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'dir' Versus 'olur'

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To find a perfect counterpart for the verb 'to be' in Turkish is not always possible. This topic cannot be covered with a few examples I wrote below, but, on the occassion of the proverb about foolish horses, I tried to shed some light over the issue. Now let's examine the examples first:Bu elma yeşildir: This apple is green. Bu elma ekşidir: This apple is sour. All the green apples are sour: Bütün yeşil elmalar ekşidir: Ok, there is nothing wrong in this sentence, but Turkish speakers never say ‘bütün yeşil elmalar ekşidir’, but say ‘bütün yeşil elmalar ekşi olur’, instead. (Actually, instead of ‘bütün yeşil elmalar, they simply say ‘yeşil elma ekşi olur’, because ‘yeşil elma’ alone represents all the green apples, in this context, where we don’t indicate a certain apple among others. If we were indicating a certain apple, the sentence would be like that: The green apple is sour and the red apple is sweet: Yeşil elma ekşi, kırmızı elma tatlıdır. But when we mean all the green apples, ‘yeşil elma’ becomes a group name representing all the apples). Now we can take a closer look at the difference between ‘dir’ and ‘olur’: As I said, there is nothing wrong in ‘bütün yeşil elmalar ekşidir’. Probably this is the type of sentence we would meet in a book on logic: ‘dir’ is the shortest of way expressing a fact. This is that, period. However, when we use ‘olur’, we express the strong likelihood of something. This likelihood is so strong that, we consider it as a rule. The green apples are expected to be sour, by the rule of nature or any other rule. Actually the tense of the verb shows this likelihood: ‘Herhalde akşama kadar gelir’: I guess he will come by the evening. ‘Eğer bunu yere dökersen annen sana çok kızar’: If you pour it on the ground your mother will be very angry with you. (As you know this conjugation also corresponds to the simple present tense, though not always).

Now we can compare ‘olur’ with alternatives in English. To some extent, it can be considered as ‘to be’, because I can translate the sentence ‘yeşil elma ekşi olur’ as ‘all the green apples are sour’. I can also use ‘become’ : all the green apples become sour’, because, thinking Turkishwise, ‘olur’ implies a process and the process includes a rule. Actually I prefer this one. But neither one of these alternatives offers a perfect solution, unless this point is kept in mind: ‘olur’ is, first of, an expression of strong likelihood.(Comparing 'olmak' with 'to happen' is another point of discussion)

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Clear as mud? humm. While thinking about the process, how a piece of mud can turn into some clear water, a proverb came to my mind. I will write it on the translation part, but there is already a pending work in the translation part, probably you failed to notice..

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