Slick, tricky ones
Mix up twixt varmak and var
Original ambiguities page
If you hear us say:
(as if it were a single word, with no noticeable break between syllables)
Do you think we mean:
a) Odam açIktI ; My room was opened, or
b) Odama çIktI ; He went up to my room, or
DS sez..."And they tell us that Chinese is hard to pronounce and understand..."
If we write (or say):
Do you think we mean:
HIrsIz [with a break here] bakanIn odasIna girdi;
HIrsIz bakanIn odasIna [with a break here] girdi;
Jump over to the
Avoiding Ambiguities page -- to find out...
[the dashes are shown below just for clarity]
and var; there exists
In written Turkish, you are justified in doing a double take upon seeing the word vardI -- and any other such verb tense constructions that may be based on the verb varmak; to arrive or
For, by itself like that, vardI can mean either he arrived (the past tense of varmak) or there existed ["there was"] -- the latter meaning of vardI arising from a concatenation of the word var plus the word idi. So you have to rely on the context of a written sentence to tell the difference between meanings.
Thus, the meaning of vardI is clear only when seen in the context of the following example sentences...
Saat dokuzda vardI; He arrived at nine o'clock.
Masada bir kitap vardI; There was (There existed) a book on the table.
A similar ambiguity arises with all the Turkish nouns. For example, consider the noun adam; man and the two possible meanings which arise when the suffix -im is applied --
1) adamIm; my man
Not until the word is securely wrapped in a sentence does the meaning become clear...
AdamImI severim; I love my man.
Halden anlIyan bir adamIm; I am a man of the world.
Still another example of this sort of ambiguity arises with all the Turkish verbs...For example, take the verbal derivative yuzme. You can't say for sure what it means until you see how the word is used in a sentence...
Kirli suda yuzme; Don't swim in dirty water.
Yuzme havuzu icine düstü; She fell into the swimming pool.
In speech, you get a further clue (in addition to the sentence context) to help you differentiate between ambiguous meanings -- but you'll need to listen very carefully.
Take the example with vardI above. When you listen and you hear the accent on the first syllable var, then the word means
Don't underestimate this ambiguity...Var is a very important Turkish word in it's own right that literally means there exists, but which also has connotations of there is, So it'll pay you to avoid mistaking it for something else when you see or hear it.
So it'll pay you to avoid mistaking it for something else when you see or hear it.