10032010 Seminar: Sociolinguistics 2011
Name: Nevide Esin Dogus
Student ID: 10032010
Seminar: Sociolinguistics 2011-2012 Semester 1
Program: MA English Language
Lecturer: Ingrid van Alphen
Quotative Markers in Turkish Language
In this paper, I will explain what quotation construction is, how and with which words the
phenomenon works in Turkish, which new quotative markers were introduced into the
language, and how the change occurred. First I will introduce the phenomenon and the
literature about it, then I will write down which words are used as quotative markers; I will
then explain quotatives with and without helping words (prepositions and nouns namely),
with examples. Finally, I will explain changed patterns of quotation construction in Turkish,
with one very significant example of “falan olmak (to be/become like),” and I will present a
pilot study that I conducted about the expression with the research results I collected about it,
and will conclude my paper. Since there had not been any research done about it, I could not
find any sources about quotation construction in Turkish (be it online or printed), and as a
result, the examples given in this paper are of my own online chat logs that were taken from
dialogues that were mde with four different people from different educational and social
backgrounds, and they are two females and two males between ages 19 and 27. The examples
were taken from chat logs of Windows Live Messenger online chat program, and personal
information is omitted, except genders and ages. The so called “helping words” mentioned
throughout the paper are prepositions, adjectives, adverbs and nouns used with verbs to create
quotative markers, and the reason of this distinction is that there is an instance of a quotative
marker that could be used with or without any helping words.
According to Foolen (2001), it is estimated that the quotation construction in English started
around twenty five years ago, and the word “like” had different functions than a quotative
marker. In Turkish, there are no researches done about quotative markers; so with a rough
estimation, quotation construction started around the beginning of the 2000s. There are two
types of quotative markers, namely 1) single quotative markers, and 2) quotative markers with
helping words. There is only one instance of single quotative marker (which is a verb), and
that is “demek,” and it has an older history of usage than other quotative markers that were
started to be used around the beginning of the 2000s. Shortly, according to Redhouse Online
Turkish-English Dictionary, “demek” means “to utter” and it also means “to say,” and these
two meanings are used depending on the advent of the sentence. The word could be used both
in front of and at the end of the quotation, as a marker:
çıkınca beni ara” dedi.
My father said, “Call me after the exam.”
The reason why the verb “demek” comes at the end of the sentence is because of the
agglutination feature of Turkish. Even when the word “demek” is in front of the quotation, the
sentence constructed before the quotation fits the agglutinative form of the language. If not,
then the sentence becomes overturned, and the meaning rendered out of some forms of
overturned sentences looks poetic, and sometimes even meaningless. That is why when
“demek” is used in front of the quotation, it is usually supported with a possessive separate
suffix called “ki.”
meeting tomorrow organize
Mehmet says, “I will organize the meeting tomorrow.”
S/he had said, “I don’t want to see her/him.”
When used before the quotation, “demek” could also adopt a helping word, and I will talk
about it later when I discuss markers with helping words.
Quotative markers with helping words are meaningless when they are used only by
themselves with the intention of quotative markers. The only exception is “demek” which
could both be used with and without any helping words as mentioned above. Quotative
markers used with helping words are the following:
Anlatmak: böyle, diye, şöyle, tarzında
Demek: böyle, falan, şeklinde, şöyle
Konuşmak: böyle, diye, gibi, şeklinde, şöyle, tandansında, tarzında
Olmak: böyle, falan, gibi, şöyle
Söylemek: böyle, diye, gibi, şeklinde, şöyle
Yapmak: böyle, falan, gibi, şöyle
The meanings of the verbs are as follows (Redhouse Online Turkish-English Dictionary,
Anlatmak: 1. /i/ to explain. 2. /i/ to relate, tell. 3. /i/ to describe. 4. /a/ to show (someone) (said
threateningly). 5. /i, a/ to convince (someone) of the truth of (what one is saying).
Diagram: Subject-INF-3RD.SG detail-INF
one way-INF explain-IMP-3RD.SG
English: Explain the subject in a detailed way.
Turkish: Bana bir masal
Diagram: Me one story tell-IMP-3RD.SG
English: Tell me a story, dad.
English: S/he was trembling while describing the looks of the thief.
zorla bunları anlatır.
Diagram: Day come-SM.PRS-3RD.SG you someone force these show-SM.PRS3RD.SG
English: One day someone comes over and shows you these by force.
Diagram: What much strive-OPT-1ST.SG CNJ
English: No matter how much I strive, s/he will not be convinced about the truth.
Demek: 1. to say. 2. /a/ to call, name. 3. /a/ to think of (something in a certain way). 4. to
hope, intend, think, expect, assume. 5. to try to, be crazy enough to. 5. what you call, socalled. 6. no sooner than, as soon as, at the very moment that. 7. To be firm in one’s decisions.
8. colloq. A. He gets his own way. B. He keeps his promises. 9. to disobey one’s orders.10.
/in/ to come around to (his/her) point of view. 11. /i/ to mean, mean to say. 12. to come to
mean. 13. /i/ to say (something) in so many words, mean to say. 14. just at that moment. 15. to
underrate, underestimate. 16. A. having the meaning (of). B. having the value, importance, or
force (of). 17. A. to mean, come to mean. B. to have the value of, be equivalent to. 18. "so it
means that; that means." 19. so, thus, therefore, in this case.
Konuşmak: 1. to talk, speak. 2. to communicate. 3. to converse, chat, talk (with each other). 4.
/i or dan/ to discuss, talk about. 5. /la/ to be on friendly terms with; to be on speaking terms
with. 6. colloq. (for something) to look sharp, be eye-catching.
Diagram: Baby-1ST.PL finally speak-SM.PST-3RD.SG
English: Our baby finally spoke!
Turkish: İnsanlar birbirleriyle konuşarak
Diagram: People each other communicate get along-SM.PRS-3RD.PL
English: People get along by communicating to each other.
Diagram: This morning road come across-SM.PST-3RD.PL, a bit talk-SM.PST-3RD.PL
English: We came across on the road this morning, and we talked a bit.
Turkish: Ordan burdan konuştuk.
Diagram: There here talk-SM.PST-1ST.PL about
English: We talked about this and that.
Turkish: Ahmet neden benimle konuşmuyor?
Diagram: Ahmet why
be-NEG-PRS.CONT-3RD.SG on friendly terms
English: Why is Ahmet not on friendly terms with me?
Diagram: Car be-PRS.CONT-3RD.SG eye-catching
English: The car is so eye-catching bro!
Olmak: ",-ur 1. to become, come to exist, come into being. 2. to happen, occur, be, take place.
3. to be (to have or occupy a place or position; to show a certain characteristic). 4. to have
(used with possessives). 5. (for time) to pass, elapse, be. 6. (for something) to be acceptable,
be all right, be okay. 7. to ripen; (for food) to be cooked, be done. 8. /a/ (for an article of
clothing) to fit. 9. /dan/ to lose, be deprived of. 10. to catch (a disease). 11. to undergo
(something). 12. /a/ (for something) to be a source of (something) to (someone). 13. slang to
get drunk. 14. all (the events) that took place. 15. It’s been just about ... 16. olmak: colloq. All
right./OK./Very well./Agreed. 17. as (one) is, as (it) is. 18. as it (they) happened. 19. besides
being ..., in addition to being ...; besides having ..., in addition to having ... 20. besides being
...; besides having ...21. as much as possible. 22. being. 23. to be on the point of being. 24. all
(the events) that took place. 25. to happen, take place. 26. all. 27. just any old, whatever, any
... that. 28. at random, without thinking.
Söylemek: 1. /i/ to say, utter (something); /i, a/ to say (something) to (someone), tell
(someone) (something). 2. /i/ to tell (someone to do something). 3. /a/ to speak to, direct one’s
words to. 4. /i/ to sing (a song); to recite (a poem).
Yapmak: 1. /i/ to make; to build, construct, fashion; to create; to manufacture; to produce; to
prepare. 2. /i/ to do; to busy oneself with (something); to do (something) (as one’s regular
work or occupation); to carry out, perform; to effect, execute: 3. /i/ to repair, fix (something).
4. /i/ to cause, bring about (an illness). 5. /i/ to be (used with reference to the weather). 6. /i/ to
make, acquire (money). 7. /i/ to produce (offspring). 8. /i/ (for a vehicle) to do, go, travel at (a
specified speed). 9. /i/ to make (someone, something) (reach a certain state). 10. to do, act,
behave. 11. /i/ to be occupied with (the doing of something). 12. /a/ to defecate (in/on); to
urinate, wet. 13. /i/ to harm, do (someone) harm. 14. /i/ to do, arrange. 15. /i/ to make or
describe (an arc, a curve, a bend, etc.). 16. /i/ slang. to do it to, have sex with.
The meanings of the helping words are as follows (Redhouse Online Turkish-English
Böyle: 1. so, thus, in this way; such. 2. in this way (often used to avoid repeating reported
speech). 3. by and by, gradually. 4. It’s always been this way and it always will be. 5.
anyhow, even though. 6. since this is the way it is, therefore, so.
Diye: 1. because. 2. so that; lest. 3. by saying. 4. by mistake, thinking that; on the assumption
that. 5. called, named. 6. as. 7. by saying repeatedly. 8. what one means, what one intends to
say. 9. to have the urge to say (something) (but to leave it unsaid).
That way want-SM.PST-3RD.SG because
English: S/he smacked her/him in the mouth just because s/he wanted to do so.
diye dört tencere yemek
Diagram: Eat-IMP-3RD.SG so that four pan
English: I prepared four pans of food so that s/he would eat.
English: You holler by saying “Come!” but the child won’t hear.
Diagram: Go-SM.PST-2ND.SG thinking that belongings remove-PST.PRF-1ST.SG
English: I had removed your belongings thinking that you went away.
Turkish: Mehmet diye
Diagram: Mehmet named someone you
English: Someone named Mehmet is calling you.
Diagram: Eye-1ST.SG good someone
English: S/he seemed as a good person to my eye.
Diagram: Idiot by saying repeatedly
English: You would make the child idiot by saying repeatedly that s/he is an idiot.
Diagram: Speak-IMP-2ND.SG intend to say that way say-SM.PST-1ST.SG
English: What I intended to say was to make you speak.
Diagram: Stop-IMP-2ND.SG to have the urge to say shout-OPT-SM.PST-2ND.SG waitSM.PST-3RD.SG
English: If you urged to shout at her/him to stop, s/he would wait.
Falan: "colloq. 1. so-and-so. 2. a certain person, you know who. 3. what´s his name; what´s
her name. 4. around, roughly, approximately, or so. 5. and people such as they, Brit. and co.;
and such, and so forth, and so on, and what have you, and what not; et cetera, etc. 6. given
people, these people; given things, these things. 7. and people such as they, and that lot; and
what have you, and what not; et cetera, etc. 8. such and such.
Gibi: 1. like. 2. as if, as though. 3. like, as. 4. as befits. 5. (after a predicate) almost, nearly,
somewhat. 6. as soon as. 7. /a/ to seem to (one), appear to (one). 8. to be as though. 9. to
pretend (to do something). 10. likes. 11. as if to say. 12. along/on the lines of.
one woman like
English: You are walking like an old woman.
Turkish: Poster çok
Diagram:Poster very middle as if
English: The poster seems as if it is too much in front of the public eye.
say-SM.PST-1ST.SG as speak-IMP-2ND.SG
English: Speak to Mehmet as I said.
Turkish: Bana hayvan gibi
Diagram: Me animal as befits
English: Quit trating me as befits an animal!
Diagram: Today weather nice somewhat seem-SM.PRS-3RD.SG
English: The weather seems somewhat nice.
come as soon as
English: I will give the products to cargo service as soon as they arrive.
Diagram: Door close-SM.PST-3RD.SG appear to here
English: It appears to me that the door is closed when you look from here.
Turkish: Partide 70’leri yeniden
Diagram: Party 70s
live-PRS.CONT-1ST.PL as though
English: I was as though we were living the 70s again in the party.
Diagram: Book read-SM.PRS-3RD.SG to pretend
English: S/he pretended to have read a book while reading cartoons.
Turkish: Senin gibileri biz çok
Diagram: You likes
we very well
English: We know the likes of you very well.
Diagram: Well done as if to say back-1ST.SG tap-SM.PST-3RD.SG
English: S/he tapped my back as if to say “well done.”
Turkish: “Geçmişe sahip çıkalım”
protect-1ST.PL along the lines of one
English: I will make a speech along the lines of “Let’s protect our past.”
Şekil (Şeklinde): ,-kli 1. shape. 2. diagram, figure, illustration. 3. way, manner. 4. kind, sort,
variety. 5. condition, state. 6. appearance. 7. all kinds of, many different kinds of.
Şöyle: 1. thus, thusly; in this way; in that way; like this; like that; in the following way. 2.
such; this kind of; that kind of; of this sort; of that sort. 3. carelessly, haphazardly; aimlessly;
desultorily. 4. /a/ to give (someone, something) a quick, superficial glance. 5. to look daggers
at (someone). 6. so-so, fair to middling. 7. approximately, roughly. 8. Let alone ..., never mind
about ... 9. such that, in such a manner that. 10. "lt’s as follows."
Tandans (Tandansında): Tendency.
Tarz (Tarzında): 1. manner, sort, kind, way. 2. style.
The combinations are divided into two categories, namely quotative markers in front of the
quote and quotative markers at the end of the quote. Quotative markers that come in front of
the quote are the ones with the helping words “böyle” and “şöyle” respectively.
The Empirical Study No.1
In order to collect data for this study, I picked four different people from four differnet social
and educatinal backgrounds and extracted the examples below, from Windows Live
Messenger online chat logs. All the examples I collected are from the logs of the year 2011.
Below are the examples for the usage of quotatives in Turkish.
1) Böyle anlatmak: Source: Friends (Turkish male, 23, trilingual)
In this way
already open-be-PST.PRF-3RD.SG Calm speak-IMP-
You will tell it like this: “When we were back to the hotel, the safe was
already opened.” Speak calmly.
In this example, the quotative marker “böyle anlatmak” is used in front of the quotation to
make a grammatically correct sentence, and the meaning intended with the marker is “to tell
2) Diye anlatmak: Source: Friends (Turkish male, 27, monolingual)
Elder sister-1ST.SG school regularly go-NEG-SM.PRS-OM-2ND.SG
principal warning give-SM.PRS-3RD.SG by saying
I was scared when my sister told by saying, “If you do not go to school
regularly, the principal gives you a warning.”
3) Şöyle anlatmak: Source: Friends (Turkish male, 23, trilingual)
plug pull-SM.PST-3RD.SG and
After that I told as “S/he came, s/he unplugged the computer, and s/he left.”
4) Tarzında anlatmak: Source: Friends (Turkish male, 27, monolingual)
boss-3RD.SG continuously fight
because boss-3RD.SG woman
They were telling in the style, “Ayşe continuously fights with her boss
because her boss is a woman.”
5) Böyle demek: Source: Friends (Turkish male, 23, trilingual)
In this way
you-PL collocutor-my be-NEG-
You should say like this/in this way: “I will not stoop to speak to you.”
6) Falan demek: Source: Friends (Turkish female, 25, trilingual)
That evening very
1ST.SG like say-PST.PRF-1ST.SG
You have said like, “I was very drunk that evening; I do not remember.”
7) Gibi birşeyler demek: Source: Friends (Turkish female, 19, bilingual)
S/he says things like “You must have dinner together.”
8) Şeklinde birşeyler demek: Source: Friends (Turkish male, 27, monolingual)
“Sen daha küçük bir kızsın”
şeklinde birşeyler dedim.
I said things in the manner, “You are only a little girl.”
9) Şöyle demek: Source: Friends (Turkish male, 23, trilingual)
nice be-NEG-SM.PRS you
To say like that will not be nice: “Who do you think you are?!” Very
10) Böyle konuşmak: Source: Friends (Turkish male, 23, trilingual)
in this way
come-FUT-3RD.SG come-NEG-3RD.SG of course.
I talked in the street this way: “that girl will come to my feet!” Of course she
did not come.
11) Diye konuşmak: Source: Friends (Turkish female, 19, bilingual)
“Adamın evinde Marquis de Sade kitabı var oğlum!” diye konuştu.
house Marquis de Sade book
S/he talked by saying, “The guy has the Marquis de Sade’s book in his house,
12) Gibi konuşmak: Source: Friends (Turkish male, 27, monolingual)
“Maç saat yedide başlıyor,
Game hour seven
S/he talked like, “The game starts at seven; I could die from boredom at the
13) Şeklinde konuşmak: Source: Friends (Turkish female, 25, trilingual)
Take belonging-PL-2ND.SG go-2ND.SG-IMP, you
want-NEG-PRS.CONT-1ST.SG from now on
I talked in the way, “Take your belongings and leave; I do not want to see you
anymore.” S/he went away.
14) Şöyle konuşmak: Source: Friends (Turkish male, 27,monolingual)
Sister-my like that
My sister talked like/as “I would have already divorced if I did not have the
15) Tandansında konuşmak: Source: Friends (Turkish female, 19, bilingual)
evening CNJ be-NEG,
S/he talks in the tendency, “We cannot meet tomorrow, neither can we this
evening; I do not know,” and s/he gets on my nerves.
16) Tarzında konuşmak: Source: Friends (Turkish female, 25, trilingual)
You cannot make her/him smile by talking in the style, “The one who starts
the day happy will have a happy-ended day.”
17) Böyle olmak: Source: Friends (Turkish male, 23, trilingual)
In this way
I will be like this: “Sir, I need this grade.” Short and clear.
18) Falan olmak: Source: Friends (Turkish female, 19, bilingual)
Whoa information give-NEG-2ND.SG
S/he was really like, “Whoa! You cannot leave without informing!”
19) Gibi olmak: Source: Friends (Turkish female, 19, bilingual)
mizaçlı adam “Yalvarıyorum beni
leave-NEG-2ND.SG like be-SM.PRS-3RD.SG
thoroughly go off-SM.PST-1ST.SG
When that rock-hard-natured man became/was like, “I am begging you, do not
leave me,” I thoroughly went off.
20) Şöyle olmak: Source: Friends (Turkish female, 19, bilingual)
The guy was as this: “If I cheated on you, why would I talk to you?”
21) Böyle söylemek: Source: Friends (Turkish female, 25, trilingual)
In this way
OM-2ND.SG very hard
say-PRS.CONT-1ST.SG one more slang use-SM.PRS.talk-SM.PRS.-1ST.SG again guilty
I say like this: “If you use slang once again, I speak harsh.” And I become the
guilty one again.
22) Diye birşeyler söylemek: Source: Friends (Turkish male, 27, monolingual)
faint-SM.PRS-1ST.SG by saying things
a little later
Ahmet said things such as “I am so hungry that I could faint soon.”
23) Gibi birşeyler söylemek: Source: Friends (Turkish female, 19, bilingual)
okumak ayrıcalıktır” gibi birşeyler söyledim.
I said things like “Studying art history is a privilege.”
24) Şeklinde birşeyler söylemek: Source: Friends (Turkish female, 19, bilingual)
“Ben sana aşık
şeklinde birşeyler söylüyor,
Me leave do-NG-IMP-2ND.SG way
S/he says things in the way “I fell in love with you; I am begging you do not
leave me.” What am I going to do?
25) Şöyle söylemek: Source: Friends (Turkish male, 23, trilingual)
And she said like this: “I will evaluate your offer but I cannot guarantee that I
will accept it.”
26) Böyle yapmak: Source: Friends (Turkish female, 25, trilingual)
In this way
do-FUT-1ST.SG tomorrow house
I will do as this way, “Tomorrow I am going to clean the house, so may there
be nobody in the house.”
27) Falan yapmak: Source: Friends (Turkish male, 27, monolingual)
satın alamazsın” falan yaptı
S/he did like, “You cannot buy me with your money,” but I know her/his
28) Gibi yapmak: Source: Friends (Turkish male, 27, monolingual)
Of course girl-1ST.SG my
Doing like, “Of course, girl, s/he can never find a woman like me” is childish.
29) Şöyle yapmak: Source: Friends (Turkish female, 19, bilingual)
That way do-SM.PST-3RD.SG, that
to you eat-CAUS-
S/he did as this way, “I will make you choke on those books.” I wonder if s/he
is crazy or what?
To conclude, the usage of the quotative markers does not depend from one gender to another
or from one social group to another in online chats on Windows Live Messenger program,
according to the empirical data collected.
The reason why "şeklinde birşeyler demek," "gibi birşeyler demek," "şeklinde birşeyler
söylemek," "diye birşeyler söylemek," and "gibi birşeyler söylemek" have "birşeyler" in the
middle is because “şeklinde demek,” “gibi demek,” “şeklinde söylemek,” “diye söylemek”
and “gibi söylemek” sound incomplete, therefore they contradict the syntax of Turkish. For
the same reason, we could not construct the following quotative markers: "Falan şeklinde
anlatmak" and "falan söylemek."
Falan Olmak: The Quotative Marker that Appeared, Rose and Declined
There is one interesting phenomenon in the Turkish language, the quotative marker “falan
olmak.” The meaning of it is “to be/become like,” and the reason that the phenomenon is
interesting, is because it appeared in the language at the beginning of the 2000s with a prime
time Turkish soap that was aired from 2004 until 2008. The phenomenon started to decline
after the show, and nowadays it is rarely used and it is trtied to be removed from the language
by Turkish speakers, for it is seen as a pollution in the language.
According to Foolen (2001), the spread of the expression “to be like” indicates
sociolinguistic stratification, and it has been in the English language for about 25 years. The
expression was first noticed by Lawrence Schourup in 1983 as a quotative marker, and the
marker has been observed ever since. Some of the examples of “to be like” given in Foolen
and that are related to my study include the following:
Source: Foolen 2001, page 1
English (Santa Barbara Corpus):
232.85 233.37 Richie: and I was like oh God, there was a door here before.
Source: Foolen 2001, page 2
English (Glasgow, Scotland, Macaulay 2001):
I was like that ‘On you go’
On a cross-linguistic scale, however, the very marker in the Turkish language was used
eagerly between 2004 and 2008, while it has been rarely used nowadays. The marker is called
“falan olmak” and is used as a demonstrative quotative marker in Turkish.
When the word “falan” is translated into English, it has the meaning of “like,” and it actually
has a comparative aspect by itself. However, when the word is combined with the word
“olmak,” it changes form and becomes the demonstrative marker of “falan olmak (to
be/become like).” Thus the quotative marker “falan olmak” is a demonstrative marker,
whereas the word “falan” is a comparative marker by itself.
Diagram: Probably thirty person or so come-FUT-3RD.SG
English: Probably thirty people or so will come.
ve Melis’i birlikte görünce oha falan
Diagram: Bora and Melis
English: We were like whoa when we saw Bora and Melis together.
“Olmak” has meanings such as “to be,” “to become,” “to happen,” and “to occur.” The suffix
“–mak” at the end of the verb “ol-” turns the word into singular neutral form. With personal
inflection suffixes and suffixes of tenses, it is formed to be used as a verb in sentences. With
the personal inflection suffixes, the verbs provide the information about people or objects that
are referred to in the sentences.
These are the examples for “falan olmak” used in online chats with Turkish speakers:
Source: Friends (Turkish male, 24, trilingual)
ben “Nasıl yani?” falan
When s/he said that, I was like “How so?”
Source: Family (Turkish female, 27, bilingual)
hear-SM.PST-1ST.PL and stupid
We heard the reason and we became like “Are you stupid?”
In order to examine why this quotative marker is used rarely nowadays, I conducted an online
survey (added at the end of this paper) in Turkish and asked people if this marker is seen as a
part of the language and how it was introduced into Turkish. First, I wanted to eliminate
people who thought that Turkish was not getting corrupted and grammar rules were not
neglected. Therefore the survey ended after the first question for participants who thought that
Turkish was not getting corrupted and the grammar rules were not neglected.
Empirical Study No. 2
The questions and their results are as follows:
Of the 178 people who participated in my online survey, 54% were female (96 persons), and
46% were male (82 persons). Out of 96 females, 42% were monolingual (40 persons), and
58% knew more than one language (56 persons). Out of 82 males, 38% were monolingual (31
persons), while 62% knew more than one language (51 persons). Thirty-four percent of the
participants were between the ages of 23 and 26, followed by 26% between the ages of 27 and
The first question I asked was if Turkish was becoming corrupted and if grammar rules were
disregarded day-to-day. Ninety-two percent of the participants agreed that Turkish was
getting corrupted and that grammar rules were neglected. Eight percent of the participants
disagreed, and I eliminated this 8% after this question, because my empirical study required
participants who thought Turkish was becoming corrupted; and asking the further questions to
people who disagreed would lead to incorrect results. So from the second question on, my
participants were 164 of the 178 people, the ones who thought that Turkish is being polluted
every single day.
Turkish is becoming corrupted and the
grammar rules are neglected
N = 178
Pie Chart No. 1 indicates the answers of 178 participants to Question 1: “Turkish is becoming
corrupted and the grammatical rules are disregarded day-to-day,” in percentages of agreement
Question 2 was a multiple choice question, asking about the five most important factors
contributing to the alleged corruption of Turkish. As a result, the most popular cause of the
corruption in Turkish was the internet with 72%, followed by television with 69%, the
educational system with 60%, print media with 24%, and radio with 14%.
Question 3 was about the perceived quality of the Turkish language since the year 2000.
Seventy-three percent of the participants chose the option that since 2000, new chunks (as
new quotative markers) have been included in Turkish that corrupted both spoken and written
language, while 15% thought that those new chunks corrupted only spoken language. Eight
percent chose the option that the new chunks corrupted only the written language, while 4%
thought that the new chunks corrupted neither spoken nor written language.
Since 2000, new quotative markers are
added in Turkish and they corrupt...
Both spoken and written language
Only spoken language
Only written language
N = 164
Pie Chart No. 2 indicates the answers of participants to the question 3 "Since the year 2000,
new chunks are included in the language and they corrupt the following"
On Question 4 I asked people’s thought about where the form “falan olmak” could have
spread through the language with a multiple choice question. The most striking answer was
television with 92%, followed by internet with 35%. The reason why these people mostly
selected television might be because of a popular prime-time soap that was aired between the
years 2004 and 2008. Because during the air of the soap, the quotative marker “falan olmak”
started to be used in the language, especially by upper class. In this soap there was an upperclass young girl who used “falan olmak” in almost every sentence she constructed, so she was
seen as the prime reason why the chunk has been spread. Even before the show was aired, the
upper class introduced and used the chunk in Turkish, and eventually spread it through the
However, on the fifth question, I asked about the frequency of the usage of “falan olmak,” and
the answers were as follows: 85% of the participants said that they never used “falan olmak,”
while 14% said they sometimes used it, and 1% said that they always used it. This result was
striking because on Question 6, I asked how frequently the participants heard “falan olmak”
used in daily life. Forty-six percent of the participants said that they sometimes heard it used,
while 18% said that they heard it used frequently. Next to that, 31% said that they heard it
used seldom, and 4% said they never heard it used.
I ….. use the quotative marker "falan olmak"
N = 164
Pie Chart No. 3 indicates the answers of participants to Question 5, "I .......... use the chunk
"falan olmak." The conclusion for this data is that the majority of the respondents do not use
the quotative marker “falan olmak” while speaking.
I think/hear that the quotative marker
“falan olmak” is used in everyday life…
N = 164
Pie Chart No. 4 indicates the answers for the question 6 "I think/hear that the chunk ’falan
olmak‘ is used in everyday life... " The conclusion for this data is that more than half of the
participants hear that “falan olmak” is used in everyday life.
On Question 7, I asked the participants if they thought “falan olmak” was part of the
corruption in the Turkish language and if it had a place in Turkish. What is meant by “having
a place” is if this quotative marker belongs to Turkish or not, according to the respondents.
The answers given were striking, because 55% of the participants thought that “falan olmak”
was a corruption in Turkish and that it had no place in the language. However, 23% thought
that the chunk polluted the language but that it had a place; 15% thought that the chunk did
not corrupt the language but that it had no place in the language, and 7% thought that it did
not corrupt the language, and it had a place. The interesting thing here is that the participants
who answered this question were the ones who thought that Turkish was getting more and
more corrupted and the grammar rules were neglected day-to-day according to the first
question; yet 22% of the participants thought “falan olmak” did not corrupt the Turkish
language. One reason why they might have thought that it did not pollute seems to be that the
quotative marker is used less than it was used a decade ago, and that might be why 22% of the
participants thought that it is not a threat to the Turkish language anymore.
The last question I asked was whether the participants knew any counterparts for “falan
olmak” in other languages. Seventy-nine percent of them answered that they thought it was
also used in other languages but the only answer for another language was the English
language. Twenty-one percent answered that they did not know if the same quotative marker
existed in other languages or not.
Do you know if the quotative marker
“falan olmak” exists in other languages
Yes, and here are the languages:
N = 164
Pie Chart No. 5 indicates the answer results of Question 8 "Do you know if the chunk ‘falan
olmak’ exists in other languages too?"
Empirical Study No. 3
In addition to conducting this survey, I also listened to two podcasts of a non-profit online
Turkish radio station named Sourberry. The radio station belongs to a non-profit website
called Eksi Sozluk, a website that is similar to Uncyclopedia in terms of contents. The
podcasts I listened to are one from autumn 2011 hosted by a Turkish female DJ and one from
spring 2006 hosted by a Turkish male DJ. Both programs were two-hour shows, and both
shows had at least one guest. There were zero instances of “falan olmak” in neither of the two
podcasts; however, out of 24 utterances of quotations used in the program hosted by the
female DJ, 17 utterances included the quotative marker “falan demek” (to say like), and 7
utterances did not include any special quotative markers.
Empirical Study No. 4
I also watched a random episode of the famous soap that spread “falan olmak” into the
language; it was the 75th episode, and it was from the second season of the show. Out of 72
minutes, I caught only three instances of “falan olmak,” and all were used by the upper-class
girl in the show. In other words, the amount of the usage of the quotative marker was less than
The quotations are as follows:
Turkish: “Ben seninle
talk-NEG-PRS.CONT.1ST.SG like be-SM.PST-1ST.SG okay QSW
English: I was like “I am not talking to you,” okay?
Throughout this paper I explained quotation constructions in Turkish language; dividing them
into two groups as quotatives without helping words and quotatives with helping words, and I
exemplified them with further explanations. Lastly, I explained a specific change in quotation
markers I discussed, namely “falan olmak,” and hypothesized how it came to Turkish
language and when it was used. I came up with a conclusion that according to my
respondents, the very utterance “falan olmak” has spread from the upper class in Turkey and
it is nowadays used seldom, probably by the upper class. However, the chunk may have been
replaced with a new chunk, “falan demek,” over time. Additionally, the utterance was used
widely at the beginning of the 2000s, and had its peak usage during the airing of a specific
prime-time television soap between the years 2004 and 2008. What went wrong during the
pilot study was that some people told me after completing the survey, that they lied about
their ages, while another group told me that they lied about their gender. These might have
slightly distorted the results if all data were correct. One other drawback about the survey I
conducted was my first question about the corruption in Turkish language was biased, and I
could have prepared a more objective question to eliminate respondents who thought that
Turkish language was not getting corrupted. In addition to this, I could have prepared a better
and more detailed survey, asking more details about people’s social levels, and then there
might have been results about the usage of “falan olmak” according to social classes. For
further research, if it is a country-wide research project, the television shows and the radio
programs of the peak period of the usage of “falan olmak” could be analyzed and evaluated to
collect more data about the utterance. Also, internet archives could be scanned to find more
about the phrase and the online usage of it. This concludes my report and my paper.
Clark, Herbert & Richard Gerrig
(1990). Quotations as Demonstrations. Language 60, 764 – 805.
(2001). Marking Voices in Discourse: Quotation Markers in English and Other Languages.
Redhouse Online Turkish-English Dictionary
(2012). <http://www.redhouse.com.tr/> The date of use: December 2011-January 2012
(2001). You’re like ‘why not?’ The Quotative Expressions of Glasgow Adolescents. Journal
of Sociolinguistics 5, 3 - 21.
Alphabetic List of Abbreviations
1ST: First Person
2ND: Second Person
3RD: Third Person
INF: Inflection Suffix
OM: Optative Mood
QSW: Question Suffix Word
Questions of the survey about the quotative marker “to be like” in Turkish
The Turkish language gets corrupted, and grammar rules are neglected more and more
Which of these are the most important factors contributing to the corruption of
What do you think about the quality of the Turkish language since 2000?
New chunks are added to the language; they corrupt only the spoken language.
New chunks are added to the language; they corrupt only the written language.
New chunks are added to the language; they corrupt both the spoken and the written
New chunks are added to the language; they corrupt neither the spoken nor the written
Where do you think the chunk “to be like” spread from?
I use the chunk “to be like”…
I think/hear that the chunk “to be like” is used in everyday life…
The chunk “to be like”…
Pollutes Turkish but has a place in the language.
Pollutes Turkish and has no place in the language.
Does not pollute Turkish and has a place in the language.
Does not pollute Turkish but has no place in the language.
Do you know if the chunk “to be like” exists in other languages too?
Yes, these are the languages: