Persian: Difference between یک and -ی Indefinite Article

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10qwert23

New Member
English
Hello everyone,

In persian -ی can be added to mean multiple things (one, any, some). For example: کتابی داری؟ Can mean, "do you have a book" or "do you have any books". There is amiguity.

Can یک also take the meaning of "any" or "some" ? Or does it only ever mean a/one.

Thank You!
 
  • mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    Can یک also take the meaning of "any" or "some" ? Or does it only ever mean a/one.
    Hi, 10qwert23. Yek + noun can stand for ‘a’, ‘any’, or ‘some’. There may be a nuance, though, which is best shown through the intonation. The examples below reflect more the presence of nuances than of a straightforward usage. (Really the plainest and closest thing in Persian to ‘do you have any/some books?’ is کتاب داری؟)

    Examples:

    یک کتاب دارم
    I have a book.
    I have one book.
    I do have the one book.

    یک کتابی دارم!
    I have some book!

    یک کتاب‌هایی دارم.
    I do have some books.

    یک کتاب داری؟
    Do you have a book?
    Do you have any books?
    Do you have even one book?

    یک کتاب ندارم
    I don’t have just the one book.
    I don’t have a book even.
     
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    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    ----یک plus noun plus ی always means “some”:
    I heard some noise یک صدایی شنیدم
    Today some boy (random) came here امروز یک پسری آمد اینجا

    ----Noun plus ی in most cases is the same as یک plus noun and is equivalent to English “a”:
    I heard a noise یک صدا شنیدم / صدایی شنیدم
    Today a/one boy (not a girl) came here امروز یک پسر/پسری آمد اینجا
    Did anyone come today امروز کسی آمد؟

    ----Noun plus ی can also mean "some", unspecified amount of the noun when noun is not countable:
    He entered and had some food / او وارد شد و غذایی خورد (can also be یک غذایی)
    As soon as we arrived we went out for some air تا رسیدیم رفتیم بیرون هوایی بخوریم (can also be یک هوایی)

    ----Other examples:

    I heard a sound صدایی شنیدم/ یک صدا شنیدم
    I heard some noise یک صدایی شنیدم
    I heard the noise صدا را شنیدم

    We‘ve had food غذا خورده ایم
    We had some food غدایی خوردیم/ یک غدایی خوردیم

    She said one thing only فقط بک چیز گفت

    And how about یکی بود یکی نبود?
     
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    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    ----یک plus noun plus ی always means “some”:
    I heard some noise یک صدایی شنیدم
    Today some boy (random) came here امروز یک پسری آمد اینجا

    ----Noun plus ی in most cases is the same as یک plus noun and is equivalent to English “a”:
    I heard a noise یک صدا شنیدم / صدایی شنیدم
    Today a boy (not a girl) came here امروز یک پسر/پسری آمد اینجا
    Did anyone come today امروز کسی آمد؟

    ----Noun plus ی can also mean "some", unspecified amount of the noun when noun is not countable:
    He entered and had some food / او وارد شد و غذایی خورد (can also be یک غذایی)
    As soon as we arrived we went out for some air تا رسیدیم رفتیم بیرون هوایی بخوریم (can also be یک هوایی)

    ----Other examples:

    I heard a sound صدایی شنیدم/ یک صدا شنیدم
    I heard some noise یک صدایی شنیدم
    I heard the noise صدا را شنیدم

    We‘ve had food غذا خورده ایم
    We had some food غدایی خوردیم/ یک غدایی خوردیم

    She said one thing only فقط بک چیز گفت
    :thank you::thank you::thank you::thank you:
    Many thanks for this wonderful explanation!!!
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    What would the significance be if a word like کتابی is preceded by چہ ، کدام، ھر ، ھیچ، این، آن etc ?
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    And how about یکی بود یکی نبود?
    One version is: یکی بود، یکی نبود، زیر گنبد کبود، غیر از خدا هیچکس نبود

    I take the meaning in the following sense.

    یکی بود، یکی نبود = یکی آمد، دیگری رفت

    زیر گنبد کبود = در این جھان

    غیر از خدا هیچکس نبود = غیر از خدا ھیچ چیز نخواھد ماند

    That is to say, the time frame in which the story teller's narrative relates to is of days gone by. From that time to the present, people have come (been born) and gone (died) from under the blue sky (our world). One constant factor is that God was always there in this coming and going and will contine to exist in this coming and going. This formula یکی بود یکی نبود as we all know is usually translated as "Once upon a time...".
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    One version is: یکی بود، یکی نبود، زیر گنبد کبود، غیر از خدا هیچکس نبود

    I take the meaning in the following sense.

    یکی بود، یکی نبود = یکی آمد، دیگری رفت

    زیر گنبد کبود = در این جھان

    غیر از خدا هیچکس نبود = غیر از خدا ھیچ چیز نخواھد ماند

    That is to say, the time frame in which the story teller's narrative relates to is of days gone by. From that time to the present, people have come (been born) and gone (died) from under the blue sky (our world). One constant factor is that God was always there in this coming and going and will contine to exist in this coming and going. This formula یکی بود یکی نبود as we all know is usually translated as "Once upon a time...".
    Thank you for this interpretation Qureshpor sir, I do agree with it. I did however pose that question rhetorically, it was a reminder that یک can take ی without a noun in between, but it follows the same rule, so یکی simply means “someone/somebody”
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    What would the significance be if a word like کتابی is preceded by چہ ، کدام، ھر ، ھیچ، این، آن etc ?
    These need context as meaning can change, especially since most of these can be followed by که which will make کتاب a specific object e.g. : ....آن کتابی که - the book that..... but if you can provide an example where آن کتابی (or any other noun) is not followed by a که that references it , then that'll be good although I don't expect the meaning to change from a non specific noun..

    Although I believe in these cases, i.e. noun plus ی followed که, the noun (کتاب) should be followed by /é/ sound like /e/ in English 'bed' or /a/,
    so ân ketâbé/ketâba ké
    and not ân ketâbi ké

    These days this style (ketâbé/ketâba) has moved to colloquial speech only, e.g. mardé goft مرده گفت "the man said", i.e. a man all sides of conversation know about.

    کتابی preceded by هر, چه ،کدام, ھیچ means any, every or whichever book, e.g. :
    !!چه حسابی چه کتابی “what account(s) what book(s) !!!”, so non specific book or account.
     
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    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    What would the significance be if a word like کتابی is preceded by چہ ، کدام، ھر ، ھیچ، این، آن etc ?
    Well, they basically qualify the noun کتابی. That would be the function of these words, generally speaking. Do they stand in for ‘some’ or ‘any’? The word هیچ may be used so, as in,
    هیچ کتابی داریم؟
    Do we have any books?
    هیچ کتابی نداریم
    We haven’t got any books.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    These need context as meaning can change, especially since most of these can be followed by که which will make کتاب a specific object e.g. : ....آن کتابی که - the book that..... but if you can provide an example where آن کتابی (or any other noun) is not followed by a که that references it , then that'll be good although I don't expect the meaning to change from a non specific noun......
    Thank you PersoLatin. My question concerns constructions without که. We have discussed constructions like کبایکه in the other thread I have provided a link to in my earlier post. Perhaps, the moderators can merge these two threads.

    I have words like این یکی، آن یکی in mind as well as other nouns affixed with this ی. Here are two examples to provide the full context.

    این یکے شیر است اندر بادیه
    و آن دگر شیر است اندر بادیه
    این یکے شیر است کہ آدم مے خورد
    و آن یکے شیر است کہ آدم مے خورد

    مولانا جلال الدّین رومی

    سرود رفته باز آید کہ ناید
    نسیمے از حجاز آید کہ ناید
    سرآمد روزگارِ این فقیرے
    دگر دانای راز آید کہ ناید

    اقبال
     
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    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    فقیری here means "poverty" or فقر and the ی on it is not the type under discussion here, or am I misunderstanding the meaning?
    No, the poet is talking about himself. The word is فقیرے "a faqiir" and not فقیری poverty.

    The lines translate into English something like:-

    The bygone song, will it come back or not?
    A breeze from Hijaaz, will it come or not?
    Days of this dervish have come to an end
    Will another knower of secrets come or not?
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    این یکے شیر است اندر بادیه
    و آن دگر شیر است اندر بادیه
    این یکے شیر است کہ آدم مے خورد
    و آن یکے شیر است کی آدم مے خورد
    In Persian این دوتا means "these two" and آن پنج‌ تا "those five" but آن یکی "that one",
    so why not آن یکتا for “that one” and آن پنجی for “those five”. But that doesn’t answer the question and only highlights some exceptions at play which I can’t quite explain it but maybe مولانا started that exceptional trend.
     
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    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    No, the poet is talking about himself. The word is فقیرے "a faqiir" and not فقیری poverty.

    The line translates into English something like

    The bygone song, will it come back or not
    A breeze from Hijaaz, will it come or not
    Days of this dervish have come to an end
    Will another knower of secrets come or not
    Now I understand but not by reading it, basically I don’t understand the construct این فقیری in the context.

    آن دختر means "that girl" but آن دختری is meaningless unless it is followed by که.
     
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    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Now I understand but not by reading it, basically I don’t understand the construct این فقیری in the context.

    آن دختر means "that girl" but آن دختری is meaningless unless it is followed by که.
    I would say این فقیرے/این فقیری means "this particular dervish" and آن دخترے/آن دختری "that particular girl".
     
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    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    In Persian این دوتا means "these two" and آن پنج‌ تا "those five" but آن یکی "that one",
    so why not آن یکتا for “that one” and آن پنجی for “those five”. But that doesn’t answer the question and only highlights some exceptions at play which I can’t quite explain but will think about it.
    این یکے شیر است اندر بادیه
    و آن دگر شیر است اندر بادیه
    این یکے شیر است کہ آدم مے خورد
    و آن یکے شیر است کہ آدم مے خورد

    iin yake shiir ast andar baadiyah
    va aan yake sher ast andar baadiyah
    iin yake shiir ast kih aadam me-xvarad
    va aan yake sher ast kih aadam mexvarad

    This particular one is milk inside a goblet
    And that other one is a lion inside a forest
    This particular one is milk that consumes man
    That particular one, a lion that consumes man
     
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    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    Thank you.

    iin yake shiir ast andar baadiyah
    va aan yake sher ast andar baadiyah
    iin yake shiir ast kih aadam me-xvarad
    va aan yake sher ast kih aadam mexvarad
    I appreciate the pronunciation style is classical Persian, however I don’t understand the reason you have two versions in me-xvarad & mexvarad, surely these two are pronounced the same, classical or not, can you explain this please.

    Also baadiah is a bowel with no handles or lid, goblet is a bit too poetic for milk.
     
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    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you.

    I appreciate the pronunciation style is classical Persian, however I don’t understand the reason you have two versions in me-xvarad & mexvarad, surely these two are pronounced the same, classical or not, can you explain this please.
    Yes, I can PersoLatin. They are both the same. I did not place a dash in one of them.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Sorry, did not or did?
    To clarify, I should have written both of them, either as me-xvarad or mexvarad. I put a dash in to indicate that "مے me" is a prefix. I should have put in the dash for the second one too! Basically, a typo on my part.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Ok thanks.

    Another one, is mexvarad a classical Persian pronunciation, although going off-topic?
    Yes. The prefix was "hame" and "me" (ھمے / مے).

    خو xv only later became xu as in xush.

    گل ھمین پنج روز و شش باشد
    وین گلستان ھمیشه خوش باشد

    سعدی

    gul hamiin panj roz u shash baashad
    viin gulistaan hameshah xvash baashad

    پس از عمرے که دل خونابه میخورد
    خرد بیرون شد و دل کار میکرد

    عبید زاکانی

    جمله را میآورد میپروَرَد
    میکشد در خاک و خونش میخوَرَد

    عطّار
     
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    eskandar

    Moderator
    English (US)
    این یکے شیر است کہ آدم مے خورد

    iin yake shiir ast kih aadam me-xvarad


    This particular one is milk that consumes man
    This should be "this particular one is milk that man consumes", no? That's how I understand the meaning.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    This should be "this particular one is milk that man consumes", no? That's how I understand the meaning.
    Yes, this is exactly the meaning. I have tried to word it in such a way to convey the same ambiguity which Rumi has done by missing out را.
     

    eskandar

    Moderator
    English (US)
    Got it. Unfortunately the ambiguity is impossible in English, which has stricter word order (SVO) than Persian, so "milk that consumes man" will necessarily be understood as milk being the subject and man the object.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    این یکے شیر است اندر بادیه
    و آن دگر شیر است اندر بادیه
    این یکے شیر است کہ آدم مے خورد
    و آن یکے شیر است کہ آدم مے خورد
    In modern Persian شیری که آدم میخورد can be interpreted as:
    The lion that devours people
    Or
    The milk that people devour

    آدم خوردن does not need را the verb is a compound, we have آدم‌خور “man-eater” or علف‌خوار/علف‌خور ‌”herbivore”

    For English speakers maybe the better translation is what follows. One must bear in mind that in Persian the word for milk & lion which is shir, is spelt exactly the same way (شیر). The point Molavi is making is that “one must not go by appearances alone”, here the identical spelling, and uses shir once for lion & once for milk.

    This one is shir (milk) inside a bowel
    [While] that one is shir (lion) in the woods
    This one is shir (milk) that human devours
    [While] that one is shir (lion) that devours human (is a man-eater)
     
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    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Got it. Unfortunately the ambiguity is impossible in English, which has stricter word order (SVO) than Persian, so "milk that consumes man" will necessarily be understood as milk being the subject and man the object.
    Sure, but with a little poetic licence, one can get away with murder, believe you me! What say you?
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I cannot see how shash and xvash keep the rhythm, is xvash one syllable? Unless xvash is pronounced as خش/xash
    xv was just one consonant. So, to answer your question directly, no it was not pronounced "xash" but "xvash". Just as "sh" in "shash" is one consonat, "xv" in "xvash" is one consonant.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    xv was just one consonant. So, to answer your question directly, no it was not pronounced "xash" but "xvash". Just as "sh" in "shash" is one consonat, "xv" in "xvash" is one consonant.
    I suppose since خور is cognate with English swallow, you can see how its /x/ & /v/ merge the way /s/ & /w/ do, the move from xvash to xosh must be, in big part, because of Arabic script, خوش can be read as xvash, xvesh, xosh or xowsh.
     
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    Derakhshan

    Senior Member
    Arabic, Persian
    It was probably a labialized /x/, or /xʷ/. It was reckoned as one consonant.

    Listen to it here: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/40/Labialized_voiceless_velar_fricative.ogg

    the move from xvash to xosh must be, in big part, because of Arabic script, خوش can be read as xvash, xvesh, xosh or xowsh.
    Not likely. Written language didn't really affect spoken language, since the vast majority of people were illiterate. We see the /xwa/ > /xo/ change in some other Western Iranian languages which weren't even written down until recently.
     
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    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    Written language didn't really affect spoken language, since the vast majority of people were illiterate.
    Ok I can accept that to a large extent for Persian words and Persians, but how about Persian words that were introduced into other languages via text only?
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Now I understand but not by reading it, basically I don’t understand the construct این فقیری in the context.

    آن دختر means "that girl" but آن دختری is meaningless unless it is followed by که.
    A couple of examples from Rumi's Masnavi.

    آن زنی می خواست تا با مُولِ خود
    بر زند در پیشِ شویِ گُولِ خود

    آن حکیمی گفت دیدم هم تکی
    در بیابان زاغ را با لکلکی
     
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    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    A couple of examples from Rumi's Masnavi.

    آن زنی می خواست تا با مُولِ خود
    بر زند در پیشِ شویِ گُولِ خود

    آن حکیمی گفت دیدم هم تکی
    در بیابان زاغ را با لکلکی
    When I read this I understand clearly that مولوی is saying "this/a woman wanted/intended to cover up her extra marital affair...." so ی function is to make زن indefinite, the same goes for حکیم.

    I don't see the same clarity in این فقیرے below, maybe that's just me.
    سرود رفته باز آید کہ ناید
    نسیمے از حجاز آید کہ ناید
    سرآمد روزگارِ این فقیرے
    دگر دانای راز آید کہ ناید
     
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    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    A couple of more examples.

    مترجمین بہ چنین دستورھائی احتیاج داشتہ اند

    Persian Grammar: History and State of its Study - Gernot. L. Windfuhr

    و ابوالحسن بن یحییٰ اندر کتاب معالجت بقراطی (کہ اندر طبّ کس چنان کتابی نکردہ است) بر شمرد از ائمّہ و حکما و فضلا و فلاسفہ کہ چند از ایشان بدان علّت معلول گشتہ اند۔

    چہار مقالہ
     
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