Ezāfe 2

Let’s continue the discussion of the ezāfe starting with these two situations: the possessive construction and the adjectival construction.

In both cases, an –e is suffixed to the possessed (in possessive case) or modified (adjectival case) noun. Compare this with the English ‘of’ as in ‘the City of Berkeley,’ or ‘the wheels of the car.’

Unlike in English, the possessed noun always precedes the possessor and the adjective always follows the noun it modifies:

my father pedar-e man پدرِ من
(the) good father pedar-e xub پدرِ خوب

General Rules:

When the noun ends in a consonant, an [–e] is added to the noun:

Farhad’s book ketāb-e farhād کتاب فرهاد
Shirin’s mother mādar-e širin مادر شیرین
The famous book ketābe ma’ruf کتاب معروف
The sweet mother mādar-e širin مادر شیرین

After a final long vowels /ā/ ( ا), /ū/ (و ), and a final silent /h/ ( ـه / ه ), an euphonic /y/ intervenes between the noun and the ezāfe ending:

my foot/leg pā-ye man پای من
a/the beautiful face ru-ye zibā روی ز یبا
their house/home xāne-ye ān hā (خانه ی آن ها (آنها

After a final long /ī/ ( ی), however, we do not need an euphonic /y/ to help us with the articulation. Hence, in:

صندلی معلّم ما
sandali-e mo’allem-e mā
‘our teacher’s chair’

the –e alone would suffice, although the combination is still pronounced as sandaliye.

In the case of the silent /h/, in writing, sometimes instead of the euphonic ی, a diacritic is placed on the ه ; i.e., خانۀ من , which is the same as, خانه ی من both pronounced xāne-ye man ‘my house.’

Keep in mind that this symbol is not a hamze; it is the development of the letter ی as a diacritic.

Names of things like streets, oceans, seasons, weeks, mountains, or universities, fall into this category and take the ezāfe اضافه linking –e:

Ferdowsi Street xiyābān-e ferdowsi خیابان فردوسی
The Black Sea daryā-ye siyāh دریای سیاه
The Pacific Ocean oqyānus-e ārām اقیانوس آرام
the spring season fasl-e bahār فصلِ بهار
next week hafte-ye digar هفتهٔ دیگر
The Alborz Mountain kuh-e alborz کوه البرز
The Alps kuh-e ālp کوه آلپ
The Tehran University dānešgāh-e tehrān دانشگاه تهران

In addition, the ezāfe اضافه corresponds to the English of in constructions like ‘the third week of the month’:

شهر تهران
šahr-e tehrān
‘The City of Tehran’

It is also used with the names of countries:

کشور ایران
kešvar-e irān
کشور آمریکا
kešvar-e āmrikā
‘America, the United States of America’

This is literally ‘the land of Iran’ or ‘the land of America’ (although کشور kešvar = ‘country’).

هفتهٔ دوم سال
hafte-ye dovom-e sāl
‘the second week of the year’

A chain of the ezāfe اضافه is also possible:

خانهٔ بزرگِ قدیمی سفید
xāne-ye bozorg-e qadimi-ye sefid
‘the big, old, white house’

In the transcription of the ezāfe اضافه construction in Persian, never use a final [ـه / ه] instead of the ezāfe enclitic [-e] (the kasre). In other words, never write خواهره نم or کتابه خوب, but instead always write خواهرِمن ,کتابِ خوب .