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Lesson Transcript

Mohammad: Hi everyone, I’m Mohammad.
Becky: And I’m Becky! Welcome back to PersianPod101.com. This is Pronunciation, lesson 3, Stress in Persian. In the last lesson, we learned how to pronounce Persian consonants, vowels, and diphthongs. In this lesson, we're going to extend on pronunciation a bit, and move from "Parts" to "The Whole Picture".

Lesson focus

Mohammad: That's right. Which means that we'll learn to build up some elements of pronunciation, gathering the small elements of pronunciation from the letters, which we’ve already learned...
Becky …into bigger parts called words, pronouncing them all together correctly, in order to make sentences that will become the Persian language.
Becky: So Mohammad, what's the main rule of pronouncing words in Persian?
Mohammad: I would say that it's the stress that we put on the correct part of the word, or it's the part of a word we say with more emphasis, that creates the right pronunciation.
Becky: And this stress has its own rules, right? Let's cover a few of them here.
Mohammad: Ok. The general rule is that the stress falls on the last syllable of most words.
Becky: Could you give us some examples? And listeners, please pay attention to where Mohammad stresses the words.
Mohammad: Like for example: ممنون "Mamnoon" which means "Thanks". The stress is on the last syllable, "noon" – "Mamnoon". Or the word "Farhangi", which means "Cultural". Its stress falls on the last syllable, "gi".
Becky: What about one-syllable words?
Mohammad: The last syllable in them becomes the whole word itself. For example, "Toop" meaning "Ball". So we stress the whole word and say "Toop".
Becky: Of course, there are exceptions. Mohammad, when shouldn't we put the stress on the last syllable?
Mohammad: In interjections, conjunctions and vocatives, the stress is usually on the first syllable. For example, the word "Yes" becomes بله "Baleh", the word "But" becomes ولی "Vali", "If" becomes اگر "Agar", "Sir" is آقا "Agha!" (when calling), and another word for "Thanks" is مرسی "Mersi".
Becky: The words for "Thanks" shouldn't be confused.
Mohammad: That’s right. "Mersi" is stressed on the first syllable, while "Mamnoon" and "Motshakker" are stressed on their last syllables. There are some other exceptions too.
Becky: For example, there are words that are NEVER stressed, right? These words are divided into a few groups, which are mostly suffixes or prepositions. Let’s jump right in and cover them.
Mohammad: The first group of words that are "Never Stressed" are the attached pronouns at the end of verbs. Like for example "-am" meaning "I do" or "I did" as in "Raftam" meaning “I went”, or "-i" meaning "You do" or "You did" as in "Mikhori" meaning “You eat”. The rest are: "-ad, -im, -id, -and".
Becky: Okay. The next group that are never stressed, are the possessive suffixes "Eh" and "Ye" which mean "Of". Like...
Mohammad: "Maryam's book", which becomes "Ketabeh Maryam". The "Beh", meaning "Of", in "Ketabeh" is not stressed.
Becky: Next, the object-indicating preposition: "Ra". For example...
Mohammad: "[He] ate the apple." becomes "Sib ra khord". "Khord" means "Ate", and "Sib" is the object "Apple". They are both stressed, but the "Ra" that indicates "Apple" is not stressed. Once more: "Sib ra khord."
Becky: Next, the "i" that means "a" after nouns, is not stressed.
Mohammad: Like "Derakhti" meaning "A tree". "Derakhti".
Becky: And lastly, the "O" meaning "and" is also never stressed.
Mohammad: Like "Man o To" meaning "Me and You". "Man o To".
Becky: Okay. The last group of words that are never stressed are the attached possessive suffixes on the endings of nouns, which mean: "My, your, his, her, our, and their".
Mohammad: Which are "-am, -et, -esh, -emun, -etun, and -eshun" respectively. Like for example, when you want to say "Our garden", you say "Baghemun".
Becky: Now let's move on to the "Stress" in verbs. Again, the general rule is that in the past and present forms of most verbs (except 3-syllable past forms), the stress falls on the first syllable of the word.
Mohammad: Yes. For example "[I] drink" becomes "Minoosham", "[Please] write" is "Benevis", and "[He] didn't eat" is "Nakhord".
Becky: In the 3-syllable past form exceptions of verbs, the stress is on the middle syllable.
Mohammad: Like for example "[I] came" is "Amadam", and "[You] wrote" is "Neveshti".
Becky: In the positive future tense conjugation, which are made up of auxiliary verbs, the stress falls on the second syllable of the auxiliary verb.
Mohammad: For example, "[I] will eat" becomes "Khaham khord", and "[They] will go" becomes "Khahand raft". In the negative forms, the stress is not on the second, but on the first syllable. For example "[You] won't see" becomes "Nakhahi did".
Becky: And finally, in other positive compound verbs created by auxiliary verbs, the stress falls on the last syllable of the first word or the auxiliary verb.
Mohammad: That's right. For example, "[You] had gone" becomes "Rafteh boodi", and "[if you] are asleep" becomes "Khabide boodi".
Becky: Okay. These were the general rules of pronunciation in Persian language. But in fact, it doesn't end here. What else can effect the pronunciations, Mohammad?
Mohammad: One thing is the form of the sentence, which can be divided into - Imperative, Predicative, Interrogative, and Conditional forms, each one having its own pronunciation rules.
Becky: And, the variations of accents and dialects can also affect stress and pronunciation rules in their own way.
Mohammad: Which is why we're going to talk about them in the next lesson.
Becky: But although you'll keep discovering new things about pronunciation - and other aspects of language - over time...
Mohammad: ...the important thing is that you know the basics, and practicing them will help you to understand any other changes that may happen on the way.
Becky: So keep on practicing, everyone!


Becky: That’s it for this lesson. Make sure to check the lesson notes to reinforce what you’ve learned in this lesson. Thanks for listening, everyone!
Mohammad: Khoda Hafez.
Becky: See you next time!