Persian: ماها

aisha93

Senior Member
Arabic/Persian(larestani)
Hi everyone

Why do Iranians sometimes say: ماها instead of simply ما?
It is meaningless since ما is already plural
It is like saying: we(s) in English!

Can you explain why it was invented and for which purpose it is used? Or is it just a superflous thing developed in everyday speech by probably kids or non-native speakers?

In our dialect we never say ماها. Always ما
 
  • Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Hi everyone

    Why do Iranians sometimes say: ماها instead of simply ما?
    It is meaningless since ما is already plural
    It is like saying: we(s) in English!

    Can you explain why it was invented and for which purpose it is used? Or is it just a superflous thing developed in everyday speech by probably kids or non-native speakers?

    In our dialect we never say ماها. Always ما
    There is nothing wrong with saying ماھا when emphasis on plurality is intended and Persian is not the only language that adds a plural marker to a pronoun which is already a plural.

    In English, for example, you will come across people saying... "us lot" and "you lot" etc albeit this is more a colloquial usage than literary.

    In Persian, not only does one come across ماھا and مایان but also شماھا and ایشان ھا !
     

    Derakhshan

    Senior Member
    Arabic, Persian
    It is perhaps because avoidance of من is seen as modest, so ما is used as a singular sometimes, thus ماها is explicitly plural to avoid confusion.

    Also, ماها seems to give a more exclusionary sense, like "just us, not you/them/the rest".

    It has a parallel in شما / شماها.

    I have heard that this is only a feature of colloquial Persian, yet the old language has مایان and شمایان, I'm not sure if they play a similar role to the aforementioned colloquial forms.
     
    Last edited:

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    I have heard that this is only a feature of colloquial Persian, yet the old language has مایان and شمایان, I'm not sure if they play a similar role to the aforementioned colloquial forms.
    In my view colloquial Persian is full of information and relevant clues relating to the Persian proper, the colloquial label is very often used to indicate 'improper' Persian but in majority of cases, that's far from the truth. For instance beram/برم or digé/دیگه are colloquial for beravam/بروم and digar/دیگر but things like شماها/ماها or mardé/مرده(the/that man) are not in the same category, granted they are not used in formal Persian but that's an issue that needs to be taken with whoever is in charge.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    One time I heard even ماهاها which is even more absurd :D
    If you are happy with the explanations given in post 3 & 4, then I can tell you ماهاها is not so absurd.

    The last ها in ماهاها is not a plural marker, it is a form of expressing emphasis, it is emphasising, to the 3rd party, the fact that 'it is us (lot)' and not someone other lot. Other examples من ها/توها or unâ hâ/اوناها ("it is me/you/those" who are the ones the reference is made to and not someone else)
     
    Last edited:
    ماها instead of simply ما
    ماها or in general pronoun + sign of plural, has been used in Persian classic literature lot of times:
    سند شماها پسند من است
    گزند شما هم گزند من است

    ها أَنْتُمْ، شماها گوش دارید

    کز شماها کیست در دعوی گزین
    اهل چین و روم چون حاضر شدند

    سالها دفع بلاها کرده‌ایم
    وهم حیران زانچ ماها کرده‌ایم

    etc...
     
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