Persian: تعطیلات چطور بود؟

lukebeadgcf

Senior Member
English – US
Hello,

So I was trying to express the question: "How was [your] vacation?" Based on some searches online, it seems like تعطیلات چطور بود؟ is a viable way to express this.

Assuming you can say this, I'm just wondering why it's not بودن. In other words, why is بود conjugated for singular and not plural when تعطیلات is plural.

Thank you for your help!
 
  • mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    Hi, lukebeadgcf! Persian is a bit unruly when it comes to numbers and verb inflections. It is just not always necessary to use the plural form of the verb, simple as that. This is mainly true of third-person verbs, though.
    Examples:
    Saal haa gozasht.
    سال‌ها گذشت
    Years went by.

    Hezaar sho’le ye soozaan o aah e sard injaast. (From a poem by Saaye)
    هزار شعله‌‌ی سوزان و آهِ سرد این‌جاست
    There are here thousands of blazing fires and cold sighs.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Singular verb for inanimate subject even when it is in the plural. But this is not etched in stone.
     

    lukebeadgcf

    Senior Member
    English – US
    Ah, that's rather like Arabic then.

    So is it ever allowed to use a plural verb conjugation for plural inanimate subjects?
     

    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    The answer is a firm ‘yes’.
    The example below has been taken from a poem by F. Farrokhzaad:
    Rooz haa raftand o man deegar,
    Khod nemeedaanam kodaameenam.
    روزها رفتند و من دیگر
    خود نمی‌دانم کدامین‌ام
    ,Days have passed and I no longer
    Know which (person) I am.
     

    lukebeadgcf

    Senior Member
    English – US
    Thank you very much, @mannoushka.

    And what about in informal situations, like a dinner with friends? Could you use plural verbs with inanimate objects in that context?

    If yes, then is there any guiding principle?
     

    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    Yes, you could, and, no, sorry, there isn’t. For instance I might easily come out and say to my hosts: giaah haa toon che roshdi kard(e)an!
    How your plants have grown (since I was last here)!
    I am ashamed to be unable to think of at least a reason as to why this state of affairs exists, but I just can’t. Help, please, anybody!
     

    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    Oh, maybe plants are animate objects! Still, one might comment on the size of the rooms in the house:
    Otaagh haa che bozorgan!
    The rooms are so large!
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Yes, you could, and, no, sorry, there isn’t. For instance I might easily come out and say to my hosts: giaah haa toon che roshdi kard(e)an!
    How your plants have grown (since I was last here)!
    I am ashamed to be unable to think of at least a reason as to why this state of affairs exists, but I just can’t. Help, please, anybody!
    No need to be ashamed.:)

    iinhaa kitaab ast/and

    are both equally correct.
     

    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    Thanks ever so much, Qureshpor, for the moral support, but to have never even thought about it before is lazy and even entitled. Alright, I shall stop beating myself up about it. But really the only rule seems to me to be the single one you came up with.
    Incidentally, astand? Really? How unlike you!
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    mannoushka jaan. As a native speaker, you speak and write the language instinctively. You don't need to know the rules. As learners, we have to go by what grammar book writers tell us!:) We are likely to commit a lot of errors in the process of learning.

    اینھا کتاب است۔ These are books.

    اینھا کتابند۔ These are books.
    اینھا خوبند These are good.

    Is the second construction wrong?
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    at least a reason as to why this state of affairs exists, but I just can’t. Help, please, anybody!
    I’m sure there’s a rule, let me work on it.

    I am sure what Qureshpor said is the only rule:there is:
    Singular verb for inanimate subject even when it is in the plural.

    Although plurals of some Arabic inanimates are exceptions to the rule, e.g. تعطیلات معاملات.
     
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    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    Qureshpor, sorry, I thought you were adding the and to the ast, making up the non-existent astand. My mistake!

    I feel the more a set of inanimate objects behaves in a sentence as if it is an active and conscious agent, the more it is just as likely to be used along with a plural verb. It is as if there are degrees of plurality where objects are concerned.
    Examples:

    سنگ‌هایِ غلتان خزه به خود نمی‌گیرند.
    Sang haa ye ghaltaan khaze be khod nemigirand.
    (Rolling stones do not gather moss.)

    ستاره‌ها به زیر خطِ افق پنهان می‌شوند
    Setaare haa be zeer e khatt e ofogh penhaan mishavand.
    (The stars are disappearing beneath the horizon.)

    غده‌هایِ سرطانی همه نابود شده‌اند
    Ghodde haa ye sarataani hame naabood shode and.
    (The cancerous growths have all been obliterated.)

    In support of my argument, the last example is the most likely of all to be written up or spoken as,
    غده‌‌هایِ سرطانی همه نابود شده است
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    Inanimate plurals take on singular verb conjugation, general or specific:
    General:
    کوششها/گفتگوها به جایی نرسید
    آن کوششها به جایی نرسید
    تعطیلات /مذاکرات به پایان رسید

    Specific:
    کوششهای/گفتگوهای او به جایی نرسید
    کوششهای/گفتگوهای ما به جایی نرسید
    تعطیلات مدارس/مذاکرات اتمی به پایان رسید
     

    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    Inanimate plurals take on singular verb conjugation, general or specific:
    General:
    کوششها/گفتگوها به جایی نرسید
    آن کوششها به جایی نرسید
    تعطیلات /مذاکرات به پایان رسید

    Specific:
    کوششهای/گفتگوهای او به جایی نرسید
    کوششهای/گفتگوهای ما به جایی نرسید
    تعطیلات مدارس/مذاکرات اتمی به پایان رسید
    Great examples, PersoLatin! I think
    many of the words pluralized by the addition of aat to the word are regarded as collective nouns, and collective nouns never (?) go together with a plural verb, eg. saa’aat e kaar e edaari az in gharaar ast. (Office hours are as follows.) Similarly, in kafsh haa ye Mirzaa peidaa shod (Mirzaa’s shoes were found), it is quite acceptable to just say kafsh e Mirzaa peidaa shod, that is, treat the pair as a single collective object.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    More examples that need analysis:
    روزها آمدند و رفتند (گذشت) و از او خبری نشد
    در تابستان روزها از شبها طولانی‌ترند
    روزهای بدی در انتظار او بودند

    از ان رویداد روزها گذشت

    تعطیلات تابستان زود گذشت
    تعطیلات تابستانی زود میگذرند

    The choice of using plural/singular verb is made based on the inanimate plural being the direct or indirect object/subject and/or the verb being transitive/intransitive ??
     
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    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    More examples that need analysis:
    روزها آمدند و رفتند (گذشت) و از او خبری نشد
    در تابستان روزها از شبها طولانی‌ترند
    روزهای بدی در انتظار او بودند

    از ان رویداد روزها گذشت

    تعطیلات تابستان زود گذشت
    تعطیلات تابستانی زود میگذرند

    The choice of using plural/singular verb is made based on the inanimate plural being the direct or indirect object/subject and/or the verb being transitive/intransitive ??
    This is a bit confusing for me to handle. Why does the type of verb — transitive or intransitive — matter, and what has the object of the sentence got to do with the relationship between the subject and the verb? Could you please expand on your thoughts?
     

    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    More examples that need analysis:
    روزها آمدند و رفتند (گذشت) و از او خبری نشد
    در تابستان روزها از شبها طولانی‌ترند
    روزهای بدی در انتظار او بودند

    از ان رویداد روزها گذشت

    تعطیلات تابستان زود گذشت
    تعطیلات تابستانی زود میگذرند
    Your examples seem to me to show that there is, in the final analysis, no rhyme or reason to our illustrious mother tongue! Except this, maybe: in your first example the choice of verb itself does seem to affect whether or not it takes the plural form.
    The days came and went. —plural verb, because the days sound as if they acted as animate subjects.
    But, then:
    The days passed. — singular verb, because the days couldn’t help but just pass; nothing here to make the subject appear “active and conscious”, to confirm my point above, maybe.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    Following is a good article on this subject. Page 18 has the conclusion if you don't wish to read all of it.

    The Usage of Singular Verbs for Inanimate Plural Subjects in Persian- Forogh Hashabeiky

    http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:173440/FULLTEXT02.pdf
    Thanks Qureshpor, this is a good source for examples, the author has researched well but has come to a conclusion that maybe they were hoping not have come to, but that's the way things are. I have to say that I have not read the whole document in depth but I will over time.
     
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