Azizam and joonam, the two most common terms of endearment in Persian
Although we’ve published a list of terms of endearment to call your Persian lover here on the Chai and Conversation blog before, and devoted an entire lesson to essential words and phrases for love and friendship, two terms of endearment are especially worthy of more lengthy discussion- aziz-am and joon-am.
You may have heard the word aziz before on its own- it simply means ‘dear’. You can use this word to refer to a lover, or to a friend or family member. In fact, Persians are quite liberal in who they use terms of endearment with, and unlike in the west, its even common to hear male friends call each other by these terms as well. Azizam simply means ‘my dear’. Here are some examples of it being used:
Father to a daughter: Azizam, beeyā shāmet rō tamoom kon! (my dear, come finish your dinner)
Wife to a husband: Azizam, khayli doostet dāram! (my dear, I really like (love) you!)
Boy to his girlfriend: Asheghetam azizam! (I am in love with you, my dear!)
Friend to friend: Azizam, khayli vakhté nadeedamet! (It's been a long time since I've seen you dear!)
Getting technical: Since we are primarily a language learning podcast, let’s get a bit into grammar here. Aziz-am is actually the combination of two words, a shortened version of azizé man. Man is the Persian word for ‘me’, and the ‘é’ sound that comes after ‘aziz’ is actually called an ezafé- learn all about that in Lesson 24 of Chai and Conversation- we won’t go over it here. The same applies to our next word joonam- it's actually a shortened version of jooné man.
Joonam is another extremely common term of endearment, and perhaps a little more fun to say, because even the act of saying it causes your lips to pucker as if getting prepared for a kiss. Joon is the word for life or soul. Because Persians are prone to drama and exaggeration, this terms is also used quite liberally. It can also be translated as meaning something along the lines of ‘my dear’, but more literally you are saying ‘my soul.’ However, it’s just as common to say joon as it is to say aziz.
Joon and joonam are also extremely versatile sayings and can be used in many contexts. Let’s go over a few of them here:
Joon is often used after saying someone’s name as a form of respect or affection- baba joon, for example, means father dear, or Sarah joon, is simply Sarah dear. Joonam specifically means my dear.
Used by itself, it is a question- like ‘yes, my dear?’. To put it in context:
Bob: Sarah joon (Sarah dear)
Sarah: Joonam? (yes, dear?)
Bob: Barām chai meereezee? (will you pour me a tea?)
Or, just like azizam, it can be used among lovers, friends and family as a simple term of endearment.
Friend to another friend: Salam joonam, khoobee? (Hello my dear, are you well?)
Joonam can also be used by itself to express delight. Simply saying Joonam! with glee after eating a delicious piece of cake, for example, shows that the piece of cake has made its way right to your soul.
So there you go, a simple discussion about the two most common words of endearment, joonam and azizam. For a whole discussion of other ways to talk about love and friendship, check out Lesson 19 of our podcast. Any other words you'd like to learn about? Leave them in the comment section below!