In Turkish, suffixes are
formed according to Turkish vowel
harmony, rules whereby most vowel
sounds in a word are made either
in the front of the mouth or the
back, but not both.
So if the vowels in the root are formed
in the back of the mouth (a, undotted
'i', o, u), as in banka (bank),
you add -lar to make bankalar (banks).
If the vowels are made in the front
of the mouth (e, i, ö, ü),
you add -ler to tren to
make trenler (trains).
Likewise, arabamız, 'our
car,' but otobüsümüz,
The suffix is the same one, but modified
according to vowel harmony.
It's not nearly so weird as it seems
once you get the hang of it, and it
gives a nice mellifluous sound to Turkish
When I was a Peace
Corps teacher in Turkey, one
of the first sentences I was taught
was Hepinizi disiplin kuruluna
dee-see-PLEEN koo-roo-loo-nah veh-reh-jeh-yeem,
"I will turn you all over to the
If you read the phonetic transcription
aloud, you'll see how Turkish vowel
harmony makes for a nice sound.
Luckily, my students at İzmir Koleji
were well-behaved most of the time,
and I didn't ever have to say that
sentence for real.
can do Turkish vowel