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About Turkish

Following up on the "vowel harmony" guess, here are some glimpses of
Turkish grammar (from an elementary textbook I borrowed from my
almost-linguist son).


     s (as in "sit")                      
     S (s-cedilla; as "sh" in "shoe")     
     ç (c-cedilla; as "ch" in "church")   

     g  (as in "go")         
     j  (as "s" in "measure")
     c  (as "j" in "jump")   
     h (as in "head")
     r (as in "rock") 
     y (as in "yellow")
     G (g-hachek, some sort of y/w glide)


  front vowels                   back vowels 
    e (as in "fed")                a (as "u" in "sun")                          
    i (as in "bit")                I (second sound in "nation")
    ö (as "eu" in French "peu")    o (as in "falsetto")                         
    ü (as in German "über")        u (as in "pull")                             

  (The sound descriptions are as taken from the book, don't complain to me...)

Vowel harmony:

  The vowels used in the suffixes are determined by the last vowel of
  the modified word, according to the following table:

    Last vowel   "V4"-harmonic  "V2"-harmonic  "V24"-harmonic
        e              i             e            i
        i              i             e            i
        ö              ü             e            i
        ü              ü             e            i
        a              I             a            I
        I              I             a            I
        o              u             a            I
        u              u             a            I
  Some suffixes use the appropriate "V2" harmonic vowel, some use the
  "V4" harmonic. Some suffixes may have two vowels, V4 and/or V2.
  Generally speaking, the first suffix harmonizes with the last vowel
  of the stem; and each additional suffix harmonizes with the last
  vowel of the preceding suffix.
  (Certain suffixes may be thought of as composites of a V2-suffix and a
  V4-suffix, the latter harmonizing with the formar. In that case, the
  V4 is related indirectly to the word's last vowel according to the
  "V24" column.)
  In any case, harmonics have the same front/back quality as
  the stem vowel.

Consonant changes:

  A "t" at the beginning of a suffix will usually mutate into "d" when
  the suffix is appended to a word that ends with vowel or voiced
  consonant. Similarly, a "t" at the end of a word will usually mutate
  to "d" when the word gets modified by a suffix that starts with a
  The same voiced/unvoiced alternation rules apply to the consonant
  pair "ç" (pronounced as "ch" in "church") and "c" (pronounced as "j"
  in "jump"); and to the pair "p" and "b" (both pronounced as in
  Turkish generally avoids vowel-vowel sequences; thus, a suffix that
  nominally begins with a vowel will gain an extra "buffer" consonant
  ("y", "n", "s", depending on the suffix), or lose the vowel,
  when it is attached to a word that already ends with vowel.
  There are a few other changes that are confined to specific suffixes
  and/or specific stems.  For example, a "k" at the end of a polysyllabic
  stem often mutates to "G" (hacheck-g, pronounced as some sort of y/w glide).
The verb "to be":

  The verb "to be" is indicated by suffixes:


      1st person sing      -(y)V4m
      2nd person sing      -sV4n
      3rd person sing(*)   -tV4r | -dV4n

      1st person plur      -(y)V4z
      2nd person plur      -sV4nV4z
      3rd person plur(*)   -tV4rlV2z | -dV4rlV2z

        (*) For the 3rd person cases, the verb suffix is often omitted.


      1st person sing      -tV4m    | -dV4m
      2nd person sing      -tV4n    | -dV4n
      3rd person sing      -tV4     | -dV4

      1st person plur      -tV4k    | -dV4k
      2nd person plur      -tV4nV4z | -dV4nV4z
      3rd person plur      -tV4lV2r | -dV4lV2r


    "We are X"  =  Xiz,  Xüz,  XIz,  Xuz,
                   Xyiz, Xyüz, XyIz, Xyuz

  depending on X's last vowel, and on whether X ends with a 
  vowel or not.
    talebe = student   talebeyiz   =  we are students
    genç = young       gençiz      =  we are young

    "I was X "      =  Xtim, Xtüm, XtIm, Xtum,
                       Xdim, Xdüm, XdIm, Xdum

    "They were X "  =  Xtiler, Xtüler, XtIlar, Xtular,
                       Xdiler, Xdüler, XdIlar, Xdular

  depending on the last vowel of X, and on whether it ends
  with a voiced sound or not:

  The plural of nouns is indicated by the suffix -lV2r
    ev = house      evler  = houses
    fil = elephant  filler = elephants
    top = ball      toplar = balls
    pul = stamp     pullar = stamps

  There no definite article.  The indefinite article
  is "bir" = "a, one"; but it is not mandatory.

Object/subject distinction:

  There is no special mark for the subject.
  A direct object is marked with the suffix  -(y)V4
  only if it is definite:
    gece = the night(SUBJ), a night     geceyi  = the night(OBJ)
    ev = the house(SUBJ), a house       evi     = the house(OBJ)
    evler = the houses(SUBJ), houses    evleri  = the houses(OBJ)
Dative, locative, ablative:

  The cases usually expressed in English with prepositions "to",
  "at/in", "from" are indicated by the following suffixes
     dative:   -(y)V2      
     locative: -tV2  | -dV2    
     ablative: -tV2n | -dV2n   
    ev       = house              aGaç         = tree
    eve      = to the house       aGaça        = to the tree 
    evte     = at/in the house    aGaçta       = at/in the tree
    evten    = from the house     aGaçtan      = from the tree
    evlere   = to the houses      aGaçlara     = to the trees
    evlerde  = at/in the houses   aGaçlarda    = at/in the trees
    evlerden = from the houses    aGaçlardan   = from the trees

  The English phrase "X's Y" can be written in Turkish in 
  several ways:
     X  Y-(s)V4              if X is singular indefinite
     X  Y-lV2rV24            if X is plural indefinite
     X-(n)V4n  Y-(s)V4       if X is singular definite
     X-(n)V4n  Y-lV2rV24     if X is plural definite
  So, from "çocuk" = "child" and "bahçe" = "garden", we get
    çocuk bahçesi   = child-garden (= kindergarten)
    çocuk bahçeleri = children-garden OR child-gardens OR ...
    çocuGun bahçesi      = garden of the child
    çocuGun bahçeleri    = gardens of the child
    çocuklarIn bahçeleri = gardens of the children
  Other suffixes are used to indicate "my", "your", "ours":
    X-(V4)m    "my X"
    X-(V4)n    "your X"  (for sing. "you")

    X-(V4)mV4z "our X"
    X-(V4)nV4z "your X"  (for plural "you")
  So from "bahçe" one gets "bahçem" = "my garden", "bahçemez" = "our garden",
  "bahçelerenez" = "your gardens", etc.

  Well, I am throwing the towel here. 8-) Verbs are conjugated by
  adding suffixes, of course. Besides time and person, the suffixes
  may indicate conditional aspect, passive voice, causation,
  reflexivity, attending circumstance, degree of confidence by the
  speaker, etc. etc.


  This sumamry is over-hyper-simplified, and may contains all sorts
  of errors.

  This is *modern* Turkish, of course. I have no idea how much todays
  language differs from that spoken/written in the 15th
  Note that Turks used the Arabic alphabet until the 1920's or so.

For whatever it is worth...

All the best,