Persian: The origins of the verbal prefix 'be/bo/ب'

PersoLatin

Senior Member
UK
Persian - Iran
Does the verbal prefix ب/be/bo originate from the verb 'to be/budan/بودن'? E.g. in the imperative boro/bero/برو, meant 'be gone'.

The question also applies to the prefix 'ب/be' in 'beravam/بروم'
 
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  • A.F

    Member
    Persian
    بودن یک مصدر است و مصدر ها زمان و شخص ندارند . معمولا وقتی مصدر ها به امر تبدیل می شوند "ب" به اول انها اضافه .
    . میشود . بن مضارع با حذف "ب" اول امر ساخته می شود
    مثلا مصدر خوردن ، امر ان بخور است و بن مضارع ان خور است
     

    farzan

    Senior Member
    Standard Iranian Persian
    As a distinguishing mark used with certain moods, the ب may well be a prefix that implies a sort of a distance between the utterance and the action. What I mean is, when you say بنشینم, what you imply is in fact that you may or may not sit down. Also when you command someone to do something, there is a level of uncertainty as to whether the action will actually be carried through. So perhaps the ب does have a faint meaning, which is, again perhaps, not totally unrelated to به; whether or not it has any relation to the verb بودن, I couldn't tell, I'm afraid.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I do not believe "bi" has any links to the verb "buudan". I am sure fdb will be kind enough to provide us with the etimology of this prefix as well as history of its usage.
    Below is just a small quote from a personal communication (in 2006) with Professor J.T.B de Bruijn (Professor emeritus of Persian, University of Leiden, The Netherlands).

    "[bi-] was already in Middle Persian a prefix of verbal forms. Some scholars have traced its origins to the particle [bî / bê], which also is known from Cl.P. as an independent preposition and in mod. P. as a verbal prefix, but this etymology is uncertain. It is true however that there are several cases where [bi-] gives a meaning to a verb quite different from the unmarked forms [e.g.dâshtan "to have"/ bidâshtan "to keep; budan "to be"/ bibudan to stay"]. In most cases the main function of the prefix [bi-], which always carries the stress, seems to have been to give emphasis to a normally unstressed verbal form. In written texts it is not always easy to detect the shade of meaning that this usage carries."
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    I’m sure the question I asked has been considered/asked before and has been dismissed as implausible, does anyone know if it has been & why it is implausible?
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I’m sure the question I asked has been considered/asked before and has been dismissed as implausible, does anyone know if it has been & why it is implausible?
    I have said, "I don't believe "bi" has any links to the verb "buudan"". This implies that I don't know for sure. If I knew one way or another I would have provided a clear cut answer. This is why I suggested that fdb would be the best person to answer as he has the expertise and knowledge in this and other linguistic fields.
     
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    Derakhshan

    Senior Member
    Arabic, Persian
    According to Thackston, the subjunctive and imperative prefix be- is from the ENP perfective prefix be-, as in f.e. دلم بسوخت which indicates perfective aspect of the verb.
     

    Derakhshan

    Senior Member
    Arabic, Persian
    As an adverb BE mostly appears in combinations, in NP bīrūn < MP bērōn ‘outside’, in MP also bēdom ‘furthermost, outermost’ (e.g., inDk6 1 §215, 216), and in bē az ‘outside of’ (e.g., in ŠNŠ 3 §20), az bē ‘from outside’ (e.g., in ŠGW 3 §24; 8 §45, §49), and bēdendar ‘outside’ in MPM (cf. Durkin-Meisterernst 2004: 121). Very common in MPZ is bē ō ‘forth to, away to’.
    The Verbal Particle BE in Middle Persian
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    I think a way forward is to examine the Persian imperative & conditional forms which are productive forms of this preverb “b-“, in modern Iranian Persian and see if its presence or otherwise, makes a difference, and if that difference can be extended to the past tense, as used in classical and literary Persian. I mentioned some of the following is another thread some time ago but I have not found it yet.

    Looking at a conditional sentence اگر بدانم دوستم داری اینجا میمانم/"if I know you love me I will stay here", strip the “b-“ preverb, اگر دانم دوستم داری اینجا میمانم, this can work but it shows a lack of commitment about staying, by the person who says the sentence, “b-“ adds that assurance as in "he will stay if he is sure she loves him".

    Looking at an imperative sentence برو ‏به ‏آنها ‏بگو/go and tell them, now strip both preverbs رو ‏به ‏آنها ‏گو, here the imperative without “b-“ can be meaningful and you certainly see it in poetry, but it lacks the commitment that says the command is to be executed as soon as.

    The meaning & origin of this “b-“ is very likely the Persian verb بودن"to be", it presence adds a sense of "be!" or "!باش", it is very close to or even the same as "were" in "if I were to know you love me I will stay here", "were" is the subjunctive version of "to be", one of the few surviving subjunctive forms in English. In the imperative case “b-“ adds the same meaning of "be!" or "!باش", so برو means روا نه باش"be gone" i.e. 'be [in a state] going' and بگو "be [in a state] saying" گویا ‏باش.

    Applying this unproven theory to the past tense بگفت must mean گویا بود or "entered an observable state of saying" and by extension بخندید must means "entered an observable state laughing" so بخندید in Persian: "خندا ن بود" so خندا ن شد و خندیدنش مشاهده شد
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    The way forward is to look at what the scholars in the field have said and then come up with plausible theories if no satisfactory answer is found in their writings. As I have mentioned in the بدیدی thread, the most comprehensive work on this has been done by the French scholar Gilbert Lazard. The article below is a good starting point. It mentions Lazard's contribution in the field of Early New Persian.

    FROM OLD TO NEW PERSIAN (page 38)
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    The way forward is to look at what the scholars in the field have said and then come up with plausible theories if no satisfactory answer is found in their writings.
    I am sure you are right but there's nothing wrong with coming up with other theories, as long as they make some sense. Speaking for myself and for others I have come across, academic qualifications are over rated.

    I believe the best qualified person to research this is, a Persian speaker and not necessarily native, has in-depth knowledge of one or two other Indo-European languages, speaks Persian like a native, colloquial, formal and some regional dialects, and who has performed their research on the ground i.e. in various Persian speaking regions and most importantly they have a genuine interest, if you find some like that then the game is on, of course if they happen to be an academic in the field then so much the better as they will get taken seriously quicker.

    So far Persian has not had as much attention as other classical languages have had, so one day soon maybe. I apologise beforehand to all those who fit the criteria and have tried but not found all the answers yet.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ I would suggest, vast majority of these scholars would pass your extremely stringent list of conditions. As for genuine interest, I would say they most certainly would have that. If they did n't, they would have made their living by some other means. I don't think you can do this kind of work just by sitting behind a computer. Some of these scholars have devoted their lives in their academic fields. I have been in touch with Gilbert Lazard (in 2006) amongst others. Lazard died in 2018. May God bless him and may he rest in peace.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    If they did n't, they would have made their living by some other means
    No comment.

    I don't think you can do this kind of work just by sitting behind a computer.
    I agree & I have said as much myself:
    and who has performed their research on the ground i.e. in various Persian speaking regions


    Some of these scholars have devoted their lives in their academic fields. I have been in touch with Gilbert Lazard (in 2006) amongst others. Lazard died in 2018.
    I will certainly look at Gilbert Lazard works on this topic and other Persian matters, personal recommendation is the best method for
    introducing people, so thanks Qureshpor.
     
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