Persian/Lesson 5

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Iran

Afghanistan

Tajikistan

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 through 4, you learned some greetings and how to read, write, and pronounce Persian words.

In this lesson, you will learn about Persian verbs: their agreement with the subject, their location in a sentence, and how to conjugate the most common one, بودن Look up بودن in Wiktionary ‹budan› (“to be”), in the simple present tense.

Dialogue: شما کجایی هستید؟ ‹šomâ kojâi hastid?›[edit]

Reza and Shirin have just met:

Shirin: ‹xošbaxtam, âqâ-ye rezâ. šomâ kojâi hastid? ›
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Reza. Where are you from?”
خوشبختم، آقای رضا. شما کجایی هستید؟
Missing audio Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
شيرين:
Reza: ‹man irâniyam. az mašhad hastam. šo cetor?›
“I’m Iranian. I’m from Mashhad. How about you?”
من ایرانیم. از مشهد هستم. شما چطور؟
Missing audio Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
رضا:
Shirin: ‹man az tehrân hastam.›
“I’m from Tehran.”
من از تهران هستم.
Missing audio Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
شيرين:
Reza: ‹va â-ye esmit? engelisi-st?›
“And Mr. Smith? Is he English?”
و آقای اسمیت؟ انگلیسی است؟
Missing audio Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
رضا:
Shirin: ‹xeyr, u âmrikâiy-st.›
“No, he’s American.”
خیر، او آمریکایی است.
Missing audio Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
شيرين:

If you intend to help complete this dialogue, please see #Exercises and Persian/Planning#Dialogue for suggestions that emphasize this lesson's topic: simple present tense forms of بودن .

Explanation

Shirin and Reza have just met.

Vocabulary

  • کجایی Look up کجایی in Wiktionary ‹kojâi› — “from where?”
  • ایرانیم Look up ایرانیم in Wiktionary ‹irâniyam› — “(I) am Iranian.”
  • او Look up او in Wiktionary ‹u› About this sound /uː/ — “he, she, it”
  • انگلیسی Look up انگلیسی in Wiktionary ‹engelisiy› — “English”
  • خیر Look up خیر in Wiktionary ‹xeyr› — “no”
  • آمریکایی Look up آمریکایی in Wiktionary ‹âmrikâiy› — “American”
  • ما Look up ما in Wiktionary ‹mâ› About this sound /mɒː/ — “we, us”
  • آنها Look up آنها in Wiktionary ‹ân› About this sound /ɒːnˈhɒː/ — “they”


Subjects[edit]

In both English and Persian, sentences have subjects and verbs. In a sentence that expresses an action, the subject is usually the main actor or agent. In a sentence that makes a comment about a topic, the subject is usually that topic. A verb is a word like talk that expresses an action, or one like is that links the subject to the words that comment about it:

Sentence Subject Verb
“I am a student.” “I” “am”
“Did you complete the assignment?” “you” “Did complete”
“Study this grammar topic!” “(you)”[1] “Study”

Each sentence above, like all complete sentences in English and Persian, has a subject and a verb, even if the subject is only implied. Subjects have grammatical “number” and “person”:

  • First, second, or third person: indicates whether the speaker or addressee is included
  • Singular or plural number: indicates how many people or things are included [2]

Grammatical person and number may be represented by the following pronouns:

Grammatical number and person Number
Singular

(one)

Plural

(more than one)[2]

First person

(the speaker)

من ما
‹man› ‹mâ›
“I” “we”
Second person

(the addressee)

تو شما
‹to› ‹šomâ›
“you” “you”
Third person

(someone else)

او آنها
‹u› ‹ânhâ›
“he/she/it” “they”

Present tense forms of بودن ‹budan› (“to be”)[edit]

بودن ‹budan› (“to be”)

Simple present tense, “full” form
Stem: هست‍ ‹hast-›

Number
Singular Plural
First person (من) هستم (ما) هستیم
(‹man›) ‹hastam› (‹mâ›) ‹hastim›
“(I) am” “(we) are”
Second person (تو) هستی (شما) هستید
(‹to›) ‹hasti› (‹šomâ›) ‹hastin›[3]
“(you) are” “(you) are”
Third person (او) هست (آنها) هستند
(‹u›) ‹hast (‹ânhâ›) ‹hastan›[3]
“(he/she/it) is” “(they) are”

Persian verbs are conjugated by adding suffixes, similar to the way English verbs like talk take the suffixes -s, -ed, and -ing to make verb forms like talks, talked, and talking. In Persian, though, the verb’s suffix clearly indicates its grammatical person and number. For example, the table on the right shows the simple present tense “full” forms of the Persian verb بودن Look up بودن in Wiktionary ‹budan› (“to be”), consisting of the stem هست‍ ‹hast-› and various suffixes to indicate the person and number:

Note.svg Conjugation
Say each of the personal pronouns from the table above. While saying each one, imagine and point to the people to whom the pronoun might refer. For example, while saying ما Look up ما in Wiktionary ‹mâ› (“we, us”), imagine another person next to you and point to that person and yourself.
Repeat the personal pronouns as above, but after each one, say the corresponding simple present tense full forms of بودن ‹budan› from the table above. For example, when saying شما Look up شما in Wiktionary ‹šomâ› (“you (plural)”), point to two imaginary addressees and then say هستید ‹hastin› .[3]

The full simple present tense of بودن ‹budan› appeared as هستید ‹hastin› and هستم ‹hastam› in the first and third lines of the dialogue above.

بودن ‹budan› also appears in abbreviated form above, once as the word است ‹e› [3] and once as the suffix ‍م ‹-am› following ایرانی ‹irâniy› (“Iranian”). That's because the verb بودن ‹budan› has both a full form using the stem هست‍ ‹hast-› and a short form. The long form is a bit more formal in tone and often carries the sense of “exists”.

The short form is used more often than the long form, especially in casual speech. As shown below, most of the short form is written as suffixes (technically clitics since they attach to phrases rather than just words) like ‍ید ‹-in› [3] in چطورید ‹cetorin› (“how are you”), but the third person singular form is written as a separate word: است ‹e› (“is”)[3]:

بودن ‹budan› (“to be”)

Simple present tense, short form

Number
Singular Plural
First person ... + ‍م ... + ‍یم
‹...am› ‹...im›
“(I) am” “(we) are”
Second person ... + ‍ی ... + ‍ید
‹...i› ‹...id›, ‹...in›[3]
“(you) are” “(you) are”
Third person است ... + ‍ند
‹ast›, ‹...e›, ‹...s› [3] ‹...+an›[3]
“(he/she/it) is” “(they) are”

است ‹ast› can be used with singular or plural subjects to express existence, like "there is" or "there are" in English.

For plural “animate” subjects (one that refers to multiple people or to a thing that might be thought to behave figuratively like multiple people), existence can also be expressed with the plural form هستند ‹hastan› .

Some sources disagree with this and say است is only used as a copula, never used for existence.

Colloquially, هستند ‹hastand› may be a suffix pronounced ‹an› after consonant or ‹n› after vowel.

Word order[edit]

As the previous dialogues have shown, the verb usually comes last in a simple Persian sentence. For example, the last word in each Persian sentence below is a form of the verb بودن Look up بودن in Wiktionary ‹budan› (“to be”):

  Each line below reads from right to left: the Persian expression, its components, transcription, and glosses.  “I am fine.” 
  من خوب هستم.  
  من خوب هستم  
 ←  ‹man› ‹xub› hastam›  
 ←  “I” “fine” “am”  
  Each line below reads from right to left: the Persian expression, its components, transcription, and glosses.  “You are a student.” 
  تو دانشجو هستی.  
  تو دانشجو هستی  
 ←  ‹to› ‹danešju› hasti›  
 ←  “you” “student” “are”  
  Each line below reads from right to left: the Persian expression, its components, transcription, and glosses.  “The university is big.” 
  دانشگاه بزرگ است.  
  دانشگاه بزرگ است  
 ←  ‹dânešgâh› ‹bozorg› ‹e›  
 ←  “university” “big” “is”  

Grammatically, subjects are optional in Persian. Since the suffix of a conjugated verb clearly indicates the number and person of the subject, subject pronouns are often omitted from Persian sentences, except when used for emphasis.


Exercises[edit]

Note.svg Reading Persian sentences:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
Translate the following Persian sentences into English:
او آرش است.

He is Arash.

آرش خوش است.

Arash is happy.

Stub
This exercise is incomplete. Help the English Wikibooks Persian Language course by completing it.
Stub
This exercise is incomplete. Help the English Wikibooks Persian Language course by completing it.
Note.svg Creating Persian sentences:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)

Fill in the blanks.

  • [...] کجاست؟ ‹Where is [...]?› Fill in the blank with someone's name.
  • شما [...] هستید؟ ‹šomâ [...] hastin?› (“Are you a [...]?”) Fill in the blank with an occupation (e.g. دکتز ‹doktor› (“doctor”)), a role (e.g. دانشجو ‹dânešju› (“student”)), or a nationality (e.g. ایرانی ‹irâni› (“Iranian”)).
  • نه، من [...]م. ‹nah, man [...]am.› (“No, I am a [...].”) Fill in the blank with an occupation.
  • شما کجایی هستید؟ ‹šomâ kojey hastin?› (“Where are you from?”)
  • من آمریکاییم. ‹man âmrikâiyam.› (“I'm American.”)
  • من ایرانیم. شما چطور؟ ‹man irâniam. šomâ cetor?› (“I'm Iranian. How about you?”)
  • ببخشید، شما کجایی هستد؟ to ask about someone's nationality
  • من انگلیسیم. ‹man engelisiam.› (“I'm English.”) or other nationalities
  • سما هم انگلیسی هستین؟ ‹šomâm engelisi hastin?› (“Are you also English?”)
  • نه، من انگلیسی نیستم. آمریکاییم. ‹nah, man engelisi nistam. âmrikâiyam.›
Translate the following English sentences into Persian:
He is Hassan.
Stub
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Hassan is my friend.
Stub
This exercise is incomplete. Help the English Wikibooks Persian Language course by completing it.
Stub
This exercise is incomplete. Help the English Wikibooks Persian Language course by completing it.
Stub
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Review[edit]

In this lesson, you learned how to conjugate two sets of simple present tense forms of the Persian verb بودن Look up بودن in Wiktionary ‹budan› (“to be”)....

Core vocabulary:
  • کجایی Look up کجایی in Wiktionary ‹kojâi› — “from where?”
  • ایرانیم Look up ایرانیم in Wiktionary ‹irâniyam› — “(I) am Iranian.”
  • او Look up او in Wiktionary ‹u› About this sound /uː/ — “he, she, it”
  • آمریکایی Look up آمریکایی in Wiktionary ‹âmrikâiy› — “American”
  • ما Look up ما in Wiktionary ‹mâ› About this sound /mɒː/ — “we, us”
  • آنها Look up آنها in Wiktionary ‹ân› About this sound /ɒːnˈhɒː/ — “they”
...s:
  • ابپثت Look up ابپثت in Wiktionary ‹abepesete› — “lorem ipsum dolor...”
... words:
  • ابپثت Look up ابپثت in Wiktionary ‹abepesete› — “lorem ipsum dolor...”
All vocabulary Lessons 1 - 5   edit
English gloss Notes ‹fârsi› فارسی
Letter: [ɒː], [æ], [e], [o] Look up ا in Wiktionary Lesson 1 ‹alef ا
Noun: gentleman, sir, Mr. Look up آقا in Wiktionary Lesson 2 âqâ› آقا
Adjective: American Look up آمریکایی in Wiktionary Lesson 5 ‹âmriyi› آمریکایی
Pronoun: they Look up آنها in Wiktionary Lesson 5 ‹ân, onâ› آنها
Verb: am, is, are Look up ام، ای، است، ایم، اید، اند in Wiktionary Lesson 5 ‹am, i, ast, im, in, an› ام، ای، است، ایم، اید، اند
Noun: name Look up اسم in Wiktionary Lesson 4 ‹esm› اسم
Pronoun: he, she Look up او in Wiktionary Lesson 5 ‹u› او
Adjective: Iranian Look up ایرانی in Wiktionary Lesson 5 ‹ini› ایرانی
Letter: [b] Look up ب in Wiktionary Lesson 1 ‹be› ب
Interjection: excuse me Look up ببخشید in Wiktionary Lesson 4 ‹bebaxšid› ببخشید
Adjective: bad Look up بد in Wiktionary Lesson 3 ‹bad› بد
Verb: to be Look up بودن in Wiktionary Lesson 5 ‹budan› بودن
Letter: [p] Look up پ in Wiktionary Lesson 1 ‹pe› پ
Letter: [t] Look up ت in Wiktionary Lesson 1 ‹te› ت
Pronoun: you (singular, informal) Look up تو in Wiktionary Lesson 1 ‹tow› تو
Letter: [s] Look up ث in Wiktionary Lesson 1 ‹se› ث
Letter: [dʒ] Look up ج in Wiktionary Lesson 1 ‹jim› ج
Letter: [tʃ] Look up چ in Wiktionary Lesson 1 ‹ce› چ
Adjective: how Look up چطور in Wiktionary Lesson 2 ‹cetor چطور
Phrase: How are you? (informal) Look up چطوری؟ in Wiktionary Lesson 1 ‹cetori?› چطوری؟
Pronoun: what? Look up چی in Wiktionary Lesson 4 ‹ci› چی
Letter: [h] Look up ح in Wiktionary Lesson 1 ‹he› ح
Noun: health Look up حال in Wiktionary Lesson 2 ‹hâl› حال
Noun: your health (informal) Look up حالت in Wiktionary Lesson 3 ‹hâlet› حالت
Letter: [x] Look up خ in Wiktionary Lesson 1 ‹xe› خ
Phrase: May God keep you. (Goodbye.) Look up خداحافظ. in Wiktionary Lesson 2 ‹xofez.› خداحافظ.
Noun: (person) wife, lady, Miss Look up خانم in Wiktionary Lesson 4 ‹xânom› خانم
Phrase: I’m fine. Look up (من) خوبم. in Wiktionary Lesson 1 ‹(man) xubam.› (من) خوبم.
Phrase: Nice to meet you. Look up خوشبختم in Wiktionary Lesson 4 ‹xošbaxtam› خوشبختم
Interjection: no Look up خیر in Wiktionary Lesson 5 ‹xeyr› خیر
very Look up خیلی in Wiktionary Lesson 3 xeyli› خیلی
Letter: [d] Look up د in Wiktionary Lesson 2 ‹dâ› د
Letter: [z] Look up ذ in Wiktionary Lesson 2 ‹zâ› ذ
Letter: [ɾ] Look up ر in Wiktionary Lesson 2 ‹re› ر
Letter: [z] Look up ز in Wiktionary Lesson 2 ‹ze› ز
Letter: [ʒ] Look up ژ in Wiktionary Lesson 2 ‹že› ژ
Letter: [s] Look up س in Wiktionary Lesson 2 ‹sin› س
Phrase: Peace (hello)! Look up سلام! in Wiktionary Lesson 1 ‹salâm!› سلام!
Letter: [ʃ] Look up ش in Wiktionary Lesson 2 ‹šin› ش
Pronoun: you (plural or polite singular) Look up شما in Wiktionary Lesson 2 ‹šomâ› شما
Letter: [s] Look up ص in Wiktionary Lesson 2 ‹sâd› ص
Interjection: Good morning Look up صبح بخیر in Wiktionary Lesson 3 ‹sobh bexeyr صبح بخیر
Letter: [z] Look up ض in Wiktionary Lesson 2 ‹zâd› ض
Letter: [t] Look up ط in Wiktionary Lesson 2 ‹tâ› ط
Letter: [z] Look up ظ in Wiktionary Lesson 2 ‹zâ› ظ
Letter: [ʔ] Look up ع in Wiktionary Lesson 3 ‹’eyn› ع
Letter: [ɣ], [ɢ] Look up غ in Wiktionary Lesson 3 ‹qeyn› غ
Letter: [f] Look up ف in Wiktionary Lesson 3 ‹fe› ف
Letter: [ɢ], [ɣ], [q] Look up ق in Wiktionary Lesson 3 ‹qaf› ق
Letter: [k] Look up ک in Wiktionary Lesson 3 ‹kaf› ک
Adjective: from where? Look up کجایی in Wiktionary Lesson 5 ‹kojâi کجایی
Letter: [g] Look up گ in Wiktionary Lesson 3 ‹gaf› گ
Letter: [l] Look up ل in Wiktionary Lesson 3 ‹lâm› ل
Letter: [m] Look up م in Wiktionary Lesson 3 ‹mim› م
Pronoun: us Look up ما in Wiktionary Lesson 5 ‹mâ› ما
Interjection: thanks Look up مرسی in Wiktionary Lesson 1 mersi› مرسی
Pronoun: I, me Look up من in Wiktionary Lesson 1 ‹man› من
Letter: [n] Look up ن in Wiktionary Lesson 3 ‹nun› ن
Verb: (I) am not Look up نیستم in Wiktionary Lesson 3 nistam› نیستم
Letter: [v], [u], [ow] Look up و in Wiktionary Lesson 4 ‹vâv› و
Conjunction: and Look up و in Wiktionary Lesson 3 ‹va, vo, o› و
Letter: [h] Look up ه in Wiktionary Lesson 4 ‹he› ه
Verb: am, is, are Look up هستم، هستی، هست، هستیم، هستید، هستند in Wiktionary Lesson 5 ‹hastam, hasti, hast, hastim, hastin, hastan› هستم، هستی، هست، هستیم، هستید، هستند
Noun: Persian New Year’s tradition of “seven S’s” Look up هفت‌سین in Wiktionary Lesson 4 ‹haftsin› هفت‌سین
Letter: [j], [i], [ej] Look up ی in Wiktionary Lesson 4 ‹ye› ی
Symbol: (ligature) lam-alef Look up لا in Wiktionary Lesson 4 ‹lâ› لا
Symbol: (diacritic) tashdid (“strengthening”) Look up ّ in Wiktionary Lesson 4 ‹tašdid› ّ
Symbol: (diacritic) hamze Look up ء in Wiktionary Lesson 4 ‹’› ء
Symbol: (diacritic) zabar (“above”) Look up َ in Wiktionary Lesson 4 ‹a› َ
Symbol: (diacritic) zir (“below”) Look up ِ in Wiktionary Lesson 4 ‹e› ِ
Symbol: (diacritic) pish (“before”) Look up ُ in Wiktionary Lesson 4 ‹o› ُ
Symbol: (diacritic) sokun Look up ْ in Wiktionary Lesson 4 ‹-› ْ

Notes[edit]

  1. The word “you” does not usually appear in English commands, but the grammatical subject “you” is implied.
  2. a b The grammatical number may be different from the semantic number. E.g., in “These scissors are dull”, the subject and verb are grammatically plural but semantically indicate a single item. In Persian, there are similar constructions, and both plural pronouns and plural verb forms are often used as a polite version of the singular. More about this will be explained in later lessons.
  3. a b c d e f g h i Note: The Persian script here uses formal spelling, but the transcriptions in angle brackets shows typical colloquial pronunciation. In colloquial speech, for example, the ending ‍ید ‹-id› is often pronounced as ‹-in› and the word است ‹ast› (“is”) is pronounced as ‹e› after a consonant or as ‹s› after a vowel. Other differences between spoken and written Persian will be given in the lessons that follow.

Next: Lesson 6 ( ۶ ), Noun phrases, ezâfe

Continue to Lesson 6 ( ۶ ), Noun phrases, ezâfe >>

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


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