Turkish Pronouns

There are six basic pronouns in Turkish.

Singular
ben ‘I’

sen ‘you’

o ‘he/she/it’

Plural
biz ‘we’

siz ‘you’

onlar ‘they’

As you can deduce from the table above, Turkish lacks gender pronouns (he/she), instead o is used to refer to all third person singular subject and objects.

Pronoun dropping (Pro-drop)

Pronouns are almost always dropped when the subject can be inferred from the context. The contextual clues can stem from discourse (1) or/and case markers (2).
(1) Ahmet dün geldi. Bir hafta kalacak.
Ahmet yesterday come-PT-3SG. One week stay-FUT.
‘Ahmet came yesterday. He will stay for a week.’

(2) dün geldim
yesterday come-PT-1SG
‘I came yesterday’

Pronoun suffixation

Turkish pronouns are subject to suffixation just like any other noun.
(3) sizde
2PL-LOC
‘you have (it) / on you’

(4) sizden
2PL-ABL
‘from you’

(5) size
2PL-DAT
‘to you’

(6) sizin
2PL-GEN
‘yours’

(7) sizi
2PL-ACC
‘you’ (obj)

Use of siz in formal dialog

In formal dialog, plural form of second person, siz is used the address the other party. In these cases, the verbs are also inflected with the second person plural suffixes.

Addressing the other party with siz expresses respect and/or politeness. However, it can be quite difficult to articulate the term formal in some contexts. Here are some rules of thumb on when to use siz :

  • in professional settings such as business, academia, military and government
  • first time meeting someone or people you don’t really know well, but see below
  • follow their lead; if someone is addressing with siz (or sen) you should reciprocate/li>

when is it OK to use sen ?:

  • speaking to kids and teenagers (assuming you are an adult)
  • dealing with local shop keepers, drivers, serviceman..etc. However, in these situation the older party (you or the other party) is usually addressed as abi ‘big brother’ or abla ‘big sister’ as a sign of respect

Exercise

Match Turkish pronouns with their English equivalents.

[h5p id=”4″]

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply