Turkish Noun Compounds

Learn how to form noun compounds in Turkish

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This tutorial was written by Ömer & Mehmet Sener. If you are interested in authentic uses of language, go to Turkish realia for photos taken in Turkey.

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Noun Compounds in Turkish

When two nouns come together (like “school bag”), they form a noun compound. Noun compounds are used very often in Turkish. In a noun compound, the first element is the possessor, and the second one is the possessed. In Turkish, the possessed noun in an indefinite noun compound takes a suffix. This is the same with the possessive suffix for the third person singular (“his/her/its”).

öğrenci >> öğrenci + si >> üniversite öğrencisi “university student”

If the word ends in a consonant, the letter s is omitted from the suffix, as explained in possessive suffixes.

otobüs >> otobüs + ü >> okul otobüsü “the school bus”

adam >> adam + ı >> iş adamı “businessman”

If the possessed noun is in plural, it takes the possessive suffix for “their”.

yemek >> yemek + leri >> Türk yemekleri “Turkish dishes”


There are certain cases where no suffix is needed. Some of them are:

If the first word is an adjective. 

beyaz at “white horse”, yüksek dağlar “high mountains”

If the first word is a name of a material.

altın yüzük “golden ring”, tahta masa “wooden table”


Üniversite öğrencisiyim. I am a university student.
İş adamları bu akşam İstanbul’da toplanıyorlar. Businessmen are meeting in Istanbul this evening.
Türk yemekleri çok lezzetli. Turkish dishes are very delicious.



Turkish Phrases, Vocabulary and Grammar

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