Cat or Dog Person?
Lesson 23beginner Turkish Beginner
Cat or Dog Person?
Are you a cat or dog person? No question is more important to prying into the depths of the soul. Today, we're teaching possessives so you can dive head first into this age-old debate.
How to say "I have."
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everything in this lesson?
Translation of 'dedemin' in popup is right: 'my grandfather's',
'grandparents' in translation of paragraph is wrong.

An other thing is that I wonder when to use 'niye' as is being done in this dialog and when to use 'neden' or 'niçin' for translating 'why'. because I understood 'niye' has some negative meaning.
May 18, 2013
Okay, fixed. Çok teşekkür ederiz :)

Re: niye, niçin, neden. In this dialog, you could replace "niye" with the other two and it would be perfectly acceptable and normal.

I've also read that "niye" can carry a negative meaning, but honestly, it's not a cogent distinction. I just asked a bunch of Turks, and they are convinced that the three are identical. After that, I called up a professional Turkish teacher (who has taught Turkish grammar for 40+ years), and she was also familiar with this point. In her opinion, there's no use in teaching that "niye" is more negative than the others - it depends mostly on your tone of voice. And you'll definitely hear the other two in heated or negative contexts.

Hope that helps, Raoul. Thanks for your comments :)
May 18, 2013
"Kedim yok, ama dedemin kedileri var."

Merhaba! Sorry, but I'm confused. In the discussion, you talk about "my grandparents' cats," but doesn't the above mean "my grandfather's cats," as the pop-up and the translation say? I see that a student above has asked you to make the pop-up and the translation match, so is the discussion just wrong? (The speaker in the dialogue also seems to say "dedemin kedileri.")

And if it were "dedemlerin kedileri," does that mean that the "-ler" on the first word makes the "-leri" possessive suffix unnecessary? Just as Turks tend not to say "Onlar okuyorlar"? In the discussion you say that "-ler" is indicating plural cats and that "-i" is indicating possession.

And finally, please explain "dedemler." Why would it not be "dedelerim"? Perhaps the former means "grandparents" and the latter means "grandfathers"?

Apologies if I'm not thinking straight about all of this. Teşekkürler!
Feb 08, 2014
Günaydın Martha. A nice surprise for Saturday morning :)

1. Yes, we were wrong, and you are exactly right. We will try to go back and re-record this one so that there's no confusion.

2. Yes, exactly. This is always the case - the plural and plural-possessive suffix never go together. It's a little different from your example "onlar okuyorlar," since "onlar okuyor" is a preference, while "onların kedilerleri" is grammatically wrong. Anyway, you've stumbled across a topic that brought me lots of joy early in my Turkish learning career - the ambiguities of -ler. Instead of going into that here, I'll point you to Lesson 45 where we talk about that in excruciating detail:

3. "Dedemler" and "dedelerim" are both grammatically correct, but mean slightly different things. I think you already have the right idea.

When you add the plural to a person, it refers to that person's family (in a similar way, we say The Jones' in English). You'll hear this one a lot:

Annenler nasıl? = "How's your mom and hers?"

So, dedemler = my grandfather and his family

Alternatively, "dedeler" = grandfathers. "Dedelerim" = my grandfathers.

Does that all make sense?
Feb 08, 2014
Merhaba, Justin! Yes, this all makes sense. I will look at Lesson 45. And now that I think about it, I do know the rule for adding a plural to a person, but sometimes my brain is just on overload with Turkish. :) Çok teşekkür ederim.

P.S. -- I'm sorry I was late in responding to your very detailed response. I was watching for a Tea Time e-mail alerting me to a reply. Perhaps something has gotten unconnected?

Hoşça kal!
Feb 12, 2014
I want to organize my thoughts...

Kedim var ---> I have a cat.
Kedilerim var ---> I have cats. (not only one cat)
Kediler var ---> They have a cat.

are these right?

so how can I say "They have cat." ( not only one cat)
Feb 15, 2014
Merhaba! I love this topic :)

Your first two are right; your third sentence is slightly off.

They have a cat. = Onların kedileri var.
They have cats. = Onların kedileri var.

They look the same! Turkish never repeats the plural suffix, so we'll never seen something like Onların kedilerleri var.

Actually, we have a fun lesson *exactly* about this. Check it out! :)
Feb 15, 2014
Hi thanks for this wonderfull site,
I would like to ask about the fourth question, why we don't use arkadaslar?
Thanks a lot.
May 20, 2014
Çok rica ederiz :)

You never use the plural in Turkish when qualifying the noun with a number.

Bir arkadaş.
İki arkadaş.
Üç tane ekmek.
Çok arkadaşım var.
Hadi gel arkadaşlar!
May 20, 2014
Teşekkurler :)
May 20, 2014
Martin Christov
Merhaba Justin!
Why do you say:
"Biz köpek tercih ediyoruz"
Instead of:
"Biz köpeği tercih ediyoruz"

In the sentence above you put the possessive to "köpekleri tercih ediyor" why is there no possessive here?!
Jan 15, 2020
Merhaba Martin!

Both of those sentences are correct, depending on the context. The first means that we prefer dogs (as a group, an idea). The second most likely refers to a specific dog since it is using the accusative case.
Jan 16, 2020
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