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LPT Symbol More Turkish Suffixes

The Too Many Uses of "den"
(and it's spelling variants, "dan, ten, tan")

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The Turkish Suffix 'den"
The 5 Common Uses of 'den'
Examples of the Common Uses
The 3 Spelling Variations
Examples of the Variations
Confusion between suffix and participle
How to make a Turkish Present Participle
Gilda Elveda...

The Turkish Suffix 'den'

Who out there remembers the great 1982 comeback season for Saturday Night Live -- the venerable American comedy classic?

Our favorite lampooning skits of the time starred Joe Piscopo and Robin Duke playing Doug and Wendy Whiner -- and they whined, and they moaned, and they complained about everything, all the time. Nothing made them happy. They just couldn't be satisfied, ever.

In one segment Doug & Wendy (Joe/Robin) are airline passengers who even find something to complain about when their Economy Class tickets
have to be upgraded to First Class.
It seems that the First Class seats are simply
too uncomfortably large for them --
and besides that,
the free Champagne tickles their noses!

Well, if you do remember them, then…
do you also remember
the infamous Whiner episode that got scratched
by some TV affiliate stations just before air time --
because of the controversial nature of the subject?

Do you remember the episode called...
Whiners Clueless about the 'den' Suffix ???

It started out like this…
Wendy: Oh no! Now they've got another suffix they want us to learn…<groan>

Doug: This is awful, I can't take any more…<moan>

Wendy: I mostly hate the 5 categories of use/meaning. How can I know which category is which? <whine>

Doug: That's nothing. What about the 3 spelling variations? I mean, wouldn't 2 be enough? <sigh>

Wendy: But, that's not the worst of it. Do you realize how easy it is to confuse the 'den' suffix with the endings found on certain 'present participles'? <grrrr>

Doug: And, they say the only way to find out how to use it correctly is by visiting The Learning Practical Turkish website… <bleat>

Wendy: Huh? You mean I gotta get an Internet Account? Oh, no! I'm computer-phobic…<argghh>


Even The Whiners got it right sometimes.

The 5 Most Common Uses of the 'den' Suffix

  1. To denote directional meaning. Thus, if you attach 'den' to 'izmir' you get izmirden which means from (the city of) Izmir. Example:

    Racquel ile Sophia yarIn bizi görmek için izmirden geliyorlar;
    Racquel and Sophia are coming to see us from Izmir tomorrow.
    [That's Racquel Buttwurst and Sophia Femfrump -- two old acquaintances from our days with the River Rats...]

  2. Mandatory or frequent use with some verbs, such as -den vazgeçmek meaning to give up, abandon (Note: '-den' has no meaning at all here, but it must be attached as the suffix to the preceding word). Example:

    Derste su pis çiklet çigneme
    adetinden vazgeçmelisin;

    You must cut out your nasty habit
    of chewing gum in class.

    [or else, we'll pepper your Peppermint!]

  3. In Comparative or Relational Constructions, such as...

    Hayat ölümden daha iyi;
    Life is better than death.
    [Compared to death, life is better.]
    a.k.a. 'Something is better than a blank.'

  4. In Idiomatic 'post-position' Constructions,
    such as -meden/-maden which can mean without. Example:

    Hortensia durmadan bütün bir
    paket sigara içti;

    Hortensia smoked a whole pack of cigarettes without stopping.

    [That was just before she fell over dead...]

  5. In Certain 'Modern' Word and Phrase Interpretations, such as when neden is used to mean reason, cause. Commonly, in Turkish interrogative sentences, 'neden' means 'from what' -- but not in it's 'modern' interpretation... Example:

    Yetersiz IsIkta okumak bas agrImIza
    neden olur;

    The reason for our headache is
    reading without enough light
    [or is it because of the full bottle of Sour Mash Whiskey
    that we drank for our breakfast?]

whats new
Click here for
lots more examples of each of the 5 Common Uses...

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The 3 Spelling Variations of the Suffix 'den' are 'dan', 'ten', and 'tan'

This isn't as mysterious as it may first seem. And if you'll remember that the Turkish language always strives for a harmonious sound, it's not such an horrific task to cater for these minor spelling variations.

So before you set about attaching 'den' to an attachee word you need to be conscious of two points.

Firstly, if the attachee word ends in ç, f, h, k, p, s, s, t then the 'd' in 'den' must change to 't' before the attachment takes place.

Secondly, the 'e' in 'den' (or 'ten') may have to change to 'a' depending on the last vowel in the attachee word -- in accordance with the Rule of Vowel Harmony.

Let's look at examples with the 'den' suffix and each of its spelling variants:
Attachee word... Candidate for the suffix 'den'. (Turkish cities) Is the ending letter of the attachee word:
ç, f, h, k, p, s, s, t?
So, should 'd' of the suffix change to 't'? Observe the last vowel of the attachee word.
What does the Rule of Vowel Harmony dictate?

Should 'e' of the suffix change to 'a'?

Resulting Turkish English Meaning
istanbul nono yesistanbuldan from Istanbul
Eskisehir nono noEskisehirden from Eskisehir
Mus yesyes yesMustan from Mus
Gaziantep yesyes noGaziantepten from Gaziantep

Confusion between the 'den' Suffix and
the Endings Found on Certain Present Participles

Yup, it's possible to be confused at first, but only with a very few present participles.

What's a present participle and
what's the standard way to make one in Turkish?

So don't fret.


Yeni Türk yazarlarIna en çok tesir eden kitap
Ince Mehmed'tir
The book having most influence
on modern Turkish writers is Ince Mehmed
(Mehmed, My Hawk).

In this case, the 'den' in 'eden' is not the suffix. The suffix, in this case, is 'en' -- and it aids the formation of the present participle 'eden' meaning 'having' (in this case, when it's used with with tesir; influence). And the spelling of 'eden' arises as follows:

The infinitive form of the verb is etmek; to make, do. To make the present participle of this verb, you start in the standard way to create any present participle of any verb.

That is, you strip the verb ending (in this case 'mek') giving the verb stem 'et' and then add 'en'.

Ahhh, but that's not quite right because, as you add the suffix 'en' to the stem of this particular (exceptional) verb, you must change the 't' of 'et' to 'd'.


Because there are just a few verb stems in Turkish for which the final 't' changes to 'd' when a vowel is added. And the stem of etmek is one of them. Another one is the stem of gitmek; to go (and gütmek; to pasture)…

Example with 'gitmek':

Ava giden avlanIr;
A person can fall into his own trap.
[The one going to the hunt will be caught.]

Turkish Proverb.

So there you go. Are ya' feeling any better about Turkish suffixes now?

You are…?!
Well, iddin tha' nice.

But, you say you've still got other problems with the language?
Don't feel bad.
Remember what
(our beloved, dearly departed)
Roseanne Roseannadana
used to say
about the Turkish language…

"There's always somethin'…"


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