel, then we should insert the letter N between them as the buffer consonant





Are you curious about this section? Let's continue again tomorrow.

Merhaba! Benim adım Lutfi. Ben Memrise online yabancı dil kursunda öğrenciyim. Bu benim notlarım. Ve sen Memrise Student'in blog okuyorsun. Çok teşekkür ederim! Sonra görüşürüz. Hello! My name is Lutfi. I am a student in Memrise online foreign language course. This is my notes. And you are reading Memrise Student's blog.

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