Learn Turkish From Tarkan: Çat Kapı

Today is a good day to look at another Tarkan song. This is another one that I've found really catchy, called Çat Kapı. I couldn't find the video for it, so it will just be accompanied by the audio. Also, I started with this translation, but tried to clean up the English grammar a bit so it would make more sense.


Bi dahamı?


Yasak ettim ben onu bu gönüleTadı tatlıdır önceleri

Ama sonu sancılıdır

Gelmem oyununa

Kaç kez yandı dilim

Bu kez yemin ettim

Ben bi daha pabuç bırakmam aşka

Derken...Çat kapı gelip çeldi fikrimi

Şaka maka yine tavladı beni

Yana yana küle döneceğim yine

Kaleyi içinden fethettiAşk...

Bi daha mı?

Bu defa karşı koymalı onaTadı tatlıdır önceleri

Ama sonu sancılıdır

Gelmem oyununa

Kaç kez yandı dilim

Bu kez yemin ettim

Ben bir daha yem olmam aşka

Derken...Gizli gizli örüp ağlarını

Gözü kör olası beni ansızın avladı

Şimdi direnmek ne mümkün

Elimi kolumu fena bağladı

Error: VideoService could not be found

On the basis of my own efforts with Google Translate and Sesli Sözlük, this appears to be a case where the lyrics have a lot of metaphorical language that's more obvious to native speakers and more difficult for people who are learning. But that doesn't mean there aren't still things that can be learned...

First, there's this indicative word bu which means this. It's used here in the phrases bu defa and bu kez, but of which mean this time. (I'll worry about the difference later.) I've also seen it elsewhere in the phrase bu gece, which means tonight.

Next, there's this word daha, which seems to have the combined again/still/yet meaning I've grown accustomed to in most other languages. It seems that English is somewhat unique in separating those concepts linguistically. Here, it seems that daha by itself is again, but when combined with bi, it becomes something like yet again.

Now, more interesting to me, is this bit that says döneceğim yine, or "I'll return again." The root verb dönmek means to return. (And an interesting side note, this root also gives us the term döner kebab, or "rotating meat".)

As we've figured out already, that ending -im is the first-person conjugation. So somewhere in this word we've got dön-ece(ğ)-im. This parenthesis around the ğ indicate my guess that this letter only exists to satisfy spelling rules which prevent vowels from sitting next to one another.

So it appears that the -ece- portion there is what gives us a future tense. I don't see this anywhere else in the lyrics, but I can try it out by just typing things into Google Translate and seeing what I get back.

As it turns out, my guess was right. The verb gülmek means to smile and when I type things into Google Translate (and use spell-correction) I find that the word güleceğim means "I will smile." Similarly, the verb yazmak is to write, and yazacağim means "I will write."

So not only have I learned another verb tense, but I'm starting to get more of a feel for this vowel harmony. Isn't Turkish fascinating?

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Author: Yearlyglot
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  • Randy Yearlyglot

    Good analysis. However, (ğ) in "döneceğim" is actually part of the future tense suffix -ecek -acak.
    You can observe the suffix as it is in P2sg "döneceksin", or P3pl versions "dönecekler" but for P1pl it is "döneceğiz". So it is not about two vowels coming together, it is about "k" letter and its interaction with vowels and consonants that comes after it. I am not giving the details, but it is same as kilit -> kilidi words you mentioned before.
    Everything in Turkish is about keeping the harmony, smoothness and using minimal energy. Hence these rules.

  • Randy Yearlyglot

    Thanks. I'm sure I'd have figured that out once I start looking at non-P1sg verbs... but your explanation certainly gives me a few new things to watch for as I continue trying to learn from investigation.Indeed, all the harmony in Turkish is one of the things that attracted me to it. I find it quite fascinating!

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