Persian: When to use/not use آیا for questions?

Haji Firouz

Senior Member
Romanian
Hello,
I am unsure when I should add the آیا to make up a question in Persian/Farsi.
For example, given the sentence:
.دکتر آنجا است
... I should change this into a question, so may I use آیا ?
As in: آیا دکتر آنجا است؟
Does this also work: دکتر آنجا است؟

Is آیا similar to "do you" in English, where I can say: "Do you understand this?" But I obviously cannot say: "Do you hungry?"
Or is آیا something that covers a wider range of scenarios in Persian compared to "do you" in English?

Thank you!
 
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  • eskandar

    Moderator
    English (US)
    Simply, آیا forms a yes-or-no question. Any question that can be answered with "yes" or "no" can be formed with آیا , which covers questions that might be worded a number of ways in English. So yes, آیا دکتر آنجا است؟ is correct.

    This is the rule for formal writing. In informal Persian آیا is often dropped, so دکتر آنجا است؟ is fine for less formal registers.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    Without hopefully complicating things, آیا also means “whether” and can be used in a normal (non-interrogating) sentence e.g. از بهمن پرسیدم آیا دکتر آنجاست/I asked Bahman whether the doctor’s there.
     
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    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    Assuredly, the word doesn’t have to be used at all. It has its usefulness when a question carries a certain undertone (eg, in آیا دکتر چی خواهد گفت, expressing a degree of apprehension), but even in such nuanced speech there are substitutes for آیا one might go for instead.

    By the way, could one perhaps claim that originally the word had the precise meaning ‘will it be such that’?
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    By the way, could one perhaps claim that originally the word had the precise meaning ‘will it be such that’?
    Information about proposed etymologies could shed some light on it, while illustrations of its (hypothetical) early usage in such a setting which suggests your proposed meaning would answer the question. I, unfortunately, don't have access to such sources.
     
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    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    [
    Information about proposed etymologies could shed some light on it, while illustrations of its (hypothetical) early usage in such a setting which suggests your proposed precise meaning. I, unfortunately, don't have acces to such sources.
    I raised a thread on etymology of آیا a while back and in it I asked if آیا was derived from آمدن in the way روا is from رفتن or گویا from گفتن, but I have had no reply.

    If we assume آیا is derived from آمدن then its meaning is “something that comes/can happen” or as mannoushka has proposed: “will it be such that” when in a question.
     
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    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    If we assume آیا is derived from آمدن then its meaning is “something that comes/can happen” or as mannoushka has proposed : “will it be such that”
    Sounds plausible to me, but even so, it assumes that a historical, ancient form of the modern "aya", presumably somewhat a different shape which does not necessarily have to fit to the pattern of goyaa, ravaa, rasaa, meant "something (verbal noun/actor?)..." or "will it be...(conjugation form?)
    I raised a thread on the etymology of آیا a while back and in it I asked if آیا was derived from آمدن in the way روا is from رفتن or گویا from گفتن, but I have had no reply.
    You saved me searching time... Perhaps you could link it here, who knows all of us get lucky and get some help with this one?
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    Apologies, and thank you! [We're "creating traffic" by the way]
    --
    Does aayaa occur in Persian followed by که in subordinate clauses? آیا که
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    It seems to have had more than the interrogative particle meaning, in the past. (From دیکشنری آنلاین آبادیس - Abadis Dictionary - معنی آیا)

    الف) حسرت و افسوس؛ چنان‌که در این بیت سعدی آمده است:

    گفتم آیا که در این درد بخواهم مردن
    که محال است که حاصل کنم این درمان را

    ب) در معنی "آوخ" و بیان شگفتی یا تأکید معنی شرط؛ مثل این بیت انوری

    چاکر او باش آیا گر میسّر گرددت
    بس خداوندی که بر اقران کنی زآن چاکری

    ج) قید شک؛ چنان‌که خاقانی سروده است

    آباد بر آن شب که شب وصلت ما بود
    آیا که نه شب بود که تاریخ بقا بود

    یعنی: گویا آن شب وصال شب نبود۔۔۔۔۔​
     

    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    Thank you very much, Qureshpor, marrish and PersoLatin! I think that taken as an inflection of آمدن, which absent another root is how it ought to be considered, the word آیا primarily means (or originally meant) ‘naturally coming here’ and ‘potentially coming to pass’, hence ‘for the time being in the future’. Maybe the same adjective later gained some independence and became a part of a question every time the question concerned some unknown placed in the future, a useful shortcut containing the full beginning of any such question and implying ‘will it come to pass that?’

    This argument incidentally somewhat negates the claim of the dictionary cited above about آیا expressing regret or remorse, as those are secondary or reflective emotions arising from the past.
     
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    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    ... following from which, the Sa’di beit will come to mean what it seems to mean:
    “I wondered to myself: will it come to pass that I will perish of this pain,
    Since it is inconceivable that I am ever able to access the needed treatment?”
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    assumes that a historical, ancient form of the modern "aya", presumably somewhat a different shape which does not necessarily have to fit to the pattern of goyaa, ravaa, rasaa
    As we know the present stem of آمدن is آ which gives us آینده/future (cf. گوینده/speaker), the thing which comes/coming (cf. English 'coming' week) and also آیا as I have proposed, آیان/āyān is also possible but not every verb takes on all derivatives of this kind as they don’t always make semantic sense.

    EDIT: آیان is listed in Dehkhoda:
    آیان . (نف ، ق ) در حال آمدن . || بدیهه . آمده .

    So I don’t see آیا needing an ancient ancestor, unless of course that ancient ancestor existed for شنوا روا دانا etc. too.

    Based on this assumption آیا can be used as an adjective like some of its equals e.g:

    گوش شنوا (guŝe ŝenavâ) / hearing ear (people who actually listen)
    کار روا (kâre ravâ)/ legitimate action
    زن دانا (zane dânâ)/ knowledgeable lady/woman/wife
    رویداد آیا (ruydâde âyâ) / the [inevitable] coming/happening incident
     
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    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    There's also an old thread in which Qureshpor put forward this hypothesis: Urdu-Persian: aayaa آیا
    Funny enough I came across it myself a few months after I created my own & 8 years after Qureshpor had first raised it, I suggested that we should use that thread instead and exchanged some posts on it. My own one is gathering dust :)
     
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    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    I am unsure when I should add the آیا to make up a question in Persian
    In addition to the answers above, you can safely put آیا aside and never use it in a question, but you may have heard it in a question in day-to-day speech and that’s why you asked, in that case آیا is used to add stress to the question, or press the third party for a more immediate answer that they've not given so far.

    Also in a normal sentence/statement, آیا can be used, as I explained in post #3, as the equivalent to English “whether”.
     
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    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    Just to be difficult, آیا could also be conceived of as meaning ‘becoming’ or ‘going well together with something’, though I am pretty sure real-life examples of such usage, if at all existent, will prove hard to come by.
     
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