Transportation: نقل

Some vocabulary to help you get around. I’m trying something a little different here in that, when dealing with cognates or near-cognates, I’m going to give you the pronunciation rather than the English transliteration, which you’ll probably never need.

  • car: ماشین (māshīn), اتومبیل (“automobile”)
  • truck: کامیون (kāmyūn), meaning something capable of carrying freight
  • motorcycle: موتورسیکلت (“motorcyclet”)
  • bus: اتوبوس (“autobus”)
  • train: قطار (qiṭār)
  • plane: هواپیما (havāpaymā)
  • boat/ship/ferry: کشتی (kishtī)
  • bicycle: دو چرخه (dū charkhah), literally “two-wheeler”
  • taxi: تاكسی (“taxi”)
  • walking (verb): راه رفتن (rāh raftan)
    • “a walk”: راهروی (rāh-rūy)
  • running (verb): دویدن (davīdan)

Eid Mubarak

Eid Mubarak! Enjoy this short description of the celebration that begins at sundown tonight!

Persian Word a Day

Ramadan ends later this week, and as it ends it is followed by the Feast of the Breaking of the Fast, عيد الفِطر (ʿīd-i fiṭr, Eid-e Fetr). I talked a little about the celebration of Eid-e Fetr over at my Arabic blog. As a holiday that follows a month of fasting, it’s not surprising to note that it revolves around food, both eating it and giving it to the less fortunate as charity. Spending time with family is also a big part of the holiday.

Appropriate greetings for the festival are the same as in Arabic, عيد مُبارَك (ʿīd mubārak, Eid Mubarak), “Blessed Festival (Eid)” and عيد سَعيد (ʿīd saʿīd, Eid Saeed), “Happy Festival.”

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Today in Middle Eastern history: Iran becomes “Iran” (1935)

The Foreign Exchanges Companion

reza_shah_pahlavi Reza Shah

I don’t mean to seem obscure with that title, but it’s a historical oddity that the nation (kingdom, empire, whatever it was at any particular point in history) of Iran was never officially called “Iran” by anybody other than Iranians until 1935, even though most Iranians hadn’t ever called it anything but “Iran” for millennia. It took Reza Shah Pahlavi (d. 1944) to request, in December 1934, that as of the next Iranian New Year (Nowruz), all foreign governments should henceforth stop referring to his country as “Persia” and start calling it “Iran.” Sometimes you’ll see this related by Western writers as “Reza Shah changed the name of the country from Persia to Iran,” but that’s dumb and wrong, because, again, Iran was always the name of the country. “Persia” was what’s known as an “exonym,” which is the term used when a group, place, language…

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میلاد پیامبر اکرم

The Prophet Muhammad’s birthday only comes once a year…on the Islamic calendar, that is. Every so often, though, it comes twice a year on the solar Gregorian calendar. It just so happens that this is one of those years, and today is the second occurrence of میلاد پیامبر in 2015. Happy holiday to Muslims who observe it.

Persian Word a Day

The birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, called میلادِ پَیامبَرِ اکرَم (mīlād-i payāmbar-i akram) in Persian, is being observed today, the 12th of the Hijri monthربيع اول (if you want to be technical about it, the commemoration started at sundown last night, and I guess it’s ended by now in most of the world, but it’s still worth noting). Though not one of the major Islamic holidays, many Muslims do commemorate Muhammad’s birth with decorations and by exchanging small gifts or sweets.

Milad is not a universally celebrated holiday, for a couple of reasons. There’s no historical record of the earliest Muslims celebrating Muhammad’s birthday as a special event; the first widespread Milad celebration doesn’t appear in the record until the 12th century, though there are records of earlier, smaller observances. So for modern self-proclaimed “fundamentalists” the holiday is an innovation and therefore illegitimate. Honoring a historical figure’s birthday…

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Severe weather and natural disasters

Following on from last time, let’s see what vocabulary we’d need if the weather got a little rougher.

  • storm: طوفان (ṭūfān)
  • thunderstorm: طوفان تندری (ṭūfān-i tundarī) OR طوفان رعد و برق (ṭūfān-i raʿd-o-barq)

    • thunder: تندر (tundar) OR رعد (raʿd)
    • lightning: برق (barq) OR آذرخش (āżarakhsh) OR صاعقه (ṣāʿiqah)
  • monsoon: موسم بارندگی (mawsam bārandagī, “seasonal rainfall”)
  • flood: سیل (sayl)
  • tornado: گردباد (gardbād)
  • blizzard: کولاک (kūlāk)
  • hurricane (tropical cyclone): طوفان (ṭūfān) OR تندباد (tundbād)
  • sandstorm: طوفان شن (ṭūfān-i shin)
  • drought: خشکی (khushkī)
  • volcano: آتش‌فشان (ātish-fishān)

    • volcanic eruption: فوران آتش‌فشان (fūrān-i ātish-fishān)
  • earthquake: زلزله (zilzilah) OR زمین‌لرزه (zamīn-larzah)
  • tsunami: سونامی (sūnāmī)
  • avalanche: بهمن (bahman)
  • landslide: زمین لغزش (zamīn-laghzish)

هوا (weather)

Let’s look at some basic weather-related vocabulary, shall we?

  • weather: هوا (havā) — this also means “air” or “atmosphere”

    • sun: آفتاب (āftāb) or خورشید (khūrshīd), though the latter is more symbolic; “sunny” is آفتابی (āftābī)
    • clouds: ابرها (abrhā), a single cloud is ابر (abr)
    • rain: باران (bārān); “rainy” is بارانی (bārānī)
    • fog: مه (mah); “foggy” is مه آلود (mah ālūd)
    • snow: برف (barf — yes, “barf”); “snowy” is برفی (barfī)
    • hail: تگرگ (tagarg)
    • wind: باد (bād) OR طوفان (ṭūfān); “windy” is طوفانی (ṭūfānī)
    • breeze: نسیم (nasīm)
    • gust: تند باد (tund bād) — “fast wind”
  • temperature: درجه حرارت (darajah-yi ḥarārat), “degree of heat”

    • cold: سرد (sard)
    • cool: خنک (khunuk)
    • hot/warm: گرم (garm)
  • humidity: رطوبت (ruṭūbat)

    • humid: مرطوب (murṭūb)
    • dry: خشک (khashk)

“How’s the weather?”: هوا چطور است (havā chiṭūr ast)

“It’s sunny”: هوا آفتابیست (havā āftābīst) or simply آفتابی (āftābī); change accordingly

“It’s raining”: بارانیست (bārānīst) — “it’s rainy” — OR می‌ بارد (mī bārad) OR باران می آید (bārān mī āyad) — “rain is coming”

“It’s snowing”: برف می‌ بارد (barf mī bārad)

“It’s cold today”: امروز هوا سرد است (imrūz havā sard ast) or simply امروز سرد است (imrūz sard ast)