۷•۱۲. Partitive Pronouns

A partitive pronoun is a nominal pronoun that refers to a subset (from the superset) of undetermined size. These pronouns are always indefinite and in the plural

In comparison with other Indo-European languages, partitive pronouns are less developed in Persian. Some collective nouns are used instead, normally as attributive focuses of origative adverbials:

پاره‌ای از سخن‌رانی‌ها /pɒre-i æz soxæn-rɒnihɒ/، گروهی از دانش‌آموزان /goruh-i æz dɒneʃ-ɒmuzɒn/

As the above examples suggest, in such cases the attributes are in the plural.

Nevertheless, the following noun phrases emerge in this language as partitive pronouns; they are not only used as attributive focuses of origative adverbials, but also as determinative phrases:

  1. The noun phrase /bærx-i/ برخی (generated by attaching the enclitical article /-i/ to the noun /bærx/ برخ):

    برخی از دوستان /bærx-i æz dustɒn/، برخی موارد /bærx-i mævɒred/

  2. The noun phrase /bæʔz-i/ بعضی (generated by attaching the enclitical article /-i/ to the noun /bæʔz/ بعض):

    بعضی از مردم /bæʔz-i æz mærdom/، بعضی وقت‌ها /bæʔz-i væɣthɒ/

    بعضی اصحابِ تاریخ /bæʔz-i æshɒb-e tɒrix/ گفته‌اند که کیومرث اوّلِ پادشاهی بود و عمرِ او هزار سال بود.

    Owfi (12th and 13th Century AD)

  3. For larger subsets, the noun phrase /xæjl-i/ خیلی (generated by attaching the enclitical article /-i/ to the noun /xæjl/ خیل):

    خیلی از کتاب‌ها /xæjl-i æz ketɒbhɒ/، خیلی چیزها /xæjl-i ʧizhɒ/

    /xæjl-i/ خیلی is also used for gradation of adjectival phrases. This role should not be mistaken for the function as a partitive pronoun:

    خیلی زیاد /xæjl-i ziɒd/، خیلی کوتاه /xæjl-i kutɒh/

  4. For times, the noun phrase /gɒh-i/ گاهی (generated by attaching the enclitical article /-i/ to the noun /gɒh/ گاه). This partitive pronoun is not used as an attributive focus:

    گاهی وقت‌ها /gɒh-i væɣthɒ/، گاهی شب‌ها /gɒh-i ʃæbhɒ/


It appears that a kind of grammaticalization is fulfilled during the transformation of these noun phrases into partitive pronouns; in these cases, the enclitical article /-i/ is understood as a derivational suffix by modern Persian speakers. As a hint for this grammaticalization, one notes the pluralized forms of the partitive pronouns /xæjl-i/ خیلی and /bæʔz-i/ بعضی (= /xæjl-i-hɒ/ خیلی‌ها and /bæʔz-i-hɒ/ بعضی‌ها). In such cases, the inflectional suffix /-hɒ/ is therefore attached to the article (instead of */xæjlhɒ-i/ خیل‌هایی and */bæʔzhɒ-i/ بعض‌هایی):

بعضی‌ها جورِ دیگری فکر می‌کنند.

خیلی‌ها جورِ دیگری فکر می‌کنند.

These pluralized partitive pronouns cannot be used as determinative phrases or with origative adverbials.


An interesting aspect of the partitive pronouns /xæjl-i/ خیلی and /bæʔz-i/ بعضی and their pluralized forms is that they can generate partitive genitive phrases with possessive pronouns (10•۴•d•b.). They can therefore appear in every person (see 10•۴•d•a.):

بعضی‌مان /bæʔz-i-mɒn/ (1stperson) از سرِ صدق و صفا هر آن چه در قوه و توان داشتیم به میدان آوردیم.

خیلی‌هامان /xæjl-i-hɒ-mɒn/ (1stperson) به این فکر بودیم.

خیلی‌تان /xæjl-i-tɒn/ (2ndperson) پدرِ خانواده هستید.

بعضی‌هاتان /bæʔz-i-hɒ-tɒn/ (2ndperson) ابرازِ مخالفت کرده‌اید.

بعضی‌هاشان /bæʔz-i-hɒ-ʃɒn/ (3rdperson) حتّا مرا هم نمی‌شناختند.

Mohammad Ghazi (20th Century AD)

خیلی‌هاشان /xæjl-i-hɒ-ʃɒn/ (3rdperson) به مقرّب‌الخاقانی رسیده بودند.

Jalal Al-e Ahmad (20th Century AD)

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