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Farsi Lessons: Useful words and phrases

Currently I am watching Prophet Joseph, an Iranian TV series (سِریال /seriāl/), in Farsi with English subtitles. This helps me to improve my listening comprehension and to expand my Farsi vocabulary.

Here I am collecting useful words and phrases in Farsi that I pick up from the show or elsewhere.

Words between two slashes are a phonetic representation of the Farsi words, loosely based on the IPA romanization of Persian.

Commands

Verbs in sentences that are commands or suggestions are written in imperative form. For example the verb کَردَن /kardan/ (to do) in its imperative form 2nd person singular is کُن /kon/.

  • !بیا اینجا
    /biā injā/
    Come here!

    Command. بیا /biā/ is spoken Farsi for the imperative form of آمَدَن /āmadan/ (to come) in second person singular. In written Farsi, it is بیایی /biāii/, a combination of

    • the prefix indicating the imperative form - typically, verbs in this form start with either بُـ /bo/ or بِـ /be/, but in for آمَدَن /āmadan/ it is بیـ /bi/ -,
    • the present stem آی /āy/ of آمَدَن /āmadan/, and
    • the personal ending for the second person singular, ی /-i/.
  • بَس /bas/
    enough

  • !بَس کُن
    /bas kon/
    Stop (it)!

    Command. From کَردَن /kardan/ (to do).

  • !بِرَویم
    /beravim/
    Let’s go!

    Suggestion. From رَفتَن /raftan/ (to go).

Questions

A large part of learning more about the world, and a specific language, is to ask questions.

  • کی؟
    /ki/
    who?

    For example, این کی اَست؟ /in ki ast/ (who is this?). In spoken Farsi, it’s common to say این کیست ؟ /in kist/ instead.

  • کُجا؟
    /kojā/
    where?

    For example, کُجا هَستی؟ /kojā hasti/, or in spoken Farsi کُجای؟ /kojāi/.

  • کِی؟
    /key/
    when?

    If omitting the short vowel ِ , کِی /key/ is written exactly as کی /ki/.

  • چِرا؟ /tscherā/
    why?

    The counter “because” is چون /tschon/.

Exclamations and expressions

  • بر عکس
    /bar aks/, /ber aks/
    on the contrary

    Here I am not sure if it is pronounced /bar/ or /ber/, or if both variants are used.

  • !اَلبَتّه
    /albatte/
    Of course!

  • مَثَلاً
    /mazalan/
    for example

    The letter combination اً can only appear at the end of a word, it is then pronounced /an/. The character/this concept is called تَنوِين‎ /tanvin/ or nunation. The word “nunation” comes from the letter ن ـ/noon/_.

  • مِثل
    /mezl/
    like

  • !آفَرین
    /āfarin/
    Well done!, Exactly!, Good job!

  • !خَستِه نَباشی
    /khaste nabāʃi/
    Literally: ‘Don’t get tired!’

    Usually used as a greeting or farewell, expresses the appreciation for the work someone is doing (often in this very moment). For example, entering a bakery, you could say خَستِه نَباشی /khaste nabāʃi/ to the baker as a greeting.

  • !نِگَران نَباشی
    /negarān nabāʃi/
    Don’t worry!

    Because the infinite of “to worry” is نِگَرانی بودَن /negarāni budan/ (literally: to be worry), the imperative form uses باشی /bāʃi/. So, in English you do worry, in Farsi you are worry. By the way, in German you “make yourself worry” (to worry is reflexive in German).

  • کَمِ کَم
    /kame kam/
    little by little

    For example, !کَمِ کَم یاد می گیری /kame kam yād migiri/ (You learn little by little!).

  • آمَده
    /āmadeh/
    ready, done

    From آمَدن /āmadan/, to come. “arrived” (participle), as in ‘The food is ready, it has arrived at its desired state’.

  • هَمیشهِ
    /hamishe/
    forever

  • هَرگِز
    /hargez/
    never

  • گاهی
    /gāhi/
    sometimes

    Synonym: بَعضی وَقت‌ها /b’azi vaghthā/

  • !دوبارِه بِگو
    /dobāreh begu/
    say it again!

    When you didn’t understand someone.

  • از قَدیم تا ُکنون /az qadimi tā konun/ since old times until now

Vocabulary

  • جالِب
    /jāleb/
    interesting

    Adjective.

  • بِهتَر
    /behtar/
    better

    Adjective. The suffix ـتَر /-tar/ signifies the comparative form of adjectives, while the suffix ـتَرین /-tarin/ signifies the superlative form. بِهتَر /behtar/ and بِهتَرین /behtarin/ (the best) are usually used for the adjective خوب /khoob/ (good).

  • حِسادَت، حَسود
    /hesādat/, /hasood/
    jealousy, jealous

  • اِحتِرام، اِحتِرام گذاشتن
    /ehterām/, /ehterām gozāshtan/
    respect, to respect (literally: to put respect on sth.)

  • بی قَرار
    /bi qarār/
    restless (literally: without arrangement, without accord)

  • !بازی تَمام شُد
    /bāzi tamām ʃod/
    The game is over/The game is ready.

    تَمام شُد /tamām ʃod/ can be used when something is over, done or ready. For example, when kids are finished with a game, or when speaking about that the construction of a building is done. تَمام /tamām/ means whole/complete, the infinitive is تَمام شُدَن /tamām ʃodan/.

  • هَمِه خا
    /hame jā/
    everywhere

    Literally: all places. هَمِه /hame/ means all and خا /jā/ means place/space, as in کُجا /kojā/ (where), اینجا /injā/ (here, literally ‘this place’) and آنجا /ānjā/ (there, literally ‘that place’).

  • هرجا
    /harjā/
    anywhere

Full sentences

  • !خوبم، تو‌را که می‌بینم بهترم می‌شم
    /khoobam, torā ke mibinam behtaram miʃam/
    I’m good, to see you makes me better.

🙌 !ما فارسی یاد می گیریم
/mā fārsi yād migirim/
We’re learning Farsi! 🙌

Published 28 Jul 2019

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