Essential Things

Babazula (Source:
Lesson 2 | -mek/mak Infinitive Noun

In the last lesson, we took a stroll down the sometimes depressing backstreets of Beyoğlu. When doing so today, among the many sights and sounds already discussed, you'll likely see promotional posters for concerts at the various music venues in the area. You might even see the image above depicting the eclectic Istanbul band Babazula, which has performed regularly in the Beyoğlu area for years. Babazula blends various international musical styles with melodies played on an electric saz, a familiar staple of any repertoire in the various genres of Anatolian rock.

With a set that often contains visualization, dance, and other unique performance elements, Babazula is a musical phenomenon that is better experienced than merely listened. As for their lyrics, they range from novel, creative, and playful to downright bizarre and even nonsensical. The song in this lesson balances those tendencies to create a set of lyrics so free of grammatical complexity that almost any beginner can easily apprehend them.

"Necessary Things (Gerekli Şeyler)" (view it in iTunes) is a short song comprised of a formulaic statement of related verbs and an assertion that they are necessary or "gerek." As you'll see, to say that an action is necessary, one need only take the verbal noun or infinitive with -mek/mak ending and say the word "gerek" or "necessary" after it. With lyrics like, "gitmek gerek, gelmek gerek (it is necessary to go, it is necessary to come," the song might read in places like a children's book, but there's a bit of clever wordplay in there as well, and I assure you it is intended for adults. Take this opportunity to add some verbs to your vocabulary. This course will be structured around verbs and their conjugations, and will not appear henceforth in such a simple form as in Babazula's "Gerekli Şeyler".

I have highlighted the verb roots of these infinitive nouns in bold below.

Bonus: Listeners with some background will notice that there are many verbs that contain a variation on an "-iş" particle in their stems, such as konuşmak, öpüşmek, and görüşmek. These are a form of verb that we can call reciprocal, meaning that they signify a back and forth or completing a certain action. These will be covered at greater length later.


Vocab audio courtesy of Seçil Yılmaz

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gerek - necessary
hem... hem... - both... and...

söylemek - to say
dinlemek - to listen
konuşmak - to speak
dokunmak - to touch
öpüşmek - to kiss each other
sevişmek - to make love
gelmek - to come
gitmek - to go
görüşmek - to meet (literally, to see each other)
oynamak - to dance, to play
doğmak - to be born
ölmek - to die
yaşamak - to live

Babazula - Gerekli Şeyler

Click play button above to listen to the song
We do not upload the music ourselves, and links tend to go down from time to time. Please let us know if the song's link is dead so we can provide a new one.
Söylemek gerek dinlemek gerek
It is necessary to say, it is necessary to listen 
Hem dinlemek hem söylemek
Both to listen and to say 
Konuşmak gerek
It is necessary to talk
Notice how "hem x hem x" is used to signify "both x and x".
Dokunmak gerek öpüşmek gerek
It is necessary to touch, it is necessary to kiss (each other)
Hem öpüşmek hem dokunmak
Both to kiss and to touch
Sevmek gerek
It is necessary to make love
Gelmek gerek gitmek gerek
It is necessary to come, it is necessary to go
Hem gitmek hem gelmek
Both to go and to come
Görüşmek gerek
It is necessary to meet
Atlamak gerek sıçramak gerek
It is necessary to jump, it is necessary to leap
Hem sıçramak hem atlamak
Both to leap and to jump
Oynamak gerek
It is necessary to dance
Doğmak gerek ölmek gerek
It is necessary to be born, it is necessary to die
Hem ölmek hem doğmak
Both to die and to be born
Yaşamak gerek
It is necessary to live
Note that the verb "doğmak" meaning "to be born" is an intransitive verb exactly like to die. Doğmak has other meanings in Turkish as well.

Now that we have some essential verbs, let's move to more conjugations starting with the simple past in Lesson 3: Seasons Past. But first, try to match up this lesson's vocabulary words with their English meanings using Quizlet's "Scatter" function.

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