Let's Break Up

Cüneyt Arkın
Lesson 13 | -elim Let's

We have already gone through the basic tenses of Turkish and learned a lot of new vocabulary, but before parting ways with Unit 1 and moving onto some more challenging songs, let's take a look at one last song that offers a preview of the types of grammar points we'll deal with in Unit 2 and learn how to break up properly.

This lesson's song comes to us from the film Severek Ayrılalım (Let's Part While In Love) starring Hülya Koçyiğit and Cüneyt Arkın. It is actually written by Orhan Gencebay (his version is probably better), but for the sake of variety and cultural value I thought I would use this version performed by Belkıs Özener and introduce the genre of 1970s Turkish Yeşilçam melodramas. The term Yeşilçam refers to the Yeşilçam area of Beyoğlu where movie production companies were based during the heyday of Turkish budget cinema, which lasted from the 1960s until the spread of television decreased its impact during the late 70s and 80s. This film from 1971 is from the period of Yeşilçam's absolute peak, when Turkey produced hundreds of full-length films annually, making Yeşilçam third to only Bollywood and Hollywood on the global stage. Hülya Koçyiğit and Cüneyt Arkın are very recognizable faces of the era, known for their roles in some of the period's best and worst films.

The singer, Belkıs Özener, by contrast, rarely appeared in films. Unlike many of the singers from previous lessons, she most often appeared as the sung voice of other actresses in Yeşilçam films. That is the case in this title track from Severek Ayrılalım.

In this short song, I would like to highlight two grammar points. The first is the -elim ending, which performs the function of "let us" or "may we". It is the 1st person plural equivalent of the imperative form we learned in Lessons 11 and 12. As we will see in Unit 2, Turkish has such equivalents for all pronouns.

To make a verb using the -elim ending, you simply add it to the verb root used to make the imperative. Here is a table using some of the verbs from the song as well as some other common verbs:

ayrılmakto part, separateayrılalımlet's separate
kalmakto remain, staykalalımlet's stay
vazgeçmekto abandon, leavevazgeçelimlet's leave/quit
unutmakto forgetunutalımlet's forget
barışmakto make up, reconcilebarışalımlet's make up
gitmekto gogidelimlet's go
etmekto doedelimlet's do

The second small grammar point I would like to highlight is the -erek ending. We've already gotten a taste of how endings are used to combine sentences, and there is more of that coming. This commonly used ending has the meaning of "while" or "as". Thus, the title of the song "severek ayrılalım" means "let's break up while we are loving (each other)". To be very specific, it makes the suggestion is that they should part although they remain in the state of being in love. We can infer from the song that this should be a painful experience, that is, to part while being in love. Yet, as we learn in the song, this is also the only way to protect that love, should it be to valuable to let go of.

The -erek ending is not conjugated for person, but rather it is understood to correspond to the subject of the verb at the end of the sentence (in this case, the "biz (we)" that goes with "ayrılalım"). Here are some verbs and their -erek equivalents:

sevmekto loveseverek
bilmekto knowbilerek
yapmakto do/makeyaparak
gelmekto comegelerek
çalışmakto workçalışarak
söylemekto saysöyleyerek


severek - while loving, in love

son - end, conclusion
kader - fate
mutlu - happy
mutluluk - happiness

(-den) vazgeçmek - to leave, to abandon, to quit
ayrılmak - to separate, to break up
barışmak - to make up, to get back together, to make peace

Belkıs Özener - Severek Ayrılalım

Bıraktım kaderime aşkımızın sonunu
I've left the conclusion of our love to fate
In other words, she is saying that no matter how much they love each other, fate dictates they should be apart.
Aradım / bulamadım mutluluğun yolunu
I searched and could not find the road to happiness
Bırak artık kaderimle kendi halime beni
Leave me alone with my fate, already
Vazgeçelim bu sevgiden / unutalım herşeyi
Let's leave this love behind, let's forget everything
Severek ayrılalım / aşka hasret kalalım
Let's break up in love, let's stay longing for love
Eğer mutlu olmazsak yeniden barışalım
And if we're not happy, let's get back together again
That's the last song for Unit 1. Before moving on to Unit 2, visit the Unit 1 Review to make sure you've got all the essential points and review the vocabulary we've covered thus far.

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