The Definite Article in Turkish

The Subject Definite Article - the

There is no Turkish word for the subject definite article, only the context tells us when to insert the in English:
çay pahalı - Tea is expensive
çay soğuk - The tea is cold
araba caddede - The car is in the road
However when the noun is an object of a verb as in - Mehmet mended the radio - then Turkish does use an Objective Suffix the - (called the Accusative Case in grammar). So let us content ourselves to say that the Subject Definite Article the does not, as a word, exist in Turkish, but it does exist as an Objective Suffix. This Objective the is discussed below.

The Direct Object Suffix - the

This Direct Object Suffix which makes the Object substantive is one of the most difficult hurdles for English Speakers to surmount when speaking, reading and understanding The Turkish Language. It has the form of a suffix.

See full discussion on the Direct Object

-i/-ı/-u/-ü - used with bare nouns which end in a consonant.
-yi/-yı/-yu/-yü - used with bare nouns which end in a vowel.
-ni/-nı/-nu/-nü - used with extended [already suffixed] nouns ending in a vowel.
This suffix is called the Accusative case in Classical Grammar, but we should also note that Turkish Grammar itself does not use Classical Grammar nomenclature. We have to realize that in English we make both the Subject and Object of a sentence substantive by the use of the same Definite Article - the - as an example:
Adam kapıyı (kapı-) kapattı - The (subject substantive) man closed the (object substantive) door

We have learnt elsewhere that the subject is already understood as substantive in Turkish, so it does not need a Definite Article. In fact the Subject Definite Article the does not exist in Turkish, there is no "The man" as the Subject Definite Article the is already understood in context.
However there is an Object Definite Article the in Turkish which appears as the suffix -i (governed by vowel harmony), is used when added to a bare noun stem or used with extended [already suffixed] nouns which in a in a consonant
- or -(y)i - buffer letter -y is used when added to a bare noun stem ending in a vowel -
- or -(n)i - buffer letter -n is used when added to an already extended [suffixed] noun, according to Vowel Harmony Rules.

Noun ending in a consonant: kilit - the lock
Adam kilidi [kilid-i] kapattı - The man locked THE LOCK
The -i suffix makes the bare noun kilit - THE LOCK - substantive as a Direct Object

Extended noun ending in a consonant: kilidim [kilit+im] - my lock
Adam kilidimi [kilid-im-i] kapattı - The man locked MY LOCK
The -i suffix makes the extended (already suffixed) noun kilidim - MY LOCK - substantive as a Direct Object

Noun ending in a vowel: kapı - the door
Adam kapıyı [kapı-yı] kapattı - The man closed THE DOOR
The -yı suffix makes the bare noun kapı- THE DOOR - substantive as a Direct Object

Extended noun ending in a vowel: kapısı [kapı+sı] - his door
Adam kapısını [kapı-sı-nı] kapattı - The man closed HIS DOOR
The -nı suffix makes the extended (already suffixed) noun kapısı - HIS DOOR - substantive as a Direct Object

To sum up:
The use of verbs needs an object pointer (Accusative Case) in Turkish which is suffix -i -ı -ü -u or -yi -yı -yü -yu using buffer letter -y- after vowels. However if the object pointer follows another suffix then the buffer letter becomes -n- and thus the object pointer suffix is -ni -nı -nü -nu when attached to possessed objects.

Some examples of Object Pointers (Accusative Case)

Direct Object pointer -y-i for Simple Noun
arabayı boyuyorum - [araba-y-ı] - I am painting the car.

Possessive Pronoun -s-ı plus Direct object pointer -n-ı for Extended Noun.
arabasını boyuyorum - [araba-s-ı-n-ı] - I am painting his car [the his car..]

Possessive pronoun -ları plus Object Pointer -nı for Extended Noun.
arabalarını boyuyoruz. - [araba-ları-n-ı] - we are painting their car. [the their car..]

Possessive Pronoun -sı plus Direct object pointer -nı for Extended Noun
arabasını boyuyor musunuz? - [araba-s-ı-n-ı] - are you painting his car?

Possessive Pronoun -ınız plus Direct object pointer for Extended Noun.
Mehmet, arabanızı boyamıyor mu? - [araba-nız-ı] - Isn't Mehmet painting your car?

Possessive Pronoun -si plus Direct object pointer -ni for Extended Noun.
kedisini aramıyor muyum? - [kedi-s-i-n-i] - Aren't I looking for his cat?

Direct Object Pointer -i for Personal Pronoun
Beni istiyor musun? - [ben -i] - Do you want me?

Direct Object Pointer -i for Personal Pronoun
Seni istemiyor muyum? - [sen -i] - Don't I want you?

The Indefinite Article

The Singular Indefinite Article is: bir - a, an, one

bir kapı - a gate
bir elma - an apple
bir bardak - one glass
caddede bir araba var - there is a car in the road

The Positive Plural Indefinite Article is: birkaç - some

In English the Article - some - is only used in Positive Statements whereas - any - is used in Negative Statements and also both in Positive and Negative Questions. Both "some" or "any" are translated as - bazı - (always with a plural noun - "bazı masalar" = "some tables") - in Turkish.

Positive Statements use - some - in English:
Bahçede birkaç kapı var. - There are some gates in the garden.
Bahçede birkaç kedi var. - There are some cats in the garden.
Caddede birkaç araba var. - There are some cars in the road.

The Negative Singular/Plural Indefinite Article is - hiçbir - not one or just hiç - not any
Negative Statements use - any (usually with the plural) - in English.
Bahçede hiçbir kapı yok./Bahçede hiç kapı yok. - There is not a gate in the garden at all. / There aren't any gates in the garden.
Bahçede hiçbir kedi yok./Bahçede hiç kedi yok. - There is not a (single) cat in the garden. / There aren't any cats in the garden.
Caddede hiçbir araba yok./Caddede hiç araba yok. - There is not a car in the road (at all). / There aren't any cars in the road.

Both Positive and Negative Questions use - a (single)? at all? - in English
Bahçede hiçbir kapı yok mu? - Isn't there a (single) gate in the garden?
Bahçede bir kedi var mı? - Is there there a cat in the garden?
Caddede hiçbir araba yok mu? - Isn't there a car in the road at all?
Caddede bir araba var mı? - Is there a car in the road?

The Negative Plural Indefinite Article is - hiç - any, none at all
Negative Statements use - any - in English:
Bahçede hiç kapı yok. - There are not any gates in the garden.
Bahçede hiç kedi yok. - There are not any cats in the garden.
Caddede hiç araba yok. - There are not any cars in the road.

Both Positive and Negative Questions use - any - in English
Bahçede hiç kapı yok mu? - Aren't there any gates in the garden?
Bahçede birkaç kedi var mı? - Are there any cats in the garden?
Caddede hiç araba yok mu? - Aren't there any cars in the road?
Caddede birkaç araba var mı? - Are there any cars in the road?

birkaç - some and hiç - not any - always take a singular noun in Turkish - but the meaning is plural in both Turkish and English. - birkaç kadın - some ladies, hiç ev - not any houses
From the previous section we can see that hiçbir - not a single one - is used for the singular both in Turkish and English - Caddede hiçbir araba yok. - There is not a car in the road?

Hiç - meaning ever or never
In normal verbal positive questions - hiç - translates as - ever
Hiç Alanya'ya gittiniz mi? - Have you ever been to Alanya?
In normal verbal negative questions - hiç - translates as - never
Hiç Alanya'ya gitmediniz mi? - Have you never been to Alanya?

Other Indefinites are:
bazı - some
Caddedeki bazı arabalar vardı, şimdi artık hiç yok. - There were some cars in the road, now there are none.
NOTE: bazı - some - always takes the plural - bazı kadınlar - some ladies, bazı evler - some houses

Thanks to Murat Açık for corrections to the above section - JG, December 2012

birçok - a lot of or many
caddede birçok araba var - there are a lot of cars on the road.
caddede birçok araba var - there are many cars on the road.

biraz - a little, a small amount
biraz şeker, lütfen - a little sugar, please

Thanks to Kadir bey for suggestions to this section - JG Nov. 2006

About Gender

Generally Turkish has no gender. There is only one form of the noun, no masculine as - actor - and feminine as - actress - as in English, which has two forms of these nouns, however when gender distinction is necessary within the context, then Turkish uses simple locutions:
kız - girl or kadın - lady - can be placed in front of the noun to show human femininity:
terzi - tailor - becomes - kadın terzi - tailoress
arkadaş - friend - becomes - kız arkadaş - girl friend
dişi - female - can be used before nouns to show a female animal
köpek - dog - becomes - dişi köpek - bitch
erkek - male/man - can be used to show maleness
kardeş - sister/brother - becomes - erkek kardeş - brother
kız - girl/maiden - can be used to show femininity
kardeş - sister/brother - becomes - kız kardeş - sister
This method is used whenever it is necessary to differentiate between the sexes of your brother/sisters.

The Exceptions of Family Relationships

We stated above that generally there is no gender distinction in Turkish, unhappily this does not apply to close family relationships as, for instance many relations on the mother's side will have a different word than the father's side: Just two examples here - but they are myriad!
amca - uncle - [father's brother] - and dayı - uncle - [mother's brother]
teyze - aunt - [mother's sister] and hala - aunt - [father's sister]

A word list of Turkish Family Relations
father baba
mother anne
baby bebek
brother erkek kardeş
sister kız kardeş
elder brother abi (ağabey)
elder brother's wife yenge
elder sister abla
elder sister's husband enişte
son oğul, erkek çocuk
daughter kız, kız çocuk
aunt (mother's side) teyze
aunt (father's side) hala
grandfather dede, büyükbaba
grandmother nine, büyükanne
grandmother (mother's side) anneanne
grandmother (father's side) babaanne
nephew, niece yeğen
uncle (father's side) amca
uncle (mother's side) dayı
cousin kuzen
father-in-law kayınbaba, kayınpeder
mother-in-law kaynana, kayınvalide
sister-in-law (of a male) baldız
sister-in-law (of a female) görümce
brother-in-law kayınbirader
brother-in-law's wife of a female elti
sister-in-law's husband of a male bacanak
son-in-law ; bridegroom damat
daughter-in-law ; bride gelin
sister's husband enişte
grandson ; granddaughter, grandchild torun
twin ikiz
twin brother, twin sister ikiz kardeş
wife eş, hanım, karı
husband koca
step mother üvey anne
step father üvey baba
Thanks to Murat Açık for corrections and additions to the above section - JG, December 2012