Standard Turkish Word Order
'Devrik Cümle' -- the Transposed or Inverted Sentence
Simple definition and Main characteristic
Table of Examples
Not a modern invention, but...
Lengthy Sample of DC writng style
English Translation of same
It's 'Decision Time'!
Links to other pages with DC style
insightful, man-in-the-street observation provides a serviceable
segue into discussion about the 'Devrik Cümle' (DC) [or
'Transposed Sentence' (also
known as 'Inverted Sentence')].
It's a subject with some built-in controversy since
"The Village People..? in Turkey..? too..?"
Well, it's not the same group.)
But most folks, like Mehmet Bey, see it as
Still... before you
try to make up your
mind whether it's devil
let's see exactly what it is -- this 'Devrik Cümle'.
Standard Word Order Rules are partially relaxed.
And the main
characteristic of a Turkish
sentence written (or
spoken) in the DC style
verb in the sentence finally gets some respect!
It gets promoted
from the back-end of the sentence
to the middle or the front-end of the sentence (And
in the process, the word-order pattern can coincidentally
begin to resemble that found in English).
or in situations where the writer/speaker wants to
enliven, energize, or intensify
Of course it is most effective when used sparingly.
Let's be clear now
Turkish Word Order in
a sentence follows the pattern of Subject
second, and Verb...
Vincent killed the fly!
In a 'Transposed Sentence' the
word order pattern is more flexible and can be Subject
-- or, in
the case of a Command or a Question, it
can be Verb first, Subject
and Object last
table for examples).
So, when it's transposed, the example from above could look like:
Note how the word-order pattern of this very simple Turkish sentence
perfectly matches the English sentence word-order pattern.
Now, if only all Turkish sentences were so simple...
< sigh >
The Transposed Sentences in the
table, above, represent quite common examples of modern Turkish
-- and some of them, like the last two entries,
have been around for centuries.
But it's also fair to say that
after Atatürk established the modern Turkish Republic and then introduced sweeping language reform in 1928, there began to emerge in Turkey a school
of writers who purposely avoided traditional word order
rules, even in formal writing. And those writers of the "DC
continue to have a strong public following, especially
among young people, so DC's place in the language is well
One of the most prominent members
of the DC writers group (perhaps DC's most influential proponent)
was Nurullah Ataç (1898-1958), an author and a critic.
When asked to comment on the DC group's writing style, he replied
in the typical DC-informal speaking style,
"There are just a few of us who speak like this,
we know we won't be able to explain [ourselves] to the majority."
But, as a mature artist, he always
wrote in the DC style -- and when more and better writers emulated
him -- Turkish literature (and the language, in general) entered a new era.
together with an approximate English translation.
It's entitled "
and it opens at once with an example of the DC style.
Later in the selection, there's a further example of DC.
Shame on you if you can't find it!
That was a clue, mon cher...
Beware of this writing selection...It's
rather difficult to follow in places --
gözükmelerine; ne derlerse desinler, o gençleri,
o uslu uslu gençleri be
Bir kisi, ne
Biraz zor, de
the looks [of the readers]; no matter what they say,
it's a lie that they [the readers] like the "bright, intelligent, well-behaved"
young writers's [ways]. There's an easy test: Take a magazine
and read one of the old folk poems in a loud voice, and occasionally
raise your eyes to look around to see who's listening; you'll
see the listeners shaking their heads in [apparent] boredom and
distress. They don't [seem to] want you to read, they
are waiting to hear about young writers.
Do you know why? Don't pay attention to what they say [negatively]
about their laughing, about their anger, about their not understanding [the young writers]
-- it's that they [actually]
like [the young writing style], even love it. But they can't openly
say that they understand it, like it, and love it -- they are embarrassed
to say that. The writing style is not as taught by their fathers
and fore-fathers, it doesn't resemble long-established standards
of "excellence", it bothers them that they like this
unsuitable style, and they want to escape from it. They are critical of the young, they are laughing at
and angry with the young, but if you want
the truth, it's because they are [actually] critical of themselves,
it's because they are [actually] angry with themselves.
If a person
doesn't understand the [spoken] words then how can he laugh [at
them]? He [may seem] fed up, bored
but [if] he laughs -- it
means he understands something. We [humans] can't laugh at something
we don't understand at all! [So when readers] laugh,
display anger, it means they understand [the DC writing style]. If not, they'd turn their heads, and give their attention elsewhere.
If a person doesn't understand the [spoken] words then how can he laugh [at them]? He [may seem] fed up, bored but [if] he laughs -- it means he understands something. We [humans] can't laugh at something we don't understand at all! [So when readers] laugh, display anger, it means they understand [the DC writing style]. If not, they'd turn their heads, and give their attention elsewhere.
Kinda heavy, what?
So which is it, dear reader? Devil or Angel?
Because, in small doses,
it does seem to add vigor and interest to Turkish expressions.
And besides that -- it's much more forgiving of us
Turkish language strugglers as we try to get ourselves understood
on the streets of izmir, Gümüldür, and Selçuk!
If Turks weren't already used to non-standard word order,
we strugglers could be in a real pickle --
because the sentences we utter
don't always roll off our tongues in strict accordance with the rules.
Well, Marvin's sentences don't -- that's fer shur
style doesn't replace
Turkish Word Order. It's
a variant, and if it's deliberately (or mistakenly) overdone --
it can muddle your intended meaning beyond recognition!
but we've used some DC style on other pages of the site,
without disclosing our dirty little secret
You can see examples by clicking on the following links :
for inspiring this article
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