How To Use The -iyor Suffix In Turkish (Ongoing Actions)

avatarMille Larsen
3 mins read

Today, I'm excited to share my first grammatical observation about Turkish, which I've learned without studying at all!

As I mentioned recently, I changed my iPod to Turkish on new year's day of this year, and since then I've been interacting with the device in Turkish and learning things as I do.

When I'm checking my email, the status bar says Denetleniyor. I'm sure that means "checking email", or something like that, and I'm sure I could verify that in Google Translate.

When I go to the App Store to check for updates, it says Yükleniyor, which must be conceptually similar to Denetleniyor, but closer in meaning to "checking for updates" or something similar. Again, I'm sure I could verify that using Google Translate.

I see a connection, but I need to verify it. So, I opened the audio notes app (which is now called Sesli Notlar) and pressed the record button. Sure enough, a status message appears which says Kayıt Yapılıyor. I don't know what those words are, but I know that message means "recording..."

Thus it seems pretty clear that ongoing action in Turkish is indicated by the -iyor ending. I don't know if this is a gerund, or some other verb form, because I'm not looking in any books or using any study materials. But I don't need to know the name for this part of speech... all I need is an idea of how to use it.

Fortunately, that's easy to test! You'll remember that I've already discovered the word Kapat, which is written on the "close" button for all of those dialog messages I'm getting. When I type the word Kapat into Google Translate, it tells me that it does indeed mean "close". When I add that ending -iyor, my spell correction changes it to Kapatıyor, and Google Translate tells me that it means "closes". Closes! That's ongoing action!

Just to be sure, I'll try it with kilidi aç, the "slide to unlock" text I mentioned last week. Google Translate says this means "Unlock". When I change it to kilidi açiyor (spell correction says kilidi açıyor), the translation changes to "lock opens". Again, ongoing action!

So now I feel pretty confident that I know how to show ongoing action with a verb. Of course I'll keep testing that as I go. I'm also learning about Turksh "vowel harmony", because in both cases where the previous vowel was a, the i changed to ı.

Learning by discovery isn't difficult at all. And it's actually proving to be kind of fun!