Vowel Harmony

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Ciarán12
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Vowel Harmony

Postby Ciarán12 » 2013-12-05, 19:48

Hello Turkish-forumites!

I have been looking at a few websites teaching Turkish, but I'm still a little confused on the details of vowel harmony in Turkish. Could some one explain it? In particular, I would like to know if there is a definite set of rules that apply to all suffixes (maybe with the expection of some I've attached to loan words from Arabic) or if different suffixes follow different rules? Is there a way to determine unequivocally what vowels should be in a suffix just by looking at the last vowel of the root?
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Hoogstwaarschijnlijk
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Re: Vowel Harmony

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2013-12-05, 21:37

Someone else can probably explain this better, but here's my try:

There are two kinds:
e (after e, i, ö and ü as last vowel) or a (after a, ı, o and u)
For example: sev-iyor (sevmek- to love, (i)yor- present time suffix)
i (after e and i), ı (after a and ı), ü (after ü and ö), u (after u and o)
For example: seviyor-um ((i)m- suffix first person singular)

So it depends on what vowel is last and what vowel is used in the suffix which vowel you need.

Does that a bit answer your question?
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Corrections appreciated.

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Re: Vowel Harmony

Postby voron » 2013-12-05, 21:57

For convenience, I'm attaching this table with the Turkish vowels.

turkish_vowels.png

Main vowel harmony rule states:
A word should contain only front vowels or only back vowels.

In Turkish, this is called big vowel harmony (Büyük Ünlü Uyumu). Examples of suffixes which comply to the big harmony rule:
  • plurality suffix -lar/-ler
  • dative suffix -(y)e/a
  • locative suffix -de/da (-te/ta)
  • ablative suffix -den/dan (-ten/tan)
Practically it gives us the following rules of choosing the suffix vowel depending on the previous vowel:
i, ü, e, ö -> e
ı, u, a, o -> a

Examples:
arkadaş - arkadaşlar (friends)
ev - eve (to the house)
gönül - gönülde (in the heart)
İstanbul - İstanbul'dan (from Istanbul)


The second harmony type is called small vowel harmony (Küçük Ünlü Uyumu). This harmony type requires the vowels to be:
not only simultaneously front or back (=big vowel harmony),
but also simultaneously rounded or unrounded.

Examples of suffixes which comply to the small vowel harmony rule:
  • accusative suffix -(y)i/ü/ı/u
  • genitive suffix -(n)in/ün/ın/un
  • possessive suffixes
Practically it gives us:
i,e -> i
ü,ö -> ü
ı,a -> ı
u,o -> u

Examples:
araba - arabayı (car, direct object)
Türkiye - Türkiye'nin (of Turkey)
kız - kızı (his/her daughter)

Some Turkish suffixes break the vowel harmony rule by having only one form and not depending on the previous vowel. Examples:
-yor (present tense suffix)
-ken (corresponds to Engilsh while, when)
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Last edited by voron on 2013-12-30, 23:23, edited 1 time in total.

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Ciarán12
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Re: Vowel Harmony

Postby Ciarán12 » 2013-12-06, 7:59

Thank you both, that is much clearer! Voron, are the suffixes you mentioned above all of the ones that use vowel harmony in Turkish, or are there others? If there are, does the type of vowel harmony the suffixes follow have to be learned off whenever you come across a new suffix?

I saw, for example, the infix "miş" for verbs is "muş" for the present continuous (presumably because of the vowel in the suffix "yor", i.e. içermişim but içiyormuşum.
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Re: Vowel Harmony

Postby voron » 2013-12-06, 13:00

Ciarán12 wrote:Thank you both, that is much clearer! Voron, are the suffixes you mentioned above all of the ones that use vowel harmony in Turkish, or are there others? If there are, does the type of vowel harmony the suffixes follow have to be learned off whenever you come across a new suffix?

You're welcome, I'm glad we could help!

All suffixes except for a few exceptions use either of the two vowel harmony rules. Yes, the harmony type has be learnt for each suffix. The type is usually obvious from how the suffix is presented in a book. If there are two options (with the vowels 'a' and 'e') then it's the big harmony. If there are four options (with the vowels 'i', 'ü', 'ı', 'u'), then it's the small harmony.

Miş/müş/mış/muş is the small harmony suffix.

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Re: Vowel Harmony

Postby nadi » 2017-02-13, 20:51

voron wrote:All suffixes except for a few exceptions use either of the two vowel harmony rules. Yes, the harmony type has be learnt for each suffix. The type is usually obvious from how the suffix is presented in a book. If there are two options (with the vowels 'a' and 'e') then it's the big harmony. If there are four options (with the vowels 'i', 'ü', 'ı', 'u'), then it's the small harmony.

Miş/müş/mış/muş is the small harmony suffix.


You've done it much better than I would. Maybe I can give and check examples but if you ask me for a clear cut explanation, I can't do it.

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Re: Vowel Harmony

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-02-27, 4:00

If you skip down to the part of this page called "Vowel Harmony," you will find a somewhat poorly worded explanation of what is, but at least it also has a nice chart of the rules regarding which vowels can follow each vowel.


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