Persian: Indefinite ی after nouns and adjectives in negative sentences

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Qureshpor

Senior Member
Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
Friends,

In Persian, the indefinite suffix ی can be added to a noun or an adjective, the former being less common in the modern language.

a) بیژن دانشجوئی زرنگ است

b) بیژن دانشجوی زرنگیست

These sentences can be negated as below.

a) بیژن دانشجوئی زرنگ نیست

b) بیژن دانشجوی زرنگی نیست

To my understanding, both these sentences are correct. But, in a grammar book (Thackston), it says:

"In negative sentences, however, the indefinite enclitic always falls on the adjective and not on the noun". According to this the highlighted sentence is wrong! Do you agree with this?
 
  • PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    بیژن دانشجوئی زرنگ نیست
    I partly agree with Thackston in that this can’t be used as the negative form of either of the following:
    a) بیژن دانشجوئی زرنگ است

    b) بیژن دانشجوی زرنگیست
    But it is correct in certain contexts e.g. when you want to stress and imply that:

    Bijan is NOT a smart/clever STUDENT but he’s smart/clever nevertheless.
     
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    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    I, too, can think of an example where both inflections are valid while their meanings are not quite the same.
    زنِ میان‌سالی دنبالِ شوهر نمی‌گردد
    A certain middle-aged woman is not seeking a husband.
    زنی میان‌سال دنبالِ شوهر نمی‌گردد
    A middle-aged woman would not seek a husband.

    Also, where the adjective ends in an ‘ee’, the tendency is to go for the inflected form that grammar rightly disallows:
    دریایی لاجوردی در آن سوی کوه وجود ندارد.
    There is not an azure sea beyond the mountain.

    The fact is, though, the rule of grammar is mostly adhered to wherever the negative sentence is a pure opposite to the affirmative sentence, ie where the meaning is not supposed to change save for the negation.
     

    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    May I add a note to the above ramblings of mine? This is a general surmise I have come to make and I can’t really prove it. What is more, I am only speaking for Iranian Persian here, but I really do think that any construction that is possible will eventually be taken up and introduced if, and only if, there is a need for it, that is, for aesthetic reasons, out of laziness or by an over-stretching of the rules, or if a new meaning or idea will be conveyed through such diversity. This is how much respect we have for our grammar!
     
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    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    May I add a note to the above ramblings of mine? This is a general surmise I have come to make and I can’t really prove it. What is more, I am only speaking for Iranian Persian here, but I really do think that any construction that is possible will eventually be taken up and introduced if, and only if, there is a need for it, that is, for aesthetic reasons, out of laziness or by an over-stretching of the rules, or if a new meaning or idea will be conveyed through such diversity. This is how much respect we have for our grammar!
    If I have understood you correctly, this is my view. A living language is bound to introduce new elements into the language when these elements become widespread in speech and in writing. Just think about the use of the verb داشتن used for the continuous tense in the modern language. It is now part of the spoken and written language and is covered in newer Persian grammar books.
     

    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    I totally agree. Grammar changes, must do so, if it is to encapsulate the caprices of an organically growing thing, namely a living or even a half dead language. Your example demonstrates the point well. Thanks.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Hi Qureshpor, can you elaborate on this please.
    Sure.

    وقتی کہ آقای پرسولاطن در مازنداران بود، من داشتم بہ ماھان میرفتم

    I have read in a schlarly paper (as opposed to a newpaper) that "First appearance of the continuous tense with داشتن is observed in 1888."
     
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    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    وقتی کہ آقای پرسولاطن در مازانداران بود، من داشتم بہ ماھان میرفتم
    :) very good, too many الف’s in مازندران though and why not لاتین orلاطین?

    I have read in a schlarly paper (as opposed to a newpaper) that "First appearance of the continuous tense with داشتن is observed in 1888."
    So what was in use before 1888, any ideas given? It couldn’t have been همی and می.

    Also this topic is worthy of its own thread.
     
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    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    With reference to my original query, I am afraid I am still no further forward as to why

    بیژن دانشجوئی زرنگ نیست

    is considered to be wrong just because the indefinite article is placed on a noun when the sentence is negative!!
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    a) بیژن دانشجوئی زرنگ است

    b) بیژن دانشجوی زرنگیست

    These sentences can be negated as below.

    a) بیژن دانشجوئی زرنگ نیست

    b) بیژن دانشجوی زرنگی نیست
    بیژن دانشجوئی زرنگ نیست

    is considered to be wrong just because the indefinite article is placed on a noun when the sentence is negative!!
    I had explained but maybe not well, this sentence in that form is not complete.

    بیژن دانشجوی زرنگی است - Bijan is a smart student - complete statement :tick:
    بیژن دانشجوی زرنگی نیست - Bijan is not a smart student - complete statement:tick:

    بیژن دانشجویی زرنگ است - Bijan is one/a smart student - complete statement, :tick: despite being old style still conveys the meaning
    بیژن دانشجویی زرنگ نیست - Bijan is not one/a smart student - incomplete statement :cross:therefore a sub-statement and doesn't fully make sense, but in the following sentence it does:
    .بیژن دانشجویی زرنگ نیست چون تقلب می‌کند

    I don't know a grammar rule to quote for its incorrectness, that’s if there is one, but that's where we are.
     
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    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I had explained but maybe not well, this sentence in that form is not complete.

    بیژن دانشجوی زرنگی است - Bijan is a smart student - complete statement :tick:
    بیژن دانشجوی زرنگی نیست - Bijan is not a smart student - complete statement:tick:

    بیژن دانشجویی زرنگ است - Bijan is one/a smart student - complete statement, :tick: despite being old style still conveys the meaning
    بیژن دانشجویی زرنگ نیست - Bijan is not one/a smart student - incomplete statement :cross:therefore a sub-statement and doesn't fully make sense, but in the following sentence it does:
    .بیژن دانشجویی زرنگ نیست چون تقلب می‌کند

    I don't know a grammar rule to quote for its incorrectness, that’s if there is one, but that's where we are.
    Thank you PersoLatin. Absolutely clear now although, to my mind, بیژن دانشجویی زرنگ نیست is a complete sentence.

    بیژنن نیست BiiZan is n't.

    BiiZan is n't what?

    دانشجویی زرنگ a clever student.

    In my readings, If I come cross this kind of construction used by reputable Persian speaking authors, I shall come back to this thread.
     
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