A Day in a Read State (7)

Through Good 360 and the Center’s cornerstone Nebraska Truckloads of Help program, Lincoln’s Center For People In Need receives thousands of book donations from participating non-profits and national companies alike, helping put free books in the homes and schools of low-income and high-need families throughout Nebraska.

These are the stories of some of those stories.

Today we have a handsome colloquial manual from 1941 (1957 imprint pictured), aptly titled Colloquial Persian, by L. P. Elwell-Sutton, lecturer and later Professor of Persian at the University of Edinburgh from 1952 until his retirement in 1982.

His renown in the field was ensured with the publication of The Persian Metres in 1976. In this work, he argued that the quantitative meter was the basic formal principle of Middle Persian poetry, inverting the assumptions of his time that New Persian mutaqarib meter derived from Islamic Arabic sources; Elwell-Sutton attested that the formal characteristics of New Persian poetry predate the prosodics of 11th century poet Ferdowsi of Tus – Elwell-Sutton suggests deeper, Pre-Islamic Arabic roots in Sasanian court poetry be examined.

photo (8)
Colloquial Persian by L.P. Elwell-Sutton (Routledge & Kegan Paul LTD, 1957.)

Below is a sample conversation of the “Domestic” theme, from Elwell-Sutton’s pocket phrasebook.

an golha-ye-taze-i-ra ke arbabatan avarde, hanuz baghban kashte ya na? 

Has the gardener planted those new flowers which your master bought?

bale, khanom, emruz sobh u bagh didamesh, untaraf-e-chaman kashte shod.

Yes, madam, I saw him this morning in the garden; they are planted on the far side of the lawn.

un farrash che chiz darad? chera seda mikonad?

What is the matter with the house-boy? Why is he shouting?

khanom, ba ashpaz da’va mikonad; namidanam chi-e.

He is fighting with the cook; I don’t know what is the matter.

Pas besh begid beyad tu, karesh bokonad; ru-ye-in mix khak kheli hast.

Then tell him to come in and do his work; there is a lot of dust on this table.

Agha, chizi mel darid?

Would you like anything, sir?

Bale, yek shishe ab-e-jo beyarid.

Yes, bring me a glass of beer.

“Conversations,” page 95

The Center For People In Need serves a number of Persian-speaking families. I may not let go of this book so readily.

I, too, plan to be temporarily functionally illiterate in a fourth borrowed language.


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