۱۲•۱. Infinitives and Past Participles

Infinitives are the lemmas of verb forms in Persian. A list of infinitives and the interactions with other non-finite verb forms is available in the List of Participles in Persian.

Past participles are non-finite verb forms which appear in the syntax of indicative past imperfective.

Because of their similar structural features, infinitives and past participles are discussed in the same chapter within this website.

Contents

a. Syntax

In Persian, infinitives and past participles are generated using the dental suffix /-tæn/ and /-t/, respectively (and their sonorized allomorphs [-dæn] and [-d] after voiced consonants as well as after vowels, see 1•d•c.).

The most familiar method is to attach the dental suffixes to verbal roots or to present participles, and the following points can be noted:

  1. Epentheses are not used for derivation from verbal roots (see 20•۱.); this feature can be used to differentiate between the derivates of verbal roots and present participles.

    The following Epentheses are used with dental suffixes:

    • There is no phonetic limit to the use of the epenthesis /i/. Therefore, it is the most commonly applied epenthesis with these suffixes:

      بافت /bɒft/، بافید /bɒfid/، نازید /nɒzid/

      گساردن /gosɒrdæn/، گساریدن /gosɒridæn/، پریدن /pæridæn/

    • The epenthesis /ɒ/ is only noted after the consonants /h/, /t/ and /d/:

      رهاد /ræhɒd/، ایستاد /istɒd/

      نهادن /nehɒdæn/، فرستادن /ferestɒdæn/، دادن /dɒdæn/

    • The epenthesis /s/ can appear as the following allomorphs:
    • The epenthesis /e/ appears (like in all other cases, see 1•d•a.) to avoid the following constellations:
      • c1c2c3
      • vc1c2, where v represents one of the long vowels /ɒ/, /i/ or /u/.

      /fæxm/ + dental suffix /-tæn//fæxmedæn/ فخمدن

      /jɒz/ + dental suffix /-tæn//jɒzedæn/ یازدن

      /ɒʤ/ + dental suffix /-tæn//ɒʤdæn/ (/ɒʤedæn/) آجدن

  2. Present participles usually match the verbal roots. However, if present participles are generated by mutation (and hence are not identical to the verbal roots), infinitive and past participles can be created in two lines:
    mutation1_EN

    According to the phonetical analogy (the reducing of word forms perceived as irregular by remaking them in the shape of more common forms) change in the Persian language, the tendency to derivate infinitives and past participles from present participles (with the epenthesis /i/) is cognizable, and the derivation from verbal roots is eclipsing.

  3. The derivation of infinitives and past participles from other past participles is very rare. This process is only noted with mono- (or occasionally disyllabic) past participles (always with the epenthesis /i/):
    mutation2_DE
  4. The variation in stems of the dental suffix /-tæn/ and /-t/ is noted frequently in Persian: they can be alternated by exchanging the long vowels by their allophones:
    • /ɒ/[æ]
    • /i/[e]
    • /u/[o]

    This variation can be classified as follows:

    • Replacing the initial vowel /ɒ/ with [æ] by means of free variation:

      /ɒbeʃtæn/ آبشتن[æbeʃtæn] ابشتن

      /ɒværdidæn/ آوردیدن[æværdidæn] اوردیدن

      /ɒrestæn/ آرستن[ærestæn] ارستن

      /ɒrɣidæn/ آرغیدن[ærɣidæn] ارغیدن

      /ɒzdæn/ آزدن[æzdæn] ازدن

    • Replacing the long vowels with short vowels in front of voiceless fricative consonants (in Persian /f/, /s/, /ʃ/, /x/ and /h/) by means of combinative variation:

      /ɒʃuftæn/ آشوفتن[ɒʃoftæn] آشفتن

      /feriftæn/ فریفتن[fereftæn] فرفتن

      /ɒrɒstæn/ آراستن[ɒræstæn] آرستن

      /riʃtæn/ ریشتن[reʃtæn] رشتن

      /ɒvixtæn/ آویختن[ɒvextæn] آوختن

      /duxtæn/ دوختن[doxtæn] دختن

      /estihidæn/ استیهیدن[estehidæn] استهیدن

    • Replacing the long vowels with short vowels in front of voiced alveolar consonants (in Persian: /d/, /n/, /r/, /z/ and /l/) by means of combinative variation:

      /ʃenudæn/ شنودن[ʃenodæn] شندن

      /ævɒnidæn/ اوانیدن[ævænidæn] اونیدن

      /ɒʃurdæn/ آشوردن[ɒʃordæn] آشردن

      /ænbɒridæn/ انباریدن[ænbæridæn] انبریدن

      /setizidæn/ ستیزیدن[setezidæn] ستزیدن

      /bæxʧizidæn/ بخچیزیدن[bæxʧezidæn] بخچزیدن

      /pɒlidæn/ پالیدن[pælidæn] پلیدن

    • Other variation patterns are unusual, and only used owing to metrical conformation:

      /ɒʃɒmidæn/ آشامیدن[ɒʃæmidæn] آشمیدن

      /feribidæn/ فریبیدن[ferebidæn] فربیدن

  5. When infinitives or past participles become stems of prefixes /be-/ or /næ-/, allomorphs can be generated by means of Sandhis:
    • Elision of the short vowel /æ/, /e/ or /o/ from the initial syllable of the infinitive or the past participle, if this syllable has the syntax cv:

      /benæmudæn/ [benmudæn] بنمودن

      /næferestɒdæm/ [næfrestɒdæm] نفرستادم

      /næforuxt/ [næfruxt] نفروخت

      خردمند بزدود /bezdud/ آهن چو آب

      فرستاد بازش هم اندر شتاب

      Ferdowsi (10th and 11th Century AD)

    • In addition, metathesis of the vowel /o/ from the initial syllable /go/ after the prefix /be-/:

      /begozæʃt/ [begzæʃt] [bogzɒʃt] بگذشت

      /begoʃud/ [begʃud] [bogʃud] بگشود

      /begosæstæn/ [begsæstæn] [bogsæstæn] بگسستن

      This metathesis can be noted also with the infinitive /boridæn/ بریدن and the past participle /borid/ برید:

      /beboridæn/ [bobridæn] ببریدن

      /beboridim/ [bobridim] ببریدیم

b. Application of Infinitives

  • Infinitives are used as constituents of verb phrases only in archaic idioms of Persian. In modern idioms this role is succeeded by the past participle (see Infinitus ↓):

    خواهم شدن /ʃodæn/ به می‌کده گریان و دادخواه

    که‌از دستِ غم خلاصِ من آن جا مگر شود

    Hafez (14th Century AD)

  • As nomina actionis:
    1. By nominalization:

      دانی که چی‌ست دولت؟ دیدارِ یار دیدن /didæn/

      در کویِ او گدایی بر خسروی گزیدن /gozidæn/

      Hafez (14th Century AD)

      In archaic idioms, this is also the case for affirmative infinitives with the prefix /be-/:

      جز که نباشد حلال دور بکردن /bekærdæn/

      بچّه‌یِ کوچک زِ شیرِ مادر و پستان

      Rudaki (9th and 10th Century AD)

      Negative infinitives (by means of prefixes /nɒ-/ and /næ-/) can also become nominalized:

      آسود زمانی از دویدن

      وز گفتن و هیچ ناشنیدن /nɒʃenidæn/

      Nezami Gandjavi (12th and 13th Century AD)

      Please note that such nomina actionis still count amongst affirmative noun phrases, despite their negative meaning.

    2. In archaic idioms, also with the proclitical adverb /mi-/ می:

      و به انـدازه‌یِ غلاّت داروها را ضعیف‌تر و قوی‌تر می‌کردن /mi-kærdæn.

      Esmail Gorgani (11th and 12th Century AD)

c. Application of Past Participles

  • In the derivation of non-finite verb forms:
    1. Perfect participles are generated from past participles by attaching the suffix /-æ/ (see 12•۴.).
    2. Infinitives can be generated from mono- (or occasionally disyllabic) past participles by attaching the dental suffix /-tæn/ (see above).
    3. In the same manner, new past participles can be generated from other mono- (or occasionally disyllabic) past participles by attaching the dental suffix /-t/ (see above). These newly-generated past participles have the same semantic meaning as the original ones.
    4. Transitive present participles can be generated from intransitive past participles by attaching the suffix /-ɒn/ (see 12•۲•a•b.).
      gozashte_EN
  • As constituent of verb phrases:
    1. Infinitus ↓
    2. Indicative past perfective (see 14•۱•a.)
    3. Indicative past imperfective (see 14•۱•b.)
    4. Indicative past progressive (with the past participle /dɒʃt/, see 14•۱•d.)
    5. Indicative past progressive (with the past participle /bud/, see 14•۱•d.)
    6. Indicative future (see 14•۱•e.)
    7. Indicative pre-past (with the past participle /bud/, see 14•۱•f.)
    8. Indicative post-past (with the past participle /xɒst/, see 14•۱•g.)
    9. Potential future perfective (see 14•۳•e.)
    10. Potential future imperfective (see 14•۳•e.)
    11. Potential future progressive (with the past participle /bud/, see 14•۳•e.)
    12. Potential pre-future (with the past participle /bud/, see 14•۳•e.)
    13. (General) subjunctive (see 14•۵•a.)
    14. Subjunctive progressive (with the past participles /dɒʃt/ and /bud/, see 14•۵•b.)
    15. Subjunctive pre-past and pre-present (with the past participle /bud/, see 14•۵•c.)
  • As nomina actionis:
    1. By nominalization: /xærid/ خرید, /kɒʃt/ کاشت, /sorud/ سرود

      ساقیا! خیز و جام در ده زود!

      که نه بهرِ نشست /neʃæst/ آمده‌ایم

      Attar Nishapuri (12th and 13th Century AD)

      Such nominalized past participles can generate copulative composition or coordination with other nominalized non-finite verb forms:

      • Copulative composition of an affirmative past participle with its negative form: /ɒmæd-næjɒmæd/ آمدنیامد, /ʃɒjest-næʃɒjest/ شایست‌نشایست
      • Copulative coordination of two affirmative past participles using the conjunction /o/:

        سلاح از تن و خوی زِ رخ ریختند

        به داد و ستد /dɒd o setæd/ در هم آمیختند

        Nezami Gandjavi (12th and 13th Century AD)

      • Copulative composition of an affirmative past participle with its affirmative present participle:

        به نازی روم را در جست‌جوی‌م /ʤost-ʤuj/

        به بویی با ختن در گفت‌گوی‌م /goft-gu/

        Nezami Gandjavi (12th and 13th Century AD)

    2. With the suffix /-mɒn/: /sɒxtmɒn/ ساختمان, /duxtmɒn/ دوختمان
    3. In archaic idioms, with the suffixes /-eʃ/, /-iʃ/, /-eʃt/ and /-eʃn/:

      بیرون‌ت کنند از درِ مرگ

      چون از درِ بودش /budeʃ/ اندر آیی

      Nasir Khusraw (11th Century AD)

  • As nomen patientis:
    1. By adjectivization: /pæjvæst/ پیوست, /ʃɒjest/ شایست
    2. In Persian it is notable that perfect participles can be replaced by past participle in the determinative composition:

      آب‌رفت /ɒb-roft/، زراندود /zær-ændud/

      آتشِ خشمِ تو برد آبِ منِ خاک‌آلود /xɒk-ɒlud/

      بعد از این باد به کویِ تو رساند خبرم

      Hafez (14th Century AD)

      همان روشنک را که دختِ من‌ست

      بدین نازکی دست‌پختِ /dæst-poxt/ من‌ست

      Nezami Gandjavi (12th and 13th Century AD)

      It is a real exchange of participles, because these past participles generate no Persian nomen patientis without determinative composition.

  • As simple nomina agentis, with the suffix /-gɒr/: /mɒndgɒr/ ماندگار, /ræstgɒr/ رستگار

d. Using Infinitives and Past Participles as Predicates (Infinitus)

Infinitives can be used as predicates in Indo-European languages, if the statement does not refer to a certain subject. In this case, such verb phrases have neither a number nor a person, and also no mood can be assigned to them. Such a predicate is called infinitus.

In Old Persian, the infinitive with the benefactive suffix /-æij/ played the role of infinitus. It appears in some positions in Behistun inscription: /nipæiʃtænæij/, /kætænæij/ (/kæntænæij/), /kærtænæij/, /dehistænæij/.

In New Persian, this case can still be noted in archaic idioms:

شاید پسِ کارِ خویش‌تن بنشستن /benʃæstæn/

لیکن نتوان زبانِ مردم بستن /bæstæn/

Saadi (12th and 13th Century AD)

نشاید به دستان شدن /ʃodæn/ در بهشت

که بازت رود چادر از رویِ زشت

Saadi (12th and 13th Century AD)

However, this role is succeeded in modern idioms by the past participle. As mentioned previously, infinitus is used, if the statement does not refer to a certain person:

ما باید همه چیز را به او بگوییم (affirmative 1stperson plural) باید همه چیز را به او گفت (affirmative past participle)

او باید دست به هیچ چیز نزند (negative 3rdperson singular) باید دست به هیچ چیز نزد (negative past participle)

The infinitus is used only in content clauses in Persian. The tense of the verb phrase is equal to the tense of the verb phrase in the main clause:

  1. ۱۸•۲•e•a•a. Content clause of an intransitive modal verb with the infinitive /ʃodæn/ شدن:

    زندگی را می‌شود احساس کرد.

  2. ۱۸•۲•e•a•b. Content clause of an intransitive modal verb with the infinitive /bɒjestæn/ بایستن:

    که لهراسب را شاه بایست خواند

    وز او در جهان نامِ شاهی براند

    Ferdowsi (10th and 11th Century AD)

  3. ۱۸•۲•e•a•c. Content clause of an intransitive modal verb with the infinitive /ʃɒjestæn/ شایستن:

    نشاید به دارو دوا کردشان

    که کس مطّلع نیست بر دردشان

    Saadi (12th and 13th Century AD)

  4. ۱۸•۲•e•b•a. Content clause of a transitive modal verb with the infinitives /tævɒestæn/ توانستن or /tævɒestæn/ تانستن:

    می‌توان تنها به حلِّ جدولی پرداخت.

    Forough Farrokhzad (20th Century AD)

  5. ۱۸•۲•e•b•b. Content clause of a transitive modal verb with the infinitive /jɒrestæn/ یارستن:

    که گویند: «از ایران سواری نبود

    که یارست با شیده رزم آزمود»

    Ferdowsi (10th and 11th Century AD)

  6. ۱۸•۲•e•b•c. Content clause of a transitive modal verb with the infinitive /xɒstæn/ خواستن:

    It appears that the future tense in Indo-European languages is originally a subordination with content clause which is felt by most speakers as a consistent verb phrase by the grammaticalization. In Persian, modal verbs with the infinitive /xɒstæn/ خواستن are used for this purpose:

    • The indicative future (see 14•۱•e.):

      مرا مهرِ سیه‌چشمان زِ سر بیرون نخواهد شد

      قضایِ آسمان‌ست این و دیگرگون نخواهد شد

      Hafez (14th Century AD)

    • The indicative post-past (see 14•۱•g.):

      آن روز که بامداد سلطان به فتحِ خلیج بیرون خواستی شد، ده هزار مرد به مزد گرفتند.

      Nasir Khusraw (11th Century AD)

    Because of this grammaticalization, the two constituents are not separable in Persian.

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