War is Hell
Lesson 66intermediate Turkish Intermediate
War is Hell
Today, we're taking a field trip to the battlefields of Gallipoli to learn about the strange behavior of material and nationality modifiers. Suit up soldier.
Materials and nationalities.
Hover over words to see their translations and suffixes.
Hemşire Banu
Tahta Tahta
wood
masadaki masa + daki
the one on the table
bandajları bandaj + lar + ı
bandages
uzatır mısın? uzat + ır mı + sın
will you pass
İngiliz İngiliz
English
askerin asker + in
soldier's
kanaması kanama + s + ı
his bleeding
var. var.
there is
Translate |
Can you pass me the bandages on the wooden table? The English soldier is bleeding.
Hemşire Duygu
Buyurun. Buyurun.
here you go
Ameliyat olması lazım. ameliyat olma + s + ı lazım
he needs to have an operation
Galiba Galiba
it seems
karaciğerinde karaciğer + i + n + de
in his liver
metal metal
metal
parçalar parça + lar
pieces
var. var.
there is
Translate |
Here you go. He needs to have an operation. There seems to be metal pieces in his liver.
Hemşire Banu
Korkarım kork + ar + ım
I am afraid
doğru doğru
true
ve ve
and
çok çok
very
yakında yakında
soon
daha daha
more
fazla fazla
a lot
İngiliz İngiliz
English
askeri asker + i
soldiers
gelecek. gel + ecek
they will come
Translate |
I'm afraid so and that very soon more English soldiers will come.
Hemşire Duygu
Evet. . . Evet. . .
yes
İngiliz İngiliz
English
gemileri gemi + ler + i
ships
durmayacak. dur + ma + y + acak
they will not stop
Birçok Birçok
many
İngiliz, İngiliz,
English
Türk, Türk,
Turkish
Fransız, Fransız,
French
ve ve
and
Avustralyalı Avustralya + lı
Australian
asker asker
soldier
ölüyor, öl + üyor
they are dying
çok çok
very
yazık. yazık.
pity
Translate |
Yes, the English ships won't cease. Many English, Turkish, French, and Australian soldiers are dying - it's such a shame.
Hemşire Banu
Dün Dün
yesterday
bir bir
a
Fransız Fransız
French
bacağını bacak + ı + n + ı
his leg
kaybetti. kaybet + ti
he lost
Evvelki gün Evvelki gün
the day before yesterday
bir bir
a
Türk Türk
Turk
bir bir
a
de de
also
Avustralyalı Avustralya + lı
Australian
çocuk çocuk
kid
çamurda çamur + da
in the mud
anneleri anne + leri
their mothers
için için
for
ağlıyorlardı. ağla + ıyor + lardı
they were crying
Translate |
Yesterday, a French soldier lost his leg. The day before, a Turkish and Australian kid were crying for their mothers in the mud.
Hemşire Duygu
Savaş Savaş
war
tam tam
exactly
bir bir
a
katliam. katliam.
massacre
Bu Bu
this
bedel bedel
price
Türk yurdunu Turkish yurt + u + n + u
Turkish homeland
korumak korumak
to protect
için için
for the sake of
ödeniyor öde + n + iyor
is being paid
ama ama
but
çok çok
very
ağır ağır
heavy
bir bir
a
yük. yük.
burden
Translate |
War is a downright slaughter. This price is being paid to protect the Turkish motherland, but it's too heavy a load.
Hemşire Banu
Haklısın haklı + sın
you are right
ama ama
but
artık artık
now
şu şu
that
pamuk pamuk
cotton
sargıyı sargı + y + ı
bandage
verir misin? ver + ir mi + sin
will you give?
Savaş Savaş
war
bitene kadar bit + en + e kadar
until it ends
çok çok
a lot
çalışacağız. çalış + acak + ız
we will will work
Translate |
You're right, but for now, will you pass that cotton bandage? Until the war is finished, we have much work to do.
 
 
Play Dialog
Material Adjectives

Material adjectives are a little strange in Turkish. When using a material (metal, altın, tahta) to describe something, you use the noun form of the material, but you don't form a compound noun. Since you are combining two nouns into a single unit, you would expect to create a compound noun by adding -si to the second noun. However, Turkish doesn't do this; instead, the material noun mimics an adjective and the modified noun does not take a suffix.

Tahta masa.
Wood table.
Cam pencere.
Glass window.
İpek elbise.
Silk dress.

Practice this language point.

Nationalities and -li

Some nationalities in Turkish have their own unique words. Most, though, are formed by adding the suffix -li (meaning from or of) to the country name.

Interestingly, Amerikan and Amerikalı are both in daily use. Amerikalı is generally used with people, while Amerikan is used for things.

İngiliz
English
Alman
German
Fransız
French
İspanyol
Spanish
Suriyeli
Syrian
Kenyalı
Kenyan
Çinli
Chinese
Hintli
Indian

Practice this language point.

Nationalities as Adjectives and Nouns

When using nationalities to describe something, they can both act as adjectives and nouns. That is, sometimes the nationality will form a compound noun with the word it's modifying (thus acting like a noun), and sometimes it doesn't (thus acting like an adjective). There is a subtle difference between both cases.

In general, a nationality is used as an adjective when it is personifying. Don't make a compound noun when you are describing people (or otherwise personifying for literary reasons). As you would expect from Turkish's usual behavior, these words can be used alone to refer to a person of that nationality.

Bir Fransız doktor.
A French doctor.
Onlar Türkler.
They are Turks.
Japon insanlar.
Japanese people.
Bir Rus'la çıkıyor.
He is dating a Russian.

When using nationalities to describe non-person things, form a compound noun by adding -si to the second noun. This is different from English. We use adjectives to say something like Turkish coffee, whereas Turkish uses two nouns: Türk kahvesi. For nationalities that are formed with -li, just use the country name: Çin yemeği, not Çinli yemeği.

Fransız ekmeği.
French bread.
İngiliz gemileri.
English ships.
Kanada havası.
Canadian weather.
Belçika kırı.
Belgian countryside.

The distinction between these two ways of modifying words with nationalities is made clearer with the word asker (soldier). Using İngiliz (for example) as a personifying adjective to say İngiliz asker refers to a soldier that is English - that is, he has English parents but could be an American citizen in the American army. On the other hand, forming the compound noun to say İngiliz askeri refers to a soldier of the English army - in fact, the soldier might be Indian or Chinese, but they are employed by the country of England.

Why are material modifiers weird in Turkish?
  • They require a special suffix when modifying nouns.
  • They modify as nouns, but don't form compound nouns.
  • They are adjectives that sometimes act like nouns.
  • They form a compound noun with the word that they modify.
Why are nationality modifiers weird in Turkish?
  • Turkish uses nationalities as adjectives, whereas English uses compound nouns.
  • They always form compound nouns with the words they are modifying.
  • They never form compound nouns with the words they are modifying.
  • They sometimes form a compound noun, and sometimes they don't.
Which of the following are correct Turkish?
  • altın saati
  • Avustralyalı birası
  • gümüş çatal
  • Alman birası
  • Hint yemek
  • Çinli mühendis
Translate: A French soldier in the Turkish army. (ordu)
    Translate: a wooden spoon in the French kitchen.
      You must answer every question.
      Yuu
      as a foreigner living in australia, seeing gallipoli from the other side is very interesting. anzac day is 25 april here, celebrated as the birthday of a nation (no independence day in avustralya) with serious commemorative services and marches all over. many visit turkey then. this was a bit heavy topic but you do great dialogues.
      Sep 26, 2013
      Martha
      Merhaba! In the discussion about Atatürk, I can't quite make out what Büşra is saying when she speaks of his heroism. It's just a little too fast, and I think I am missing some of the suffixes. To me, it sounds like "Atatürk'ün kahramanı," but I don't think that can be right. What is she really saying?

      Teşekkürler!

      "Çanakkale Türküsü":
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd0mqHtKsz4

      Çok üzücü. Very sad.
      Jun 18, 2014
      Ward Family
      Merhaba! To me, war was meant to be peace and friendship
      Jun 19, 2015
      Anonymous Commenter
      You

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