The Tehrani vernacular

Do you speak exactly the same way that you write? A rhetoric question, don’t answer. The fact is – no one does. Vernaculars always differ from the literary standards – a dull, basic fact. The interesting point is that depending on the language in question the degree of their dissimilarity varies. That is to say in some cases the differences between spoken and written are minuscule and in some other – humungous. My native Polish could serve as a template of the first type – apart from obvious-to-happen differences in vocabulary registers used, the standard Polish of sound is very close to the standard Polish of ink. Syntax is not as elaborate, some secondary usage rules are not always followed, the nasal vowels tend to be denasalized – but that’s just about all. No big deal. On the other hand, in case of Persian the written and the spoken are virtually different idioms. One cannot expect that even profound knowledge of the written standard will grant them understanding of what is actually spoken on the streets. There’re far too serious differences in phonology, morphology and syntax (not to mention vocabulary) to enable this. What one may count on is to be understood (and to sound funny to Iranians, too). After all, the Iranians have all learned the ketaabi (ie. written language) in school and thus can easily understand it. Continue reading “The Tehrani vernacular”