Predicament with unwritten vowels in Persian!

Predicament with unwritten vowels in Persian!
by Azadeh Azad
29-Nov-2010
 

Today, in response to Mehrban’s poem where she, as a child, confuses ‘’Two Candidates’’ with ‘’Two fianceés’’ (nothing to do with vowels,)

 http://iranian.com/main/blog/mehrban-9 

I shared with her a childhood story about my problem with TWO, which I’d like to reproduce here.

The episode of my predicament with an unwritten vowel in a Persian word happened when I was seven. We were visiting my mother's aunt and I was out in their alley. There was a house with open door just opposite our hostess's. Above its door was placed a sign with words I had great difficulty understanding. To me, it read, ''Fereshteh's Two-Lives!!' (Fereshteh's Do-Zendegi.)

For hours, I was wondering if ''Do-Zendegi'' meant having two front-yards, or two sets of families, or one life during the day and another at night. And I was thinking why on earth should anyone announce their Two Lives to the public? I did not ask my parents what it meant, as I thought I was expected to know it by then! I realised its meaning the next time we were guests in our relative's house.

Yes, you guessed it right: the sign read: Fereshteh's DOOZANDEGI (Fereshteh's Sewing Shop!) LOL!

 As a child, or while in Akaaber :-), have you ever had a predicament with unwritten vowels in Persian? 

Cheers,

Azadeh

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Azadeh Azad

Dear bparhami

by Azadeh Azad on

Thank you for bringing up this other challenging aspect of reading a Persian prose or poetry.  Maybe it could be remedied by teaching and emphesising, in the school and in the media, the idea of the proper use of space.

Azadeh

 


bparhami

Lack of space is also a problem

by bparhami on

Besides lack of some vowels in Persian, the omission or inconsistent use of space is also a problem. Imagine reading an English sentence that begins:

Alargerectangleintheplaneispartitionedintoseveralsmallerrectangles...

Most of us can decipher the sentence above, but this style of writing would reduce our reading speed and perhaps even comprehension. Granted, the connectivity of some letters in Persian script makes the problem less severe, but it is still something to think about. Proper use of space in transcribing poetry can ease, though certainly not eliminate, some of the problems.


Azadeh Azad

BTW, Avestan alphabet had written vowels

by Azadeh Azad on

Mousy: LOL.  

Anahid jan: I have never seen a poetry book with written vowels. I'm glad there are now ones with inserted correct vowels. This takes a huge burden off the shoulders of the reader.

BTW,  it is in the Semitic languages, such as Hebrew and Arabic, that the vowels are usually unwritten. The Avestan alphabet was a full alphabet, with explicit characters for vowel.  It had 37 consonants and 16 vowels.

http://www.iranchamber.com/scripts/avestan_alphabet.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avestan#Vowels

Not that anything is wrong with the Arabic alphabet :-))  

Cheers, 

Azadeh 

 


Anahid Hojjati

Mehrban has an excellent point in her comment

by Anahid Hojjati on

Mehrban wrote:" Unwritten vowels is particularly a killer, in reading many of our traditional poems, only
a trained reader is able to keep the rhythm and the cadence (?) of the
poem as it may have been intended."

She is absolutely correct. Fortunately, some poetry books are good and insert the correct vowel so as Mehrban has noted, the reader can keep the rhythm of the poem. I am looking at this poetry book from "Shafee Kadkani" and the vowels are there, even a little circle is used so reader knows that there is a pause there.


Anonymouse

Yes always.To this day I prefer 2 read it out loud as two lives!

by Anonymouse on

Everything is sacred


Azadeh Azad

...

by Azadeh Azad on

Mehrban-e aziz: very true.

Dear Mouse: Did you ''always'' read it incorrectly? :-).

Monda jan:  Rang or Reng depends on how you begin reading the graffitti :-)

Cheers,

Azadeh


Monda

here's one of mine

by Monda on

Years ago I read this graffiti around my grandmother's house:

کس نبیند رنگ آزادی

 

Of course as an adult, I didn't need ask anyone about the real meaning :o)

(rang or reng? either worked with me, even now) 


Anonymouse

من هم "دوزندگی" رو همیشه اشتباه میخوندم!

Anonymouse


الان چیزی شبیه دوزندگی یادم نمیاد ولی‌ اگه یادم افتاد میگم! 

Everything is sacred


Mehrban

Unwritten vowels in poetry

by Mehrban on

is particularly a killer, in reading many of our traditional poems, only a trained reader is able to keep the rhythm and the cadence (?) of the poem as it may have been intended.  


Mehrban

dble pst

by Mehrban on

 pls dlt (all unwritten vowels) :-).


Azadeh Azad

Immortal Guard

by Azadeh Azad on

I like your homonymous sentences. Here are two interesting sets for your enjoyment :-).

Viens dans mon sein doux pour y goûter la vie d'ange.
Viens dans mon saindoux pourri, goûter la vidange. 
 

Les jeux de mots laids sont pour les gens bêtes.
Les jeux de mollets sont pour les jambettes.

As for your statement that we cannot make a mistake when writing a piece someone is dictating,  it does not apply to today’s Persian.  Even if one knows the meaning of a word within a sentence and understands the sentence itself, still one might not be able to write that word correctly. For instance, we have 3 kinds of S (Se, Seen, Saad,) which make it possible to have three words pronounced SOOR,  but written with three different Ss, resulting in three different meanings :

Soor with  Se  means Cow,  with Seen  means Celebration, and with Saad means Horn for blowing.

Cheers,

Azadeh 


Immortal Guard

But you cannot make a mistake when writing a "Dikteh"!

by Immortal Guard on

Imagine when a French teacher is dictating the students and says:

"Il faut des armées"

"Il faut désarmer"

In the first case it means "We should have armies" while in the second case it means "We should disarm". Now for a military attache that can make a huge difference.

 


Azadeh Azad

Hilarious, Ari

by Azadeh Azad on

I can't stop laughing.  I think you just made this up. Too funny to be true. LOL!


Azadeh Azad

You're most wlcome

by Azadeh Azad on

Anahid jan,

When I went back to Iran in the mid-90's, after 25 years of absence, I was walking alone on a major street in Tehran where I saw a huge sign above a high-rise building with two words, the first of which had these letters: M-S-K-N. Without thinking, my first reading was ''Mosakken'' (Sedative.) However, within 10 seconds, I realised it was ''Maskan'' (Residence.) LOL! I never told anyone about it, so this is my first confession ... in public :-) 

Cheers,

Azadeh


Ari Siletz

Absolutely!

by Ari Siletz on

My kid brother who was just learning to read ran into the living room with the newspaper shocked at seeing the plural of "government" in big letters on the front page. It's a problem even with vowels.

Anahid Hojjati

Nice story Azadeh jan. Thanks for sharing.

by Anahid Hojjati on

Azadeh jan, thanks for your doozandegi story. I read it as a comment on Mehrban' blog and liked it. What a dilemma must that have been for you who read it as dozendegi.  My problem is that these days if there are Farsi words that I have not used for a while and they are the less common words, then sometimes I forget the correct vowel.