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Using ´if´ in Turkish sentences, the ´ise´ suffix
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1.       Henry
2604 posts
 21 Dec 2011 Wed 08:42 am

These are my thoughts and observations (as a learner) about using ‘if’ or the ‘ise’ suffix in Turkish.

Generally in English, sentences with ‘if’ come in two parts.

The first part contains the ‘if’ condition, and the second part can be the possible outcome.

My resources suggest that Turkish usage of the ‘ise’ suffix is most often in the simple present (aorist) tense, but it can be used in any tense. It only occurs in the ‘sa/se’ variations, similar to plurals (lar/ler). You can add personal suffixes as below

….sam/sem     = If I …..

….san/sen        = If you …..

….sa/se            = If he/she/it …..

….sak/sek        = If we ……

….sanız/seniz  = If you (plural/formal) ……

...salar/seler*  = If they ………

 

Dictionaries often show ‘eğer’ as meaning ‘if’, but it is purely a tool to warn learners about a conditional sentence, (or used for emphasis,) and is considered unnecessary by some Turks.

 

(Eğer) çalışırsan, Türkçeyi öğreneceksin.

If you study, you will learn Turkish

Çalış (study/work) + ır (simple present tense) + sa [conditional suffix ‘if’] + n (you)

İstersen bizimle gelebilirsin

If you want, you can come with us.

 

As well as being used with verbs, it can also be used with some other words.

For example:

…. varsa             = If there is/are ……..

…. yoksa            = If there isn’t/aren’t any ……..

 

Paramız yoksa, gidemeyiz.

If we have no money, we can’t go.

Sorun varsa, bana söyle.

If there is a problem, tell me.

 

Hastaysan, okula gelme            [hasta + ısa + n]

If you are sick, don’t come to school.

İyiysem gelirim                        [iyi + ise + m]

If I am well, I will come.

İyi değilse gelmeyiz.

If it is not OK, we won’t come.

 

I will give more examples in the other tenses later

 



Edited (12/21/2011) by Henry [noticed small error]

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2.       Abla
3647 posts
 21 Dec 2011 Wed 09:12 am

Great, Henry. This is the point in Turkish syntax that gives me the biggest headache. Go ahead and explain it to me and I´ll be so grateful. Besides, I honestly think sometimes the English tense system in conditional clauses confuses me while studying the Turkish rules. The English native view might open some knots.

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3.       Henry
2604 posts
 22 Dec 2011 Thu 08:03 am

These notes are based on a previous post by Erdinc

1) Where simple present tense is used in both parts of the sentence

The ´if’ clause is followed by the ‘main’ clause.

If you heat ice, it melts.

Buzu ısıtırsan, erir.

If it rains, you get wet

Yağmur yağarsa, ıslanırsın. 

In these sentences, the time is now or always, and the situation is real and possible. They are often used to refer to general truths.

 

2) Where the ´if’ clause is simple present tense, and the main is in future tense.

If it rains, you will get wet.

Yağmur yağarsa ıslanacaksın.

If you don´t hurry, we will miss the train.

Acele etmezsen, treni kaçıracağız.

In these sentences, the time is the present or future, and the situation is real. They refer to a possible condition and its probable result.

 

3) Where the ´if´ clause is in past tense, and the main clause is present conditional.

If you went to bed earlier, you wouldn´t be so tired.

Erken yatsaydın, yorgun olmayacaktın.

If it rained, you would get wet.

Yağmur yağsaydı, ıslanacaktın.

In these sentences, the time is now or any time, and the situation is unreal. They are not based on fact, and they refer to an unlikely condition and its probable result. 

To meet this structure for the ‘if’ clause, Erdinc would use a tense which doesn’t exist in the English. He calls it "Conditional Narrative Mood" (Dilek-şartın hikayesi). 
Example: 
yapsaydı (if he had done), gitseydi (if he had gone), olsaydı (if it had happened), bulsaydı (if he had found)... 
This is purely fictional about a hypothetical past event. 

For the main clause he would also use a tense which doesn’t exist in English, the "Narrative Mood of Future Tense" 
yapacaktın, koşacaktın, gidecektin (I would do/make, I would run, I would go).

 

4) Where the ´if´ clause is past perfect tense, and the main clause is the perfect conditional.

If it had rained, you would have got wet.

1. Yağmur yağsaydı, ıslanırdın. (preferred)

2. Yağmur yağsaydı, ıslanmış olurdun.

3. Yağmur yağsaydı, ıslanmıştın.

If you had worked harder, you would have passed the exam.

1. Daha çok çalışsaydın, sınavı geçerdin. (preferred)

2. Daha çok çalışsaydın, sınavı geçmiş olurdun.

3. Daha çok çalışsaydın, sınavı geçmiştin.

In these sentences, the time is past, and the situation is contrary to reality. The facts they are based on are the opposite of what is expressed, and they refer to an unreal past condition and its probable past result.

Here once again Erdinc would use the "Conditional Narrative Mood" (Dilek-şartın hikayesi) for the ‘if’ clause. 

For the main clause he has three options. 
In the order of preference the his first choice would be the "Narrative Mood of Simple Present" (Geniş zamanın hikayesi), his second choice would be a version of "Inferential Past Tense" and his third choice would be the "Narrative Mood of Inferential Past Tense" (-mişli geçmiş zamanın hikayesi).

 

5) A further type of ´if´ sentence exists, where number 3 and 4 are mixed. The tense in the ´if´ clause is the past perfect, and the tense in the main clause is the present conditional: 

In these sentences, the time is past in the ´if´ clause, and present in the main clause.

If I had worked harder at school, I would have a better job now. 


Eğer okulda daha sıkı çalışsaydım, şimdi daha iyi bir işim olurdu.

If we had looked at the map, we wouldn´t be lost.  

Haritaya baksaydık, kaybolmuş olmazdık.

They refer to an unreal past condition and its probable result in the present. 

For the ‘if’ clause he would again use the "Conditional Narrative Mood" (Dilek-şartın hikayesi). 

Here I would have used either the first or second option of the previous condition. 
So I would use either the "Narrative Mood of Simple Present" (Geniş zamanın hikayesi) or "Inferential Past Tense" with "to be".

Here are some more examples from another source.

As you can see below the Turkish translation is identical, but the Engish can be an example of 3 or 4 above

If I were you (*if  I were in your place), I would go.

If I had been you, I would have gone.

Yerinde olsaydım giderdim

If you were me (if you were in my place), what would you do?

If you had been me, what would you have done?

Yerimde olsaydın ne yapardın?

If he helped, our work would be easier.

If he had helped, our work would have been easier.

Yardım etseydi işimiz daha kolay olurdu.

If you paid attention, you would learn a lot more.

If you had paid attention, you would have learned more.

Dikkat etseydiniz daha çok öğrenirdiniz


 

 

 

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4.       scalpel
1472 posts
 23 Dec 2011 Fri 03:50 am

 

Quoting Henry

These notes are based on a previous post by Erdinc 

1) Where simple present tense is used in both parts of the sentence

The ´if’ clause is followed by the ‘main’ clause.

If you heat ice, it melts.

Buzu ısıtırsan, erir.

If it rains, you get wet

Yağmur yağarsa, ıslanırsın. 

In these sentences, the time is now or always, and the situation is real and possible. They are often used to refer to general truths.

 

2) Where the ´if’ clause is simple present tense, and the main is in future tense. 

If it rains, you will get wet.

Yağmur yağarsa ıslanacaksın.

If you don´t hurry, we will miss the train.

Acele etmezsen, treni kaçıracağız.

In these sentences, the time is the present or future, and the situation is real. They refer to a possible condition and its probable result.

 

No one has dared yet to make their comments on and add their contributions to your post.. I will break the ice.. and say something on the part above in the first place..  

 

A Turkish conditional sentence is a sentence containing two parts (clauses ), a dependent part (clause ) ending with ise+PE and a main part (clause ) or answer to the ise clause.

ise is often shortened to se and added to the verb in the dependent part. When so used, it becomes a suffix and follows the vowel harmony:gelir ise =>gelirse, atar ise=>atarsa.

Examples:

Vakit bulursam yarın seni arayacağım - If I have time, I will call you tomorrow.

Bu köşede beklersen onu geçerken göreceksin - If you wait on this corner, you will see her as she passes.

 

Note that in these sentences the present tense is used in the ise clause and the future tense in the main or answer clause. This particular type of Turkish conditional sentence is equivalent to future-possible condition in English, becaue it describes a simple situation which may or may not take place in the future.

 

Since the present tense also used for the future events, you may hear and see conditional sentences having present tense both in the ise clause and in the main or answer clause.

 

Vakit bulursam yarın seni arayacağım (or ararım ) - If I have time, I will call you tomorrow.

Bu köşede beklersen onu geçerken göreceksin (or görürsün ) - If you wait on this corner, you will see her as she passes.

Bu gece kar yağarsa yarın bütün gün evde oturmak zorunda kalacağız (or kalırız) - If it snows tonight, we will have to stay at home all day tomorrow.

 

When ise is used meaning "when" or "whenever", so that there is no condition (zero conditional), tenses in the main clause and the ise clause may be the same:

 

Sarı ile maviyi karıştırırsan yeşil elde edersin - If you mix yellow and blue you get green.

Buzu ısıtırsan erir - If you heat ice, it melts.

Yağmur yağarsa ıslanırsın - If it rains, you get wet.

 

You could use -d/tığında,-d/tiğinde,-d/tuğunda,-d/tüğünde (for 2nd per.sing. ) instead of -arsan, -ersen, -ırsan, -irsen, -ursan, -ürsen, and (for 3rd per.sing. ) instead of -arsa, -erse, -ırsa, - irse, - ursa, -ürse:  

 

Sarı ile maviyi karıştırdığında yeşil elde edersin - when you mix yellow and blue you get green.

Buzu ısıttığında erir - When you heat ice, it melts.

Yağmur yağdığında ıslanırsın - When it rains, you get wet.

 

Since -abilir/-ebilir ( = may; can ) often have a future significance it is frequently used in the main or answer clause of conditional statements instead of -acak/-ecek.

 

Ahmet gelirse bize yardım edebilir - If Ahmet come, he can help us.

Erken yola çıkarlarsa oraya zamanında varabilirler - If they leave early, they can get there on time. 

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5.       Abla
3647 posts
 23 Dec 2011 Fri 07:01 pm

The classification of conditional clauses presented in Erdinc’s earlier post (which initially was recommended to me by Henry, who else) has helped me but what has confused me is that in real language the five types presented there are not so pure. It seems to me now after I saw scalpel’s text that there is more freedom in Turkish than in English what comes to the syntactic appearance of the combination of if clauses and conditional clauses. Hypothetical conditions (-r + ise) not only modify sentences with future but also with aorist or potential predicates in the above examples. Good to know.

I don’t know if my impression of English conditionals is limited. Anyway, my late English teacher taught me very strict and formal rules about the tenses of the if clauses modifying sentences with will or would and I never questioned them. There was no elbowroom at all. It seems that there is in Turkish.

Another interesting detail is combining the use of –dik + poss + de gerund (it is a gerund, isn’t it?) with zero condition clauses. Actually this point of use lightens both of their uses.

So far so good. Ok, Henry, let’s go to the unreal conditions. What seems a hypothetical condition to me often turns out to be unreal in Turkish. Let’s see how you explain that.

6.       scalpel
1472 posts
 24 Dec 2011 Sat 04:19 pm

 

Quoting Henry

 

3) Where the ´if´ clause is in past tense, and the main clause is present conditional.

If you went to bed earlier, you wouldn´t be so tired.

Erken yatsaydın, yorgun olmayacaktın.

If it rained, you would get wet.

Yağmur yağsaydı, ıslanacaktın.

In these sentences, the time is now or any time, and the situation is unreal. They are not based on fact, and they refer to an unlikely condition and its probable result. 

To meet this structure for the ‘if’ clause, Erdinc would use a tense which doesn’t exist in the English. He calls it "Conditional Narrative Mood" (Dilek-şartın hikayesi). 
Example: 
yapsaydı (if he had done), gitseydi (if he had gone), olsaydı (if it had happened), bulsaydı (if he had found)... 
This is purely fictional about a hypothetical past event. 

For the main clause he would also use a tense which doesn’t exist in English, the "Narrative Mood of Future Tense" 
yapacaktın, koşacaktın, gidecektin (I would do/make, I would run, I would go).

 

 

A second type of conditional statement is so-called present-unreal condition.

1) When the conditional pattern is not associated with counterfactual statements, but predictions, the present (aorist) tense is used both in the ise clause and in the main or answer clause:

 

Ali sıkı çalışmıyor, ama - Ali does not study hard, but

Sıkı çalışırsa sınavını geçer - If he studied hard, he would pass his exam.

(We don´t know if Ali is going to study hard or not. We predict what will occur if he does. ) 

 

Daha erken yatarsan daha dinç kalkarsın - If you went to bed earlier, you would be less tired.

Öğlen trenine binersem saat kaçta orada olabilirim? - If I took the noon train, at what time could I get there?

Note that the suffix -sa/-se may also be directly added to the verb root:

Ali sıkı çalışırsa (or çalışsa) sınavını geçer.

 

2) When the conditional pattern is associated with counterfactual statements, the suffix -sa/-se is directly added  to the root of the verb in the ise clause, and -ardı, -erdi, - ırdı, - irdi, - urdu, - ürdü ( = would ) and -abilirdi, -ebilirdi (=could; might ) is used in the main or answer clause:

 

Ayşe, araba kullanmayı bilmiyor, ama - Ayşe does not know how to drive, but

Kullanmayı bilse bir araba alırdı - If she knew how to drive, she would buy a car.

 

Ali başbakan olsa sistemi düzeltirdi - If Ali were the prime minister, he would reform the system.

(Ali is not the prime minister. We predict what would occur if that were otherwise)

 

Param olsa birkaç yeni  elbise alabilirdim - If I had the money, I could buy some new clothes.

O kadar uzakta oturmasam her gün okula yürüyerek giderdim - If I didn´t live so far away, I would walk to school every day.

Fransızcayı iyi konuşsam Fransa´ya gezmeye giderdim - If I spoke French well, I would take a trip to France.

 



Edited (12/25/2011) by scalpel [typo]

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7.       Abla
3647 posts
 24 Dec 2011 Sat 07:15 pm

Quote:scalpel

Ali sıkı çalışmıyor, ama - Ali does not study hard, but

Sıkı çalışırsa sınavını geçer - If he studied hard, he would pass his exam.

(We don´t know if Ali is going to study hard or not. We predict what will occur if he does. )

________

Ayşe, araba kullanmayı bilmiyor, ama - Ayşe does not know how to drive, but

Kullanmayı bilse bir araba alırdı - If she knew how to drive, she would buy a car.

The difference between hypothetical and counterfactual condition, is it this simple? The speaker has a presumption  -  correct or false  -  in his mind: the condition could realize or it couldn’t. The grammatical choices he makes in the sentence reflect his thoughts about the state of the world.

The most difficult difference for me personally has been the one between Erdinc’s types II ja III. I am beginning to realize now that maybe part of the problem is lack of non-linguistic context. If you try to translate a theoretical sentence into Turkish you are likely to miss the assumption there is between the speaker’s ears  -  or understand it in your own way.

Let’s talk about sleeping early which was the issue in a couple of the examples. Let’s suppose there is a schoolboy who day after day falls asleep in class. The teacher talks to the mother and suggests politely:

Erken yatarsa, yorgun olmayacak.

She is introducing a hypothetical situation, a possible solution for the problem, a chance. She knows the boy doesn’t sleep early but she doesn’t want to blame the mother.

Suppose this mother went home. She is embarrassed because of what she was told, especially because she knows the teacher is right: the boy regularly watches tv until late night. She meets the boy and tells him:

Erken yatsaydin, yorgun olmayacaktın.

She feels annoyed because she knows the boy is not going to listen to her (or she wants him to think she thinks this way). The condition is not going to become true, it is counterfactual.

Am I close?

 

8.       scalpel
1472 posts
 25 Dec 2011 Sun 01:59 am

 

Quoting Abla

 

The difference between hypothetical and counterfactual condition, is it this simple? The speaker has a presumption  -  correct or false  -  in his mind: the condition could realize or it couldn’t. The grammatical choices he makes in the sentence reflect his thoughts about the state of the world.

The most difficult difference for me personally has been the one between Erdinc’s types II ja III. I am beginning to realize now that maybe part of the problem is lack of non-linguistic context. If you try to translate a theoretical sentence into Turkish you are likely to miss the assumption there is between the speaker’s ears  -  or understand it in your own way.

Let’s talk about sleeping early which was the issue in a couple of the examples. Let’s suppose there is a schoolboy who day after day falls asleep in class. The teacher talks to the mother and suggests politely:

Erken yatarsa, yorgun olmayacak.

She is introducing a hypothetical situation, a possible solution for the problem, a chance. She knows the boy doesn’t sleep early but she doesn’t want to blame the mother.

Suppose this mother went home. She is embarrassed because of what she was told, especially because she knows the teacher is right: the boy regularly watches tv until late night. She meets the boy and tells him:

Erken yatsaydin, yorgun olmayacaktın.

She feels annoyed because she knows the boy is not going to listen to her (or she wants him to think she thinks this way). The condition is not going to become true, it is counterfactual.

Am I close?

 

 

What makes it difficult for the learners to grasp the gist of the Turkish conditionals is literal translation..

The literal translation for "if you went to bed early, you wouldn´t be so tired" is "erken yatsaydın yorgun olmayacaktın."

But " erken yatsaydın yorgun olmayacaktın" indicates past time and is the translation for "if you had gone to bed earlier, you would not have been so tired."  

If you use past tense in the ise clause, it creates the sense that an action took place not related to the present at all.

 

Cem akıllı olursa böyle bir şeyi asla söylemez.

If Cem were smart, he would never say such a thing.

(Cem is not smart. We predict what would occur if that were otherwise )

 

Cem akıllı olsaydı böyle bir şeyi asla söylemezdi.

If Cem had been smart, he would have never said such a thing.

(If Cem had acted with intelligence on that (past ) occasion, he would have never said such a thing. But he didn´t act with intelligence, so he said that thing )

 

You can also use -miş+di  instead of -di: " Cem akıllı olmuş olsaydı böyle bir şeyi asla söylememiş olurdu", and this would be a more literal and a more proper translation for "If Cem had been smart, he would have never said such a thing", but because it is longer, it is less preferable. 

 

And a mixed conditional:

Cem akıllı olsa böyle bir şeyi asla söylememiş olurdu.

If Cem were smart, he would have never said such a thing.

(Cem is not smart, and never has been smart. That´s why he said such a thing. ) 

9.       Abla
3647 posts
 25 Dec 2011 Sun 08:07 am

The problem about past tense, and not only in Turkish, is that in addition to

          denoting action that took place before this point in time

it also has the function of

          making a distance between reality and other possible worlds.

It is kind of playing in two different levels of abstraction. Separating these two is sometimes a problem especially when you try to learn a new language. That´s why there is such a desperate need for simple rules like

Quote:scalpel

If you use past tense in the ise clause, it creates the sense that an action took place not related to the present at all.

 

 

10.       scalpel
1472 posts
 25 Dec 2011 Sun 10:52 am

 

Quoting Abla

The problem about past tense, and not only in Turkish, is that in addition to

          denoting action that took place before this point in time

it also has the function of

          making a distance between reality and other possible worlds.

It is kind of playing in two different levels of abstraction. Separating these two is sometimes a problem especially when you try to learn a new language. That´s why there is such a desperate need for simple rules like

 

 

 

 

 

I.

A- Yorgun görünüyorsun, yine çok geç mi yattın?- You look tired, did you go to bed too late again?

B- Evet, geç yattım.. - Yes, I did..

A -Erken yatsaydın yorgun olmazdın => you should go to bed earlier..

II.

 

A- Yorgun görünüyorsun, yine çok geç mi yattın?- You look tired, did you go to bed too late again?

B- Hayır, geç yatmadım.. - No, I didn´t..

A -Erken yatsaydın yorgun olmazdın => then why do you look tired? maybe you lie about the time you going to bed?  

 

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