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OT: Farsi

From:T. Leigh & M. Carchrie <callanish@...>
Date:Saturday, December 1, 2001, 14:07
Andreas skrev:
> You never know - a girl here at Uni tells me that knowing Farsi > (her L1) is a big help when learning French. She speaks Swedish > and English, which must help with the vocab, but she claims that > the French verb system is a lot closer to Farsi's than to > Swedish's or English's.
Dan katav:
> Now _that_ is interesting! Considering how distantly related Farsi and > French are, and the fact that the two speech communities are not > close geographically, assuming that she is correct, I wonder what the > explanation is.
Christophe a écrit:
> Well, then I'd like to learn about Farsi! What kind of language is it?
Farsi is the Persian name for Persian, but it's becoming increasingly common to use it in English as the name for the language; rather like if we started referring to French as Français in English. As Anton pointed out, it belongs to the Iranian branch (or sub-branch?) of Indo-European. As for the similarities between Persian and French: 1. Modern Persian (as spoken in Iran at least) has many French loanwords; in the 20th century French has been the principal source of European loanwords taken into the language. Right down to "mersi" for "thank you", and the names of the months of the Western calendar (zhanviye, fevriye, etc). So I suspect that this person might be finding a lot of familiar vocabulary in French, even though its linguistic relation to Persian is so distant. 2. As far as the verbal system goes, I can see how the French verbal system is closer to the Persian verbal system than that of English or Swedish. French and Persian both have things like personal endings on the verbs (even though half the French ones aren't actually pronounced, they're still there); an imperfect tense, contrasted with the simple past and the perfect tenses; a full-fledged and widely used subjunctive. Also there are other similarities, such as the fact that in both Persian and French adjectives follow nouns, whereas in English and Swedish they precede. Thomas (who is, in fact, taking a Persian/Farsi class at the moment!)


Anton Sherwood <bronto@...>
Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>