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Question about "-rA"?

I've noticed that a lot of words relating to location have an r and a vowel after what could be called the stem. Some examples are nerede, nereye, nereden, nerelisin, burada, orada, etc. It's almost like "-rA" means place, and the words could be broken down as "in what place", "to what place", "what place are you from", "from what place", "in this place", "in that place", etc. There are also some words like ileri or dışarı that look like they could have been derived from something like this (*dış-rA-(y)I for example?)

Does anyone know if this has any basis in the history of Turkish? Are there any more examples other than the nerede and bu/şu/orada series?

P.S. Writing this made me wonder: if someone asks you "nerelisin?", could you point at a map and reply something like "oralıyım" or "buralıyım"? Do those words also exist?

May 1, 2015



I always thought "içeri" and "dışarı" came from: "iç yeri" (its inner place) and "dış yeri → dışeri → dışarı" (its outer place)

I've just checked the etymological dictionary, and apparently, I was wrong. They all come from: "iç-gerü", "dış-gerü", "il-gerü", and the etymology of "gerü" is unknown.

Conclusion: No one knows! ;p

Note that "il-" always refers to "conducting something forward". We have: "iletişim" (communication) and "iletken" (conductive).

There is also the "beride", a quasi-obsolete word that can be found in old books. (It means something like, 'closer to where I am.')

And apparently "geri" (back) is the opposite of "il-gerü" (ileri [ahead])

And yes, "buralıyım, şuralıyım, oralıyım" works fine in that context.


Perhaps "yeri" is a descendant of "gerü"? A suffix *gAru as well as beride are mentioned in the first link Luis_Domingos posted. All very interesting!

Also, what Turkish etymology dictionary do you use?


After checking the dictionary, that's what I thought too, but I didn't mention it as I had no source. But I think it's indeed possible.

I use www.nisanyansozluk.com


Bookmarked, thanks!


I'm not nearly as advanced as you on the language to answer your P.S., but a google search with the keywords "ra place adverbs turkish" led me to this http://bit.ly/1IwXdFo. Your keen eye was indeed spotting a pattern in the language (and the Turkic language family as a whole)!

P.S. You might also want to check this link: http://www.manisaturkish.com/burdaorda.htm


Thanks, the Manisa Turkish link has a lot more examples, and I got nerd-sniped by the first one. It would be interesting to learn some other Turkic languages and see the relations.

(Also, out of curiosity, are you Portuguese? The link you posted went to google.pt. Anyways, muito obrigado.)


You're welcome.

Yes, I'm Portuguese - hopefully the link still opened on the book page with the highlights on - that's what I was trying to show you.


Yep, it worked. The text was in English, but everything else was in Portuguese. :P Thanks!


It interestingly looks like the English -here: where, here, there

Other words ending with -rA are üzere (about to), sonra (later, after) and ücra (remote place)

I think the endings -rA and -ArI (yukarı, ileri, geri) might be closely related and they might be coming from a common root. If you look at the etymology of the word üzere (about to) it has another common variant üzeri (over). It looks like that üzere was first üzre and then üzresi (over) has emerged from it and later on it transformed into üzerisi. At least that's what I understood from here (check it out): http://nisanyansozluk.com/?k=%C3%BCzere


what you meantioned in first paragraph is totally true. As for second paragraph, I have no idea about the roots of these words, but I can say it is an etymologic issue and it doesn't matter if you know. although saying "oralıyım" doing some points at a map is true in terms of grammer, it is not common and natural. On the other hand, in the conversation, if some cites or places are mentioned before, you can say "oralıyım", "buralıyım" referring the old conversation. I think it is not so important

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