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Lesson 170: Subordinating suffixes: -(y)İp

In the past, Turkish did not have the word ve, which was later borrowed from Persian. It's odd to think that a language did not have a word for and, right? So you may wonder, how did they talk about things? How did they connect sentences and words? Well, the answer is quite simple.

For connecting nominals, Turkish used ile(with), and for connecting verbs, it used the suffix -(y)İp, which you will learn about in this lesson.

-(y)İp is from one of the classes of suffixes called subordinators. Subordinators create subordinate (or as we call it, embedded) clauses. -(y)İp is used to connect clauses. Let's look at an example:

I went to the market and bought cigarettes. Markete gidip sigara aldım.

Note that the English equilavent of -(y)İp is and. And is not a subordinator, as it simply connects two separate sentences. -(y)İp is different in that sense, as it creates an embedded clause. So there's only one sentence but two clauses in Turkish, compared to English having two sentences and two clauses.

If you're wondering where the tense/aspect or person markers are in the embedded clause, you're on the right track. -(y)İp creates non-finite verbs, called converbs, which means that they carry no tense. Generally, we assume that the person and tense/aspect of the converb (the verb that has -(y)İp) are the same as the tense/aspect of the verb in the main clause. For instance, in the sentence given above, aldım has past tense first person singular, so it is most natural to assume that gidip is also past first person singular. Because what else can it be? Below is another example:

Let's get up early in the morning and go to the seaside. Sabah erken kalkıp deniz kenarına gidelim.

Here, gidelim is first person plural optative. So we interpret kalkıp to be also first person plural optative.

Full version -(y)İp version
Sabah erken kalkalım ve deniz kenarına gidelim. Sabah erken kalkıp deniz kenarına gidelim.

As said above, generally we get the meaning of converb from the main clause verb. However, we can also get it from other contextual cues. For example, when the main clause verb has negation, we sometimes interpret the converb to have a negative meaning, but sometimes not. Compare the following two examples, first:

Your threats cannot scare us and make us flee. Tehditleriniz bizi korkutup kaçıramaz.
Full version -(y)İp version
Tehditleriniz bizi korkutamaz ve kaçıramaz. Tehditleriniz bizi korkutup kaçıramaz.


(Apparently) Kamil read the book and didn't understand it. Kamil kitabı okuyup anlamamış.
Full version -(y)İp version
Kamil kitabı okumuş ve anlamamış. Kamil kitabı okuyup anlamamış.

As you can see, from the context we understand that in the first sentence, the verb that has -(y)İp is negated like the main clause verb. However, in the second sentence the verb that has -(y)İp is not negated, because it would be nonsensical to not read and not understand it since you need to have read the book in order to be able to not understand it.

All in all, with practice you will get the meaning of -(y)İp verbs with ease.

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