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Speak / Lesson 5

How to Talk About Your Family, and Introduce Their Names

In this lesson, we learn the words for members of your immediate family and how to introduce your family members to other people. We finish off the lesson by learning how to introduce the names of your family members to others.

We begin by learning the vocabulary words for several key members of the family in Persian. The words learned in this part of the lesson include:

  • brother
  • sister
  • mother
  • father
  • daughter
  • son
  • husband
  • wife

 

In the Persian culture, family is extremely important, and there are many more words for specific family members than there are in English. For this reason, we'll leave the vocabulary words for cousin, aunt, and uncle (of which there are multiple, depending on their gender and side of the family) to a different lesson.

We also learn how to talk about a direct relative of yours by saying phrases such as:

  • my mother
  • my son
  • my daughter
  • This is my ____________

We finish off the lesson by learning how to introduce the names of family members.

GREETINGS:

salām
hello
سَلام
chetor-ee
how are you?
چِطوری؟

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.


ANSWERS:

khoobam
I’m well
خوبَم

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?)
testeeeee

Leyla: Hello everyone, and welcome back to Chai and Conversation. esmé man leylā hast, and I am the teacher for the course.

Matt: esmé man matt hast, and I am the student in this course.

Leyla: We hope you've been enjoying the past few lessons of Chai and Conversation. If you're new to the program, be sure to listen to the previous lessons before diving into this one.

Matt: Chai and Conversation is for those who are beginners and completely new to the Persian language. As you listen to the program, we'll be with you every step of the way of learning the Persian language.

Leyla: When you are getting to know someone you're not familiar with, one of the best ways of getting to know each other is by speaking about yourself and asking them questions. Over the past few weeks, we have been learning just that - how to greet people, to introduce yourself, ask others how they're doing, say where you're from and where you're living, etc. This week, we will be learning how to talk a bit about your family. In the next few weeks, we will cover how to talk about your job, and how to introduce different facts about yourself. Let's get right on with it and learn about how to introduce different members of your family. Are you ready for the lesson, Matt?

Matt: Ready!

Leyla: Great! fārsi yād begeereem bā Chai and Conversation.

lesson:

Leyla: So, today, we're going to talk about families. Sometimes, this is the best way to get to know people - to talk about your family. We're going to begin by introducing various members of your family. Let's begin with the word “barādar.”

Matt: barādar.

Leyla: This should sound very familiar to you, and it is a good example of the fact that Persian comes from the same Indo-European roots as English. As you can probably tell, barādar is very similar to the English word “brother.” barādar.

Matt: barādar.

Leyla: Exactly, so barādar means ‘brother’. Next, we learn the word for ‘sister’, and unfortunately, this has nothing to do with the English word “sister.” The Persian word for ‘sister’ is “khāhar.”

Matt: khāhar.

Leyla: Almost, the second sound is just a h. khāhar.

Matt: khāhar.

Leyla: Much butter! So we have barādar.

Matt: barādar.

Leyla: And khāhar.

Matt: khāhar.

Leyla: barādar.

Matt: barādar.

Leyla: And khāhar.

Matt: khāhar.

Leyla: So ‘brother’, barādar, and ‘sister’, khāhar. Now, let's think about the word for ‘mother’. This is another word very similar to the English “mother” or even the Spanish madre. The word for ‘mother’ in Persian is “mādar.”

Matt: mādar.

Leyla: And the word for ‘father’ is pedar.

Matt: pedar.

Leyla: Again, these words are all from the same roots. “Father” in English, padre in Spanish, and in Persian, pedar.

Matt: pedar.

Leyla: Great so we have barādar.

Matt: barādar.

Leyla: khāhar.

Matt: khāhar.

Leyla: mādar.

Matt: mādar.

Leyla: And pedar.

Matt: pedar.

Leyla: Now let's add four more words in this vocabulary set. First, shohar.

Matt: shohar.

Leyla: And shohar is the word for ‘husband’. And then there's zan.

Matt: zan.

Leyla: zan can mean ‘woman’, but it also means ‘wife’. zan.

Matt: zan.

Leyla: And the word for ‘son’ is pesar.

Matt: pesar.

Leyla: This could simply mean ‘boy’, but used in context, it could mean ‘son’. And the word for ‘girl’ or ‘daughter’ is dokhtar.

Matt: dokhtar.

Leyla: I do hope, listeners, that you took heed of our advice in the very first lesson and practiced the kh sound as much as you could. Hopefully, if you've been practicing it every day, now, by lesson 5, you should have gotten it. So again, ‘son’ is pesar.

Matt: pesar.

Leyla: And ‘daughter’ is dokhtar.

Matt: dokhtar.

Leyla: pesar and dokhtar. Now, we're going to learn how to say 'my mother' or ‘my brother’ or ‘my sister’ or ‘my father’. To say this in Persian is very simple. Listen carefully. To say ‘my mother’, you say “mādaré man.”

Matt: mādaré man.

Leyla: man, as you remember at this point, is the word for ‘me’. In English, when you want to link two words together or identify something as being yours, as we are doing with the example of 'mother', you simply say “my mother.” In Persian, however, the two must be linked together in speech as well. This is why we add the é sound to the end of mother: mādaré. So, to link ‘mother’ with ‘me’, we say “mādaré man.”

Matt: mādaré man.

Leyla: Great, and listeners, can you work out what ‘my father’ would be, when my ‘father’ is pedar? Matt?

Matt: pedāré man?

Leyla: Exactly, pedaré man.

Matt: pedaré man.

Leyla: Great, and now ‘my brother’ and ‘my sister’? ‘My brother’ would be barādaré man, and ‘my sister’ would be…?

Matt: khākharé man.

Leyla: Great, khāharé man.

Matt: khākharé man.

Leyla: khāharé.

Matt: khāharé.

Leyla: So again, barādaré man.

Matt: barādaré man.

Leyla: And khāharé man.

Matt: khāharé man.

Leyla: Just remember, the second sound is just a h; it's not a kh, so khāharé man.

Matt: khāharé man.

Leyla: Perfect, you've got it. So now, how would you say ‘my son’? ‘Son’ is pesar.

Matt: pesaré man.

Leyla: And dokhtar is ‘daughter’, so ‘my daughter’ would be…?

Matt: dokhtaré man.

Leyla: Great! And, Matt, do you remember from the previous lesson what the word for 'and' is in Persian?

Matt: va?

Leyla: Great, so to say ‘my brother’ and ‘my sister’, you would simply say “barādaré man va khāharé man.”

Matt: barādaré man va khāharé man.

Leyla: Exactly, barādaré man va khāharé man. pedaré man va mādaré man. pesaré man va dokhtaré man. And now let's learn how to introduce someone to a family member of yours. Say you're in a room, and your sister is standing next to you, and you would like to point out that she is your sister. In order to do this, I need to explain something.

The Persian language is slightly tricky in that spoken Persian is quite a bit different than written Persian. Bear with me here- to say 'this is my sister' in written Persian, you would write “een khāharé man hast.” een means 'this', and hast, as you've learned before, means 'is'. When you're speaking in casual conversation, “een khāharé man hast” gets shortened to “een khāharé mané.” Because we're focusing on casual conversation, let's forget the written form and concentrate on the spoken form. So repeat after me, Matt - een khāharé mané.

Matt: een khāharé mané.

Leyla: Exactly. So this is a very informal, casual way of saying 'this is my sister'. een khāharé mané.

Matt: een khāharé mané.

Leyla: Using the same rules, to introduce your brother, you would say “een barādaré mané.”

Matt: een barādaré mané.

Leyla: Meaning 'this is my brother'. Okay, listeners, how would you say 'this is my wife', ‘wife’ being zan? een zané mané.

Matt: een zané mané.

Leyla: And ‘this is my husband’, een shoharé mané.

Matt: een shoharé mané.

Leyla: Exactly. Now, when you're introducing someone older than you, this changes slightly to reflect the formal speech. To introduce your father, for example, you would say “eeshoon pedaré man hastan.” eeshoon is a gender-neutral term for 'this person'. Technically, it is the plural form 'they', but it is used in formal speech to imply respect. hastand means 'are'. So literally, you are saying 'they are my father'. Repeat after me, Matt: eeshoon pedaré man hastan.

Matt: eeshoon pedaré man hastan.

Leyla: eeshoon pedaré man hastan.

Matt: eeshoon pedaré man hastan.

Leyla: So literally, you are saying ‘they are my father’. Now, using the same rules of written Persian vs. spoken Persian, “eeshoon pedaré man hastan” gets reduced to “eeshoon pedaré man-and.”

Matt: eeshoon pedaré man-and.

Leyla: Exactly, so again: eeshoon pedaré man-and.

Matt: eeshoon pedaré man-and.

Leyla: And by the same token, eeshoon mādaré man-and.

Matt: eeshoon mādaré man-and.

Leyla: Exactly, so again: eeshoon pedaré man-and.

Matt: eeshoon pedaré man-and.

Leyla: eeshoon mādaré man-and.

Matt: eeshoon mādaré man-and.

Leyla: Now, listeners, we are going to test your knowledge of everything we have learned so far. Remember that you can re-listen to the podcast several times, and you can look at all the bonus materials we have on the website to help you to come to learn all these materials. If you can remember and repeat all the following phrases, you are doing well with the materials we've learned today. So let's try it. Listeners, first, how do you say 'this is my brother'?

Matt: een barādaré mané.

Leyla: een barādaré mané. ālee! Second, how do you say ‘this is my father’?

Matt: eeshoon pedaré man-and.

Leyla: Exactly. Number three, ‘this is my daughter’. This would use informal speech.

Matt: een dokhtaré mané.

Leyla: een dokhtaré mané. ahsant! Number four, ‘this is my sister’.

Matt: een khāharé mané.

Leyla: Exactly. And number five, ‘this is my husband’.

Matt: een shoharé mané.

Leyla: een shoharé mané, exactly. Now, when you introduce somebody, one thing you might want to do right away is to introduce their name. If, for example, Matt, you have introduced your wife, and you want to say her name is Ladan, you say “esmesh lādané.”

Matt: esmesh lādané.

Leyla: Great, and this is actually true for Matt! Now, I want to note that again, we are learning casual speech here. The proper way to say 'her name is Ladan' would be to say "esmesh lādan hast," but no one speaks that way in real life. If you spoke the way things are written, you would stand out as a foreigner trying to learn the language, or you'd be made fun of. That is not our goal here. In fact, there are comic characters in Persian television that were funny for exactly that reason. So, we don't want to be comic characters; we want to communicate effectively in spoken Persian, so again, ‘her name is Ladan’ gets condensed to “esmesh lādané.”

Matt: esmesh lādané.

Leyla: And combined, you would say, “een zané mané. esmesh lādané.”

Matt: een zané mané. esmesh lādané.

Leyla: Great! Hopefully, that's super simple stuff. Now, let's say you have a brother named Bob. You would say “een barādaré mané. esmesh bobé.”

Matt: een barādaré mané. esmesh bobé.

Leyla: Exactly, although as far as I know, Matt doesn't really have a brother named Bob. Now, to introduce someone in a formal way, so someone who is older than you, you would say “esmeshooon” instead of “esmesh.” So, for example, you would say “eeshoon mādaré man-and. esmeshoon maryamé.” What does this mean, Matt?

Matt: Means ’this is my mother. Her name is Maryam.'

Leyla: Exactly, so try repeating that. It's a sort of long phrase. eeshoon mādaré man-and. esmeshoon maryamé.

Matt: eeshoon mādaré man-and. esmeshoon maryamé.

Leyla: So, so far in this lesson, we've learned how to say the word for different members of the family, mādar, pedar, khāhar, barādar, dokhtar, pesar, zan, and shohar. We also learned how to introduce different members of your family by saying ‘this is my’, and then filling in with the member of the family you are introducing, and how to introduce their name.

Matt: We hope you enjoyed the program.

Leyla: Learning a new language is never easy, but we hope that we have made it as painless and fun as possible.

Matt: We hope that you enjoyed the lesson and that you will be back next week for another lesson in conversational Persian.

Leyla: And until then, khodāhāfez from Leyla.

Matt: And tā ba'ad from Matt!