I Have a Problem

Ajda Pekkan (Source: youtube.com)
Lesson 33 | -dirmek Causitive Verbs

Turkish morphology is extraordinarily productive, and as we've seen throughout these early lessons, the various affixes within the Turkish language allow us to create some pretty interesting words. In this lesson, we'll focus on the -dirmek verbal tense, which allows us to create verbs with a "causitive" meaning sometimes difficult to express in English.

The singer in this lesson is Ajda Pekkan, who began performing in her teens during the 1960s and has refused to relinquish her youth through the intervening decades. She is one of the most commercially successful recording artists in Turkey, and has appeared in numerous films. The song, "Dert Bende (I have a Problem)," has been performed by many famous singers from the 1970s and while sometimes attirubted to Orhan Gencebay, is in fact the composition of Vedat Yıldırımbora.

In this song, I would like to highlight the -dirmek verbs, which we have seen plenty of and you should be able to easily recognize going forward. In the song we have three -dirmek verbs that give a causative meaning to a more basic Turkish verb. By causative, we mean that the verb is not merely "to do" but "to make someone or something do." Here are our examples in this song:

ölmekto dieöldürmekto kill
gülmekto smile, laughgüldürmekto make smile/laugh
ağlamakto cryağlatmakto make cry

As you can see, the causative tense has two essential forms, the default being -dirmek and the alternate form being -tmek for verb stems that end in a vowel or sometimes liquid consonants like "r" and "l". This includes, much to our chagrin verbs that are already causative. Here are some more examples of -dirmek and -tmek:

yapmakto doyaptırmakto make/have do
tanışmakto meet, get to knowtanıştırmakto introduce
donmakto freeze (reflexive)dondurmakto freeze/make freeze
acımakto hurt (reflexive)acıtmakto hurt, injure
anlamakto understandanlatmakto explain
doğrulmakto straighten (reflexive)doğrultmakto straighten out/correct

As you can see, while this affix is sometimes used to produce verbs for which there are equivalents in English, in other cases, it is used more productively to create meanings for a which a simple translation is more difficult. And the -dirmek ending can be tacked onto just about any verb stem to create meaning. Give it a try when you're practicing your own Turkish and see how people will magically understand what you mean!


dert - pain, problem (from Persian)
derman - here: cure, also strength
ferman - control
leke - stain (noun)
kor - ember
yokluk - absence

öldürmek - to kill, literally to make die
güldürmek - to make smile, laugh, to please
ağlatmak - to make cry

ise de - even if

Ajda Pekkan - Dert Bende Derman Sende

Dert bende derman sende
I have the trouble, you have the cure
Aşk bende ferman sende
I have love, and you have the control
Öldüren güldüren / her gün ağlatan kalp sende
You have a heart that kills, makes me laugh, and makes me cry everyday
Mevsimler gelip geçse de
Even if the seasons come and go
Aşk beni benden etse de
Even if love makes me your slave
Dünyada hayat bitse de
Even if life ends in this world
Yine ölümsüz aşk bende
Nevertheless, I have an immortal love

İstemem ayrılık boynumu büksün
I don't want separation to abase me
İstemem aşkıma leke sürülsün
I don't want my love to be stained
Ben rüyamda bile yalnız seni sevdim
Even in my dreams, I've only loved you
İstemem baharda yaprak dökülsün
I don't want the leaves to fall in the spring
Aşkın alevse hasretin bir kor
If loving you is a fire, missing you is an ember
Senin yokluğunu kalbime sor
As my heart about your absence
Dünyaya seninle gelmiş gibiyim
It's like I came into the world with you
Sensiz yaşamayı düşünmek çok zor
It is very hard to think about living without you

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