I Made You a Cake

Nil Karaibrahimgil in the video for "Kek"
Lesson 29 | -ince While/As

This next lesson was originally featured in an earlier unit, but I decided there was a little too much going on for that early stage. Now you should be ready to handle the onslaught of vocabulary and review how sentences are joined and formed, all while learning how to make a cake in Turkish.

In English, we combine independent clauses using conjunctions such as "and" or conjunctive adverbs such as "while". Turkish, as we've already seen in a few songs, does possess such conjunctions such as "ve (and)". But the more common way of joining sentences is using grammatical endings. We've seen a number of ways of doing this, the -erek ending, the -ken ending, the -ip ending, and others. In this lesson, we will hone in on the -ince ending, which gives the sense of "while," "as," or "by."

Nil Karaibrahimgil is a Turkish musician known for her inventive lyrics. Like most pop singers, many of her songs deal with love and relationships. However, her style is a bit more candid, humorous, and self-conscious than most, as reflected in this song about making a cake for her boyfriend and being mad at him for flirting with another girl.

In comparison with the songs we dealt with in Units 1 and 2, this one is rather verbose, although I think that Nil's singing style will make it easy enough to follow along. Readers will certainly be forgiven for not learning all of the kitchen vocabulary in the lesson, which I've added to the additional bonus list, however, it will be important to focus on how Nil narrates her journey on an emotional roller coaster using a cake and the -ince suffix.

This suffix is added to the verb stem and is not conjugated for person. Thus, "gelmek (to come)" becomes "gelince", "gülmek (to laugh/smile)" becomes "gülünce", "yapmak (to do/make)" becomes "yapınca" and so forth.

This is the easy part. The hard part is learning how to use it. Let's look at a few lines from "Kek":

Ben de tarifi öğrenince, kalktım sana kek yaptım
When I learned the recipe, I went and made you a cake

Here we have a past tense verb "kalktım" meaning "I got up" or "I started to (do something)", in this case to make a cake. The first clause in the sentence is also a complete sentence on its own "Ben tarifi öğrenince" or "when/as I learned the recipe" could be "ben tarifi öğrendim" or "I learned the recipe". However, in order to establish a sequential or causal relationship between learning the recipe and making the cake, Nil uses the -ince suffix, which she also uses to rhyme throughout the song.

In order to further illustrate the use of this suffix, which is not by any means the only way of conveying the broader meaning of "when", let's take a look at a few more sentences.

Gözlerin dönmüş kızı görünce
Your eyes went back (in your head) when they saw that girl

First, we need to as always put the verb at the end of the sentence. Here the verb is "dönmüş" from "dönmek" meaning "to return" or "to turn". The sentence thus becomes "gözlerin kızı görünce dönmüş", literally "your eyes went back (in your head) when they saw the girl". Here is it clear that the -ince suffix conveys the precise meaning that the girl Nil's boy saw caused his eyes to go back in his head.

Finally, let's emphasize how endings such as -ince are used to build sentences using an example from the end of the song.

Bir de ağlayıp itiraf edince abarttın
And you exaggerated a bit by crying and confessing

Here the sentence ends with the verb "abarttın" meaning "you exaggerated" or "you went too far". How did he go too far? By "apologizing/confessing (itiraf edince)" AND "crying (ağlayıp)". We've seen this -ip ending before and we'll see it again. It gives the sense of "and" as in doing two actions.

I have underlined the -ince verbs in the explanation below and put the past tense verbs in bold to help you parse the sentences.


Practice this vocabulary list on Quizlet

kalkmak - to rise, stand, get up, start
yapmak - to make, to do
yatmak - to go to bed
düşünmek - to think
düşününce - while thinking, by thinking
öğrenmek - to learn
gülmek - to smile, to laugh
hissetmek - to feel
istemek - to want
atmak - to throw, toss
oturmak - to sit
eklemek - to add
abartmak - to exaggerate, go to far
yarışmak - to compete
yarıştırmak - to make someone compete, compare
yatıştırmak - to calm someone down

üç - three
biraz - a little
yerli yersiz - not considering whether something (you are doing) is appropriate or not
iyi - good
iyice - well

Bonus Words

kırmak - to crack, break
katmak - to add, to put in
karıştırmak - to mix
erimek - to melt (intransitive, as in ice melts)

kek - cake
tarif - recipe
yumurta - egg
süt - milk
portakal - orange
tereyağı - butter
un - flour
fırın - oven
derece - degree (as in temperature)
göz kararı - by eye (in this case meaning without measure cup), literally "the eye's decision"

Üç yumurtayı kırdım önce / Portakal dilimledim ince ince
I cracked three eggs first / I finely sliced an orange
Göz kararı da biraz süt kattım
I also added a little milk by eye
Kalktım, sana kek yaptım
I went and made you a cake
Note how "sana" or "to you" is used with the verb "yaptım (I made)" to convey the meaning "for you". "Kalmak" means "to rise" or "to get up" but here it comes with the meaning of "to start" or "to initiate". Here it conveys that in response to her situation, she decided to make a cake. That situation becomes clearer as the song goes on...
İnsan neler yapar isteyince / Bu bir şey değil düşününce
It's amazing what a person can do when they want (i.e. when in love)
When you think about it, it's nothing (i.e. doing something like making a cake)

See how the -ince suffix is used to convey the meaning of "while," "as," or "when".
Gözlerin dönmüş kızı görünce yerli yersiz bakıp sana gülünce
Your eyes rolled back in your head when you saw her, shamelessly looking and smiling at you
Ben de tesadüf o gece erken yattım / Bana kelek yaptın
I also went to bed early that night coincidentally / You made a fool (literally, unripe melon) out of me
İnsan neler yapar isteyince / Bu bir şey değil düşününce
Sen de elektriği hissedince kalktın
When you felt the electricity too, you got up
Bana kelek yaptın

Çırptım, çırptım, karıştırdım / Kendimi onunla yarıştırdım
I beat and whisked and mixed / I compared myself with her
Kimse kimseye benzemez / Kendimi kekle yatıştırdım
Everybody's different (literally "nobody is like anyone else") / I calmed myself down with the cake

Oturdum ellerimle
I sat with my hands
Sana kek yaptım

Unla sütü karıştırdım iyice / Tereyağı ekledim eriyince
I mixed the flour well with milk / I added melted butter (literally while it was melting)

Fırın da oldu yüz seksen derece, attım
The oven reached 180 degrees, and I threw (the cake into the oven)
Sana kek yaptım

İnsan neler yapar isteyince / Bu bir şey değil düşününce
Ben de tarifi öğrenince, kalktım sana kek yaptım
When I learned the recipe, I went and made you a cake

Çırptım, çırptım, karıştırdım / Kendimi onunla yarıştırdım
Kimse kimseye benzemez / Kendimi kekle yatıştırdım
Oturdum ellerimle
Sana kek yaptım

Üzüldüğün belli çok beni görünce / Elimde kekimle sana gelince
It was very clear you felt bad when you saw me coming towards you with my cake in my hands

Bir de ağlayıp itiraf edince abarttın
And you exaggerated a bit by crying and confessing

Beni melek yaptın
You made me (out to be) an angel 

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