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Persian/Lesson 4

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فارسی (‹fârsi›, “Persian”)
Learn the Persian language
ContentsIntroduction
Persian Alphabet lessons: 1 ( ۱ )2 ( ۲ )3 ( ۳ )4 ( ۴ )
Elementary grammar: 5 ( ۵ )6 ( ۶ )7 ( ۷ )8 ( ۸ )9 ( ۹ )
10 ( ۱۰ )11 ( ۱۱ )12 ( ۱۲ )13 ( ۱۳ )14 ( ۱۴ )15 ( ۱۵ )
Intermediate: 16 ( ۱۶ )17 ( ۱۷ )18 ( ۱۸ )19 ( ۱۹ )20 ( ۲۰ )
21 ( ۲۱ )22 ( ۲۲ )23 ( ۲۳ )24 ( ۲۴ )25 ( ۲۵ )26 ( ۲۶ )
Advanced:
Appendix: AlphabetGlossaryHandwriting

Farsi

To continue, your computer must display Persian. The box below should show these Persian letters on the far right: Paa-individua.svgBaa-individua.svgAlif-individua.svg
ا ب پ ت ث ج چ ح خ د ذ ر ز ژ س ش ص ض ط ظ ع غ ف ق ک گ ل م ن و ه ی

If they are different or in the wrong order, see Persian Computing.


In lessons 1, 2, and 3, you learned some greetings, the first twenty-nine letters of the Persian Alphabet, and how to spell and pronounce several words with those letters.

In this lesson, you will learn the final three letters (ﻭ ‹vâv›, ﻩ ‹he› and ى ‹ye›), diacritics, and the remaining rules for reading and writing Persian vowels. You will also learn about a Persian tradition called ‹haft sin›.

Contents

Dialogue: ‹esm-e šo ci e?›Edit

Reza meets Shirin:

The dialogue below and those in subsequent lessons are shown in both Persian script and UniPers. Some of the Persian letters used below are explained later in this lesson, so read the UniPers transcription for now, then come back to read the Persian script version after completing this lesson.
Shirin: ‹bebaxšid, esm-e šo ci-st?›
“Excuse me, what is your name?”
ببخشید، اسم شما چی است؟
  Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
شيرين:
Reza: esm-e man re-st. va šo?›
“My name is Reza. And you?”
اسم من رضا است. و شما؟
  Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
رضا:
Shirin: esm-e man širin e.›
“My name is Shirin.”
اسم من شیرین است.
  Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
شيرين:
Reza: ‹xošbaxtam, nom-e širin.›
“Nice to meet you, Miss Shirin.”
خوشبختم، خانم شیرین.
  Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
رضا:

Explanation

Shirin meets Reza.

Vocabulary

  • ببخشید   ‹bebaxšid› — “excuse me”
  • اسم   ‹esm› — “name”
  • چی   ‹ci› — “what”
  • خانم   ‹xânom›   /xɒːnom/ — “Miss”
  • خوشبختم   ‹xošbaxtam› — “Nice to meet you.”


و ‹vâv›Edit

‌و ‌و‍ ‍‌و‍ ‍‌و ‌و‌و‌و
  ‹vâv› does not connect with the following letter

The letter و does not connect with the following letter. It is pronounced in different ways, depending on the word: ‹v›, ‹u›, or ‹o›.


آواز آ و ا ز آواز
‹âvâz› ‹â› ‹v› ‹â› ‹z›

The word آواز   ‹âvâz›   /ɒːˈvɒːz/ (“voice, song”) is shown on the right, demonstrating that و ‹vâv› is pronounced as the consonant ‹v› in some words.


چوب چ‍ ‍و ب چوب
‹cub› ‹c› ‹u› ‹b›

The word چوب    ‹cub›   /tʃuːb/ (“wood”) is shown on the right, demonstrating that و ‹vâv› is pronounced as the long vowel ‹u› in some words.


اوت ا و ت اوت
‹ut› ‹-› ‹u› ‹t›

The long vowel sound ‹u› may also occur at the beginning of a word, in which case it is spelled with initial او, as demonstrated on the right in اوت   ‹ut› (“August”).


تو ت‍ ‍و تو
‹to› ‹t› ‹o›

Some Persian words that were originally pronounced with the long vowel sound ‹u› are pronounced today with the sound ‹o›, but their spelling has not changed. So و sometimes represents the sound ‹o› in Modern Persian:

  • تو   ‹to› (“you (informal)”)
  • دو   ‹do› (“two”)
  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing و ‹vâv›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

   

و ووو      
و ووو      

    


ه ‹he›Edit

ه ه‍ ‍ه‍ ‍ه ههه
  ‹he› connecting forms

The letter ه   ‹he› is often pronounced like ‹h›, just like the Persian letter ح   ‹he›. To distinguish between them, a Persian speaker may specify ح by saying ‹he-ye jimi›, in reference to the similar form shared with ج ‹jim› . Or, because of the traditional arrangements of letters in chronograms, they may be distinguished as حاء حطّی ‹he-ye hotti› for ح and هاء هوّز ‹he-ye havvaz› for ه .

جوجه ج‍ ‍و ج‍ ‍ه جوجه
‹jojeh› ‹j› ‹o› ‹j› ‹h›

The connecting forms of ه ‹he› are shown on the right in a typical Persian style. There are several variations, though, so you may run across any of the following:

  • راه   ‹râh› (“road, path”)
  • جوجه   ‹jojeh› (“chicken”)

At the end of a word, ه often is not pronounced as ‹h›, but just indicates that the word ends in the sound ‹e›: خانه ‹xâne› (“house”)

  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing ه ‹he›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

   

ه ههه      
ه ههه      

    

Duplicate Letters

In Persian there is more than one letter available for some sounds because words imported from Arabic are spelled using their Arabic spelling, but with Persian pronunciation. So, there are three letters for ‹s›, four for ‹z›, two for ‹t›, two for ‹q›, two for ‹h›, and two for ‹'›. They are not all used equally, for example ز is more common than the other ‹z› letters.
  • ‹s›:
    • س
    • ص , e.g. صد   ‹sad› (“hundred”)
    • ث
  • ‹z›:
    • ز
    • ذ
    • ظ
    • ض, e.g. راضی   ‹râzi› (“satisfied”)
  • ‹t›:
    • ت
    • ط, e.g. طور   ‹towr› (“method”)
  • ‹q›:
    • ق, e.g. آقا   ‹âqâ› (“sir”)
    • غ, e.g. آغا   ‹âqâ› (“madam”)
  • ‹h›:
    • ه
    • ح
  • <'>:
    In Arabic, a symbol known as hamzaء ) is used to separate two vowels. This convention only used in Persian for words of Arabic origin.
    • ء, e.g. رأس   ‹râ's› (“head”)
    • ع, e.g. رعد   ‹ra'd› (“thunder”)


ی ‹ye›Edit

ی ی‍ ‍ی‍ ‍ی ییی
  ‹ye› connecting forms

The last Persian letter, ى   ‹ye›, has a few different pronunciations: ‹y›, ‹i›, or ‹ey›. Its isolated and final forms vary significantly from its initial and medial forms: It has a tail and no dots in the isolated and final forms, but it has two dots and no tail in the initial and medial forms,.


یک ی‍ ‍ک یک
‹yek› ‹y› ‹k›

In یک   ‹yek› (“one”), ی as the first letter of the word is pronounced ‹y›.


سیب س‍ ‍ی‍ ‍ب سیب
‹sib› ‹s› ‹i› ‹b›
ایران ا ی‍ ‍ر ا ن ایران
‹irân› ‹-› ‹i› ‹r› ‹â› ‹n›
این ا ی‍ ‍ن این
‹in› ‹-› ‹i› ‹n›

As the examples این ‹in› (“this”) and سیب   ‹sib› (“apple”) show on the right, ی as the second letter of the word is pronounced as ‹i›.

فارسی ف‍ ‍ا ر س‍ ‍ی فارسی
‹fârsi› ‹f› ‹â› ‹r› ‹s› ‹i›

In فارسی   ‹fârsi› (“Persian (language)”), ی as the last letter of the word is pronounced as ‹i›.


Vowels at the beginning of words

When a Persian word begins with any vowel sound, it is spelled with an initial ا. If that initial sound is a short vowel, the specific vowel is not indicated, but if it is a long vowel, the corresponding long vowel letter is written ( ا for ‹â›, و for ‹o›, or ی for ‹i›). So, ا is the first letter in Persian words that begin with a long ‹i› sound, such as ایران   ‹irân› (“Iran”) and اين   ‹in› (“this”).

Remember from lesson 1, though, the long ‹â› sound at the beginning of a word is not spelled with two ا letters in a row, but with آ, alef madde.


  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing ی ‹ye›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

   

ی ییی      
ی ییی      
Culture Point: هفت‌سین   ‹haft sin›

Do you remember the letter س ‹sin› from lesson 3? Combined with هفت   ‹haft› (“seven”) from this lesson makes an important Iranian New Year tradition of هفت‌سین   ‹haft sin› (“seven Ss”). During the Persian New Year ‹nowruz›, the سفره   ‹sofreh› (“tablecloth”) is arranged with seven items beginning with the letter س ‹s›. That might include:

  1. ‹sabzeh›
  2. ‹sib›
  3. ‹sir›
  4. ‹samanu›
  5. ‹senjed›
  6. ‹serkeh›
  7. ‹somâk›

Originally called هفت چین   ‹haft cin›


  Which of the following items would go on your traditional هفت سین   ‹haft sin› table? (Clue: Sabzeh, Sib, Sir, Samanu, Senjed, Serke and Somâq):
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
سیب زمینی

sib zamini (potato)- no

سیب

sib (apple)- yes

سگ

sag (dog)- no

ستاره

setareh (star)- no

سير

sir (garlic)- yes

سركه

serke (vinegar)- yes

سوسک‌

(cockroach)- no

سبزه

sabzeh (wheat, barley or lentil sprouts)- yes

سیگار

sigar (cigar)- no

سنگ

sang (stone)- no

سماق

somâq (sumac berries)- yes

سنجد

senjed (senjed, the dried fruit of the oleaster tree )- yes

سمنو

samanu (wheat pudding)- yes

LigaturesEdit

Certain combinations of letters are written in a combined form known as a ligature.


لا ل‍ ‍ا لا
‹lâ› ‹l› ‹â›

When ل ‹lâm› is followed by ا ‹alef› , they combine to form the ligature لا ‹lâ› , as shown on the right.

سلام س‍ ‍ل‍ ‍ا م سلام
‹salâm› ‹s› ‹l› ‹â› ‹m›

The lâm-alef ligature appears in the greeting سلام ‹salâm› .


ۀ ه‌ ‌ی ۀ
‹he-ye› ‹he› ‹ye›

In an ezafe construction after a word ending in ‹he›, the ی is sometimes written in a small form over the ه, i.e. as ۀ ‹he-ye› . It looks like a hamze, and is considered such by some, but others consider this a ligature of ه‌ی.

DiacriticsEdit

Like the accent mark over the e in café, Persian diacritics (symbols written above or below the letters) are not actual letters in the Persian alphabet.

  • ّ ‹tašdid› (“strengthening”)

Tashdid is a mark that looks like a small, curly w, placed above a consonant to double or strengthen it. It may be omitted, but is used in many situations for clarity.

ء ‹hamze›Edit

The diacritic ‹hamze›, isolated and over ‹he›:
ء هٔ
  ‹’›, ‹ye›

The symbol on the right is called همزه ‹hamze› . It is never at the beginning of a word and has different pronunciations, depending on whether it is in a native Persian word or one borrowed from Arabic.


خانهٔ خ ا ن هٔ خانهٔ
‹xuneye› ‹x› ‹â› ‹n› ‹e-ye›

In Persian words, hamze may be written over silent final ‹he› ( هٔ ), as shown on the right, to represent the sound ‹ye› in a construction called ‹ezâfe› that will be explained in Lesson 6. The hamze for this purpose is usually left unwritten and is only added for extra clarity. Rarely, it is used in the same way with words ending in ی (that is, ئ).

Historically   Modern
جملهٔ جمله‌ای ‹jomlei› (“a sentence”)
قهوهٔ رنگ قهوه‌ای رنگ ‹qahvei rang› (“brown”)
خستهٔ خسته‌ای ‹xaste i› (“you are tired”)
شیمیائی شیمیایی ‹šimiāi› (“chemical”)
بگوئید بگویید ‹beguid› (“say”)

Historically, Persian words with the sounds ‹âi› or ‹ui› were written with a hamze (that is, with ائی or وئی) to show that the vowel sounds were separate, but today such words are usually written with a doubled ی (that is, ‹âi› is written as ایی and ‹ui› as ویی) instead. Similarly, words ending with ‹ei› were once written as هٔ, but today that ending is written as ه‌ای.


ژوئن ژ و ئ‍ ‍ن ژوئن
‹žuan› ‹ž› ‹u› ‹-› ‹n›

As shown on the right, ئـ is used in some foreign words, like ژوئن   ‹žuan› (“June”) (from French juin), to show a transition between vowels.


أ ‹a’›/‹’a›
  • متأسف ‹mota’assef› (“sorry”)
  • تأسیس ‹ta’sis› (“foundation”)
ؤ ‹o’›
  • مؤمن ‹mo’men› (“believer”)
  • مسئول ‹mas’ul› (“responsible”)
ئو ‹’u›, ئـ ‹’›
  • مسأله\مسئله ‹mas’ale› (“problem”)

In words taken from Arabic, like the ones on the right, hamze may appear anywhere after the first letter of a word to represent a glottal stop [ʔ], i.e. the same ‹’› sound that ع ‹’eyn› represents. Usually, though, أ is written without the hamze, e.g. متاسف ‹mota’assef› , مساله ‹masale› .


جزء ج‍ ‍زء جزء
‹joz› ‹j› ‹z›

At the end of an Arabic word, ء is usually silent and written by itself, e.g. جزء ‹joz› (“part”).

Arabic loanwords ending with a final اء are sometimes still spelled that way, but the final hamze in such words is silent, so the hamze is usually omitted. For example, ابتداء ‹ebtedâ› (“beginning”) is now usually written ابتدا .

Short vowel marksEdit

In children's books and some other learning resources, short vowel are marked using the following symbols:

  • َ , called زَبَر ‹zabar› (“above”) or فتحه‎‎   ‹fatha› (“opening”), is used to represent short ‹a›. E.g. دَر   ‹dar› (“door, at”)
  • ِ , called زير ‹zir› (“below”) or كَسره   ‹kasra› (“breaking”), is used to represent ‹e›.
  • ُ , called پيش ‹piš› (“before”) or ضَمّه   ‹zamah›, is used to represent ‹o›.

The short vowel diacritics may be doubled at the end of an Arabic loanword to indicate that the vowel is followed by ‹-n›, known as تنوين ‹tanvin› (“nunation”) (also, تنوين نصب ‹tanvin nasb› (“marking a consonant with tanvin”)). In Arabic, the signs indicate grammatical case endings: ـً ‹-un› (nominative), ـٍ ‹-en› (accusative), and ـٌ ‹-an› (genitive).

A related mark is سُكون ‹sokun› , also called جَزْم ‹jazm› (“amputation”). It is used to indicate the absence of a vowel and is written as a superscripted o: ْ

ExercisesEdit

  Recognizing letters:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
What are the names of and sounds represented by the following letters?

The letter ‹vâv›, which represents the consonant ‹v›, the long vowel ‹u›, or the short vowel ‹o›.

ى

The letter ‹ye›, which represents the long vowel ‹i› or ‹ay› in a dipthong, e.g. ‹ye›, ‹ay›, ‹ey›, ....

ن

The letter ‹nun›, which represents the sound ‹n›.

The letter ‹he›, which represents the consonant ‹h› or the short vowel ‹e›.

م

The letter ‹mim›, which represents the sound ‹m›.

Non-connecting letters.
Which seven Persian letters do not join with the letter that follows?

ا ‹alef›, ‹dâl›, ‹zâl›, ‹re›, ‹ze›, ژ ‹že› and ‹vâv›.

  Reading words:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
Read these words by breaking them down into their component parts.
ما

‹mâ›: م‍  ‍ا

ماه

‹mâh›: م‍  ‍ا ه

نه

‹nah›: ن‍  ‍ه

هفت

‹haft›: ه‍  ‍ف‍ ‍ت

طناب

‹tanâb›: ط‍ ‍ن‍ ‍ا ب

اسم

‹esm›: ا س‍ ‍م

  The Persian script:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
Determine which of these words has unwritten vowels (vowels not included in the spelling of the word).
ما

No, the one vowel ‹â› is written, like all long vowels in Persian.

ماه

No, the one vowel ‹â› is written, like all long vowels in Persian.

نه

Yes, نه   ‹nah› (“not”) has an unwritten short vowel: ‹a›.

چرا

Yes, چرا   ‹cerâ› (“why”) has a written long vowel ‹â› and an unwritten short vowel ‹e›.

هفت

Yes, هفت   ‹haft› (“seven”) has an unwritten short vowel: ‹a›.

آب

No, the one vowel ‹â› is written, like all long vowels in Persian.

بابا

No, the vowel ‹â› is written, like all long vowels in Persian.

اسم

No, the vowel ‹â› is written, like all long vowels in Persian.

چرا
This exercise is incomplete. Help the English Wikibooks Persian Language course by completing it.
اثاث

Yes, the vowel ‹â› in the middle of the word is written, but the short vowel ‹e› at the beginning of the word is unwritten.

توت
This exercise is incomplete. Help the English Wikibooks Persian Language course by completing it.
  Word recognition:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
See if you can recognize these familiar words.
شاه

شاه   ‹šâh› (“shah, king”)

افغانستان

افغانستان   ‹afqânestân› (“Afghanistan”)

زعفران

زعفران   ‹za'ferân› (“saffron”)

پايجامه

پايجامه   ‹payjâma› (“pajamas”)

مادر

مادر   ‹mâdar› (“mother”)

ReviewEdit

In this lesson, you learned the final letters of the Persian Alphabet and some diacritics. You will also learn about a Persian tradition called ‹haft sin›.

Congratulations! You now know how to read, write, and pronounce Persian words!

Core vocabulary:
  • ‹bebaxšin›    — “excuse me”
  • ‹esm›    — “name”
  • ‹ci›    — “what”
  • ‹xânom›      /xɒːnom/ — “Miss”
Letters:
  • و   ‹vâv›
  • ه   ‹he›
  • ی   ‹ye›

Diacritics and ligatures:

  • لا ‹lâ› (‹lâm› + ‹alef›)
  • ۀ ‹he ye›
  • اً ‹tanvin nasb›
  • ّ ‹tašdid›
  • ء ‹hamze›
  • َ ‹fatha›
  • ِ ‹kasra›
  • ُ ‹zamma›
Bonus words:
  • آواز   ‹âvâz› — “voice, song”
  • چوب   ‹cub› — “wood”
  • اوت   ‹ut› — “August”
  • تو   ‹to› — “you” (informal)
  • جوجه   ‹jojeh› — “chicken”
  • یک   ‹yek› — “one”
  • سیب   ‹sib› — “apple”
  • فارسی   ‹fârsi› — “Persian”
  • ايران   ‹irân› — “Iran”
  • هفت   ‹haft› — “seven”
  • هفت‌سین   ‹haft sin› — “seven Ss” (Iranian New Year tradition)
  • سي   ‹sir› — “garlic”
  • سنجد   ‹senjed› — “senjed” (the dried fruit of the oleaster tree)
  • سمنو   ‹samanu› — “samanu” (a kind of wheat pudding)
All vocabulary Lessons 1 - 4   edit
English gloss Notes ‹fârsi› فارسی

Letter: [ɒː], [æ], [e], [o]   Lesson 1 ‹alef ا
Noun: gentleman, sir, Mr.   Lesson 2 âqâ› آقا
Noun: name   Lesson 4 ‹esm› اسم
Letter: [b]   Lesson 1 ‹be› ب
Interjection: excuse me   Lesson 4 ‹bebaxšid› ببخشید
Adjective: bad   Lesson 3 ‹bad› بد
Letter: [p]   Lesson 1 ‹pe› پ
Letter: [t]   Lesson 1 ‹te› ت
Pronoun: you (singular, informal)   Lesson 1 ‹tow› تو
Letter: [s]   Lesson 1 ‹se› ث
Letter: [dʒ]   Lesson 1 ‹jim› ج
Letter: [tʃ]   Lesson 1 ‹ce› چ
Adjective: how   Lesson 2 ‹cetor چطور
Phrase: How are you? (informal)   Lesson 1 ‹cetori?› چطوری؟
Pronoun: what?   Lesson 4 ‹ci› چی
Letter: [h]   Lesson 1 ‹he› ح
Noun: health   Lesson 2 ‹hâl› حال
Noun: your health (informal)   Lesson 3 ‹hâlet› حالت
Letter: [x]   Lesson 1 ‹xe› خ
Phrase: May God keep you. (Goodbye.)   Lesson 2 ‹xofez.› خداحافظ.
Noun: (person) wife, lady, Miss   Lesson 4 ‹xânom› خانم
Phrase: I’m fine.   Lesson 1 ‹(man) xubam.› (من) خوبم.
Phrase: Nice to meet you.   Lesson 4 ‹xošbaxtam› خوشبختم
very   Lesson 3 xeyli› خیلی
Letter: [d]   Lesson 2 ‹dâ› د
Letter: [z]   Lesson 2 ‹zâ› ذ
Letter: [ɾ]   Lesson 2 ‹re› ر
Letter: [z]   Lesson 2 ‹ze› ز
Letter: [ʒ]   Lesson 2 ‹že› ژ
Letter: [s]   Lesson 2 ‹sin› س
Phrase: Peace (hello)!   Lesson 1 ‹salâm!› سلام!
Letter: [ʃ]   Lesson 2 ‹šin› ش
Pronoun: you (plural or polite singular)   Lesson 2 ‹šomâ› شما
Letter: [s]   Lesson 2 ‹sâd› ص
Interjection: Good morning   Lesson 3 ‹sobh bexeyr صبح بخیر
Letter: [z]   Lesson 2 ‹zâd› ض
Letter: [t]   Lesson 2 ‹tâ› ط
Letter: [z]   Lesson 2 ‹zâ› ظ
Letter: [ʔ]   Lesson 3 ‹’eyn› ع
Letter: [ɣ], [ɢ]   Lesson 3 ‹qeyn› غ
Letter: [f]   Lesson 3 ‹fe› ف
Letter: [ɢ], [ɣ], [q]   Lesson 3 ‹qaf› ق
Letter: [k]   Lesson 3 ‹kaf› ک
Letter: [g]   Lesson 3 ‹gaf› گ
Letter: [l]   Lesson 3 ‹lâm› ل
Letter: [m]   Lesson 3 ‹mim› م
Interjection: thanks   Lesson 1 mersi› مرسی
Pronoun: I, me   Lesson 1 ‹man› من
Letter: [n]   Lesson 3 ‹nun› ن
Verb: (I) am not   Lesson 3 nistam› نیستم
Letter: [v], [u], [ow]   Lesson 4 ‹vâv› و
Conjunction: and   Lesson 3 ‹va, vo, o› و
Letter: [h]   Lesson 4 ‹he› ه
Noun: Persian New Year’s tradition of “seven S’s”   Lesson 4 ‹haftsin› هفت‌سین
Letter: [j], [i], [ej]   Lesson 4 ‹ye› ی
Symbol: (ligature) lam-alef   Lesson 4 ‹lâ› لا
Symbol: (diacritic) tashdid (“strengthening”)   Lesson 4 ‹tašdid› ّ
Symbol: (diacritic) hamze   Lesson 4 ‹’› ء
Symbol: (diacritic) zabar (“above”)   Lesson 4 ‹a› َ
Symbol: (diacritic) zir (“below”)   Lesson 4 ‹e› ِ
Symbol: (diacritic) pish (“before”)   Lesson 4 ‹o› ُ
Symbol: (diacritic) sokun   Lesson 4 ‹-› ْ

Next: Lesson 5 ( ۵ ), Introduction to Verbs