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"Bir elma"

Translation:An apple

3 years ago

70 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Vomberge

I thought Turkish had no articles. What is going on here?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/burak.duolingo

It doesn't. The "bir" is simply the number "1". "Bir elma" is "one apple", which you can also say as "an apple".

One thing to note about plurals in Turkish: When you add a number in front, the root does not take a plural suffix. So, unlike in English, where you would say "one apple, two apples, three apples, etc", in Turkish, you would say "one apple, two apple, three apple, etc" (notice the lack of the plural-making -s at the end. So you would say "bir elma, iki elma, üç elma, etc. HOWEVER, you CAN say "apples" by itself (without a number specifier). As in, "the apples on the table" (masadaki elmalar).

In terms of the suffixes for making plural forms, there are two possibilities: you can either use -ler or -lar.

What determines when it's -ler vs -lar? A little rule called "vowel harmony", which you'll pick up later. Basically, in order to avoid the vocal strain caused by constant ups and downs due to switching back and forth between different types of vowels, Turkish has grouped its eight vowels into two groups of four: Aa, Iı, Oo and Uu constitute the "hard vowels". Ee, İi, Öö, and Üü constitute the "soft vowels". In essence, vowel harmony dictates that hard vowels should only be used together and soft vowels should only be used together, and that these two vowel types should not mix together. So a word like "kimono" does not fit vowel harmony rules, because it mixes a hard vowel (o) with a soft vowel (i).

Vowel harmony extends into how word roots interact with their suffixes. Again, vowel harmony dictates that the vowels found in a suffix ought to be in the same vowel family (hard vs soft) as the last vowel of the root. So, for example, "masalar" (tables) is composed of the root "masa" (table) and the plural suffix -lar. The "a"s correspond to each other (i.e. both hard vowels), and the word thus fits the vowel harmony rules. Similarly, the word "eller" (hands) is composed of the root "el" (hand) and the plural suffix -ler. The "e"s correspond to each other (i.e. both soft vowels), and the word thus fits the vowel harmony rules.

So now that you know the basic rule, what would you append to the roots "tür" (kind/type), "kalem" * (pencil), "kitap" * (book), "yol" (road), "deniz" (sea), and "göl" (lake) to make them plural? You would say türler, kalemler, kitaplar, yollar, denizler, and göller, respectively.

*You'll notice that the roots "kalem" and "kitap" themselves do not fit into vowel harmony rules. This is because they are foreign language imports, and vowel harmony does not apply to the stem of loanwords. It does, however, apply to what suffixes may be appended to those stems, as we saw with kalemler and kitaplar.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/art_of_ashes
art_of_ashes
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Wow! This is like Hungarian: when you add a number in front, the root does not take a plural suffix + vowel harmony (affecting suffixes used for plural forms and with many other functions).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
mizinamo
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Precisely!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Berto29441
Berto29441
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Hungarian (with Finnish and Estonian) is a Finno-Ugrian language (very far from the Indo-european ones) that had a lot of contacts with the Turkish language. This explains the similarity.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Klaus650857
Klaus650857
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True, although Turkish belongs to a different family than either Finno-Ugric or Indo-European. There was a, now generally discredited, hypothesis grouping Turkish and related languages together as Ural-Altaic. There are indeed similarities between languages on either side, but the general view among experts today is that there is not enough evidence of a common linguistic origin, and that other factors, such as prolonged contact between languages are a more likely explanation for the similarities. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ural%E2%80%93Altaic_languages?wprov=sfla1

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Klaus650857
Klaus650857
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Meant to write "...grouping Turkish and related languages together with Finno-Ugric as Ural-Altaic." I shouldn't write this long without proof-reading.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/grekhovki
grekhovki
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So cool and useful explanation! Thank you very much!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mohammmmmmm7d44
mohammmmmmm7d44
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Thanks a lot you are amazing (:

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NestoEssmat

Really that's amazing explanation

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BabyBanshee
BabyBanshee
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Thanks that was really helpful

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Berto29441
Berto29441
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thanks, but I wrote ONE apple and DL said: WRONG"!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pietro460054
Pietro460054
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Report it

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Berto29441
Berto29441
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...already done, thanks

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kubra110760

One is also the same as 'an'. It depends what is the context.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexinNotTurkey
AlexinNotTurkey
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You can add the numeral "bir" to disambiguate. It isn't so much an article, as a number.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/karrman
karrman
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Eat one apple: Bir/1 elma ye.

Eat an apple: [Bir] elma ye.

So this 'bir' is not just a number, but it's also an article in some cases.

'[]': optional.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vomberge

I thought it was something like that. Thanks.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SkillsInPills

I was wondering the same thing too. Maybe no definite articles.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zeyneps622723
7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HilmiNevzat

Level-4 test. When translating from Turkish to English, you will be asked to use "THE" (article) Sen elmayi yersin - You eat THE apple.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Phebsxxx

I am so confused with this and it is only the first lesson!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/alurianas

It's okay, probably because it's another language family. But you will find it easier by the day. Rules have almost no exception and it's like learning an easy programming language.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LANGUAGES-LOVER
LANGUAGES-LOVER
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Thank you alurianas

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HilmiNevzat

Please keep trying. Progress not perfection. Failure is not an option.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LANGUAGES-LOVER
LANGUAGES-LOVER
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I know how you feel when I stared to learn Spanish.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Winter_Maiden

Interesting comparison with Irish, which has broad (a, o, u) and slender (i, e) vowels. And that 'r' sounds like Irish too! (Like athair, father.) Is the Turkish 'r' palatalized in the presence of soft vowels, to give it that soft purring sound?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LANGUAGES-LOVER
LANGUAGES-LOVER
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I just stared to learn Turkish and Irish. I know that you are talking about

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mondegreen12
Mondegreen12
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Is the "r" in "bir" voiced or voiceless?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/alurianas

R's at the end often voiced a little differently in everyday use. Not like in "raw" or " roof" but imagine a dog making the sound "rrrrrrr, woof!" Now take that "r" and use it for a moment. For a very short time. Voila! It almost sound like "ş" letter in Turkish. Alas, it is not necessary to give effort to that. It is something done out of necessity when speaking, given the sounds in Turkish language.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/karrman
karrman
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It's expected to be voiced in formal conversations. In informal conversations you can skip it. This way the word bir is heard as bi (like b in English).

Also you can write down the word bir as bi' in informal writings.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vardariot
vardariot
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That is certainly NOT a general rule for all Turkish words ending with an 'r'. So don't be misleaded. In spoken Turkish we do that for a few words but they do not have to end with an r. For example: -N'aber? (Proper written form is Ne haber? Meaning literally "what news", used when asking "what's up" to your buddy) -İyidir. Bu akşam bi' (informal spelling for "bir") filme gidiyoruz, geliyo' (in informal language the 'r' sound at the end of present continuous tense suffix -yor drops) musun? (Meaning: Fine. We are going to a movie this evening, are you coming?)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neio75
neio75
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so it always responds to the answer...how many apples..?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/v.ivanov
v.ivanov
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No, they seem to have constructions like „kırmızı bir elma“ (a red apple) and similar. I would like to read a detailed comment on that myself.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/alurianas

It may, and it may used casually as a/an. "Bir elma al." Is a simple sentence for example "Have an apple." Bir is both number 1 and a/an.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JahMahQ.
JahMahQ.
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I don't get when it's pronounced "bir" and when it's pronounced "bish". I just recognised that it sound different sometimes. Is that just my imagination or is there a rule?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/YakinAlan
YakinAlan
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It is always "bir", there is nothing like "bish". In colloquial when it is used as an indefinite article you may hear "bi" instead. The difference you recognized may be due to the difference between female and male accents. Woman tend to pronounce "r" softer, and vice-versa.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JahMahQ.
JahMahQ.
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Tamam! But I asked somebody and she told me it needs to be always pronounced "birsh" Now I'm confused... Don't get me wrong I'm just talking about the pronounciation! And I definitly here them say "bir" and sometimes they say "birsch" (Again, just the pronunciation!)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JahMahQ.
JahMahQ.
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Just like in hayir (pronounced hayish) ..you know..probably not a biggy anyway, but I thought there might be a rule or something..but now I guess there is none ;)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/YakinAlan
YakinAlan
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Turkish "r" is unique and has an intrinsic rustling sound in it. So it is not a separate "sh" or "j" sound but something along with it. You can listen to that song with subtitles, it is a good practice for Turkish "r".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkSLKsgv2e0

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JahMahQ.
JahMahQ.
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Tesekürler, agbey!!! ;) I haven't recognise the software pronunce the plural as "lersch" (-ler) ...I should listen to more Turkish music ! But still..it's wierd sometimes it's "-r" and sometimes it's more like "-rsch" ...guess it's like you said...unique..

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/YakinAlan
YakinAlan
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You are welcome :)...

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DanaShawar

Thank you you are amazing

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mohammad.a14

Apples! Apples are learnt first in every language.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Patrick328825
Patrick328825
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If you are confused by the grammar , just go on with the course, you will learn the language.. The majority of speaking people in the world don't even know grammar exists. Learn like a child with his/her mother , our mummy is DUO .(

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sefa159149

Ok

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ghazaal391069

I love dolingo

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Monti508237

An apple

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/favian844338

What

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SunilSunil18

There is no general rule for all Turkish words ending with r. Old don't be misleaded

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BiljanaPop

I wrote an apple as my answer, and it was marked as wrong. Why?

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HxjDff

Hhjhhhhhhh

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TulayA.

Bir means "One." Not "An." ?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ChloKokx

It means both.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TulayA.

Thanks

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/E.T.s_Son
E.T.s_Son
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Does Turkish attach gender to nouns?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
mizinamo
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It doesn't even attach gender to pronouns :)

O is "he", "she", or "it", as well as "xe", "sie", "(singular) they", or whatever other third-person singular pronoun you can think of.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexinNotTurkey
AlexinNotTurkey
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There is no grammatical gender in Turkish :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Havva865176

Guys its not wrong im turkish i tested it no problem there.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ashrit10
Ashrit10
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dad

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sajad178928

An apple

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dragonrykr
Dragonrykr
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Remove health system from the appp!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RCNsP4
1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vezony1
vezony1
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An apple.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/omwazam

An apple

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VeyselCan318553

Ben Türküm :)

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Manuelcruz216778

Hola you thank

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/faddy17

E

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ashrit10
Ashrit10
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vvv

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DAILYTrend

Hey

6 months ago