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steiner1745Tuesday 07th of June 2005 12:46:54 AM
two questions from a rank beginner - I just started learning Farsi and have two questions:
1). My textbook is "Teach yourself modern Persian",
which shows how to sound the letters, but gives
no idea of the stress. What are the rules
for accent in Farsi?
For example, how does one pronounce
bannaa= builder
and
aamad= he came?

2). Since the short vowels aren't written, how
does one read a strange word if there is no
indication of how to pronounce it? Do dictionaries
write the short vowels to help learners?

Salam alaikom,
Ray Steiner
steiner@math.bgsu.edu
daristaniTuesday 07th of June 2005 11:16:23 PM
Stress and unwritten vowels in Persian - I assume from the examples you gave that you're studying with the original version of "Teach Yourself Persian" by John Mace, which I think is good for beginners but doesn't go into overmuch detail on some things.

In terms of stress, most nouns, adjectives, and prepositions are stressed on the last syllable, so the word for "builder" is stressed on the second syllable.

It's more complicated with verbs; the stress usually is on the final syllable of the past stem, so in "he came" it's on the second syllable. Certain verbal prefixes take the stress, however, such as mi-, be-, na-.

All syllables are pronounced in Persian, so you don't have a situation as in English where you hit one hard and slur all the others; in other words, the difference between stressed and unstressed syllables in Persian is less than in English, so using the wrong stress isn't quite the problem in Persian that it would be in English. Persian books such as "An Introduction to Persian" by W.M. Thackston and "Persian Grammar" by John Mace give more details on stress patterns.

As for short or unwritten vowels, this is a problem that never ends completely but usually diminishes the more words you learn. Sometimes more than one word will be written in the same way but with different short vowels and thus different meanings. Most dictionaries do show the unwritten vowels either with vowel markings ("hareke") or via transcription. This (i.e., the issue of unwritten vowels) is, I think, one of the most frustrating problems for foreign learners of Persian.

In any event, good luck!
Paul8Monday 13th of June 2005 03:29:08 AM
- I have also bought Teach yourself modern persian but I believe that my version is newer than yours. You should at least look into buying the newer as it is very helpful. I already knew how to speak a little persian and I also recommend buying the book and cd pack so you can use the audio files to your advantage. These will help a lot in determining the stress. For the vowels, this is something carried over from Arabic. To them the vowels are useless and sometimes it gets tiring writing all oif those little marks especially in large works. It is also confusing when you are reading and accidently consider a vowel one of the dots representing a letter, which can really confuse your understanding. You should also read the rest of the posts from the entire discuss since they provide good links to sites that can help in learning the language.