What We Did Under that Tree

A tree in Nantes, France (Source: Chris Gratien)
Lesson 21 | -dik Adjectival Participle

In our endless exploration of Turkish verbs, we move to one of the most exciting linguistic features of Turkish: the super-useful -dik ending.

Even if you're not into participles, will be hard to resist the -dik ending after the following song, performed by Emel Sayın. Born to a family of immigrants from the Balkans, Emel Sayın rose to stardom during the 1970s, appearing in numerous films and performing classic songs such as this composition by Yusuf Nalkesen, who like Sayın was from a family that emigrated from Macedonia following the First World War.

This song centers around a tree and the many layers of memory embedded in its bark and the earth beneath it. In order to describe that tree and the events that it witnessed, the -dik ending is employed.

The -dik ending has a function similar to English or French past participles but in effects takes the place of relative clauses. In Lesson 9, we learned about the -en/an suffix that gives the connotation of "the one who/that does" a certain action. "Giden" is "the one that goes". "Gelen" is "the one who comes" and so forth. Like -en, -dik is has a meaning similar to "that" or "which" and can form words that serve as both adjectives and nouns. The difference is that whereas -en is "the doer", -dik is for "the one that is done". 

What on earth does this mean? Let's start with an example from the song. One of the things that Emel and her beloved did under that tree is inscribe a heart with their names and a date into the bark. To describe that heart she says "çizdiğimiz o kalp" or "that heart we drew". Let's look at "çizdiğimiz kalp". It is made from "çizmek" meaning "to draw" and a -dik suffix, in this case one for the first person plural "biz (we)". I've got a list of conjugations below. But before explaining that, let's look at the meaning. We have the heart or "kalp" and "çizdiğimiz" modifies it. If it was "çizen", then it would be "the heart that draws". But Emel wants to say "that heart that we drew", i.e. the heart is the direct object of the sentence. 

Now to hammer this down, let's focus on the main subject of the song: the tree. It is not a big tree, or a wide tree, or an old tree. It is defined by the actions of Emel and her beloved. Therefore, we need much more than a mere adjective. We need the equivalent of a relative clause, and unfortunately there is no one to one equivalent for "that". 

Look at the first verse of the song, and these three lines:

Gölgesinde mevsimler boyu oturduğumuz
Hep el ele vererek hayâller kurduğumuz
Kimi üzgün, kimi gün neşeyle dolduğumuz

These three sentences end with three verbs that have the -dik suffix: "oturmak (to sit)", "hayal kurmak (to dream/fantasize)", "dolmak (to fill/be full)".

These are all part of one really long sentence involving a tree. But let's imagine they are three separate sentences as follows:
Gölgesinde mevsimler boyu oturduk.
We sat throughout the seasons in its shade.
Hep el ele vererek hayâller kurduk.
We daydreamed hand in hand.
Kimi üzgün, gün kimi neşeyle dolduk.
We were sometimes said and sometimes full of happiness.
The -dik endings on the end of these verbs, transforms them all to modify the word that comes immediately after in the fourth line: "o ağaç (that tree)".

You are probably going to murder me when you see in following lessons that this is not the only use of the -dik ending, because why limit ourselves like that? And I can't even imagine what you will do when you realize that there is another ending in Turkish that performs a function similar to that of -dik in this song.

For now, learn to recognize it's meaning and don't worry about trying to use it until you get used to its functions. Here is what -dik looks like for different verbs and pronouns:

oturmak (to sit)oturduğumoturduğunoturduğuoturduğumuzoturduğunuzoturdukları
çizmek (to draw)çizdiğimçizdiğinçizdiğiçizdiğimizçizdiğinizçizdikleri
söylemek (to say)söylediğimsöylediğinsöylediğisöylediğimizsöylediğinizsöyledikleri
anlamak (to understand)anladığımanladığınanladığıanladığımızanladığınızanladıkları
bilmek (to know)bildiğimbildiğinbildiğibildiğimizbildiğinizbildikleri
atmak (to throw)attığımattığınattığıattığımızattığınızattıkları


gölge - shadow, shade
boy - length, duration, height
üzgün - sad
neşe - happiness
yerli yerinde - in its proper place
tarih - date, also history

hayâl kurmak - to daydream
dolmak - to fill, to be full
bilmem - I don't know
çizmek - to draw
çizdiğimiz kalp - the heart we drew
durmak - to stop, to stand, to remain
de - also

Emel Sayın - O Ağacın Altını

Gölgesinde mevsimler boyu oturduğumuz
That we sat in its shade throughout the seasons
Hep el ele vererek hayâller kurduğumuz
Where we always daydreamed hand in hand
Kimi üzgün, kimi gün neşeyle dolduğumuz
Where we were filled some days with sadness and some with joy
O ağacın altını şimdi anıyor musun
Do you remember (being) under that tree now?
O ağacın altını şimdi anıyor musun?
The main thing to understand about this verse is that it is a single sentence comprised of verbs with -dik endings that modify the noun "o ağaç (that tree)". Those three sentences above all took place in a single place, which is "under that tree (o ağacın altı)". And thus she asks if he remembers "under it (altı)".
O güzel günler için bilmem
For those beautiful days, I don't know
Bilmem, bilmem, bilmem yanıyor musun?
I don't know, I don't know, I don't know are you burning (with regret)?
"Yanmak" has several  meanings related to intense feeling, but to burn for something in the past generally comes with the meaning of regret.
Attığımız tarih de, çizdiğimiz o kalp de
The date that we put and the heart that we drew
Silinmemiş / duruyor hepsi yerli yerinde
were not erased. It all remains where we left it (literally 'in its proper place')
Ben şarkılar söylerdim yatarken dizlerinde
I used to sing songs while laying on your knees
O ağacın altını şimdi anıyor musun
O güzel günler için bilmem yanıyor musun
Review this lesson's vocab before moving on to Lesson 22: Isn't This Enough?.

No comments:

Post a Comment