Let Me Go to Rumeli

Mid-19th Century map of Rumeli

Lesson 19 | -eyim 1st Person Optative

We're moving quickly through some of the more nuanced aspects of Turkish grammar. In this lesson, we will add the 1st person singular -eyim ending to our repertoire of optative and imperative endings as well as introduced one of the most important features of Turkish music: the türkü.

In modern Turkish, the word türkü refers to a folk song. It is derived form an older word "türkî" meaning "Turkish (song)" and was distinguished from the şarkı or "şarkî" meaning "Eastern (song)". This division  had a slightly different meaning in the Ottoman context, but today, while "şarkı" is a generic word for the type of song that you or I would compose, the türkü has come to be synonymous with the Anatolian folk song. Türküs are symbols of the cultural heritage of Turkey and are held up as deeply local cultural inputs to a national culture. The Turkish government and many folklorists, especially under the auspices of Turkish Radio and Television or TRT have expended tremendous effort to collect and standardize songs (in Turkish) from throughout the country. Many of these songs, while originating from local contexts, are known throughout the country. We'll have a whole unit on the türkü phenomenon much later on.

This lesson's song is good example of a türkü with some historical content that takes on a new meaning in the context of modern Turkey. It is a song of the Rumeli region, which is the European portion of modern Turkey. Under the Ottoman Empire, this region encompassed a larger area than it does today, and many people in Turkey are descended from immigrants who fled or were brought to Turkey in an organized mutual exchange of populations between Turkey and Greece. This song which says "let me go to Rumeli" was recorded for a TV series set in the historical Rumeli of the nineteenth century, when those regions were part of the Ottoman Empire.
The grammatical feature I'd like to highlight in this lesson is the -eyim ending. In Lesson 13, we learned about -elim, which is used to convey meanings such as "let's" and "shall we?". The -eyim ending performs the same function, only for the 1st person singular "ben (I)" pronoun, i.e. "let me" or "shall I". Here are some verbs from the song conjugated with the -eyim ending.

çıkmak (to go out)çıkayım
gitmek (to go/leave)gideyim
vermek (to give)vereyim
kesmek (to cut)keseyim
göstermek (to show)göstereyim

While grammatically it is the same as -elim, the nuances of meaning are slightly different. When the pronoun is "we", there is always another person to implicitly direct a suggestion or optative statement at. However, with -eyim, because it is only "I" involved, the meaning is more an expression of a wish or intent than a suggestion. Try to keep this meaning in mind while going through the lyrics of the song.


çıkmak - to leave, to go out, to set out
sarmak - to embrace, to hold
göstermek - to show
kurban - sacrifice
kesmek - to cut
kurban kesmek - to sacrifice

gizli - secret, hidden
aşikar - open, apparent (literary)
ayrılık - separation, parting
uç - peak, tip
yerine - instead of you, in your place

Rumeli (Urum eli) - the European part of Ottoman Empire/Turkey
arzuhal - petition
Beylerbeyi - a rank in the Ottoman government
Mevla - God, master, patron

Yasemin Göksu - Çıkayım Gideyim Urum Eline

Çıkayım gideyim Urum eline
Let me set out, let me go to Rumeli
Arzuhal vereyim yarim Beylerbeyine
Let me give a petition, my dear, to the governor
Kimleri sarayım yar senin yerine
Who should I embrace, my dear, instead of you

Note the word "yerine" meaning "instead of you" or literally "in your place (yer)".

Gizli gizli sevdalarımız aşikar oldu
Our secret passion has become visible/known
Bize bu ayrılık yarim Mevla'dan oldu
This separation, my dear, happened to us by (the will of) God

Çıkayım gideyim bir uçtan uca
Let me set out, let me go, from peak to peak
Göstereyim sana canım ayrılık nice
Let me show you, my soul, how much separation is (painful)
Kurbanlar keseyim sardığım gece
Let me sacrifice, o night that I have embraced

Gizli gizli sevdalarımız aşikar oldu
Bize bu aynlık yarim Mevla'dan oldu

For more examples of the -eyim ending, try these:

Where Should I Go?

Make sure to review the vocabulary below before moving on to Lesson 20: May They Be Ashamed

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