Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dedikodu etmek...

OK, this post isn't directly related to gossip, but I was recently reminded of it by a gossipy neighbor, which made me think of a verb form in Turkish that I rarely use: the reportative tense, or, as Aaron over on calls it, the gossip tense. I like that description. It's pretty fitting, and I tend to relate its use to that particular meaning, although there are other meanings for this verb form.

I need to start using it more, so I'm revisiting it in my studies. It's covered fairly early on in both Teach Yourself Turkish and Colloquial Turkish.

Basically, the rule is simple: you use to to distance yourself from something in the story. A rough English equivalent would be to tack on "Apparently", "so I've heard", "I guess", or "supposedly", among other similar connecting words. All that's needed is a "miş/muş/mış" ending to the word stem, or root. So, say I want to say "I heard it was interesting", I would say "Enteresanmış". I should also note that this same word - enteresanmış - also can be used to denote present tense, so it also means "I hear it's interesting". Of course, this isn't limited to adjectives or adverbs. It can also be used directly with verbs, for example "Apparently, he/she knows" - "Bilirmiş".

This verb form can also be used to denote something you're unsure of. So you can use it to ask and confirm a question, such as "Does he/she know?" - "Bilir miymiş?" (note the "y" buffer between mi and miş). In this case, we're not sure, but suspect that the person knows and we just need confirmation.

Other simple question words, such as "what", "where" or "why" can also have a "miş" ending to show unsureness, for example "Neredeymiş" - "Where was it/where do you suppose it was?".

All in all, it's a pretty simple concept. Not one we English speakers are used to, unless we constantly speak hypothetically. And really, that isn't a bad exercise to get used to the pattern.

So I'll be practicing this verb form with my Skype partner for the next couple sessions.

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