Speak / Lesson 17
How to Describe Things (Includes List of All the Colors)
In this lesson, we learn all about how to describe things. We begin with the colors in the Persian language:
After that, we go over some common descriptive words, and we'll use them to describe chickens as an example. The descriptive words we go over include:
And more! We go over a dialogue in which we talk about expensive cars.
how are you?
Note: In Persian, as in many other languages, there is a formal and an informal way of speaking. We will be covering this in more detail in later lessons. For now, however, chetor-ee is the informal way of asking someone how they are, so it should only be used with people that you are familiar with. hālé shomā chetor-é is the formal expression for ‘how are you.’
Spelling note: In written Persian, words are not capitalized. For this reason, we do not capitalize Persian words written in phonetic English in the guides.
Pronunciation tip: kh is one of two unique sounds in the Persian language that is not used in the English language. It should be repeated daily until mastered, as it is essential to successfully speak Persian. Listen to the podcast for more information on how to make the sound.
|how are you?
|I’m very well
|I’m not well
|I’m not bad
|how are you? (formal)
|hālé shomā chetor-é?
|how are you? (formal)
|how are you? (informal)
|are you well? (informal)
|chetor peesh meeré?
|how’s it going?
|what’s the news? (what’s up?)
Leyla: Hello everyone and welcome back to Chai and Conversation!
Matt: We are now in Unit 2 of the lessons, and we are continuing to build up our vocabulary and conversational skills.
Leyla: We've been talking a lot about food lately, and we still have a bit more to cover on that topic, but I thought we'd change gears a bit for this lesson and learn another important part of language learning- how to describe things.
Matt: In this lesson, we'll be going over some frequently used adjectives and end it with a dialogue that deals with choosing a car.
Leyla: As always, you can find bonus materials for this lesson and all the other lessons on our website at chaiandconversation.com with chai spelled chai. But enough of that for now, Matt, are you ready to begin the lesson?
Leyla: Great, then let's begin to learn Persian with Chai and Conversation!
Leyla: So Matt, you know this already, but I'll tell my listeners, this week I went out and purchased 9 baby chickens. That's one of the benefits of living in Austin TexasÉ it's not uncommon to have chickens in the backyard. My grandmother used to raise them in Ahvaz Iran as well, so I guess I'm going back to my roots in a way. So, to have a bit of fun with it, let's learn to describe these chickens. First, the word for chicken is 'morgh'
Leyla: Right, so we have that difficult gh sound in thereÉ hopefully everyone's gotten that down by now. So the word for chicken- morgh
Leyla: So the chickens I chose happen to come in all different colors, red, orange, brown, white, black, with accents of every color in between. We haven't gone over colors before in the program yet, so let's go ahead and do that now. First, the word for color is rang
Leyla: And the word for colors, plural is rangha
Leyla: So let's start with black- seeya
Leyla: White is sefeed
Leyla: So black and white, seeya o sefeed
Matt: Seeya o sefeed
Leyla: Purple is banafsh
Leyla: Blue is abee
Leyla: And ab if you remember is the word for water. So the color of water, blue, abee
Leyla: Green is sabz
Leyla: And again, remember in food greens is sabzee
Leyla: And we also have the dish gourmet greens, ghormeh sabzee
Matt: Ghormeh sabzee
Leyla: Yellow is zard
Leyla: Orange is naranjee
Leyla: Similar to the Spanish for orange, naranja. Naranjee
Leyla: Next, there are two different commonly used words that mean 'red'. The first is sorkh
Leyla: And the second ghermez
Leyla: Sorkh and ghermez. So let's learn one last color before going over all of these one more time. The word for the color brown is 'ghahveyee'
Leyla: And Matt, do you happen to remember the word for coffee?
Matt: Of course, it's Ghahve
Leyla: That's right, ghahve. So ghahve, coffee, ghahveyee brown. Ghahveyee
Leyla: So you ready to go over all these colors again? So white is sefeed
Leyla: Black is seeyah
Leyla: Purple, banafsh
Leyla: Blue, has to do with the color of water, do you remember this on your own Matt?
Leyla: That's right, blue is abee. The color of green is the same as greens or herbs, can you remember that one?
Leyla: That's right! Yellow, I'll help you out with, it's zard
Leyla: Orange, like the Spanish word naranja
Leyla: Close! Naranjee
Leyla: Great. Then red has two versions. The first is sorkh
Leyla: And the second is ghermez
Leyla: These are both used equally often, and they can both be used for any shade of red. It just depends on your preference of which you'd like to choose. They each contain the difficult sounds we've learned, so maybe you can choose based on which is less difficult for you to say, gh or kh, ghermez or sorkh. And finally, brown, which is similar to the word for coffee. Can you remember it Matt?
Leyla: Ok great! You can practice these on your own until you can remember them. But for now, let's learn how to use these colors to describe my new chickens! So one of the chickens is white. So to say 'this chicken is white, we say 'een morgh sefeede'
Matt: Een morgh sefeede
Leyla: This should be a familiar structure to you. We've taken sefeed and hast meaning 'is white' and reduced is to 'sefeede'. So een morgh sefeede
Matt: Een morgh sefeede
Leyla: If we want to simply say 'white chicken' we say 'morghe sefeed'
Matt: Morghe sefeed
Leyla: Now the e sound in this phrase, as in morgh-e is something we've learned before. It's called the 'ezafe' and it's used to link the adjective to the noun. So we just put the two words together and link them with this sound, simple as that. Morghe sefeed
Matt: Morghe sefeed
Leyla: Now let's say 'orange chicken'. Morghe naranjee
Matt: Morgheh naranjee
Leyla: So, knowing yellow is zard, how do we say yellow chicken?
Matt: Morgheh zard
Leyla: So now, I have three black chickens. Let's learn how to say 'these chickens are black.' First, let's learn how to make chicken plural. One chicken is morgh and multiple chickens are morgh-ha
Leyla: So this is a general rule. One color is rang, and multiple colors are rang-ha. So when you want to make something plural, you add 'ha' at the end.
Leyla: Let's take another noun we knowÉ can you think of one Matt?
Matt: Ummm, how about book, ketab
Leyla: Ok, that's a good one, book is ketab, so what is 'books'
Leyla: Ok, getting back to what we wanted to say 'these chickens are black. We simply say 'een morgh-ha seeyahan'
Matt: Een morgh ha seeyahan
Leyla: Seeyahan is a shortened version of seeyah plus hastand. Really it becomes seeyahand, but in conversation, the d becomes silent. So een morgh ha seeyahan
Matt: Een morgha seeyahan.
Leyla: And then to say black chickens we say 'morgh-haye seeyah
Matt: Morghaye seeyah
Leyla: Let's also revisit another concept we learned in a previous lesson. To say 'I have a sister' we said 'man ye khahar daram
Matt: Man ye khahar daram
Leyla: How would you say 'I have three sisters'
Matt: Man se khahar daram
Leyla: That's right, so nothing changes except the number. So let's apply this to black chickens. To say I have three black chickens, you simply say 'man se morghe seeyah daram.
Matt: Man se morghe seeyah daram.
Leyla: And to say I have one white chicken you say 'Man ye morghe sefeed daram
Matt: Man ye morghe sefeed daram
Leyla: Ok great! Now let's learn some more describing words that can be applied to these little chickens. Let's learn how to compare chicken sizes. First, lets learn the word for small. It's koocheek
Leyla: So we could say 'een morgh koocheeke'
Matt: Een morgh koocheekeh
Leyla: Or, to say all the chickens are small, which is true right now, you say 'een morgh-ha koocheek-an. So we make both the noun and the verb plural, just as you would in English. So in English you say 'this chicken is small', and or 'these chickens are small'. In Persian you say een morgh koocheeke. Koocheekeh is a combination of koocheek and hast. Hast is the singular conjugation of is. And for plural you say een morgha koocheekan. Koocheekan is a combination of koocheek and hastand. Hastand is the plural conjugation of is. Een morghha koocheekan.
Matt: Een morgh ha koocheekan
Leyla: Now let's say one chicken is small, but we want to compare it with another chicken that is smaller. Een morgh koocheekeh, vali een morgh koocheek-tare. So to say something is more, we add a 'tare' to the verb. So een morgh koocheek-tareh.
Matt: Een morgh koocheek tareh
Leyla: And to say 'this is the smallest chicken we say have to flip things around a bit. We say 'een koocheektareen morghe'
Matt: Een koocheektareen morgheh.
Leyla: So just as we flipped things in English from This chicken is smaller to this is the smallest chicken, we switched it from 'een morgh koocheektare' to een koocheektareen morgheh'
Matt: Een koocheektareen morgheh
Leyla: So to say smallest, we add a 'tareen' to the adjective. Koocheektareen. So let's go through all three of these again. Een morgh koocheeke
Matt: Een morgh koocheeke
Leyla: Een morgh koocheektare
Matt: Een morgh koocheektare
Leyla: Een koocheektareen morgheh
Matt: Een koocheektareen morghe
Leyla: Now let's learn some more adjectives. We've learned small, now let's learn big. Big is bozorg
Leyla: So using the same rules, we add tar to the end to form bigger. Bozorgtar
Leyla: And we add tareen to make it biggest. Bozorg tareen
Leyla: Now let's learn quick, ferz
Leyla: So quicker is ferz-tar
Leyla: And quickest is ferz-tareen
Leyla: Slow is kond
Leyla; Slower is kondtar
Leyla; And slowest is kondtareen
Leyla: Nice looking is ghashang
Leyla: Nicer looking is ghashangtar
Leyla: And best looking is ghashangtareen
Leyla: Ugly is zesht
Leyla: Uglier is zeshtar
Leyla; And ugliest is zeshtareen
Leyla: Now let's say again, we're talking about the chickens, and you want to say 'this black chicken is nice looking.' You would say 'een morghe seeya ghashange.
Matt: Een morghe seeyah ghashange.
Leyla: so first you are describing it, saying 'een morgheh seeyah and then saying something about it, namely that it is nice looking, ghashange. Een morgheh seeyah ghashange
Matt: Een morgheh seeyah ghashange
Leyla: Now let's say you want to say the red chicken is slow. Een morgheh sorkh konde
Matt: Een morgheh sorkh konde
Leyla: But that the yellow chicken is slower. Vali oon morgheh zard kond-tare
Matt: Vali oon morgheh zard kont-tare
Leyla: Notice I changed 'een' meaning this to oon meaning that. So een morgheh sorkh konde, vali oon morgheh zard kond-tare. Let's say it seaparately one more time and then we'll put it together. 'Een morghe sorkh konde,
Matt: Een morghe sorkh konde
Leyla: vali oon morghe zard kond-tare
Matt: Vali oon morghe zard kond-tare
Leyla; Ok, together it's een morghe sorkh konde, vali oon morgheh zard kon-tare
Matt: Een morghe sorkh konde, vali oon morgheh zard kond-tare.
Leyla: Ok, we're nearing the end of the lesson, but we're going to finish it up with a dialogue, and in order to do that, we'll need to learn a couple more words. This dialogue is going to involve deciding on buying a car. So first, the word for car- masheen
Leyla; Just a note, you could also use the word 'automobile'
Leyla: But masheen is a little more common. Machin
Leyla; And Matt, following the rule of adding 'ha' to make it plural, how do you say 'cars.'
Leyla: That's right. Now we've learned the word for good before, do you remember it Matt?
Leyla: Right. So, this is one of the words that has an exception when converting it to comparative adjectives. For example to say better you don't say 'khoobtar' as you would think. Rather, you say 'behtar'
Leyla: And best builds on the word for better, and is behtareen'
Leyla; So khoob
Leyla: And behtareen
Leyla: Now let's learn the word for expensive. And that is geroon
Leyla: So more expensive is geroontar
Leyla: And most expensive, geroontareen
Leyla: And cheap is arzoon
Leyla; Cheaper is arzoontar
Leyla: And cheapest is arzoontareen
Leyla: So let's quickly go over the base of all the adjectives we have learned so far, and then we can have a dialogue using the words we've learned. Here we go