Consonant Assimilation

What is Turkish Consonant Assimilation?

Just like the topic of Vowel Harmony, certain consonants also experience a sound change when used with certain suffixes.

Most of the time, the consonant sound changes (also known as Consonant Assimilation) happens to a suffix attached to a word stem ending with an Unvoiced Consonant.

The first letter of the suffix changes to a sound similar to the last consonant of the word stem.

Unvoiced

Voiced

p, t, k, s, ş, ç, h, f

b, d, g, v, z, c, ğ, j, l, m, n, r, y

A good way to remember Unvoiced Consonants is with the “Fıstıkçı Şahap” rule. This is another nickname for Consonant Assimilation used in Turkish. It means “Şahap the Peanut Seller”.

Look at the bold red letters in “Fıstıı Şahap“. All the bold letters are Unvoiced Consonants.

Whenever you’re using a suffix that has a Consonant Assimilation exception, simply remember the consonants in “Fıstıkçı Şahap” and check whether your word is affected by Consonant Assimilation.

Turkish Verb Conjugation

If you’ve ever looked at a Turkish to English dictionary, all verbs generally end in the Infinitive Suffix “-mek/-mak”. The Infinitive Suffix is a Two-Fold Vowel Harmony.

Infinitive

Stem

açmak

to open

open

This is the same as the English preposition “to” used in front of a verb, like “to walk”.

Once we erase the Infinitive Suffix, the verb is left in its Stem Form. The stem verb is also used for Imperatives, which is when you’re giving orders to someone.

We can now change the tense of a verb by adding a Tense Suffix.

As you can see from the table, the Past Simple Suffix is a Four-Fold Vowel Harmony.

Last Vowel

Suffixes

Examples

a, ı

Back

Unrounded

-dı

yaptı

did

o ,u

Back

Rounded

-du

okudu

read

e, i

Front

Unrounded

-di

çizdi

wrote

ö, ü

Front

Rounded

-dü

öttü

sang

While the suffix choices for the suffix is “-dı/-di/-du/-dü”, If the final consonant in a stem verb ends in one of the Unvoiced Consonants, the letter “d” changes to a “t”.

Here are more examples:

Stem

Past Simple Tense

ara

call

ara

called

ye

eat

yedi

ate

koru

protect

korudu

protected

gör

see

gördü

saw

at

throw

attı

threw

ek

plant

ekti

planted

koş

run

koştu

ran

öt

sing

öttü

sang

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