What's the difference between üstünde and üzerinde?
Is one of them "on top of" (touching) and one of them "over" (not touching), or are they both completely synonymous and interchangeable?
For example, "The book is on the table. The lamp is over the table."
Could both cases be either "masanın üzerinde" / "masanın üstünde" or would one case only be one of those words?
I would like to understand that as well.
I have a theory on it though: perhaps the "i" in "üzeri" is already a possessive suffix, but it became part of the word itself over time. I looked up the word "üzer" and Google Translate doesn't have a translation for it, and Wiktionary has it listed a s a proper name, so that does not support my theory :-)
Wiktionary does say that "üzeri" comes from an old Turkic word "üze" so perhaps there is a suffix "-ri" that we have yet to learn about?
"üzeri" is something like "upper surface".
"filin üzeri" is "the elephant's upper surface; the top of the elephant" with possessive -in on "fil" because to show that the upper surface or top belongs to the elephant.
Then -de for "at, on" and a buffer consonant -n- and you get "filin üzerinde" = "at the elephant's upper surface; on top of the elephant".
And finally, you say what is on top of the elephant: "ördek filin üzerinde": the duck is on top of the elephant.
"Ördek filin üzerinde." Translation: The duck is on the elephant.
The subject definite article "the" The subject definite article "the" does not exist as a word in Turkish. Subjects are understood as being "specific". There is no Turkish word for the subject definite article, only the context tells us when to insert "the" in English:
Çay pahalı. - Tea is expensive.
Çay soğuk. - The tea is cold.
Araba caddede. - The car is in the road.
The object definite article is suffixed with i ı u ü "the" [accusative] Hilmi telsizi [telsiz-i] tamir etti. Hilmi mended "the" radio.