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The Turkish sentence has a standard word order -- with deviations from the norm being for clear and logical reasons. Well, most of the time anyway...want to see a couple of exceptions?
Let's look first at a sample English sentence and see how its words are ordered...
John gave me a red book in the restaurant this evening.
That sentence could be re-stated several different ways in English without it changing the meaning of the sentence. We could just as easily have written the sentence as...
This evening in the restaurant, John gave me a red book.
John, in the restaurant this evening, gave me a red book.
The idea stays the same. The word order doesn't really matter in English. This is quite convenient for the native language speaker, but not very helpful if you are trying to learn English from scratch.
But in Turkish the standard word order for that sentence would be...
John... this evening... at the restaurant... to me... a red book... [he] gave.
The Turkish sentence would look like...
John... bu aksam... lokantada... bana... kIrmIzI kitabI... verdi.
Click following to see
a more complex example.
Word Order Rule 1 -- This rule states that the subject comes first and is followed by expression(s) of time. Next come expression(s) of place. And, the last items are the personal and main object(s) which are followed -- at the very end -- by the verb.
I'll go buy a back-scratcher today in old London town.
gets abused with regularity.
Word Order Rule 2 -- This rule states that modifiers appear before whatever they modify.
Therefore, adjectives [as well as participles and
...bir av köpe
a brown hound,
...kahverengi bir av köpe
a brown running-like-hell hound,
...cehennem gibi kosan kahverengi bir av köpe
a brown running-like-hell Baskerville hound,
...cehennem gibi kosan kahverengi bir Baskerville'li av köpe
And, adverbs [and other verb complements] precede verbs.
So it is,
You may deviate from the standard rules of word order when you want to emphasize a particular word or idea in the sentence -- without the need for voice inflection. To give emphasis then, you move the word you want to emphasize to the place right before the verb at the end of the sentence.
So if we were to re-write one of our earlier example sentences as...
Bu aksam lokantada bana kIrmIzI kitabI John verdi,
...the meaning of the sentence takes on a different dimension to convey the idea that...
It was John (and not someone else -- like his wife or child perhaps) [that] gave me a red book at the restaurant this evening.
This consistency of word order can be very helpful to the starting student who is trying to "de-cipher" his first Turkish sentence -- and for us ole timers too, regardless of experience level!
Because of the rule of consistent vowel harmony, it's downright hard to misspell a word in Turkish...and if you can't misspell it, it's hard also to mispronounce it. So what is this super rule that can eliminate two classic language-problems at one fell swoop? It's easiest to show it by use of a compact little chart, as follows:
Thus, you can be rather sure that the word açIk; open (with the undotted I) is correctly spelled and you can also be rather sure that no such word as açik (with the dotted i) has or ever will exist in the Turkish language!!!
Of course there are exceptions to this rule too -- as with words which are imported into Turkish from foreign languages. Examples of such foreign imports include asansör; elevator from French