Lesson 10: Izafe 3 (Two Nouns Together)

Now we’re almost ready to combine two nouns together in an izafe construction (something like “the door of the house”). But first we need to learn a couple of noun endings that will be used in these izafe constructions.

1. Plural Nouns

To make nouns plural, simply add –(y)an. For example:

book = pirtûk books = pirtûkan
villager = gundî villagers = gundiyan
Lesson 10 Example 1Listen to the Examples 

NOTE: As we briefly mentioned in Lesson 4, the plural suffix is not used when the noun is the subject of the sentence. In this case, plurality is indicated by the verb. However, in other cases (for example, when the noun is the object of the verb, object of the preposition, the second part of the izafe construction), the plural suffix is added.

2. Oblique Endings

In Kurmanjı, nouns often take what is called an oblique ending (for example, when it is the object of the sentence, follows a preposition, etc.). In certain situations, nouns in izafe constructions take the oblique ending as well.

masculine oblique ending = î                    

feminine oblique ending = ê

plural oblique ending = an

Be careful! You may have noticed that the feminine oblique ending is the same as the masculine ending for head nouns in izafe constructions. This can create some confusion at first, so it’s important to go slowly and learn these endings well.

NOTE: In most cases, masculine nouns do not actually take on the oblique ending. The most common case in which the masculine oblique ending is used is when demonstrative pronouns (see Lesson 4 and Lesson 7) are used before the masculine noun in the oblique case. Don’t worry, we’ll give some examples shortly to illustrate what we mean.

Scroll through the slides below to see all forms.

Izafe with Two Nouns

In the simplest izafe construction that has two nouns, the first noun, or “head” noun, takes the izafe ending: ê or a (depending on whether the noun is masculine or feminine).

The second noun, or noun modifier, takes the appropriate oblique ending: î or ê (depending on whether the noun is masculine or feminine). However, don’t forget that unless there is a demonstrative pronoun, masculine modifier nouns in izafe constructions do NOT take the î ending.

By the way, names of females and place names (cities, countries, etc.) are grammatically feminine.

Examples:

Feminine Noun Modifier

the girl’s book (book of the girl) pirtûka keçê
the door of the library deriyê pirtûkxaneyê
the color of the ball rengê gogê
Berfin’s name navê Berfînê
Mardin’s nights şevên Mêrdînê
Helin’s teacher (fem) mamosteya Hêlînê
the teacher’s (fem) voice dengê mamosteyê
Lesson 10 Example 2Listen to the Examples 

Masculine Noun Modifier

(Remember, when masculine nouns are the noun modifier in the izafe construction, they do not normally take the oblique ending unless there is a demonstrative pronoun before the masculine noun.)

the color of the door rengê derî
the boy’s hair porê law
Azad’s newspaper rojnameya Azad
the farmer’s (masc) horse hespê cotkar
Sozdar’s name navê Sozdar
the son’s mother diya kur
the teacher’s (masc) voice dengê mamoste
Lesson 10 Example 3Listen to the Examples 

Plural Noun Modifier

the girl’s books pirtûkên keçan
the color of the doors rengê deriyan
the students’ lessons waneyên xwendekaran
the names of the teachers navên mamosteyan
the mens’ faces rûyên zilaman
the farmers’ work karê cotkaran
the womens’ coffee qehweya jinan
Lesson 10 Example 4Listen to the Examples 

NOTE: Some masculine nouns behave somewhat irregularly when they are the second noun in the izafe chain. They do not take the î ending unless they come after a demonstrative pronoun, but an internal vowel may change. For example,

Instead of navê bajar, the second “a” in bajar changes to “ê” and becomes navê bajêr.

Also, xanî becomes xênî. So, the door of the house is deriye xênî.

However, if the masculine noun follows a demonstrative pronoun, the internal vowel does not change.

So “the name of that city” is navê wî bajarî and “the door of that house” is deriyê wî xanîyî.

Izafe with Two Nouns and an Adjective

As with the izafe constructions we learned in previous lessons, you can also insert adjectives into these izafe chains that have two nouns.

Feminine Noun Modifier

the girl’s red book pirtûka keçê ya sor
the white door of the library deriyê pirtûkxaneyê yê spî
Mardin’s cold nights şevên Mêrdînê yên sar
Helin’s old teacher (female) mamosteya Hêlînê ya kevn
Lesson 10 Example 5Listen to the Examples 

Masculine Noun Modifier

(Remember, when masculine nouns are the noun modifier in the izafe construction, they do not normally take the oblique ending unless there is a demonstrative pronoun before the masculine noun.)

the boy’s short hair porê law ê kin
Azad’s important newspaper rojnameya Azad a girîng
the farmer’s (masc) black horse hespê cotkar ê reş
the man’s old photograph wêneyê zilam ê kevn
Lesson 10 Example 6Listen to the Examples 

Plural Noun Modifier

the girl’s thick books pirtûkên keçan ên stûr
the students’ long lessons waneyên xwendekaran ên dirêj
the interesting names of the teachers navên mamosteyan ên balkêş
the womens’ black coffee qehweya jinan a reş
Lesson 10 Example 7Listen to the Examples 

Be careful! The placement of suffixes in izafe chains can significantly change the meaning. Move on to the next slide for explanation and examples.

Watch Out!

Be careful! The placement of suffixes in izafe chains can significantly change the meaning. Notice the difference between these examples.

We saw this example on the previous tab:

the boy’s short hair porê law ê kin

However, if we simply attach the ê suffix after law to the word law, the meaning changes significantly.

the short boy’s hair porê lawê kin
Lesson 10 Example 8Listen to the Examples 

NOTE: In the example immediately above (porê lawê kin), the second ê in the chain modifies law (son) because it is attached to law. However, when the second ê is written separately, it refers back to por (hair). Of course, this can be difficult to detect in speech. Sometimes context makes the difference clear. Other times additional explanation is necessary in speech.

A few more examples:

Fatma’s little son kurê Fatmayê yê biçûk
little Fatma’s son kurê Fatmaya biçûk
the cover of the red book bergê pirtûka sor
the red cover of the book bergê sor ê pirtûkê
my good friend’s (masc) home mala hevalê min ê baş
my friend’s (masc) good home mala baş a hevalê min
my son’s big ball goga mezin a kurê min
my big son’s ball goga kurê min ê mezin
Lesson 10 Example 9Listen to the Examples

Izafe with Demonstrative Pronouns

We learned demonstrative pronouns in Lesson 4 and Lesson 7. Now we can insert these into izafe constructions.

Feminine Noun Modifier

this girl’s book (book of this girl) pirtûka vê keçê
the door of that library deriyê wê pirtûkxaneyê
the color of this ball rengê vê gogê
that teacher’s (fem) voice dengê wê mamosteyê
Lesson 10 Example 10Listen to the Examples 

Masculine Noun Modifier

Remember, masculine modifier nouns take the oblique suffix when they follow a demonstrative pronoun.

the color of this door rengê vî derîyî
that boy’s hair porê wî lawî
the newspaper of this Azad rojnameya vî Azadî
the horse of that farmer (masc) hespê wî cotkarî
Lesson 10 Example 11Listen to the Examples 

Plural Noun Motifier

these girl’s books pirtûkên van keçan
the color of those doors rengê wan deriyan
these students’ lessons waneyên van xwendekaran
the names of those teachers navên wan mamosteyan
Lesson 10 Example 12Listen to the Examples 

Be Careful: When a demonstrative pronoun comes in the middle of an izafe chain, the endings can get a little confusing. For example:

the color of that book rengê wê pirtûkê

BUT, if you add an adjective to describe the book, the ê on book has to change to a, but the ê on the demonstrative pronoun does not change.

the color of that big book rengê wê pirtûka mezin
Lesson 10 Example 13Listen to the Examples 

Wê and pirtûk are both feminine, but although pirtûk is the modifying noun in the izafe chain, in the second example it is also being modified by “big/mezin” so it has to take the “a” ending instead if ê.

A few more examples:

the name of that old man navê wî zilamê kal
the doors of those white houses deriyên wan xaniyên spî
this young boy’s bread nanê vî lawê ciwan
the students of that small village xwendekarên wî gundê biçûk
the days of that long summer rojên wê havîna dirêj
Lesson 10 Example 14Listen to the Examples

Remember that these Quizlet sets allow for lots of study and test options. For an explanation of these options, see this page.

Lesson 03 Vocabulary Vocabulary Lesson 10 Audio

 

 

Remember that these Quizlet sets allow for lots of study and test options. For an explanation of these options, see this page.

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

Exercise 3