Afghan-Persian/Dari: یای وحدت/نکره has the same sound as کسره اضافه?

Abu Talha

Senior Member
From another thread گاهی is pronounced gāhe (with یای مجهول) in Classical Persian and not gāhi:
Also, especially in the Classical language..

gaah-gaah/gaah ba-gaah (From time to time/sometimes/now and again)

gaah-e (sometimes)
I'm not sure.

gaah-e: time of
گاهِ رفتن است : it's time to go
No, you have misinterpreted my transliteration. The "e" after "gaah" had the sound of "e" (as in A and NOT as in E). I know it is written and pronounced as "gaahii" these days. The modern izaafat sound -e- (as in gaah-e-raftan ast) is close if not equivalent to the gaahe (sometimes). The izaafat sound was more "-i-" than "e" in the olden days. Tajiks still pronounce it -i- (as in English bill).
Does today's formal (کتابی) Afghan-Persian/Dari retain the یای مجهول sound in یای وحدت/نکره. And if so, is it the same sound as the کسره اضافه ?

For example do the underlined parts below sound the same in today's formal (کتابی) Afghan-Persian/Dari:
گاهِ رفتن است
گاهی می روم
Last edited:
  • Hi, Abu Talha. The answer is no, the two words گاهِ and گاهی should not sound the same. The kasre, as pronounced around Iran, should be pronounced as a short vowel, while the y should be a bit more drawn out.
    I have seen many times that Afghan blogs and sites use کسره instead of ی to indicate یای نکره. But I can't say whether it is because of pronunciation similarity, regional accents or lack of standardised orthography.
    Thank you colognial, Treaty.

    If the vowel quality is the same between کسره اضافه and ياى نکره, is the vowel length really different? I think we can't go by orthographical signs (کسره vs يا) which are only completely accurate in Arabic.

    For example would the listener detect a difference in the following two sentences (assuming same vowel quality in گاهِ and گاهى)?

    گاهِ رفتن بايد
    گاهى رفتن بايد

    (Apologies if the sentences are unnatural or incorrect in meaning. I was struggling to come up with similar sounding sentences and my Persian is very weak.)
    The sentences are fine, Abu Talha. The first one is incomplete in meaning, but it's not incorrect as a sentence. ...

    If the quality happens to be the same, then this is likely to lead to some confusion! Why? Because actually the length will not vary from one word to the other, I should imagine. This is pure conjecture, but I suspect that a native speaker would not be too sensitive about minute differences in pronunciation, so that such small variations as you mention are probably redundant.
    In Kabul dialect (and in the Kabuli reading tradition for written Persian) historic /i/ and /ē/ are distinguished by quality, not by length: the former is /ɛ/ and the latter is /e/. So the answer to your question is yes, there is an audible difference between kasra-i izāfa and yā-i wahdat.
    Thank you fdb, colognial.

    So in summary, will the following table be accurate:
    Persiankasra-i izāfayā-i wahdat
    Early New/Classical/i//ē/
    Modern Standard Iranian/e//ī/
    Modern Standard Afghan/ɛ//e/
    Indo-Persian/e//ē/ ?