Speak / Lesson 58


In this lesson, we learn all the language associated with pregnancy, babies and small children.


how are you?

Note: In Persian, as in many other languages, there is a formal and an informal way of speaking. We will be covering this in more detail in later lessons. For now, however, chetor-ee is the informal way of asking someone how they are, so it should only be used with people that you are familiar with. hālé shomā chetor-é is the formal expression for ‘how are you.’

Spelling note: In written Persian, words are not capitalized. For this reason, we do not capitalize Persian words written in phonetic English in the guides.


I’m well

Pronunciation tip: kh is one of two unique sounds in the Persian language that is not used in the English language. It should be repeated daily until mastered, as it is essential to successfully speak Persian. Listen to the podcast for more information on how to make the sound.

Persian English
salām hello
chetor-ee how are you?
khoobam I’m well
merci thank you
khayli very
khayli khoobam I’m very well
khoob neestam I’m not well
man me/I
bad neestam I’m not bad
ālee great
chetor-een? how are you? (formal)
hālé shomā chetor-é? how are you? (formal)
hālet chetor-é? how are you? (informal)
khoob-ee? are you well? (informal)
mamnoonam thank you
chetor peesh meeré? how’s it going?
ché khabar? what’s the news? (what’s up?)

Leyla: Hello everyone, and welcome to the 58th lesson of Chai and Conversation!

Matt: As you know, unit 6 of Chai and Conversation is the culture series. We’ve been covering the vocabulary needed to navigate through a lot of situations you’ll find yourself with Persian speakers. Last week, we covered a subject many of us married to Persians can relate to- that of Persian weddings.

Leyla: That’s right. So after the wedding episode, we thought it was only appropriate to cover another topic many of you, including you Matt, can relate to- and that is the topic of babies! So Matt and Ladan have two children now, one girl and one boy- both absolutely adorable. And Matt, I’m sure you’ve learned a lot of words from Ladan and her family associated with babies.

Matt: Oh yes, I have. Ladan’s family speak to Kimiya and Arman in Persian, so I pick up a lot that way, and try to throw in a few words to them myself when I can. And what about you, what language do you speak with Rooz?

Leyla: Well, my husband, Chris, is American, so when we’re all together, we’ll speak English. But of course, I speak to Rooz as much as I can in Persian- I’m trying to learn as much as I can how to raise a bilingual baby- hopefully I’ll have tips to share with listeners from what I learn and from experience as well. But I also try to have him spend time with my family in Dallas, so he can speak Persian with them exclusively. He’s only 4 months old so he doesn’t say anything just yet, but soon enough hopefully!

Anyhow, we’re going to go over language associated with babies, things we can say to them, and things we say to others when talking about them. So first, the word for child in Persian is bacheh

Matt: Bacheh

Leyla: And we don’t exactly have a word for baby, so there are a few different routes we can take when referring to babies. So the technical word for newborn is ‘now zad’

Matt: Now zad

Leyla: Zayeedan is the word for giving birth, so now zad literally means newly birthed. Now zad

Matt: Now zad

Leyla: But what about baby in general. So again, we don’t have a literal translation of baby, but we have a cute word used for babies, and that is neenee

Matt: Neenee

Leyla: So that means baby: neenee

Matt: Neenee

Leyla: And to really emphasize the point, you can call the baby neenee koochooloo, which means little baby. Neenee koochooloo

Matt: Neenee koochooloo

Leyla: So so far we have bacheh, or child- bacheh

Matt: Bacheh

Leyla: We have nowzad, meaning newborn. Nowzad

Matt: Nowzad

Leyla: And finally we have neenee koochooloo, which means little baby and is the most fun to say. Neenee koochooloo

Matt: Neenee koochooloo

Leyla: Great! There’s another good word to know, and that is koodak. Koodak is another word for child. Koodak

Matt: Koodak

Leyla: Great- and now let’s rewind a little bit. Before the child is actually here, we have pregnancy, and a whole slew of words associated with that time of life. So let’s go over a few of those so you can know how to refer to your pregnant friends or spouses. So first, the word for pregnant is ‘hameleh’

Matt: Hameleh

Leyla: And pregnancy is ‘hamelegee’

Matt: Hamelegee

Leyla: So for example, to say I am pregnant you can say ‘man hamelam’

Matt: Man hamelam

Leyla: So unfortunately or not unfortunately, Matt, you can never say that. You, instead, would say ‘zanam hamelast’

Matt: Zanam hamelast

Leyla: Meaning my wife is pregnant. To be a little more specific, you can say how many months pregnant she is. So for instance, if she’s 4 months pregnant, it would be ‘zanam chahar mah hamelast’

Matt: Zanam chahar mah hamelast

Leyla: Similarly, I could say ‘man chahar mah hamelam,’ meaning I’m four months pregnant

Matt: Man chahar mah hamelam

Leyla: So Matt, how would you say ‘Ladan is 6 months pregnant’? I know she’s not, but back when she was, you would say-

Matt: Ladan sheesh mah hamelast

Leyla: Exactly, great! Ladan sheesh mah hamelast. Ladan is six months pregnant. When referring to a pregnant lady, many people call her ‘bar dar’ meaning she’s carrying a load. Bar dar

Matt: Bar dar

Leyla: That might sound strange when translated literally like that, but it’s like when we say someone is ‘carrying’ or ‘with child’. Bar dar

Matt: Bar dar

Leyla: And now, let’s go over the vocabulary needed for giving birth. The verb for birthing, as we said earlier, is zayeedan

Matt: Zayeedan

Leyla: And this has the same conjugation as other regular verbs- man zayeedam, to zayeedee, oo zayeed, etc. But the whole concept of giving birth is called ‘zayeman’

Matt: Zayeman

Leyla: So again, this means giving birth. Zayeman

Matt: Zayeman

Leyla: And the place to give birth is called a zayeshgah

Matt: Zayeshgah

Leyla: Although like in the west, this refers to a birthing center with midwives, which isn’t so common. Most people in Iran like in the west give birth in a hospital, beemarestan

Matt: Beemarestan

Leyla: Exactly. So while zayeedan is the verb for giving birth, it is also commonly referred to as vazeh haml

Matt: Vazeh haml

Leyla: So you can say ‘man dar beemarestan vazeh haml kardam

Matt: Man dar beemarestan vazeh haml kardam

Leyla: Meaning I gave birth in a hospital. All right, I think that’s all we really need to know about before the baby is here. Now let’s go over a few of the words you’ll need to know when the baby actually arrives. First of all, being born is referred to as ‘bedonya oomadan’. This is really nice translated literally as it means ‘coming to the world’. Donya is the word for world, ‘be donya oomadan’, coming to the world. Bedonya oomadan

Matt: Bedonya oomadan

Leyla: So when you want to tell people when the baby is born, you say for instance deerooz bedonya oomad- he was born yesterday. Deerooz bedonya oomad

Matt: Deerooz bedonya oomad

Leyla: You can also ask- ‘kay bedonya oomad?’ When was he or she born? Kay bedonya oomad

Matt: Kay bedonya oomad’

Leyla: Or I could say ‘Rooz dar Austin bedonya oomad’. What does that mean Matt?

Matt: It means Rooz was born in Austin

Leyla: That’s right. Rooz dar Austin bedonya oomad

Matt: Rooz dar Austin bedonya oomad

Leyla: So Matt, Kimiya koja bedonya oomad?

Matt: Kimiya ham dar Austin bedonya oomad.

Leyla: Arman chetor?

Matt: Arman dar Dallas bedonya oomad.

Leyla: Perfect. And I’ll just add a few more things- Rooz chahar mah peesh dar Austin bedonya oomad. And what does this mean?

Matt: Rooz was born four months ago in Austin.

Leyla: That’s right! Rooz chahar mah peesh dar Austin bedonya oomad

Matt: Rooz chahar mah peesh dar Austin bedonya oomad

Leyla: Great. Now, everyone has different pet names they call their babies whether it’s in English or in Persian. There are some common pet names though that are pretty universal. One is, as we said, neenee kooochooloo, meaning little baby. Neenee koochooloo

Matt: Neenee koochooloo

Leyla; Another one is one I always heard you calling Kimiya, Matt, and that is moosh

Matt: That’s right. Moosh

Leyla: And that means mouse, but is used often to refer to babies. Moosh

Matt: Moosh

Leyla: And similarly, I’ve heard you call your kids joojeh

Matt: Ha, yes, joojeh

Leyla: Meaning…

Matt: baby bird?

Leyla: That’s right- another common pet name for babies- joojeh

Matt: Joojeh

Leyla: Another word that comes up often with babies is naz, meaning sweet. Naz

Matt: Naz

Leyla: And petting a baby in a comforting way is called ‘naz kardan’

Matt: Naz kardan

Leyla: And we also tell babies ‘nazee’ while patting them, meaning something along the lines of ‘sweetie’. Nazee

Matt: Nazee

Leyla: Great! Another very common word to call a baby is ‘azeez’

Matt: Azeez

Leyla: Which means dear. Azizam means my dear, and is used often to refer to children. Azizam

Matt: Azizam

Leyla: And now let’s go over a couple words referring to activities babies do, that you generally only use for babies. One is lalayee, and that is the word for lullabye. Lalayee

Matt: Lalayee

Leyla: So lalayee khoondan is singing lullabies. Lalayee khoondan

Matt: Lalayee khoondan

Leyla: An important item most babies have is the doroshkeh- stroller. Doroshkeh

Matt: Doroshkeh

Leyla: So we have the lullaby, the stroller, and the thing keeping the baby alive is… milk! Sheer

Matt: Sheer

Leyla: And you can have sheereh madar, mother’s milk- sheereh madar

Matt: Sheereh madar

Leyla: And sheesheyeh sheer, bottle of milk. sheesheyeh sheer

Matt: sheesheyeh sheer

Leyla: And another really important word- pestoonak. Pacifier. Pestoonak

Matt: Pestoonak

Leyla: Perfect! There’s of course so many other words we can learn when referring to neenee koochooloos, but we’ll leave it at that for now. You can find plenty of extra bonus words on the bonus materials for this lesson.

Matt: We have two lessons left in Unit 6 of Chai and Conversation, the cultural series

Leyla: And you’ll find those and so much more on our website at www.chaiandconversation.com

Matt: With chai spelled CHAI. But for now, khodahafez from Matt

Leyla: And beh omeedeh deedar from Leyla!