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On Negation
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1.       Abla
3647 posts
 17 Jan 2012 Tue 10:44 pm

Turkish has three morphological means of expressing negation, the verbal suffix –me- and two particles, değil and yok for nominal and existential negation. The distribution between the three of them is clear-cut. There is a lot to learn about negation and I thought it would be useful for me and others to collect the grammar of negation and negation-related issues post by post into one thread.

-me- is the primary means used for negating verbal sentences and subordinate clauses.

Ağaçları kes|me|yecekler. ‘They will not cut down the trees.’

Ayşenin durumu bil|me|diğini hiç bir zaman düşün|me|dim. ‘I never thought Ayşe didn’t know the situation.’

If the sentences are small the negation marker can be either in the main clause or the subclause:

Zeki’yi Fransızca konuşuyor addet|mi|yorlar./ Zeki’yi Fransızca konuş|mu|yor addediyorlar. ‘They don’t think Zeki speaks French.’

If the main clause verb is bilmek, though, -me- is necessarily in the subclause:

Nuran’ı daha ehliyetini al|ma|dı biliyordum. ‘I knew Nuran didn’t still get her driver’s licence.’

The equivalents of English indirect questions are in Turkish formed with the –ip…-me- construction:

Çocukları tatile götürüp götür|me|meye henüz karar ver|me|diler. ‘They didn’t still decide whether or not to take the children on holiday.’

Elif kalıp kal|ma|yacağını söyledi mi? ´Did Elif say if she is going to stay or not?’

Bilgisayarımın güncel olup ol|ma|dığını nasıl belirleyebilirim? ‘How can I determine if my computer is up-to-date?’

My grammar book says in constructions where verbs like olmak, durmak, vermek are used as auxiliaries –me- can be added on either the lexical verb or the auxiliary, but the meaning changes. Let’s see how it works. If the lexical verb is negated it means the action doesn’t take place. If, instead, the auxiliary is negated the full performance of the action is denied. This is an old example of –r/mez oldu ‘to become a habit’ from tunci:

Son zamanlarda birbirimizi gör|me|z olduk. ‘We didn’t see each other regularly any more recently (earlier we did).’

If it was

Son zamanlarda birbirimizi görür ol|ma|dık

could it be understood ‘We didn’t (succeed to) make it a habit to see each other regularly recently’?

(I used old threads, Göksel – Kerslake 2005 and Gerjan van Schaak, Studies in Turkish Grammar 1.2.5. Negation.)

2.       si++
3785 posts
 18 Jan 2012 Wed 06:34 pm

Once I was chatting with a friend. And somewhere he uttered this:

 

sevmeyemezsin

 

I stopped for a second and my brain then parsed it. I had never heard it until then and probably never will hear again. But it was perfectly understood.

3.       Abla
3647 posts
 20 Jan 2012 Fri 02:46 pm

My Try:

 

sev|me|y|e|mez|sin >< ‘you are | not the kind of person who | can | BUFFER | not | love’

4.       si++
3785 posts
 20 Jan 2012 Fri 04:38 pm

 

Quoting Abla

My Try:

 

sev|me|y|e|mez|sin >< ‘you are | not the kind of person who | can | BUFFER | not | love’

 

V + -emezsin = You can not V

where V = sev-me (to not love)

 

You can not not love = Imposible for you to not love (it)

5.       Abla
3647 posts
 21 Jan 2012 Sat 11:36 pm

The cross-section of the negation marker –me- is morphologically the element that precedes it. In the simple case it is the verb stem. What is denied in the next example is ‘knowing’:

 

Türkçe bil|mi|yorum.

 

The rule becomes useful in modally modified verbs where it sometimes makes a difference if –me- comes after the verb root or the potential suffix:

 

Yağmur yağ|ma|yabilir ROOT + NEG + POT  ‘it [may be] that it will [not rain]’

Burada otur|amaz|sınız ROOT + POT + NEG  ‘you [are not allowed] [to sit] here’

Çoşkun’u ikna ed|eme|yebilirim. ROOT + POT + NEG + POT ‘it [may be] that we [will not be able] [to convince] him’

 

If there is a negation marker –me- in a necessitative verb it is before –meli-. That’s why it always denies the action, not the necessity. For denying the necessity, other means must be used.

 

Beni gördüğünu hiç kimseye söyle|me|melisin. ROOT + NEG + NEC ‘you must [not say]’

 

Syntactically –me- negates the whole sentence. But not always. In sentences where an unusual constituent has been transferred from its predictable position to the ear-marked place of emphasis right before the verb the negated predicate only denies this constituent, not the whole action:

 

Bu rengi ben seç|me|dim. ‘It was [not me] who chose this colour (someone still did).

 

(I used Göksel – Kerslake + old threads “On Modality” and “Negating a Constituent”.)

 

6.       srhat
36 posts
 24 Jan 2012 Tue 09:51 pm

 

Quoting si++

Once I was chatting with a friend. And somewhere he uttered this:

 

sevmeyemezsin

 

I stopped for a second and my brain then parsed it. I had never heard it until then and probably never will hear again. But it was perfectly understood.

 

I am a native speaker and I can surely say that there is no such thing in Turkish. sevemezsin is true but sevmeyemezsin is wrong.

7.       Abla
3647 posts
 24 Jan 2012 Tue 10:45 pm

I understand it was not about being right or wrong here. sev|me|y|emez|sin and the way its use was described here looks to me like a temporary formation, made for that certain situation and then forgotten. It happens in language. Words like this are the fruit of the productiveness of the morphology.

The funny thing here is that for me as a learner it was not difficult to understand it. I could produce something like that myself. I could even add another negation to the end and make it sev|me|y|eme|y|emez|sin if I tried to say ´it can´t be true that you can not not love´. Very much of the possible theoretical constructions are not in use in real language, especially in the normative language.



Edited (1/24/2012) by Abla [typo]

8.       si++
3785 posts
 25 Jan 2012 Wed 08:43 am

 

Quoting srhat

 

 

I am a native speaker and I can surely say that there is no such thing in Turkish. sevemezsin is true but sevmeyemezsin is wrong.

 

So what? I am a native speaker as well.

 

Earlier I said this about it:

I stopped for a second and my brain then parsed it. I had never heard it until then and probably never will hear again. But it was perfectly understood.

 

And I analyzed it in post #4.

 

Are you an authority? You say this and that must be it.

 

Why don´t you provide us with your analysis and prove me wrong?

9.       srhat
36 posts
 25 Jan 2012 Wed 04:00 pm

 

Quoting si++

 

 

So what? I am a native speaker as well.

 

Earlier I said this about it:

I stopped for a second and my brain then parsed it. I had never heard it until then and probably never will hear again. But it was perfectly understood.

 

And I analyzed it in post #4.

 

Are you an authority? You say this and that must be it.

 

Why don´t you provide us with your analysis and prove me wrong?

 

I didn´t mean to offend anybody by saying "I am a native speaker". When I read this thread, I thought someone wrote a word his/her friend used while talking, and some other people tried to figure out the meaning of that word without writing that that usage does not exist in Turkish. So I just wanted to add that.  I wasn´t aware of that it was not about being wrong or right.

Of course, if affirmative form is possible (sevmeyebilirsin), its negative form may be possible as well (sevmeyemezsin). But this kind of usage does not exist and I just wanted to point it out.

Why don´t you assume good faith?

10.       Abla
3647 posts
 25 Jan 2012 Wed 07:32 pm

Memo about değil (Göksel - Gerslake, earlier threads):

 

I  değil negating nominal phrases:

 

değil is used for negating nominal phrases. You find it combined with –(y)di, -(y)miş and -(y)se, -dir, person markers and –(y)ken.

 

Nejat gençliğinde bu kadar inançlı değildi. ‘Nejat wasn’t this stubborn when he was young.’

Evde değilsin sandık. ‘We thought you were not at home.’

Anneleri evde değilken çok daha derli toplu oluyorlar. ‘They are much more tidy when their mother is not at home.’

 

II  değil negating verbal sentences

 

Sometimes değil can also negate a verbal sentence. Instead of saying simply

 

Her yere taksiyle gitmiyorum ‘I don’t go everywhere by taxi’

 

the speaker can repudiate the real or imagined assumptions of the listener saying

 

Her yere taksiyle gidiyor değilim. ‘It is not the case that I go everywhere by taxi.’

 

The next example is a combination of –me- and değil negations. Two negations make a strong affirmation:

 

Bu sınavlarda neden bu kadar güçlük çekildiğini anlamıyor değilim. ‘I understand why people have so much difficulties with these exams.’

 

III  değil in elliptic sentences

 

değil is one of the basic means of constituent negation in Turkish. It replaces the negative predicate in elliptic sentences which contain an identical but affirmative predicate:

 

Olanları görmedim değil, ama tam hatırlayamıyorum. ‘It’s not that I didn’t see what happened, it’s just that I can’t quite remember.’

Büyük değil, küçük bir elma istemiştim. ‘I hadn’t asked for a big apple but a small one.’

 

The Turkish ‘let alone’ construction can be constructed with the help of değil also. It is important to add değil in front of the less probable alternative. The contrasted constituent has a strong sentence stress and is followed by bile:

 

Değil sinemaya gitmek, televiziyon bile seyredecek zamanım yok. ‘I don’t have the time to even watch TV, let alone going to the cinema.’

 


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