1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Turkish
  4. >
  5. Why the accusative table in T…


Why the accusative table in Tips and notes for Possessives?

Just realized that I am confused about the "Possessive Tips and notes". There is a table there containing "Turkish w/o Accusative" and "Turkish w/ Accusative". When do I need to combine accusative with possessive? If I for example want to say "My name is" I say "(Benim) adım" right? Not "(Benim) adımı"? So why is that table there and when do I include the accusative case in the possessive?

October 9, 2015



In case you say "the bear ate my dog", the whole phrase "my dog" is in the accusative, so both "my" and "dog" would take the accusative form. That's for most languages. I actually don't know anything about Turkish or how it works, but regardless of how Turkish works, in that sentence, "my dog" will forever be in the accusative. English doesn't have a separate form of "my" or "dog" for the accusative, but words like "I" and "he" take "me" and "him" in the accusative. So for instance, in Russian, if you just say "my dog" in the nominative is "moja sobaka", however in the accusative it all changes to "moju sobaku", so that is when you would use a possessive pronoun in the accusative case.


It's not true that the possessive pronoun has a separate accusative form, but the noun would have both the possessive and the accusative suffixes on it.

For example:

The dog is eating the food.

Köpek yemeği yiyor.

The dog is eating its food.

Köpek onun yemeğini yiyor.

yemek: food

yemeği: food (accusative case or third person possessive case, can be either or)

yemeğini: food (both accusative and possessive)


But I thought the accusative only marked a specific direct object?
So Köpek yemek yiyor - the dog is eating food (in general); Köpek yemeği yiyor - the dog is eating the food (in particular). So, can we not say Köpek onun yemeği yiyor to mean that the dog is eating its food in general (as opposed, say, to the cat's food), and Köpek onun yemeğini yiyor for its food in particular (in the bowl on the floor)?
Or is a possessed direct object always specific?


Possessed objects are always specific -- it's not any food in general, it's its food.

If you want to have a possessed item be non-specific, you have to word it differently (e.g. "a friend of mine" rather than "my friend").


Suppose I had a cat and a dog, and I bought a year's supply of both dog food and cat food at once; if I then went on to say 'the dog is eating its food', I'd be referring to a small, non-specific part of all the 'dog's food' I had available--the dog's food, in general, not the cat's food, in general. In English this distinction is only a matter of context; the double possessive you mention does indeed imply generality, but to say 'the dog is eating some food of its' sounds very unidiomatic to me, and I don't think most people would say it; they would say 'its food' and mean 'its food in general'.
But my question is still: can one make this distinction in Turkish?


It's the same in Turkish. You would literally have to say "The dog is eating some food of its" to convey that meaning. But I assume that's what everyone would normally understand when you simply say "The dog is eating its food," anyway. I can't imagine anyone continuing this dialogue with the follow-up question: "Wait, is it eating ALL the supply?" -- So, basically, it's all about context in Turkish too.

Learn Turkish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.