Lesson 24: The Concept of ‘Ezafé’
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.
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.
|chetor-ee||how are you?|
|khayli khoobam||I’m very well|
|khoob neestam||I’m not well|
|bad neestam||I’m not bad|
|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)|
|chetor peesh meeré?||how’s it going?|
|ché khabar?||what’s the news? (what’s up?)|
Leyla: Hello everyone! We’d like to welcome you back to Chai and Conversation.
Matt: We’re now on lesson 24 of Chai and Conversation
Leyla: In this lesson, we’re going to take a bit of a break from verbs, and move on to the magical concept of the ezafe. This little concept will allow us to communicate all sorts of things in the Persian language.
Matt: Remember that bonus mateirals for this lesson and all of our other lessons can be found at www.chaiandconversation.com with Chai spelled CHAI.
Leyla: But enough of that for now, Matt, are you ready to begin the lesson?
Leyla: Great, then let’s begin to learn Persian with Chai and Conversation.
So again, in this lesson we are talking about ezafe. We’ve covered it before many times, so most of the examples in this lesson should seem familiar to you. But this magical concept in the Persian language makes it possible for you to express MANY many things, so devoting an entire lesson to it will be very useful in the future.
So, like I said, we’ve used the concept of ezafe before. Matt, can you think of one instance where it’s been used?
Matt: When we want to talk about someone related to us, like zane man
Leyla: Right, so the e sound is called ezafe.
Matt: And so it means my wife. It’s a way to link zan, or wife, to man, or me.
Leyla: Ok, great way of explaining it. So basically anytime you have a noun, such as zan, and you want to say more information about it, you link the word to the extra information with the sound e. So let’s go through the many ways we can illustrate the concept.
The first is, as Matt said in his example, to denote possession. So the formula in this case is that you first say the word that describes the belonging-‐ this could be a person or an object. Then you say the sound e and end it with the owner. So, we learned before ketabe to.
Ketab is the belonging, then the sound e, and to, or informal you, is the owner. Matt, what’s another example?
Matt: khooneye ma
Leyla: Khooneye ma. Ok, in this case, you’re talking about a house, and this is a good example, because in this cause the e sound changes to ye since khoone ends in a vowel. It would be awkward to say khoone-‐e, so the ezafe becomes a ye sound. Khooneyeh ma. Our house.
The second way in which ezafe is used in the Persian language is to link a first name to a last name. So for example, our theme music is made by the musician Fared Shafinury. To say his name in Perisan you could say ‘fared-‐e shafinury’.
Matt: Faride shafinury
Leyla: So with this, you are literally saying ‘fared, who belongs to the shafinury family.’ Or Matt, how would you say my name?
Matt: Leyla-‐ye Shams
Leyla: Exactly… since my name ends in a vowel, you use the ye sound. Leyla-‐ye Shams. Leyla, belonging to the Shams clan. Ezafe is also used when referring to people as Mr. or Mrs. We haven’t learned these words before. Mr in Persian is Agha
Leyla: So if we want to say Mr. Borneuf, for instance, we say ‘Agha-‐ye Bourneuf.
Matt: Aghaye Bourneuf Mrs. is Khanoom. khanoom
Leyla: So if we want to say Ms. or Mrs. Shams we say ‘Khanoome Shams’
Matt: Khanoome Shams
Leyla: These words khanoom and agha, don’t need to be used only in formal contexts, however. If you’re talking to a friend, you can say their name followed by either of these terms as a way to be polite. For example, Matt, you could call me Leyla Khanoom
Matt: Leyla Khanoom
Leyla: And I could call you Matt Agha Matt Agha
And this would be very common among friends. I do want to note here that ezafe isn’t normally used when linking foreign names. For example, we learned before Leylaye Shams would be an acceptable way to say my name, but Matt, when we’re saying your name, we would just say ‘Matt Bourneuf’ not Matte Bourneuf. Sorry Matt.
Ok, moving on, another function of the ezafe is to link two nouns together. For example, say you want to say ‘the film Bambi’. You say ‘filme Bambi
Matt: Filme Bambi
Leyla: So in this case, the word film is being described further by specifying which film it is. Next, let’s say you want to say ‘Main Street. The word for street is kheeyaban
Leyla: So you say ‘kheeyabane Main’ Kheeyabane Main
There is a very famous park in Tehran that I used to go to when I was a baby named Laleh Park. Matt, can you come up with how to say that in Persian?
Matt: Parkeh Laleh
Leyla: Exactly! Parkeh Laleh. Ok, next, you can use ezafe to link a noun to an adjective. We did this a lot in lesson 18, where we learned to describe chckens. Matt, do you remember how to say ‘yellow chicken?’
Matt: Morghe zard
Leyla: Exactly… In this case, morgh is the noun, and zard means yellow, and we link the two using the e sound, the ezafe. Morghe zard. So we can see that in Persian, opposite of English, the adjective comes AFTER the noun. Yellow chicken becomes chicken yellow in Persian. Morghe zard. How would you say ‘good book’
Matt: Ketabeh khoob
Leyla: Exactly. So same thing here. Book good, ketabe khoob. How about bad film?
Matt: Filme bad
Leyla: Great, I think you have the hang of it. This is a good point in the program to learn a new set of adjectives so we can use them to practice describing things! We learned many adjectives in Unit 2, let’s learn a few more. The word for tasty is ‘khoshmaze’
Leyla: bad tasting, is bad maze Bad maze
So as you can guess ‘maze means taste’ Khoshmaze and badmaze. The word for food in general is ghaza
Leyla: So you could have ghazaye khoshmaze
Matt: Ghazayeh khoshmaze
Leyla: Which is good tasting food, and ghazayeh badmaze
Matt: Ghazayeh badmaze
Leyla: Which is bad tasting food. Comfortable is rahat
Leyla: And uncomfortable is narahat
Leyla: The word for chair is sandalee
Leyla: So comfortable chair is sandaleeyeh rahat
Matt: Sandaleeyeh rahat
Leyla: And uncomfortable chair is sandaleeyeh narahat
Matt: Sandaleeyeh narahat
Leyla: Short is kootah
Leyla: And long is boland
Leyla: The word for street is kheeyaboon. So short street is kheeyabaneh kootah
Matt: Kheeyabooneh kootah
Leyla: And long street is kheeyaboone boland
Matt: Kheeyabooneh boland
Leyla: Chic is just that-‐ chic
Leyla: And shabby is ghorbatee
Leyla: This is one of my personal favorite words. So clothing is lebas
Leyla: So lebaseh chic
Matt: Lebaseh chic
Leyla: And lebase ghorbatee Lebase
Leyla: Dark is tareek
Leyla: And light is roshan.
Leyla: So shabe tareek
Matt: shabe tareek
Leyla: And rooze roshan
Matt: Rooze roshan.
Leyla: That’s four new sets of adjectives. Now, as we’ve said before, you can link as many adjectives as you want to a noun by using ezafe-‐ this is another reason it’s so magical. So say you want to say the short comfortable chair. You say sandaleeyeh cheeke kootah
Matt: Sandaleeyeh cheeke kootah
Leyla: Or the big long book, ketabeh bolande bozorg
Matt: Ketabeh bolande bozorg
Leyla: You could also combine the many functions together. For example, say you want to say the beautiful Mrs. Portman. You say khanoomeh portmane zeeba
Matt: Khanoomeh portmane zeeba
Leyla: Or similarly, if you want to say ‘my funny brother’, you say ‘baradareh bamazeye man
Matt: Baradareh bamazeye man.
Leyla: Bamaze az you can guess, means funny. So in the first case, first you link Portman to khanoom. Khanoome Portman, but by adding an ezafe to Portman, you let the listener know that you are about to reveal even more information. Khanoome portmane zeeba. The beautiful Mrs. Portman. Khanoome portmane zeeba
Matt: Khanoome portmane zeeba
Leyla: In the second case, you are first indicating that the brother is funny. Baradareh bamaze
Matt: Baradareh bamaze
Leyla: This would simply mean the funny brother. But then you are taking it a step further to indicate that the brother belongs to you. Baradareh bamazeyeh man.
Matt: baradareh bamazeyeh man.
Leyla: Or, you could for instance say ‘shabe tareekeh sard’
Matt: Shabeh tareekeh sard
Leyla: This means the dark and cold night. You can link as many adjectives as you’d like to a noun in this way. When the adjectives are similar in concept like in this case, howver, you can also say ‘shabeh tareek o sard’
Matt: Shabeh tareek o sard
Leyla: More literally meaning the dark AND cold night.
Matt: So those are all of the functions of the ezafe. In the bonus materials, we’ll include lots of exercises to practice linking words together.
Leyla: At this point, let’s learn another concept that has to do with possession. When we first learned about possession, we learned using the example of a house. We said ‘my house, would be khooneyeh man, your house would be khooneyeh to, etc. However, there’s another way to talk about possession, and that is by using possessive endings. These are used often in conversation, and now is a good time to get in to them. Let’s use the noun ketab, or book to go through them. The possessive ending for my is –am
Leyla: So my book is ketab-‐am
Leyla: The possessive ending for your, informal, is –et
Leyla: So your book is ketabet.
Leyla: This is only in conversation, by the way In literary Persian, it would actually be –at, as in ketabat. But we’ll stick with conversation as always. Ketabet
Leyla: The possessive ending for his her or its is –esh
Leyla: So his her or its book is ketabesh
Leyla: In literary Persian this would be ketabash. The possessive ending for our is –emoon
Leyla: So our book is ketabemoon Ketabemoon
The possessive ending for your, formal, is -‐etoon.
Leyla: Your soup, formal, would be ketabetoon
Leyla: The possessive ending for their is eshoon,
Leyla: So their book is ketabeshoon
Matt: Now let’s go over these possessive endings again with the example of car, masheen.
Leyla: My car, masheenam
Leyla: Your car, masheenet
Leyla: His or her car, masheenesh
Leyla: Your car, formal or plural, masheenetoon
Leyla: their car, masheeneshoon
Leyla: Now, let’s tie this back to the ezafe by learning how to describe things and use the possessive endings. For example, let’s say ‘my small car’. The way we would say it before would be Masheene koocheeke man.
Matt: Masheene koocheeke man
Leyla: A trick by the way to remembering this is by saying the English phrase, or writing it down, and then saying the Persian backwards, while linking the words with an ezafe. In this case the phrase is My Small Car. So you reverse it all, Car small My. Car masheene, small, koocheekeh, my, man. Masheene koocheeke man. Now, to sayit with the shortened version, you say ‘Mac heene koocheekam’
Matt: Macheene Koocheekam.
Leyla: So the possessive ending goes on the end of the phrase. Say you want to say My expensive small car. Again think of the reverse, Car small expensive my, and go from there. Macheene koocheekeh geroone man.
Matt: Macheene koocheeke geroonem man
Leyla: And can you think of how to say it with the possessive ending Matt? The possessive ending will go on the last word.
Matt: Macheene kocheeke geroonam.
Leyla: Perfect! Now there is another way to talk about possession and that is using the concept of property. This is another way that ezafe is used. The word mal means property. Mal
Leyla: So to say ‘mine’ you say ‘male man’
Matt: Male man
Leyla: So with this, you are literally saying ‘the property of me’. Yours, informal is male to
Matt: Male to
Leyla: And so on. To say who’s is this, you say ‘male keeye? Maale keeye?
Matt: So you could ask for instance een masheen male keeye? Een masheen male keeye?
Leyla: Een means this. So ‘Een masheen’ is this car. Een masheen
Matt: Een masheen
Leyla: Een masheen male keeye?
Matt: Een masheen male keeye.
Leyla: If it’s your car, you say ‘een masheen mal-‐e mane’
Matt: Een masheen maleh mane
Leyla: Or simply, maleh mane
Matt: Maleh mane
Leyla: Now that we’ve learned een, this, we should learn oon, or that. Oon
Leyla: So I’m going to ask, who’s phone is that, and Matt, answer that it’s yours. Oon telephone male keeyeh?
Oon telephone male mane
Leyla: Now I’ll ask whose book this is, and you answer that it’s your book. Een ketab male keeyeh?
Matt: Een ketab male mane
Leyla: Ok, it’s time for a short dialogue using all these words we’re learning.
Matt: Salam, man Aghayeh Smith hastam.
Leyla: Salam aghayeh Smith. Man khanoome Nouri hastam. Salam Khanoomeh Nouri.
Matt: Een docharkheh maleh shomast? Na, Maleh pesarame.
Leyla: Cheh ghashangeh! Khayli mamnoon.
Matt: Shoma masheen ham dareen?
Leyla: Masheen ham daram. Vali masheenam kharabeh! Eh, kharabeh? Cheh bad.
Matt: Baleh, vali een docharkheh ro khayli doost daram.
Leyla: Ok, so this dialogue used a lot of the vocabulary we’ve been learning. Let’s go through it. First, Matt said
Matt: Salam, man aghayeh Smith hastam.
Leyla: So he used the ezafe in aghayeh smith to say I am Mr. Smith.
Then I said, man khanoomeh nouri hastam. Again, I’m saying ‘I am Ms. Nouri, using the ezafe. Then I asked ‘een docharkeh maleh shomast? What does this mean Matt?
Matt: It means is this bike belonging to you?
Leyla: Right, exactly, using the formal you, because they don’t know each other. And Aghayeh Smith replied
Matt: Na, Maleh pesarame
Leyla: And what does this mean? It is my sons.
Right exactly, you can use Mal in this way too. You can say ‘Maleh Matt-‐e. Meaning, it’s Matt’s, for instance. Then I replied ‘Cheh ghashange!’ meaning it’s so nice! I then asked shoma masheen ham dareen? What does this mean?
Matt: Do you also have a car?
Leyla: Right, and you replied
Matt: Masheen ham daram, vali masheenam kharabeh
Leyla: Ok, in this sentence you said ‘masheenam’ meaning my car using the possessive ending. So masheenam kharabeh. My car is not working. Kharab is the word for not working, or messed up. Kharab.
Leyla: And Matt ended by saying ‘baleh, vali een docharkheh ro khayli doost daram.
Matt: Can you work that out Matt?
Leyla: It’s yes, but I like this bike very much.
Matt: Exactly! And with that, we are at the end of lesson 24! Matt: Thank you so much for joining us!
Leyla: As always, bonus materials and our previous lessons can be found at www.chaiandconversation.com, with CHAI spelled CHAI.
Matt: And until next time, khodahafez from Matt Leyla: And beh omeedeh deedar from Leyla!