There is something I can't get about the -DIK participles.

When we use it to form a relative clause and make one sentence out of two sentences, the object may be originally in any case:

  • Accusative: Köpeği gezdirdim. O uyuyor.Gezdirdiğim köpek uyuyor.
  • Dative: Bir köye gittim. Orası güzel.Gittiğim köy güzel.
  • Ablative: Rüzgârdan ürktüm. O tuhaf tuhaf uluyordu.Ürktüğüm rüzgâr tuhaf tuhaf uluyordu.
  • Locative: Bu evde yaşıyorum. O üç katlı.Yaşadığım ev üç katlı.
  • Instrumental: Komşumla konuştum. O gelecek.Konuştuğum komşum gelecek.

However, what bothers me is that there is no trace of the original case endings in the resulting sentences. The information carried by the case endings seems to be lost. Thus, the village I came to and the village I came from both seem to be translated as geldiğim köy, which doesn't make sense to me as those are kind of opposite things. What am I missing?

  • For the question (and answers) to be more interesting to other linguists and other readers, it would be nice to add glosses and translations to your examples. Otherwise, interesting question, thanks! Jan 22, 2020 at 15:06

3 Answers 3


Your observation is correct and you're not missing anything. The original case information is simply lost with -DIK (and -(y)EcEK) participles. So is most of the original tense information by the way: -DIK is for relative non-future and -(y)EcEK is for relative future but finer distinctions are lost.

If context is not enough to recover the lost information one has to use more specific verbs or circumlocutions. For example, if the object is a person, one way to express the original case information is to use the reflexive pronoun "kendi" in that case:

Komşumla konuştum. O gelecek. → Kendisiyle konuştuğum komşum gelecek.

So, yes, "geldiğim köy" may mean "the village I came to" or "the village I came from", but also "the village I come to", "the village I had come from" etc. Ambiguity is a fact of real languages, we just have to learn to live with it.

  • 1
    Yep, I've already figured this out. However, I still have a couple of questions. Would be the following translation correct: 1) the people we are fighting against = kendilerine karşı savaştığımız insanlar, 2) the child I bought the present for = kendisi için hediye aldığım çocuk? How often is this structure used? How natural does it sound? Is kendi here only to carry the case/postposition information, or does it add some additional meaning besides that?
    – thorn
    Nov 7, 2016 at 16:22
  • 2
    As a native speaker (and a French/English > Turkish translator), both sound perfectly natural to me and they are used quite often. Kendi is only there to carry the case/postposition information, does not add any additional meaning. But you should always consider "savaştığımız insanlar" and "hediye aldığım çocuk": They're much more succinct and there's little room for confusion.
    – cyco130
    Nov 7, 2016 at 18:07
  • 2
    Also please not that the "kendi" trick only works for people. It does not work for things, places etc.
    – cyco130
    Nov 7, 2016 at 18:08

That's correct as stated in other answers. If you need to keep the tense information you can use a different structure:

Gezdirmiş olduğum köpek uyuyor.

Gitmiş olduğum köy güzel.

These sentences carry the past tense information.


The point is in Turkish, often they don't create participle form from that verb which means "come to" similar to the verb which gonna create a participle as "come from", because in more common way, other verbs have the corresponding definition with "come to" such as "ulaşmak", "gitmek" to be conjugated to participle; furthermore, even if we want to use the verb "gelmek" to create participle with the meaning of "come to" it necessarily must get used with describing suffixes after the complement; So, this would help us to distinguish that which participle means "come to" and which means "come from"!:

Geldiğim köyü yeniden gördüm. -> I saw again the village i came to (before).

Geldiğim köyde her şeyi doğal buldum. -> I found anything natural in the village i came to.

But, participle of the verb "come from" doesn't necessarily need to be with describing suffix just after the complement (which is köy in these examples):

Geldiğin köy harika bir köy müş? -> The village you came from was a fantastic village?

So, in conclusion and briefly, if you saw two the same participles of verb "gelmek" with different usage, the one you could eliminate suffix from the complement and still means would be the participle "...come from" and the one doesn't mean anymore would be "...come to".

  • I'm having trouble understanding your point. By describing suffixes, do you mean case suffixes like -ü and -de? So are you saying that if geldiğim köy is the subject of a sentence (no case suffixes in this case), it can't mean the village I came to?
    – thorn
    Oct 27, 2016 at 12:44

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