I just was thinking about how you might run into problems (in a language like English), where using affixes break down because they are too simplistic (they are used for the common/simple case basically). To express some sentences/meanings/semantics, it seems you end up having to fallback to using more words instead of using the affixes (I tried describing a few examples, all of which try to demonstrate the same point, in that link).

Now I have spent the past few hours searching around the web for things related to Turkish, and if/how you can express certain meanings/sentences like those ones where it seems like using Turkish suffixes might break down. But it is very hard to find anything comparing a sentence written mostly with Turkish suffixes, vs. one without them (and I couldn't find if it's possible to state things using more words instead of suffixes in Turkish).

Taking a look at this post, I see:

-dan -den -tan -ten = from

ormandan : from the forest
İnternetten aldım : I bought it from the internet

These are extremely simple statements. How does it work if you have more complex statements? Does using suffixes break down? If it doesn't break down, can you show an somewhat extremely complex example, and how the suffixes still fit nicely in?

For example (off the top of my head):

I walked from the great big and expansive forest.

Do you still put the "from" on "forest", or what now? There is a lot in between "from" and "forest".

-da -de / -ta -te = in, on, at

evde : at home

Okay, but what about more complex, like:

I am at what used to be my home.
I am about to jump on the big old trampoline.

Where do the suffixes go now?

As a sidenote, feel free to leave a comment pointing to a resource where I could learn about this "affix vs. no affix" comparison/idea in more detail, I have found almost nothing on the topic, especially so far as it relates to Turkish.

  • 1
    I can’t comment on Turkish, because I don’t speak it, but Finnish works in a fairly similar way, and your examples would all retain the suffixes there. It’s not entirely comparable, because in Finnish they are unquestionably cases and require agreement, but it’s fairly close: Kävelin iso-sta ja aava-sta metsä-stä ‘I walked great-from and expansive-from forest-from’, Olen hyppäämäisilläni suure-lla vanha-lla trampoliini-lla ‘I’m jump-about-to big-on old-on trampoline-on’. ‘What used to be my home’ is a fused relative, so trickier to translate. Sep 23, 2022 at 7:42

3 Answers 3


Yes, there are plenty of modifiers in Turkish that are standalone words, like prepositions and postpositions, not suffixes.

Often a similar idea can be expressed with either a suffix or a standalone word. For example, üzerinde and üstünde are not unlike -da/-de/-ta/-te but more specific.

These are not unlike English or Romance function words or phrases that contain identifiable roots, for example inside of or on top of.

Conversely, English also has suffixes and postpositions, even for cases where Turkish does not:

büyük, daha büyük, en büyük
big, bigger, biggest

And some phrases are structured exactly the same in Turkish and English:

2 saat önce
2 hours ago

Language typology is spectra, not absolutes.

But longer or more complex phrases are not a problem for suffixes.

To use your example:

on the trambolin

Nothing earth-shattering happens if we add more modifiers.

büyük eski trambolinde
büyük eski trambolin -de
big old trampoline[on]
on the big old trampoline

To see agglutination in action, we need a different example:

(ben) trambolindeyim
(ben) trambolin -de -yim
(I) trampoline[on][am]
I am on the trampoline

That is, suffixes can be recursively added.

But all natural language is recursive, English too.


I can't speak for Turkish, but I suspect your question is more general than that.

In some languages, these "suffixes" are case markers, which show agreement (so you basically put the marker on each word in the phrase):

Via-m aedificā-v-ī instrument-īs vari-īs ingent-ibus.
road-ACC build-PST-1S tools-ABL various-ABL large-ABL
I built this road using all sorts of large tools.

The ablative ("with") suffix is applied to all three of "tools", "various", and "large". This indicates that they go together, even if you put them in different parts of the sentence: Latin word order is a lot more free than English word order, and you could spread these words out without it becoming nonsense, since the suffixes mark their connection to each other.

In other languages, these "suffixes" are attached to entire phrases instead, like in Sumerian.

(Nanše nin urun)=ra Eannatum=e munnandimʔa
(Nanše lady august)=DAT Eannatum=ERG created
[The one that] Eannatum crafted for the august lady Nanše.

(I'm not breaking down the morphology of the verb here because it's complicated and not relevant but see Jagersma page 163 for full details.)

In both cases, it's no more limited than English is. Just like you can say "from (the great big and expansive forest)" in English, you can apply a marker to that entire phrase: either to the individual words in the phrase, like in Latin, or to the phrase as a whole, like in Sumerian.


If there are a few adjectives and a noun, then you put the suffix in the end of the noun.

If there is a possessive adjective in English and you are trying to translate it into Turkish, you put the possessive suffix after the noun. If the noun is plural, then you put the plural suffix and put possessive suffix after the plural suffix. You put the case suffixes after the possessive suffix.

büyük geniş evimin küçük karanlık odalarında in the small dark rooms of my big large home

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