۱۳•۵. Polarity of Verb Phrases

The grammatical category polarity indicates whether the action or situation expressed by the verb phrase is valid (= affirmative) or not (= negative):

سرم درد گرفت. (affirmative) سرم درد نگرفت. (negative)

Contents

a. Syntax

In most Indo-European languages, verb phrases have no polarity category, rather, negative sentences are used with negative adverbials.

In archaic idioms, one is also confronted with the negative adverbials /ni/ نی and /næ/ نه (as well as its allomorph [mæ] مه in imperative and optative sentences):

عقلِ اوّل راند بر عقلِ دوم

ماهی از سر گنده گردد، نی زِ دم

Rumi (13th Century AD)

چون تو را دید زردگونه شده

سرد گردد دل‌ش، نه نابیناست

Rudaki (9th and 10th Century AD)

که: «ای بلندنظر! شاه‌بازِ سِدره نشین!

نشیمنِ تو نه این کنجِ محنت‌آبادست»

Hafez (14th Century AD)

که با اهرمن جفت گردد پری

که مه تاج بادت، مه انگشتری!

Ferdowsi (10th and 11th Century AD)

In such cases, the sentence is negative, even though the verb phrase is affirmative.

However, the adverb /næ/ نه has clearly already been grammaticalized to the prefix /næ-/ in Middle Persian. This prefix is attached to non-finite verb forms, to negate them:

نرفتن /næræftæn/، نبود /næbud/، نساز /næsɒz/، آمدنیامد /ɒmæd-næjɒmæd/، شایست‌نشایست /ʃɒjest-næʃɒjest/

Negative conjugated verb phrases are generated using these negative non-finite verb forms:

مرا مهرِ سیه‌چشمان زِ سر بیرون نخواهد شد

قضایِ آسمان‌ست این و دیگرگون نخواهد شد

Hafez (14th Century AD)

بی مهرِ رخ‌ت روزِ مرا نور نمانده‌ست

وز عمر مرا جز شبِ دیجور نمانده‌ست

Hafez (14th Century AD)

The following structural points are notable here:

  1. According to the rule discussed above, the proclitical adverb /mi-/ می should be set in front of such a negative non-finite verb form:

    می‌ندانم چه کنم چاره من این دستان را

    تا به دست آورم آن دل‌برِ پردستان را

    Saadi (12th and 13th Century AD)

    زآن که هر بدبختِ خرمن‌سوخته

    می‌نخواهد شمعِ کس افروخته

    Rumi (13th Century AD)

    However, this pattern has since become obsolete and the proclitical adverb /mi-/ می is grammaticalized in that extension that it is accepted as inseparable. Therefore, the prefix /næ-/ appears in front of the proclitical adverb /mi-/ می (it means that the verb phrase becomes the stem of this prefix):

    مشتاق آن نگارم، آیا کجاست گویی؟

    با ما نمی‌نشیند، بی ما چراست گویی؟

    Awhadi Maraghai (13th and 14th Century AD)

    همین که کسی به کاری عادت کرد، دیگر به این آسانی‌ها نمی‌تواند ترک کند.

    Ali-Akbar Dehkhoda (19th and 20th Century AD)

    It is notable in the modern, more western idioms (particularly in the standard language of Iran) that the vowel /æ/ in the prefix /næ-/ is assimilated anticipatively into the allophone [e] in front of the proclitical adverb /mi-/: /nemi-ʃævæd/ نمی‌شود, /nemi-dɒnestæm/ نمی‌دانستم

  2. Non-finite verb forms can also be negated by the allomorph [nɒ-], provided that it is not presented in conjugated form:

    آسود زمانی از دویدن

    وز گفتن و هیچ ناشنیدن

    Nezami Gandjavi (12th and 13th Century AD)

    This is even valid if the non-finite verb form appears as a predicate (= infinitus, see 12•۱•d.):

    همی ناکرد باید پادشایی

    بزرگی جستن و فرمان‌روایی

    Fakhroddin Asad Gorgani (11th Century AD)

  3. In archaic idioms, the prefix /næ-/ can be exchange into the allomorph [mæ-] in the syntax of the imperative and optative:

    گفت‌گوهاست در این راه که جان بگدازد

    هر طرف عربده‌ای، این که: «مبین!»، آن که: «مپرس

    Hafez (14th Century AD)

    ساقیا! آمدنِ عید مبارک بادت

    وآن مواعید که کردی مرواد از یادت!

    Hafez (14th Century AD)

  4. Verb phrases are affirmative even without having any prefix. However, the prefix /be-/ is used to stress the affirmative polarity of non-finite verb forms. This prefix is used syntactically according the same rules as the prefix /næ-/:

    کاشکی قیمتِ انفاس بدانندی خلق

    تا دمی چند که مانده‌ست غنیمت شمرند

    Saadi (12th and 13th Century AD)

    نامه‌ها رسیده که: «فرصت‌جویان می‌بجنبند».

    Abolfazl Beyhaqi (10th and 11th Century AD)

    Owing to metrical conformation, the prefix /be-/ is also applied to stress the negative polarity:

    دانه تویی، دام تویی، باده تویی، جام تویی

    پخته تویی، خام تویی، خام بمگذار مرا!

    Rumi (13th Century AD)

    غم مخور ای دوست! که‌این جهان بنماند

    آن چه تو می‌بینی آن چنان بنماند

    Saeed Tai (11th and 12th Century AD)

    The application of the prefix /be-/ strongly depends on the idiom and the mood. For example, in the standard language of Iran it appears only with present participles, namely in the syntax of the imperative (/bekuʃ/ بکوش) and potential present (/bekubi/ بکوبی), as well as in copulative compositions (/bezæn-bezæn/ بزن‌بزن) and copulative coordinations (/beriz o bepɒʃ/ بریز و بپاش).

b. Verbal Concord and Discord in the Polarity

(See 13•۶•b. Verbal Concord and Discord in the Number and 13•۷•b. Verbal Concord and Discord in the Person.)

One feature of Persian language is the verbal concord in the polarity: The predicate must be a negative verb phrase as soon as any noun phrase in the sentence becomes negative, or the adverb /hærgez/ (/hærgiz/, /hægerz/) appears in that (as temporative adverbial):

polar2_EN


Alternatively, two forms of verbal discord in the polarity exist in Persian:

  1. Verbal discord with affirmative predicates:

    This group which is valid in most Indo-European languages is seldom noted in Persian literature (and probably only owing to metrical conformation, see 7•۱۰•b.):

    مگر می‌رفت استادِ مهینه

    خری می‌برد، بارش آبگینه

    یکی گفت‌ش که: «بس آهسته‌کاری

    بدین آهستگی بر خر چه داری؟»

    «چه دارم؟» گفت: «دل پُرپیچ دارم

    که گر خر می‌بیفتد هیچ دارم»

    Attar Nishapuri (12th and 13th Century AD)

    This discord should be distinguished of the case in which nominal inexistential pronouns and inexistential determiner phrases refer to negligibly small subsets for the exaggeration, and are therefore affirmative:

    و گر هیچ خویِ بد آرد پدید

    به سانِ پدر سرش باید برید

    Saadi (12th and 13th Century AD)

    گر هیچ سخن گویم با تو زِ شکر خوش‌تر

    سد کینه به دل گیری، سد اشک فرو باری

    Manuchehri (10th and 11th Century AD)

    این همه گفتیم، لیک اندر بسیچ

    بی عنایاتِ خدا هیچیم، هیچ

    Rumi (13th Century AD)

    مرا در شعر گویی هیچ کس داشت

    پس آن گه هیچ کس را داد هیچی

    Suzani Samarqandi (12th Century AD)

    (/hiʧ kæs/ هیچ کس in the last verse is even definite!)

  2. Verbal discord with negative predicates:

    This constellation occurs only if the sentence includes no indefinite noun phrases:

    درویش را نباشد برگِ سرایِ سلطان

    ماییم و کهنه‌دلقی که‌آتش در آن توان زد

    Hafez (14th Century AD)

    دل بنهند بر کَنی، توبه کنند بشکنی

    این همه خود تو می‌کُنی، بی تو به سر نمی‌شود

    Rumi (13th Century AD)

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