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Lesson Transcript

Ece: Merhabalar! Ben Ece.
Gina: And I’m Gina! Welcome back to TurkishClass101.com. This is Pronunciation Lesson 3 - Turkish Intonation. In this lesson, you’ll learn about the intonations of words and sentences in Turkish. Let’s begin with words.

Lesson focus

Ece: In the fourth lesson of the All-About Series, we mentioned that Turkish is not a tonal language like Chinese, for example.
Gina: And this means that the pitch you use will not change a word’s meaning.
Ece: But this does not mean that there is no intonation in Turkish. It is important to have equal intervals between syllables, no matter whether they are stressed or not.
Gina: Can you show this with an example?
Ece: Yes, let’s look at the word “Nasılsınız?” which means “How are you?” at the formal level. Even if I want to put the stress on the last syllable, “Na-sıl-sı-nız?” or the second one, “Na-sıl-sı-nız?”, the intervals between syllables are equal, and the meaning is the same.
Gina: I see. But is there a general rule for word intonation, Ece?
Ece: Most multi-syllable words in Turkish, along with verb roots and some of the loan words too, have their stress on the final syllable. There are some exceptions to this that we’ll talk about later on.
Gina: Ok, let’s hear some examples. First I’ll give an English word, and Ece will follow with its Turkish translation. Make sure you pay attention to the intonation, listeners! Okay, first we have “Box”.
Ece: Kutu.
Gina: And then “Computer”.
Ece: Bilgisayar.
Gina: And now “Bubble”.
Ece: Baloncuk.
Gina: Okay now let’s talk about words that have the stress on their first syllables.
Ece: These are adverbs and question words.
Gina: Let’s hear some examples for adverbs.
Ece: “Şimdi” which means “Now”. “Belki” which means “Perhaps”.
Gina: And for question words…
Ece: “Neden?” which means “Why?” or “Niçin?” which means “What for?”.
Gina: What types of words don’t follow this first or last stressed syllable pattern, Ece?
Ece: Loan words from the West.
Gina: For example?
Ece: “Lokanta”. It comes from Italian and means “Restaurant”. We see that the stressed syllable is the middle one. The same goes for the French-origin word “İskemle” which means “Chair”.
Gina: Now let’s move on to the noun compounds. Mostly they are stressed at the first compound.
Ece: For example “Gece lambası” which means “Night light”. We see that the stress falls onto the last syllable of the first word, “Gece”. Or, “Kahve fincanı” which means “Coffee cup”.
Gina: And finally, let’s talk about the intonation of sentences. The stress of a simple sentence is usually put on the verb. Can you give a simple sentence, Ece?
Ece: Buraya gel.
Gina: “Come here.”
Ece: Seni seviyorum.
Gina: “I love you.”
How about longer sentences?
Ece: In Turkish it’s quite variable. The speaker may stress a word in a sentence based on their emotions or the point they want to draw attention to.
Gina: But most of the time, the word the speaker wants to stress is put before the verb.
Ece: For example, Buraya yarın gel.
Gina: Come here tomorrow.
Ece: The stressed word is “Yarın”, which means “Tomorrow”. But if I change the order in the same sentence as “Yarın buraya gel.”…
Gina: The stress is then on “Buraya” which means “To here”. The next example is...
Ece: Seni çok seviyorum.
Gina: “I love you very much.” Well listeners, as we’ve said, you don’t need to worry about the intonation of your Turkish being perfect to begin with.
Ece: The more Turkish you hear spoken, both from native Turkish speakers and here at TurkishClass101.com, the more you’ll get used to words and sentences with proper intonation, and you’ll find yourself adapting.
Gina: But as always, make sure you check the lesson notes to reinforce what you’ve learned, and leave us a comment if you have a question.


Gina: Okay, that’s it for this lesson. Thanks for listening, everyone!
Ece: Hoşça kalın!