Persian: to vs. shomâ in forums etc.

DrLindenbrock

Senior Member
Italian
Hi,
a question directed particularly to natives (Aljish, Bienvenidos, Tisia, AbbasSupreme and the rest of you for which I beg pardon for not naming you, please give your views! :) )
Given the difference between to (informal) and shomâ (formal) in addressing a person, which one is used in internet environments such as:
- forums (or fora :) )
- comments sections in blogs
- instant messaging between people who have never met before and now nothing about each other except their msn (or other) address?
- anything else similar
(all this was intended to be the question... but I don't know where to place the question mark now :eek: :D )
Thanks! :)
 
  • Bienvenidos

    Senior Member
    USA
    Afghanistan/USA
    That's a very interesting question. :D :)

    First, I'd like to start off by saying that, when speaking on the telephone to someone who you do not know, it would be šomâ.

    Persian is such a formal language, that with the internet-age I'm not sure which direction the online langauge is heading. Nonetheless, I think it wise to use šomâ, while gradually keeping in mind that shortly you will be able to use tu (Note: I'm writing tu because in Afghan Persian, it sounds exactly as the Spanish ; it is not pronounced "to" in Afghanistan)

    So in order of the bullets:
    • In a forum like this one, between two people who have met and spoken in some detail before, such as you and I, I would definitely use tu, as I have in private messages. However, when a new member asks a question, I would use šomâ. This might sound like a double standard, but if the person is a native Persian speaker, I would use šomâ while if they're not a native speaker tu would be fine. I can't really explain why but I think that's how it goes most of the time, just due to the fact that for the native speaker, who is acquainted with the formality of the language, it is very important.
    • I would definitely use šomâ in a blog, notely because more than one person could be writing the blog. But if you were posting a response to somebody else's comments, definitely use šomâ. Tu might sound rude.
    • Instant messaging; again, unlike American youth, I think Persian-speaking youth will most likely use šomâ. But I'm sure by the end of a half hour conversation you could move up to using tu. It all depends on who you are speaking to, and how they begin to address you. Sometimes, when you're talking to somebody your own age in person, it might feel awkward for both of you to use šomâ, so you might switch to using tu. I must also add that in all of these categories, the Persian šomâ and tu are quite possibly the most vibrant examples of degrees of formality that exist in modern language; unlike other languages, these forms of addressing people are here to stay and are used very widely. I would almost feel embarrassed if I were to address someone by "tu" who I just met, whereas in some languages the formality level is lower.
    All in all, I would sum it up by saying situation is everything. Persian speakers are very formal, but we're not stiff. :D :) So we might just start a conversation off with tu (or to) and let the ball roll!

    :D :) Great question! Let me know if I've made a mess of my explanation! :D :)
     

    Tisia

    Senior Member
    Iran, Persian, Kurdish, English, Finnish
    This is just my view. I don't know a set guideline for this. I would personally use the formal and respecful word 'shoma' to refer to 'you' if the person is unknown or new to me. This usually shows in the possessive pronouns or the verb. For example:

    -> Nazaretaan chi hast? What is your (formal/respect) opinion?
    -> Lotfan agar so'aale digari darid beporsid. If you (formal/respect) have any other question please ask.

    In those sentences I am addressing only one person in this case, but for plural it has the same structure.

    Where are the others:)

    Regards
    Tisia
     

    DrLindenbrock

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Thank you the two of you (you responded to all my threads; well done!:) )
    You're answers were very clear, thanks!
    So, in short, you suggest I should go by the same standards of normal life?

    The fact is I more or less would know which to use when meeting people face to face.
    My doubt arose because, e.g. in Italian, the traditional use of formal or informal pronouns undergoes many changes once you get on the internet.
    I would say in Italian you almost always use informal pronouns in a forum or in an answer to a blog (although there has been some discussion on this even here in WR).

    And - Bienvenidos - as your point in addressing natives formally while being looser with non-natives. I think that applies to every language. One's always more indulgent with foreigners!
     

    Bienvenidos

    Senior Member
    USA
    Afghanistan/USA
    And - Bienvenidos - as your point in addressing natives formally while being looser with non-natives. I think that applies to every language. One's always more indulgent with foreigners!
    :) :D :D :)

    Persian is such a formal language, nothing can change it. Not even the the Internet :D :) :D :)
     
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