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Speak / Lesson 30

Review of Unit 3

Lesson 30 is a review of all that we learned in Unit 3!


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?)

Hello and welcome to Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation. This is lesson 30, the review lesson of Unit 3 of Chai and Conversation.

Matt: Congratulations on making it this far! After this lesson, you will have successfully complete the grammar unit of Chai and conversation.

Leyla: It's been quite a journey going through the rules of grammar of the Persian language, and hopefully you feel you have a solid grasp on grammar at this point.

Matt: As always, we'd like to remind you that previous lessons and bonus materials are found on the website at, with chai spelled chai.

Leyla: The bonus materials are especially useful for these grammar lessons, as they spell out all the conjugations of the verbs we've been learning, as well as the rules for all the tense. But enough of that for now, Matt, are you ready to begin learning?

Matt: Ready!

Leyla: Great! Then let's begin to learn Persian with Chai and Conversation!

So unit 3 was all about grammar, and we went over a lot of different verb tenses and verb conjugations. To review, we're going to go over all of these using one verb. Because this is a review session, it will show you which areas you understood perfectly, and which areas you should probably go back and review again before moving on to unit 4. And Matt, what should listeners do if they find they need to go back and review some of the lessons?

Matt: They can find them easily at our website,, with chai spelled CHAI.

Leyla: Haha, ok, you have that schpeal down. Exactly. And remember that all these conjugations are spelled out in easy to read phonetic English on the bonus materials. This is also very helpful in the learning process. Ok, so the verb we're going to use to go over everything is one of the most important verbs, and that is 'to eat.' The infinitive of to eat in Persian is 'khordan'.

Matt: Khordan.

Leyla: Very good. So in lesson 23, we learned the simple past tense of verbs. We learned that the simple past tense in the Persian language is always regular. And what is the rule for finding the simple past tense stem of a verb?

Matt: Take off the 'an' at the end of the infinitive.

Leyla: Exactly, simply chop off the an at the end of the infinitive, and you are left with the past stem of the verb. So what is the past stem of khordan?

Matt: Khord

Leyla: Great. Now, what is the formula for constructing the conjugations of the past tense of a verb?

Matt: It's just the past stem plus the personal ending you'd like to use.

Leyla: Exactly. We went over the personal endings for conjugating verbs in lesson 21, when we went over the verb 'to be.' So how do you say 'I ate.' Give the listener a moment to come up with their answer before giving yours Matt. So I ate-

Matt: Man khordam.

Leyla: Great, man khordam, I ate. You, informal, ate.

Matt: To khordee

Leyla: Right, to khordee, you ate. How about he or she ate?

Matt: Oo khord

Leyla: Ok great. So the third person singular conjugation of the past tense is just simply the past stem of the word. So khord is the past stem of khordan, meaning it's the word with the an chopped off. So he or she ate is oo khord. How about we ate?

Matt: Ma khordeem

Leyla: Great. Ma khordeem, we ate. How about you formal ate?

Matt: Shoma khordeen

Leyla: Exactly, shoma khordeen. You, formal ate. And finally, they ate.

Matt: Oona khordan

Leyla: Perfect. Oona khordan, they ate.

Matt: In lesson 23, we also learned how to make a past tense verb negative. How do you do this Matt?

Leyla: You add a 'na' to the beginning of the verb.

Matt: Exactly. So in this case, what is the past stem of 'to not eat'

Matt: Nakhord

Leyla: Great, nakhord. So again, we chopped off the an from khordan, but we also added an na to the beginning of the word. So I didn't eat is

Matt: Nakhordam

Leyla: Exactly. So now, do you remember the word for yesterday?

Matt: Deerooz

Leyla: Great, how do you say 'I did not eat lunch yesterday?'

Matt: Deerooz nahar nakhordam.

Leyla: Exactly- and what about I did eat lunch today.

Matt: Emrooz nahar khordam.

Leyla: Right. Great.

Next, in lesson 27, we learned the simple present tense of verbs. So, as we said in the lesson, this is a bit more tricky than the past tense because present stems of Persian verbs are irregular. You just have to memorize them. So the present stem of khordan is khor

Matt: Khor

Leyla: So this one is pretty simply. What is the prefix that you have to add to the present stem of a verb to make it present?

Matt: Mee

Leyla: Great, exactly- mee. So the full formula for construction a present tense verb is mee plus the present stem plus the personal ending. So I eat is

Matt: Meekhoram

Leyla: Great, meekhoram. What else can this mean Matt?

Matt: Umm, well, it could mean I eat, or I am eating, or I will eat.

Leyla: Exactly, in conversational Persian, meekhoram covers all these three tenses. In other words, meekhoram is present simple, or I eat. Meekhoram is also 'I will eat', or future simple. Meekhoram can also mean I am eating. Meekhoram. What is another way to emphasize I am eating, or the present continuous?

Matt: Daram meekhoram.

Leyla: Exactly- what does this mean Matt?

Matt: It's used to emphasize that you're in the middle of a process- so I am in the middle of eating, Daram meekhoram.

Leyla: Exactly. Exactly. So the first verb in the construction of this sentence is 'daram' which means I have. We went over the conjugations for 'to have' in lesson 22. These conjugations are used to construct present continuous verbs. So now let's learn how to ask 'what are you doing?' this is Daree cheekar meekonee?

Matt: Daree cheekar meekonee?

Leyla: Great, and you can answer, I am eating, or daram meekohram

Matt: Daram meekhoram.

Leyla: Now, in lesson 25 we learned about compound verbs. Do you remember which compound verb is contained in daree cheekar meekonee Matt? It's one we went over extensively in that lesson.

Matt: Kar kardan?

Leyla: Right, exactly, so that's the infinitive of 'to do work.' Kar kardan. So daree cheekar meekonee literally means what work or what things are you in the middle of doing. So to say, for instance, I am in the middle of working, you say 'Daram kar meekonam'

Matt: Daram kar meekonam

Leyla: So I'll ask you what you're doing and tell me you're in the middle of working. Matt, daree cheekar meekonee?

Daram kar meekonam

Leyla: Great. And now let's go back to eating- Daree cheekar meekonee?

Matt: Daram meekhoram.

Leyla: Great. Or you can say, I am eating lunch, which is 'daram nahar meekhoram.

Matt: Daram nahar meekhoram.

Leyla: How would you answer 'I am eating dinner'

Matt: Daram sham meekhoram

Leyla: How about 'we are eating breakfast'?

Matt: Dareem sobhaneh meekhoreem.

Leyla: Great. About they are eating dinner?

Matt: Daran sham meekohran

Leyla: Perfect. So as Matt is doing, you have to conjugate both verbs in the sentence. In lesson 29, we learned the imperative form of verbs. This wasn't so long ago, so it should be fresh on your mind. Matt, do you remember the formula for constructing imperative verbs?

Matt: You add 'be' to the present stem of the verb.

Leyla: Right. Usually. Unfortunately, there are a lot of special cases, otherwise known as exceptions, when it comes to the imperative tense in the Persian language. Khordan is one of the exceptions. In this case, the 'be' is an exception. So first, what is the present stem of the verb to eat again?

Matt: Khor

Leyla: Exactly, khor. So to say you, informal, eat, what is the general formula?

Matt: It's be plus the present stem, so bekhor

Leyla: Right. So in this case, the be is changed to bo. So you, informal, eat is 'bokhor'

Matt: Bokhor

Leyla: And you, formal, eat is bokhoreen

Matt: Bokhoreen.

Leyla: Great. So please eat! In the informal sense would be 'lotfan bokhor'

Matt: Lotfan bokhor

Leyla: And you eat in the formal sense would be 'lotfan bokhoreen'

Matt: 'lotfan bokhoreen

Leyla: And how do you make this a negative?

Matt: Add na instead of be

Leyla: Right, so in this case, it would be 'nakhor!'

Matt: Nakhor

Leyla: That means don't eat in the informal. As you can see, this is not an exception, it follows the general rule. Nakhor

Matt: Nakhor

Leyla: And don't eat formal is 'nakhoreen'

Matt: Nakhoreen

Leyla: So if you go to someone's house, and they want to be polite and say 'please, go ahead and eat' they could say 'befarmayeen bokhoreen'

Matt: Befarmayeen bokhoreen

Leyla: If they want to say it in the informal way, but still be super polite, they could say, befarma bokhor'

Matt: Befarma bokhor

Leyla: Great! Now, in khordan is a simple verb in the Persian language. We learned in lesson 25, however, that most verbs in the Persian language are actually compound, meaning they are made up of two verbs. So let's learn another verb, this time a compound one, and try to construct all the tenses from it, just to make sure we completely understand all the tenses we've learned. Now, we learned in the lesson that in many of the compound verbs, the second verb is one of two common verbs. Do you remember what those verbs are Matt?

Matt: Yes. They're either 'to do' or 'kardan', or 'to be come' or shodan'

Leyla: Exactly, kardan and shodan. So let's learn a compound verb that uses one of these two, and that is 'sohbat kardan'

Matt: Sohbat kardan

Leyla: This means to speak. So I guess literally, it means 'to do speech.' Sohbat kardan

Matt: Sohbat kardan.

Leyla: Ok, so just as with khordan, let's go through all the tenses. So what is the past stem of sohbat kardan

Matt: Sohbat kard

Leyla: Ok great. So how would you say 'Bobak spoke?'

Matt: Babak sohbat kard

Leyla: Great! Or, this week was the week of the Democratic national convention, and Clinton gave a speech. You could use this verb to say 'Clinton spoke' meaning, he gave a speech. So een hafteh, Clinton sohbat kard'

Matt: Een hafteh, Clinton sohbat kard

Leyla: Een hafteh, of course, means this week. So how would you say 'we spoke'

Matt: Sohbat kardeem

Leyla: Great. You could say You and I spoke by saying man o to sohbat kardeem

Matt: Man o to sohbat kardeem

Leyla: Great. Next, we've learned the present stem of kardan. Can you remember how to say 'I do'?

Matt: Meekonam

Leyla: Perfect! Meekonam. So how do you say 'I speak'

Matt: Sohbat meekonam?

Leyla: Great, exactly, sohbat meekonam.

So I will ask you what are you doing, and you say 'I am speaking'. Matt, cheekar meekonee?

Matt: Sohbat meekonam

Leyla: Great. Now, that doesn't make too much sense, so you could say, for example, I am talking to my mom. Ba mamanam sohbat meekonam

Matt: Ba mamanam sohbat meekonam.

Leyla: So, again,cheekar meekonee?

Matt: Ba mamanam sohbat meekonam.

Leyla: Or let's see if you can figure out how to answer this with the present continuous tense- daree cheekar meekonee?

Matt: Daram ba mamanam sohbat meekonam

Leyla: Perfect! So I asked Matt 'What are you doing?' with the emphasis on the continuous, and he answered 'I am talking to my mom'. All right, moving on, let's go to the infinitive of the verb. So to do is another exception with the infinitive. To say 'you do' with the imperative tense, you say 'bokon'

Matt: Bokon

Leyla: So, the present tense of kardan is 'kon', and generally, you add be to the beginning of the verb to make it imperative. But just as eat is bokhor, meaning the be changes to bo, Do is Bokon.

Matt: Bokon

Leyla: This, of course, is the informal version. The formal version of do is Bokoneen

Matt: Bokoneen

Leyla: So how would you say 'Speak!' in the informal sense

Matt: Sohbat bokon!

Leyla: Great! Sohbat bokon. And how about in the formal sense

Matt: Sohbat bokoneen!

Leyla: Great. One thing that we didn't cover in lesson 29 is that the imperative form can be extended to the first and third persons by adding the appropriate personal ending. So for instance, let's talk' would be sobhat bokoneem

Matt: Sohbat bokoneem

Leyla: So we added the personal ending for we, which is –eem. Sohbat bokoneem

Matt: Sohbat bokoneem!

Leyla: When used in the first person, it could be taken as a consultation or suggestion. So if I wanted to say 'shall I speak' I could say 'sohbat bokonam?'

Matt: Sohbat bokonam?

Leyla: Let them speak would be 'sohbat bokonan

Matt: Sohbat bokonan

Leyla: Let's go back to our first example, khordan. Do you remember what the imperative was for this verb?

Matt: Bokhor

Leyla: Great, bokhor.

So, in this case, if I want to ask 'shall I eat' how would I say it?

Matt: Bokhoram?

Leyla: Great, bokhoram?

Matt: Or shall we eat?

Leyla: Bokhoreem?

Matt: Bokhoreem?

Leyla: Great! And if you want to change it to 'let's eat', you simply change your inflection- bokhoreem!

Matt: Bokhoreem!

Leyla: Now, let's use our new verbs to quickly go over habitual acitvities, learned in lesson 28. For instance, to say 'I eat lunch every day, you say 'Har rooz nahar meekhoram'

Matt: Har rooz nahar meekhoram.

Leyla: Simple enough. How would you say 'I talk to my mom 3 times each day?'

Matt: Roozi seh bar ba mamanam sohbat meekonam

Leyla: Wow, great Matt- hopefully you all got that. Roozi is each day, and seh bar means three times. Roozi seh bar

Matt: Roozi se bar

Leyla: And with my mom I talk is ba mamanam sohbat meekonam. So roozi se bar ba mamanam sohbat meekonam

Matt: Roozi seh bar ba mamanam sohbat meekonam.

Leyla: Great. Unit 3 also included a lesson on preposition words and a lesson on the concept of ezafe. These were mostly vocabulary based lessons, and have been an integral part of all of our lessons, so hopefully you've gotten a hang of them.

Matt: If not, you can always go back and listen to Lesson 24 and lesson 26 to brush up.

Leyla: So with that, we come to the end of Lesson 30, the review lesson.

Leyla: We hope you enjoyed Unit 3, and that you feel like you have a firmer grasp of the Persian language

Matt: Grammar is the foundation of any language, so devoting 10 lessons purely to grammar studies seemed like a good way to get our feet on the ground, and to make us more confident with the language.

Leyla: We would like to thank everyone who has been a part of the journey so far. We've come a long way in Chai and Conversation and plan to continue creating lessons as long as there is a continued demand.

Matt: Please continue to send us thoughts and suggestions on where you would like to see us go.

Leyla: We could not do these lessons without your generous support. So thank you to everyone who has purchased bonus materials up to this point. We are striving to always keep the podcast itself free of charge, but if you are able to purchase bonus materials, we would really appreciate your support

Matt: And with that, we come to the end of unit 3. Until unit 4, khodahafez from Matt

Leyla: And as always, beh omeedeh deedar from Leyla