Professions (-cı/ci/cu/cü and -çı/çi/çu/çü)

Log in or register to save completed lessons.


Vowel harmony

I-type vowel harmony
E-type vowel harmony

The “profession suffix”: talking about a person’s job

The -cı/ci/cu/cü/çı/çi/çu/çü word ending has a few possible meanings, but most often it shows what a person’s profession is.

For example, in the word “kapıcı,” the suffix -cı is added to “kapı,” which means “door” in Turkish, to create a new noun that means “doorkeeper” or “janitor.”

Similarly, in the word “simitçi,” the suffix -çi is added to “simit” (a popular type of Turkish bread) to create a new noun that means “simit seller” or “simit maker.”

Grammar form

  • (Noun that ends with ç, k, p, s, ş or t) + ç + ı/i/u/ü
  • (Other nouns) + c + ı/i/u/ü

There are 8 different forms of the -cı ending. To figure out which form goes on a certain word, you first need to check to see if the word ends in a voiceless consonant. In simple terms, a voiceless consonant is a sound that is made in the mouth without any vibration in the vocal cords. This means that when you make the sound, your vocal cords do not vibrate, unlike when you make a voiced sound like “b” or “z”. In the Turkish language, the voiceless consonants are “ç”, “k”, “p”, “s”, “ş”, and “t.” If a word ends in one of these consonants, the first part of the profession ending will be “ç.” Otherwise, if it ends in any other consonant, or if it ends in a vowel, the profession ending will start with “c.”

After choosing between “ç” and “c,” you will choose one of the four i-type vowels (ı, i, u, or ü) based on i type vowel harmony.

Examples of professions with -cı endings

Noun Profession
Fırın (oven) Fırın (baker)
Lokanta (restaurant) Lokanta (restaurant owner)
Balık (fish) Balıkçı (fisherman)
Emlak (real estate) Emlakçı (real estate agent)
Gazete (newspaper) Gazeteci (journalist or newspaper seller)
Kuyum (an older term for jewelry) Kuyumcu (jeweler)
Halı (carpet) Halı (carpet seller)
Diş (tooth) Dişçi (dentist)
Su (water) Sucu (plumber)
Ecza (older term for medicine) Ecza (pharmacist)
Gözlük (glasses) Gözlükçü (lens maker)
İş (work) İşçi (worker)
Oyun (game) Oyuncu (actor, player)
Futbol (football, soccer) Futbolcu (football, soccer player)
Kale (castle, goal) Kaleci (goalie)
Sanat (art) Sanatçı (Artist)
Yatırım (investment) Yatırım (investor)
Siyaset (politics) Siyasetçi (politician)
Sav (allegation) Sav (prosecutor)
Çift (double, older term for yoke) Çiftçi (farmer)
Temsil (representation) Temsilci (representative)
Araştırma (research) Araştırma (researcher)
İnşaat (construction) İnşaatçı (construction worker)
Elektrik (electricity) Elektrikçi (electrician)

Exception: öğrenci (student)

While most of the time the -cı ending goes on nouns, there is one exception where the ending goes on a verb: öğrenci. In this word, -ci is added to the word “öğren,” which is the stem of the verb “öğrenmek” (to learn).

Exception: öğrenci (student)

Noun With -cı ending
Öğrenmek (to learn) Öğrenci (student)

Other uses of the -cı ending

The -cı ending has a variety of other meanings besides denoting a profession. The -cı ending is somewhat unpredictable, so you can not simply add the ending to any noun and expect it to mean what you think it will mean.

In most of these cases, the -cı ending is still for describing people, but it is describing something else about them besides their profession.

Words with -cı endings that have negative connotations

One of the common ways the -cı ending is used is in insults and other terms that reflect negatively on a person. Since this ending so often gets used disparagingly, some people prefer to avoid using terms with the -cı ending altogether because of the possibility of negative connotations with it.

Noun With -cı ending
İnat (stubbornness) İnatçı (stubborn)
Uyku (sleep) Uykucu (sleeper, sluggard)
Fırsat (opportunity) Fırsatçı (opportunist)
Irk (race) Irkçı (racist)
Yalan (lie) Yalan (liar)
Israr (insistence) Israr (insistent)

Using the -cı ending to show ideological leaning

Another common usage of the -cı ending is in labeling a person according to their political or ideological leanings.

Noun With -cı ending
Sağ (right) Sağ (conservative, right-wing)
Sol (left) Solcu (leftist, left-wing)
Devrim (revolution) Devrimci (revolutionary, leftist)
Milliyet (nationality) Milliyetçi (nationalist)
Barış (peace) Barışçı (pacifist, peaceful)
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (the founder of Turkey) Atatürkçü (Kemalist)

Other examples of the -cı ending

There are many more words with -cı endinɡs that don’t fit into the category of professions, insults or ideologies. Here are some of the most common examples.

Noun With -cı ending
Yaban (wild) Yaban (foreigner)
Art (rear) Artçı (rearguard, aftershock)
Ön (front) Ön (pioneer)
Yardım (help) Yardım (helper)
Yol (path, way) Yolcu (passenger)
Seyir (journey, viewing) Seyirci (spectator)
Şikâyet (complaint) Şikâyetçi (complainer, plaintiff)
Dava (court case) Dava (plaintiff)
Ziyaret (visit) Ziyaretçi (visitor)
Av (hunting) Av (hunter)
Rekabet (competition) Rekabetçi (comptetitor)
Kira (rent) Kira (renter)

Ambiguity with “aracı”

There is one case in Turkish where two words are spelled and pronounced the same way but have different meanings: “aracı.” This can either be the word “ara” with the -cı ending or “araç” with the compound noun or third person possessive ending -ı.

Most of the time, it is easy for native speakers to understand the correct meaning from the context, but this can be extra difficult for beginner language learners.

Ambiguity with -cı and -ı

Noun ending with c or ç With -ı ending Similar noun With -cı ending
Araç (vehicle) Aracı (his vehicle) Ara (middle) Ara (mediator)

Professions that don’t use the -cı ending

While many professions in Turkish use the -cı ending, there are many words for professions that don’t. Here are some of the most common words for professions that don’t use the -cı ending.

Profession word without -cı English
Avukat Lawyer
Doktor Doctor
Hemşire Nurse
Mühendis Engineer
Öğretmen Teacher
Polis memuru Police officer
Asker Soldier
Ressam Painter
Pilot Pilot
Şoför Driver (chauffeur)
Kasiyer Cashier
Mimar Architect
Psikolog Psychologist

This lesson was made with the assistance of ChatGPT, a language model powered by OpenAI.

Leave a Comment