The Utter Negation of Being (Source: Daniel Pontillo)
Lesson 10 | yok

In the Lesson 6, we learned that Turkish has a special kind of verb "var" that signifies the meaning "exists", and this verb is used to convey meanings that we would say in English as "there is" or "I have" depending on the context. So it only makes perfect sense that Turkish has another completely separate word that is the opposite of var, which is yok.

This song by the band Çamur or "Mud", which was active for over a decade between 1996 and 2007, is much ado about yok. It contains no less than three distinct uses of this word, the very essence of which is emptiness.

The first use is the most important for us grammatically speaking, which is to convey a lack of possession of "having" in the way that var was used to express "to have" in Lesson 6. Just as Zeki Müren told us "I have a heart (kalbim var)", Çamur's lead singer Murat Ak tells us here "I have nothing to say (sözüm yok)", "I have no tears (gözyaşım yok)", and "I have no strength (güçüm yok)". Here yok functions exactly as var.

A second related use of yok is to convey the meaning of "there is not", also in opposition to var meaning "there is". We see that in this song through the use of the phrase "there is nothing (birşey yok)".

Finally, we should highlight a meaning for yok that points to the true power of this word. While the word for a negative response in opposition to "evet" meaning "yes" is usually cited as "hayır" or "no", "yok" can also be used in this capacity. In other words, yok by itself means "no" (note that var cannot be used by itself to mean "yes").

There are some tricky verbs in here that would take too much time to deal with at present. Use the explanation below for the hard points and focus on Çamur's use of the word "yok" in this song entitled "Yok".


Practice this vocabulary list on Quizlet

yok - there is not, does not exist, don't have, no
sözüm yok - I have nothing to say
birşey yok - there is nothing

gülmek - to smile
dökmek - to pour, to spill
özlemek - to miss, to long

derman - strength, also cure
hal - state, condition
gece - night
sabah - morning
dil - tongue, language

Çamur - Yok

Click play button above to hear the song
Yok.. Geleceğim de dermanım yok
I would come but I have no strength
Kime gülsem şu yüzümü
At whom should I smile this face of mine
Diyemez oldum sözümü
I have become unable to say anything (literally 'my word')
Yok.. Sözüm yokI have nothing to say (literally 'I have no word')
Yok.. Dökeceğim de gözyaşım yok
I would spill (my tears) but I have no tears

Silebilsem tüm her şeyi
If only I could erase everything
Ateşe atsam kendimi
If only I could throw myself into a fire
Yok birşey yok
No, there is nothing
Son kere olsun duyan yok mu
One last time, is there anybody who hears (me)?
Hallerimi gören yok mu
Is there anyone who sees my condition?
Giderim bu yolu kanım aksın
I'll take this road, I swear (literally 'or may my blood flow')
Canım yansın yanan yok mu
Let my soul burn, is there no one who burns?
Yok.. Gideceğim de yollarım yok
I would go but I have no way (literally 'no roads')
Sabahı yok mu gecenin
Has the night no morning?
Yürüyemem ki düşerim
I cannot walk, I will fall
Yok gücüm yok
No, I have no strength
Yok.. Diyeceğim de dillerim yok
I would say (something) but I have no tongue
Varamam ki nasıl özledim
I cannot reach (you), oh how I have missed (you)
Bakamaz ki sana gözlerim / Yok, birşey yok
My eyes cannot look at you, no, there is nothing (there)

We've got two more lessons in this unit. Try quizzing yourself on Lessons 7-10 before moving on to Lesson 11: Nobody's Perfect.

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