Paris 2009

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Paris 2009

     Lexical Categories in Persian

     Gh. Karimi-Doostan, University of Kurdistan

     ICIL3, Universite Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, September 11-13, 2009

     Email address:

    1. Introduction

     Salish, Mundari, Munda, Kharia and Manipuri lexical categories - noun, verb, adjective/adverb and preposition (Bhat, 2000; Croft, 2005a; Hengeveld and Rijkhoff 2005; Wiltschko, 2005) vs.

    Persian lexical categories such as adverb, adjectives, prepositions, nouns and verbs which can be distinguished from each other according to their morphosyntactic behaviors and distributional criteria.

    2. Persian Word Classes

    2.1. Common Word Classes

     Persian traditional grammarians, mainly influenced by works on Arabic, English and French languages, have taken into consideration word classes in this language. There are three categories of nouns, verbs and articles in Taleghani (1926) and Najmghani (1940). Khayampour (1965) believes that Persian parts of speech are nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, minor sentences and adjuncts. In Khanlari (1976) the language has seven parts of speech including nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, adverbs, articles, prepositions and interjections. Gharib et al (1984) add the category of numbers to Khanlari‟s word classes. According to Anvari and Givi (1996), there are

    seven word classes in Persian: nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, adverbs, articles, prepositons and minor sentences. Moshkatodini (2005) recognizes five common lexical categories of nouns, verbs, adjective, adverbs and prepositions in the language. He shows that these categories can be differentiated from each other by morphosyntactic and distributional tests.

     Although Croft (2005b: 435) in line with Schachter (1985: 5-6), Croft (1991: 45-46), Croft (2001: 75-83) and Eavan and Osada (2005) criticizes the distributional method of lexical word categorization, he states that the distributional method is the fundamental empirical method of grammatical method and there is no other.

    2.1.1. Adjectives / Adverbs

     (1a) Simple form Comparative Form Superlative form

     tamiz 'clean' tamiz-tar tamiz-tarin

     xarâb 'ruined' xarâb-tar xarâb-tarin

     (1b) ?otâq-e tamiz „the clean room‟

     (1c) xeili tamiz „very clean‟

    (1d) Simple Form Comparative Form Superlative Form

    pâ?in „down, under‟ pâ?in-tar pa?in-tarin

     bâlâ „above, up' bâlâ-tar bâlâ-tarin

     (1e) ?otâq-e bâlâ „the upper room

     (1f) xeili bâlâ

     (2a) xošbaxtâne Ali sar vaqt rasid.

     fortunately Ali on time arrived.

     „Fortunately, Ali arrived on time.‟

     (2b) Ali tond midavad.

     Ali quickly runs

     „Ali runs quickly.‟

    2.1.2. Prepositions

     (3a) ?az madrese-ye man „from my school

     (3b) dar xâne-ye bozorg „in the big house

2.1.3. Nouns

     (4a) da'vat-hâ-ye ziyâdi dâšt-im. st Invitation-pl-Ezafe a lot had-1 Pl.

     „We had a lot of invitations.‟

     (4b) da‟vat-e xoob bood.

     Invitation-definite good was

     „The invitation was good‟

     (4c) ?in da‟vat barâ-ye če bood

     this invitation for what was

     „What was this invitation for?‟

     (4d) ?az da‟vat porsid.

     from invitation asked

     „He/she asked of the invitation.‟

     (4e) da‟vat-e ali az man

     invitation-Ezafe Ali from me

     „Ali‟s invitation of me‟

     (4f) ?in da‟vat kâr-o xarâb kard.

     this invitation work-SOM ruining did

     „This invitation ruined the work.‟

     (4'a) ?âmadan o raftan-hâ-ye ziyâdi dâšt-im. st coming and going -pl-Ezafe a lot had-1 Pl.

     „We had a lot of comings and goings.‟

     (4'b) davidan-e xoob bood.

     running-definite good was

     „The running was good‟

     (4'c) ?in davidan barâ-ye če bood

     this running for what was

     „What was this running for?‟

     (4'd) ?az davidan porsid.

     from running asked

     „He/she asked of running.‟

     (4'e) davidan-e ali

     invitation-Ezafe Ali

     „Ali‟s running‟

     (4'f) ?in davidan kâr-o xarâb kard.

     this running work-SOM ruining did

     „This running ruined the work.‟

    2.1.4. Verbs

     (5) man nâme-ro nevešt-am st I letter-SOM wrote-1 sing

     „I wrote the letter.

2.2. Mismatching Words


    Table 1

     WordsMo’aser Mo’in Dictionary Sokhan

    Dictionary Dictionary hefz „memorizing‟ Noun Transitive Masdar Masdar Noun farâham providing‟ Noun Subject Noun Masdar Noun ?anjâm performing Noun Noun Masdar Noun ?edâme „continuation‟ Noun Transitive Masdar Masdar Noun taqlil „reduction‟ Noun Transitive Masdar Masdar Noun hedâyat „advising Noun Transitive Masdar Masdar Noun tahye „providing‟ Noun Transitive Masdar Masdar Noun basij mobilizing Noun Noun Masdar Noun tarahom pity Noun Intransitive Masdar Noun Parvareš „fostering‟ Noun Masdar Noun Noun

     Table 2

     WordsMo’aser Mo’in Dictionary Sokhan Dictionary


    farâmuš forgotten adjective noun adjective mahsub „considered adjective subject noun adjective moraxas „release‟ adjective object noun adjective vâdâr „persuading‟ adjective noun objective adjective gom „losing‟ adjective adjective adjective mahsur „surrounded‟ adjective object noun adjective maslub crucified adjective object noun adjective vâžgun „overturned‟ adjective adjective adjective fâyeq „overcome‟ adjective subject noun adjective