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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 ask "When" questions in Persian.
This time, we are going to ask questions with the interrogative word "Who?"
Imagine you want to ask your friend who the attractive girl just behind him is.
Here, the question you can ask is ān dokhtar e poshte sare to ki ast? [slowly] ān dokhtar e poshte sare to ki ast?
So let’s break down this answer:
First we had:
ān which means “that”. The more natural pronunciation is “oon”.
Dokhtar means “girl”.
Then we have “e”, which is a conjunction suffix, adding “The girl” to “behind you”. Poshte sar is "behind", and to is the informal way of saying “you”. So overall poshte sar-e to would mean “Behind you”.
Finally we have ki, meaning “who”. So “who is..” will be “ki ast” or in a more natural way, “kie”.
all together it is ān dokhtar e poshte sare to ki ast? / oon dokhtar e poshte sare to kie?
So in Persian, "Who" is mainly translated as Ki to ask about someone's identity.
For example, if you want to ask "Who are these people?" You will say ānhā ki hastand when talking about a group of unknown persons.
As you notice, in Persian unlike in English, the interrogative word “who” is placed AFTER the pronoun subject here. When we ask ān dokhtar e poshte sare to kie?, here “ān dokhtar e poshte sare to” meaning “The girl behind you” is our subject; When we ask ānhā ki hastand , “ānhā” is subject.
But what if we had no subject pronoun? For example when asking “Who is coming?”
In this case, we will place “who” at the start of the sentences! Ki dare miād?
Ki only works for people, so you can't use it to ask information about things or places. As we saw just now, Ki as an interrogative word can also be used to ask who did something, for example.
If you are in a museum for instance, you can ask Ki in naghāshi rā keshide? This means "Who painted this painting?”
Notice that here, since we have a subject, we can also place Ki after the subject, before our verb. In naghāshi rā ki keshide?
Another interrogative formula with Ki that is used very often, is Māle ki meaning “For whom”
In this case, the meaning is different as it can be translated to "Whose."
So if you want to ask "Whose pencil is it?" you will have to say In medād māle kie?
If we break down this question, it is:
In which is "this"
medād which means “pencil.”
Then we have māle ki , meaning “Whose”.
At the end we shortened ast to e again, which is more natural.
You can also use the word ki to ask "for which person is it?" In Persian, we use the formula Barāye ki?
So if you want to know "For which person is this piece of cake?" It will be in ghet’e keik barāye kie?
Now it’s time for Anita's Advice
If someone that you didn't expect is knocking at your door in France, the common question you can ask is Kie? before opening the door.
This literally means "Who is it?" in a natural way. But to be really polite, It is common to just say Befarmāyid “Yes please?” This works both when someone knocks, and when they call.
Another important note is that there is another common word for “who” used in Persian. It is “Che kasi” meaning “what person” or “Che kasāni” meaning “what persons”. They will have the exact same meaning when replacing “ki” in a sentence.
Before ending this lesson, let’s go back and look at all the ways to translate "Who" in Persian:
- Ki is the basic "Who", as in ān dokhtar kie?
-Māle ki is insisting on the ownership, it is the equivalent of "Whose", as in "Whose pencil is it?" In medād māle kie?
- Barāye ki? which is the direct translation of "For whom?" As in "For whom is this piece of cake?" in ghet’e keik barāye kie?
In this lesson, we learned how to correctly use the interrogative word for "Who" which is ki in Persian, but also its variations.
Now you can easily know who is who!
The next lesson will be our last of this absolute beginner series.
We will deal with the last but not least common interrogative word, Cherā, which means “why”.
I’ll be waiting for you in the next “Persian in 3 minutes”!