Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Salam be hamegi, Sāre hastam! Hi everybody! I’m Sareh.
Welcome to PersianPod101.com’s “Persian in 3 minutes”. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Persian.
In the last lesson, we learned how to use the verb āmadan.
We will now jump into our lessons dedicated to question words in Persian. Our first one is the most commonly used question word, but also one of the most difficult in Persian, and that is "What." You’ll see that there are many ways to translate it in Persian.
So imagine you want to ask your friend what he’s doing. How will you do it?
You will ask: Che kār mikoni?
[slowly] Che kār mikoni?
We learned this before in lesson 18. Let’s break down this sentences once more:
Che kār mikoni
That means "What are you doing?" in an informal form. Do you remember kār, work?
Notice that mikoni consists of mi + kon, which is the present root of kardan + i, which is the personal pronoun.
So, all together it is Che kār mikoni?
“What are you doing?”
As you can see, in Persian, "What" is mainly translated as Che. You can also use "chi" which is more informal and natural instead.
If you want to sound more formal, you only need to change the verb Mikoni to its plural form, Mikonid, or its easier pronunciation, Mikonin.
You can use it if you are talking to an older or superior person in a working context.
Also in our past lessons, we talked about how to add the Infinitives of Dāshtan before the verb to make it stronger, as something that they are doing "right now".
If you add the Infinitives of "Dāshtan" before your question, it will sound even more natural!
Dāshtan's present root is "Dār".
Dāri Chikār mikoni?
Dārid Chekār mikonid? / Dārin Chekār mikonin?
The rule is simple: each time you want to ask a question starting with "What" and followed by a transitive verb, you have to use Chi in Persian.
For example, with the transitive verb "to want", "What do you want" in an informal way will be Chi mikhāhi? [slowly] Chi mikhāhi?
Also with the transitive verb manger "to eat", it will be - Chi mikhori?
On the other hand, be careful with verbs which require preposition like Sohbat kardan, "to talk". if you add Chi before it, it would be a meaningless sentences, because Che sohbat mikoni? would mean "what you talking"?
So you need to add darbāre meaning “about” before Chi.
Darbāāre ye chi sohbat mikoni?
[slowly] Darbāre ye chi sohbat mikoni?
In the case of nouns, "What" in Persian changes places. It will come after the noun. Yet since we need to add ast after chi here, Chi+ast would make the shorter question verb of chist.
So, for example, if you want to ask somebody’s name very politely you can ask
Esm e shomā chist?
You can even change chist to chie to make it even shorter, which is more common:
Esm e shomā chie?
To ask about his job, say Kāre shomā chie? which means "What is your job?"
Of course, these were all formal. for making them informal, you need to change "Shomā, the Plural version of “you” to "to", the single version of “you”. To make it even more common, we shorten "to" to t.
Esme-t chist?
Kāre-t chie?
Now it’s time for Anita's Advice
Another difficulty in Persian is when you ask a question that enables various possible answers. As in "Which is your favorite one?" In this case, you have to use kodām which is in fact the literal translation of "which" or "which one".
So kodām rā mikhāhi? means "Which one do you want?"
Before ending this lesson, let’s go back and look at all the ways to translate "What" in Persian:
- Chikār mikoni before transitive verbs and Dāri Chikār mikoni? "What are you doing now?"
-For verbs that require a preposition, say the preposition first, and then e/ye, then ask your question. Such as Darbāāre ye chi sohbat mikoni? "What are you talking about?"
- chist, which is used after a noun as in Esm e shomā chist? "What is your name?"
- kodām which is the correct equivalent of "Which" when you have to select one option among several others.
In this lesson, we learned how to translate the word "What" depending on the grammatical situation.
I know it is not always simple, but I am sure you will remember these short rules!
Next lesson, we will talk about the Persian for the interrogative word "Where".
Do you know it already? I can promise it’s easier than "what"!
I’ll be waiting for you with the answer in the next “Persian in 3 minutes” lesson!