Thursday, May 26, 2011

-ing adjectives and gerunds

After the last couple weeks of looking at conditional tenses and subjunctive moods, I need to revisit what would be the English "-ing" equivalent of an adjective and a gerund in Turkish. I'm confusing the two in conversation, and I need to get it sorted out.

Both of these things were covered fairly thoroughly in the Teach Yourself Turkish book, so I'm referencing that again.

In a nutshell, an "-ing" adjective in Turkish is "-en/-an" formation of the verb by adding it to the verb stem.

For example, "Istanbul'a giden tren" is "The train going to Istanbul" The "-en" is added to "gid", the root stem of "gitmek" (to go). For an "-an" example, "Koşan adam", or "the man who's running". "-an" is added to "koş", the root stem of "koşmak" (to run). For these adjectives, it helps for me to look at the word order in Turkish to reinforce the fact that they're adjectives. Instead of translating "the train going to Istanbul", the natural Turkish order of "Istanbul to going train" helps me to see that the adjective is for train, and not functioning as a gerund.

To form a gerund, "-erek/-arak" is added to the root stem of a verb. This creates the form by...(verb)-ing. For example, "Yürüyerek geldim" is "I came on foot", or literally, "I came by walking". The literal translation is a much more useful way for me to look at it. For an "-arak" example, "Bakarak buldum" - "I found it by looking".

There is also a special case for use with the verb "olmak" that doesn't really conform to these rules, but that hasn't caused me any trouble, as its use is so widespread it's already sort of ingrained.

So that's my reinforcement work for this week - the difference between "-ing" adjectives and gerunds. As I've been doing pretty successfully lately, I'll take long walks and drill it into my head, using the vocabulary I already know.


  1. Dammit! I'm not supposed to be getting explanations, but you keep writing about grammar! :) I may have to unsubscribe from your blog for the rest of the year. hahahah

    Just a note: I think where you say "adjective," you might mean to say "participle."

  2. Sorry! Don't mean to give you grammar lessons. They're really for me to keep track of what I'm having trouble with and learning. But if you or anybody gets any use out of them, that's cool too (this isn't a formal lesson/course, so it's fair game to use, no?).

    My writing wasn't all that clear, but I do mean adjective. when attaching -en/-an to a verb stem, the entire word functions as an adjective.

  3. Well, the meaning is clear, regardless... I suppose I'll leave the discussion over names for parts of speech to our Polish friend. :)

  4. Merhaba!

    You might have noticed that I have stopped with Turkish to enhance my Danish progress.

    This grammar topic of yours is a repetition for me. I have also learned these ulaç verb forms, but my problem with Turkish was rather that I couldn't think it nor could I speak it. With Danish I have less grammar knowledge, but I am more succesful in using it actively. Fasulye

  5. Hi Fasulye,

    I can sympathize with the trouble in speaking Turkish. I had (and still do have!) a lot of trouble with it because of the word order.

    The only thing that has helped me in that regard is actually speaking it with a native speaker (I have a Skype partner I speak with a couple times a week). I'm finding that with consistent conversation, I'm beginning to get the word order right. It's not even on a thinking level, rather it's more what everyone seems to call "automaticity". It's just starting to fall into place. I'm no longer frustrated with it, at least.

    These grammar points I'm documenting are what have given me trouble, but I've also found that once I've taken the time to drill them, then USE them in conversation, they're there. And if I ever use them incorrectly, my language partner steps in and reinforces the correct use.

  6. Hi Rick,

    I never had anybody for Turkish conversation, so I was drilling grammar and vocabulary without using it in practise. My Danish teacher speaks Danish in the lessons and after the lessons I started thinking in Danish. Now I can create Danish thoughts whenever I want.

    With Turkish grammar it is helpful to blog about it because when you explain it to your readers (who ever might read it) then you yourself internalize it that's why I present so much grammar in my own blog. Fasulye