chapter  6
6 Pages

Principles of suffixation

WithAslı Göksel, Celia Kerslake

In Turkish the vast majority of words which contain more than one syllable are complex. Processes of word formation create words that can be very long and sometimes correspond to whole sentences in English. The main word formation process in Turkish is suffixation, the formation of a new word by attaching an affix to the right of a root. Any linguistic item to which suffixes can be added, whether this is a simple root or a combination of a root plus suffix(es), is referred to as a stem. In Turkish, vowels do not occur next to each other. Therefore if a suffix beginning with a vowel is attached to a stem ending in a vowel, either the initial vowel of the suffix is deleted, or the consonant 'y' is added. Suffixes are divided into two groups: those which can lose their initial vowel and those which can acquire the buffer consonant 'y'.