Persian: برگِ درختانِ سبز

Qureshpor

Senior Member
Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
Friends,

برگِ درختانِ سبز در نظرِ ھوشیار
ھر ورقی دفتریست معرفتِ کردگار

سعدی

Is the word برگ to be considered as generic? Also does سبز relate to برگ or درختان?

Leaves of green trees----

Green leaves of trees....
 
  • mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    It is a reference to each and every leaf on “green trees” everywhere. I would say “generic” was a good adjective for such a leaf.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    It is a reference to each and every leaf on “green trees” everywhere. I would say “generic” was a good adjective for such a leaf.
    Thank you mannoushka for the clarification. A generic known covers the whole class and that is why I thought برگ would be generic. Otherwise we would have expected برگھای درختان سبز, I suppose. Would برگھای درختان سبز be considered wrong if it was in the same line (not worrying about meter restrictions)?
     

    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    Not at all. But, are you implying that the plural form would somehow have particularized the leaves? In fact one may quite casually express the general view that,
    برگ‌هایِ درختانِ سبز چنان دفترهایِ شناختِ پروردگارند
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    برگِ درختانِ سبز در نظرِ ھوشیار
    ھر ورقی دفتریست معرفتِ کردگار

    سعدی

    Is the word برگ to be considered as generic? Also does سبز relate to برگ or درختان?
    I believe this is equivalent to:
    برگ سبز درختان در نظر هوشیار
    and that سبز refers to the leaves & not the trees.
     
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    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    So, there is no difference between leaves on green trees and green leaves on trees, is that it?
    I’m saying the opposite, they are different, the question about the difference was asked in the OP.

    Would برگ درختان زرد mean the leaves are زرد/yellow or the trees.
     
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    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    In برگِ درختانِ زرد the inference made is that leaves found on a yellow tree are bound to be yellow, I agree. However, the direct reference, by the rules of grammar, is to the trees, is it not?

    If you came across لب‌هایِ مردِ خندان, would you say the adjective described the lips or the man? Or if this is still a bit confusing, then surely in a phrase such as دَوران‌هایِ جهانِ گردنده the world alone and not its revolutions is what is being described.
     
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    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    I have just realized that in English the word برگ would in all likelihood be considered as a defined noun. It would, to an English grammar expert, be “the leaves on green trees”, with the definite article before the noun, and the reason for this definiteness would be the fact that the leaves were not just any leaves but those found on green trees. And, such categorization would be easily understood by a native speaker of Persian as well. Yet when one thinks in Persian about this particular phrase, the reasoning suddenly changes all by itself! Was I mistaken when I confirmed that the word برگ was a common noun, or was I correct judging by Persian rules of grammar? I shall wait to see if anyone is interested enough in this puzzle to explain and solve it, hopefully once and for all.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    If you came across لب‌هایِ مردِ خندان, would you say the adjective described the lips or the man? Or if this is still a bit confusing, then surely in a phrase such as دَوران‌هایِ جهانِ گردنده the world alone and not its revolutions is what is being described.
    Never confusing but always interesting :).

    I am just adding some more combinations for fun here. When the adjective (سبز) can apply to to both tree and leaf we get this situation but not otherwise, see the last example:

    برگ درختان / leaves of trees
    برگ سبز / green leaf
    درختان سبز / green trees
    برگ درختان سبز / leaves of green trees
    برگ سبز درختان / green leaves of trees
    برگ سبز درختا ن سبز:cross: Here we have to drop the first shared adjective (سبز) to make it grammatically correct

    لب ها ی مرد / the man's lips (or men's lips in a correct context)
    لب ها ی خندا ن / the smiling lips
    مرد خندا ن / smiling man
    لب ها ی مرد خندا ن / the lips of smiling man
    لب ها ی خندا ن مرد / the smiling lips of man
    لب ها ی خندا ن مرد خندا ن:cross:

    برگ گرد / round leaf (barge gerd)
    برگ گرد درختان / round leaves of trees
    برگ گرد درختان سبز / round leaves of green trees
    برگ ها ی گرد درختا ن سبز / the round leaves of green trees (not other shaped leaves of green trees)
     
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    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I have just realized that in English the word برگ would in all likelihood be considered as a defined noun. It would, to an English grammar expert, be “the leaves on green trees”, with the definite article before the noun, and the reason for this definiteness would be the fact that the leaves were not just any leaves but those found on green trees. And, such categorization would be easily understood by a native speaker of Persian as well. Yet when one thinks in Persian about this particular phrase, the reasoning suddenly changes all by itself! Was I mistaken when I confirmed that the word برگ was a common noun, or was I correct judging by Persian rules of grammar? I shall wait to see if anyone is interested enough in this puzzle to explain and solve it, hopefully once and for all.
    For me the meaning is “leaves” in the generic sense and not “The leaves”. We also need to settle the correct /acceptable order of an adjective in a Persian izaafat construction. Until I thought about this Sa’di couplet, I thought it was a straight forward matter! Having said this, the belief that the Persian language is simple and straightforward, could not be further from the truth!
     

    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    On the question of ezaafe, I think what settles it definitively is this rule: if there is one possessive ezaafe there, then whatever adjective comes after belongs to the possessor.
    Example:
    مادرِ منِ بی‌نوا
    The mother of poor me.
    مادرِ بی‌نوایِ من
    My poor mother.

    Another good rule is the one that says the adjective most inherent to the noun by nature comes first.
    Examples:
    سرداریِ سرمه‌ایِ راه‌راه
    The striped blue tunic.
    اسبِ سپیدِ بال‌دار
    The winged white horse. (?)
    نامه‌ی فدایت‌شَومِ بی‌سروتَه
    A nonsensical love letter.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ So for برگِ درختانِ سبز you are saying "leaves of green trees" while PersoLatin is of the view that it is "green leaves of the trees"? Or are you also saying that it is "green leaves of the trees"?
     

    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    “Leaves of green trees” is what Sa’di wrote, I maintain, and unlike the good PersoLatin I don’t understand the phrase as being equivalent to “green leaves of trees”.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    @mannoushka and @PersoLatin, I believe I have a definitive answer to my query and also possible explanations for Sa'di's usage.

    Persian speakers will know that the usual place of an adjective in a Persian izaafat is immediately after the noun it qualifies.

    So, برگِ درختانِ سبز would translate as "leaves of green trees" and

    برگ سبز درختان "green leaves of trees".

    Now, let's look at a couple of examples which should shed light on this issue.

    (پسران وزیر ناقص عقل به گدایی به روستا رفتند ( گلستان سعدی

    Here, ناقص عقل by our logic should go with وزیر but the adjective is clearly refering to the lads, not the minister. An even clearer example is provided by Rodaki.

    لاله میان کشت بخندد همی ز دور
    چون پنجه عروس به حنا شده خضیب

    Clearly it is the bride's palm that has become dyed with Hinaa and not the bride.

    Therefore, برگ is qualified by سبز and not the trees.

    Why do these poets not follow the normal rule for placement of adjectives in an izaafat?

    1. For metrical reasons and this is perhaps the more likely explanation.

    2. In the olden days, every poet and writer worth his salt, in addition to having mastery of his own language was also well versed in the Arabic language. In Arabic izaafat, the adjective whether it is linked to the first noun (muDaaf) or the second one (muDaaf ilaih), always came after the muDaaf ilaih. Perhaps, Sa'di, Rodaki (and others) were following the Arabic rule. This explanation is perhaps less likely.
     
    • Agree
    Reactions: Dib

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    پسران وزیر ناقص عقل به گدایی به روستا رفتند ( گلستان سعدی

    Here, ناقص عقل by our logic should go with وزیر but the adjective is clearly refering to the lads, not the minister.
    Let’s restart, ناقص عقل refers to وزیر in the above, whereas in پسران ناقص عقل وزیر, refers to پسران.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Let’s restart, ناقص عقل refers to وزیر in the above, whereas in پسران ناقص عقل وزیر, refers to پسران.
    Previous two lines are:

    وقتی افتاد فتنه‌ای در شام
    هر کس از گوشه‌ای فرا رفتند

    روستازادگانِ دانشمند
    به وزیری پادشا رفتند
     

    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    The vizier’s sons were clearly those with not enough sense to acquire a possession no one could ever take away from them! Why, how is this so clear? Persian normally does it differently, so that here the vizier is the short-sighted one for not having provided the opportunity for his sons to have a brighter future well in advance. The lively, healthy-looking, green trees of the original example would shed their leaves in despair at seeing how Sa’di lay the blame at the sons’ door instead of admonishing their father!
    As for the beit by Rudaki, there are a couple of possibilities one of which is indeed the highly reasonable and self-evident one that the henna colour qualifies the five fingers. But then the combination of panje and arouss will no longer be considered a possessive ezaafe but will reflect the type of the noun, a bridal hand. An example is,
    خودرویِ بنزِ خراب
    The out of service Mercedes Benz vehicle.

    Here “Benz” is the type of vehicle, not an adjective that describes the state of the car.
    Or,
    کتابِ دستورِ زبانِ فارسیِ غبارگرفته

    The other possible reading is this:
    لاله میان کشت بخندد همی ز دور
    چون پنجه‌ی عروسْ به حنّا شده خضیب
    which roughly translates into, ‘the tulip smiles brightly amid the harvest in the distance, painted in henna as it is just like a bride’s five fingers’.

    I personally prefer the first possibility, and will from now on silently follow with interest any further comments appearing in this useful thread.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    Previous two lines are:

    وقتی افتاد فتنه‌ای در شام
    هر کس از گوشه‌ای فرا رفتند

    روستازادگانِ دانشمند
    به وزیری پادشا رفتند
    Let's see more of it :
    وقتی افتاد فتنه‌ای در شام
    هر کس از گوشه‌ای فرا رفتند
    روستازادگان دانشمند
    به وزیری پادشا رفتند
    پسران وزیر ناقص عقل
    به گدایی به روستا رفتند


    ....when all those calamities happened...

    The wise villagers took up the posts of vazirs in king's court
    while the idiot Vazir's (idiot) sons went to the village begging

    پسران وزیر ناقص عقل is the same as برگِ درختانِ سبز i.e. leaves are green hence the trees are, and vazir is an idiot/ناقص عقل and so are his sons and because of their father, so Sa’di is using one adjective to refer to both, of course this is in poetry.
     
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    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    ^ So for برگِ درختانِ سبز you are saying "leaves of green trees" while PersoLatin is of the view that it is "green leaves of the trees"? Or are you also saying that it is "green leaves of the trees"?

    Not adding any opinion to the OP, but I'd like to point out that using poetry to figure out rules of syntax can be problematic, because of the liberty poets (and obviously their audience) often take with their language (cross-linguistically). In poetry (and not rarely, also beyond), "leaves of green trees" and "green leaves of trees" can be synonymous. In poetry, often there is also the figure of speech of "transferred epithet" (or Hypallage for Graecophiles) that basically makes any such distinction vague at the best. Poets love to exploit many nooks and crannies of language beyond its rigid logical core. So, be careful with that.
     
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    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    ^^ Thank you Dib.

    I agree with that & I eventually mentioned it in post 20 of course not as you have explained it. This thread has taken many twists & turns & the main point sometimes gets lost.
     
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    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    Sorry, I come back! The hypallage! I did not know of this exciting feature before, but am sure to keep it in store in order to go back to it again and again. In agreement with Dib, I would say one has to consider that usages of words are sometimes designed to create slippages into the territory of unconscious associations. Happens in prose, too.

    However, Sa’di, a poet of the classical epoch, is known for writing verse that reads like prose. (How odd then that his prose in the Golestaan is highly stylized and as close to verse as one could imagine!) This is one point to bear in mind.

    My final point, I promise, is that, yes, of course just about anything, including delving into layers of meaning piled up cloudlike through time, breaking with the rules of syntax and grammar, and hypallage (!), is possible in poetry as it is in prose, in the vernacular as well as in literature and maybe even the official jargon. The smart interlocutor or reader, though, will figure out such incongruities and departures as happen only if and when he or she has been assured that there is a basic governing rule, a fixed reference point, to start from.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Let's see more of it :
    وقتی افتاد فتنه‌ای در شام
    هر کس از گوشه‌ای فرا رفتند
    روستازادگان دانشمند
    به وزیری پادشا رفتند
    پسران وزیر ناقص عقل
    به گدایی به روستا رفتند


    ....when all those calamities happened...

    The wise villagers took up the posts of vazirs in king's court
    while the idiot Vazir's (idiot) sons went to the village begging

    پسران وزیر ناقص عقل is the same as برگِ درختانِ سبز i.e. leaves are green hence the trees are, and vazir is an idiot/ناقص عقل and so are his sons and because of their father, so Sa’di is using one adjective to refer to both, of course this is in poetry.
    Interestingly, this very example is found on page 81 of دستور زبان فارسی پنج استاد.

    کہ ناقص عقل صفت پسران است و پس از اضافہ آمدہ است۔

    This should wrap the argument concering برگ درختان سبز where سبز refers to برگ and ناقص عقل refers to پسران.
     

    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    Qureshpor, thanks for the correction.

    Still, your concluding words are based on a different way of regarding the possessives or an exception (insofar as even the book you quote seems to me to quote the one example as being against the general rule). For accuracy’s sake I would not extend the verdict on the one Sa’di couplet to another, or to all cases in literature, and certainly not to the way modern Persian is normally put together.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Qureshpor, thanks for the correction.

    Still, your concluding words are based on a different way of regarding the possessives or an exception (insofar as even the book you quote seems to me to quote the one example as being against the general rule). For accuracy’s sake I would not extend the verdict on the one Sa’di couplet to another, or to all cases in literature, and certainly not to the way modern Persian is normally put together.
    The authors provide more than one example. You can check for yourself as I have provided you the page number as well. The adjective coming after the izaafat is well attested.
     

    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    The authors of the book Panj Ostaad provide more than one example, true.

    They provide four examples, while for some reason they omit to mention the برگ درختان سبز couplet. Can we still have doubts about that then? I think we had better.

    But, to be fair, there may still be several other instances of misplaced adjectives out there across the vast body of Persian literature, be it old or new.

    Now, to avoid unintentionally misleading the true learner of Persian, lest he or she think the adjective for a noun inside a possessive-ezaafe phrase is ordinarily placed outside the noun+noun, the “Five Maestros” state the common practice first and give an example, and only afterwards do they quote the line on the sons of the vizier and the other three instances as incidental cases, as representatives of something that only occasionally happens in poetry and prose.

    This is actually what the five of them take upon themselves to tell the learner on Page 65, and I quote:

    در موقعی که موصوف را بخواهند اضافه کنند صفت را می‌آورند و پس از آن عمل اضافه را انجام می‌دهند و این مُطَرّّد و در نظم و نثر متداول است.

    با لشکر زمانه و با تیغِ تیزِ دهر
    دین و خرد بس است سپاه و سپر مرا

    «ناصر خسرو»

    Rough English interpretation:
    When it is desired that a noun described by an adjective be added [to another noun, that is, be connected to it with a kasre by way of being possessed by it], the adjective follows [the noun] first and then the addition [ie the insertion of the possessive kasre connecting the first noun to a second noun placed after the adjective] takes place. This [practice] is common and is prevalent in both poetry and prose.

    [The example given is, I trust, self-explanatory: “the sharp blade of the world”, tigh e tiz e dahr: Noun, kasre, adjective, kasre, noun.]
     
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    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    “Leaves of green trees” is what Sa’di wrote, I maintain, and unlike the good PersoLatin I don’t understand the phrase as being equivalent to “green leaves of trees”.
    I was skipping through a paper entitled, "Sa'di: The "Prince" of Persian Poetry" by M.S. Tajar, Ed. D. Ph. D, Former lecturer, Persian language & culture at the University of Philipines, Diliman. Right at the beginning of it is a translation of the shi3r we have been discussing here. This is how he translates it.

    The green leaves of the trees,
    Which dance with every breeze,
    In the eyes of the wise people,
    Are God's love letters, to please!

    Only concentrating on the first line, he is understanding برگِ درختانِ سبز as برگِ سبزِ درختان .
     
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