English and Malay/Contrastive grammar

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Sentence Structure

In English the sentence structure is subject-verb-object (SVO). However, in Malay, the sentence structure is object-subject-verb (SOV). Below are literal translations, without word rearrangement, of the sentences from Farsi to English.

  • (ma) Bapa saya pergi ke sekolah. → Father my went to school.
  • (ma) Kucing saya mahu makan. → Cat my wants eat.
  • (ma) Ibu saya suka makan kacang. → Mother my likes eating peanuts.
  • (ma) Baju putih terbesar untuk saya. → Coat white too big for me.
  • (ma) Manusia selalu menguna ubat doktor. → People always use medicine doctor.

Below are the previous sentences rearranged to English grammar standards.

  • (ma) Bapa saya pergi ke sekolah. → My father went to school.
  • (ma) Kucing saya mahu makan. → My cat wants to eat.
  • (ma) Ibu saya suka makan kacang. → My mother likes eating peanuts.
  • (ma) Baju putih terbesar untuk saya. → The white clothes are too big for me.
  • (ma) Manusia selalu menguna ubat doktor. → People always use the doctor's medicine.


Indefinite and Definite

In Malay, there is no usage of articles. For instance, translating a noun with a preceding article in English to Malay will render this result:

  • (en) a/the table → meja
  • (en) a/the son → anak
  • (en) a/the cat → kucing
  • (en) a/the father → bapa
  • (en) a/the door → pintu

However, in Malay, there is also a suffix, "-nya", to reference a particular noun in a conversation. It is somewhat similar to "his" or "her" in English, but the subject must have been referenced first.

  • (ma) John sedih kerana ibuyna marah. → John is sad because (his) mother is angry.
  • (ma) Cikgu memberi Jack kerjarumahnya. → Teacher gave Jack (his) homework.
  • (ma) Mary ambil bukunya. → Mary took (her) book.
  • (ma) Jessica terlupa namanya. → Jessica forgot (her) name.
  • (ma) Priscilla suka begnya. → Priscilla loves (her) bag.

If the noun is first referenced in the conversation or text, or if the subject being referenced is ambiguous, then there is no need for "-nya".

  • (ma) Bapa memberi John ais-krim. → Father gave John ice cream.
  • (ma) Saya bermain bola. → I played ball.
  • (ma) Mary beritahu John tentang kucing baru Jack. → Mary told John about Jack's new dog.
  • (ma) Mereka makan makanan malam. → They ate dinner.
  • (ma) John dan Jack pergi ke perpustakaan di dalam kereta John. → John and Jack went to the library in John's car.

There is also a word, 'tersebut', that is used to reference previously-mentioned objects, nouns, or ideas, from a longer text or conversation. A good translation of this word to english is "the aforementioned" or "the above".

  • (ma) Sila mengikuti arahan tersebut. → Please follow the aforementioned instructions.
  • (ma) Memberi saya buku tersebut → Give me the aforementioned book.
  • (ma) John membaca cerita tersebut → John read the above story.
  • (ma) Pencuri tersebut mencuri dompet ibu → The aforementioned thief stole mother's wallet.
  • (ma) Arash mencuci kereta tersebut → Arash washed the car.


Personal Pronouns

  • (fa) .من فوتبال بازی کردم → I played soccer.
  • (fa) .تو فوتبال بازی کردی → You (singular) played soccer.
  • (fa) .وا فوتبال بازی کرد → He/she/it played soccer.

(In Farsi, there are no distinctions between he, she, or it.)

  • (fa) .ما فوتبال باری کردیم → We played soccer
  • (fa) .شُما فوتبال بازی کردید → You all (plural) played soccer.
  • (fa) .آنها فوتبال بازی کردند → They play soccer.

Possessive Pronouns

In Farsi, the possessive pronoun is a suffix attached to the noun, unlike English, which has the possessive pronoun precede the noun. This is the most common way to demonstrate ownership of a noun.

  • (fa) .مریم گلم را دوست → Maryam liked my flower.
  • (fa) .مریم گلت را دوست → Maryam liked your (singular) flower.
  • (fa) .مریم گلش را دوست → Maryam liked his/her/its flower.
  • (fa) .مریم گلمان را دوست → Maryam liked our flower.
  • (fa) .مریم گلتان را دوست → Maryam liked your (plural) flower.
  • (fa) .مریم گلشان را دوست → Maryam liked their flower.

Possessive pronouns also use personal pronouns to show possession of a noun. The character, " ِ ", is the equivalent to an apostrophe in English. However, this form is used only for nouns that act as subjects or indirect objects.[1]

  • (fa) .جا یزه من قشنگ آست → My award is beautiful.
  • (fa) .جا یزه تو قشنگ آست → Your award is beautiful.
  • (fa) .جا یزه وا قشنگ آست → His/Her/Its award is beautiful.
  • (fa) .جا یزه ما قشنگ آست → Our award is beautiful.
  • (fa) .جا یزه شما قشنگ آست → Your (plural) award is beautiful.
  • (fa) .جا یزه آنها قشنگ آستا → Their award is beautiful.


Adjectives in Farsi succeed the nouns they modify, unlike English which has the adjective precede the noun it is modifying. For beginners, the character " ِ ", is written after the noun and before the adjective for pronunciation purposes. However, in most texts the " ِ " is understood so it is not written.

  • (fa) ماد سیاه → black snake (literally translated "snake black")
  • (fa) ماهی بازرگ → big fish (literally translated "fish big")
  • (fa) خواهر کوچک → little sister (literally translated "sister little")
  • (fa) پسر قد کوتاه → short boy (literally translated "boy short")
  • (fa) معلم زشت → ugly teacher (literally translated "teacher ugly")
  • (fa) مادر قشنگ → beautiful mother (literally translated "mother beautiful")
  • (fa) حعبه قد بلند → tall box (literally translated "box tall")
  • (fa) تاکسی زرد → yellow taxi (literally translated "taxi yellow")
  • (fa) تاویزیونرنگی → color television (literally translated "television color")
  • (fa) درخت سیب → apple tree (literally translated "tree apple")
  • (fa) زن جوان → young wife (literally translated "wife young")


In Farsi, there are verb conjugations. These conjugations are suffixes attached to the verb. These suffixes make the subjects understood. In English, the subject most always has to be stated (an exception for the imperative). Below are some examples of simple past tense in English.

  • I went
  • You (singular) went
  • He/She/It went
  • We went
  • You all (plural) went
  • They went

  • I screamed
  • You (singular) screamed
  • He/She/It screamed
  • We screamed
  • You all (plural) screamed
  • They screamed

  • I saw
  • You (singular) saw
  • He/She/It saw
  • We saw
  • You all (plural) saw
  • They saw

However, in Farsi, the suffixes added to the verbs make the subject and tense understood.

  • (fa) رفتم → I went
  • (fa) رفتی → You (singular) went
  • (fa) رفت → He/She/It went
  • (fa) رفتیم → We went
  • (fa) رفتید → You all (plural) went
  • (fa) رفتنذ → They went

  • (fa) جیخ زدم → I screamed
  • (fa) جیخ زدی → You (singular) screamed
  • (fa) جیخ زد → He/She/It screamed
  • (fa) جیخ زدیم → We screamed
  • (fa) جیخ زدید → You all (plural) screamed
  • (fa) جیخ زدند → They screamed

  • (fa) دیدم → I saw
  • (fa) دیدی → You (singular) saw
  • (fa) دید → He/She/It saw
  • (fa) دیدیم → We saw
  • (fa) دیدید → You all (plural) saw
  • (fa) دیدند → They saw

Below are the same verbs translated to present perfect tense from Farsi to English. In the simple present tense, the suffixes change because the tense changed.

  • (fa) رفته ام → I have gone
  • (fa) رفته ای → You (singular) have gone
  • (fa) رفته است → He/She/It has gone
  • (fa) رفته ایم → We have gone
  • (fa) رفته اید → You all (plural) have gone
  • (fa) رفته اند → They have gone

  • (fa) جیخ زده ام → I have screamed
  • (fa) ججیخ زده ای → You (singular) have screamed
  • (fa) جیخ زده است → He/She/It has screamed
  • (fa) جیخ زده ایم → We have screamed
  • (fa) جیخ زده اید → You all (plural) have screamed
  • (fa) جیخ زده اند → They have screamed

  • (fa) دیده ام → I have seen
  • (fa) دیده ای → You (singular)have seen
  • (fa) دیده است → He/She/It has seen
  • (fa) دیده ایم → We have seen
  • (fa) دیده اید → You all (plural) have seen
  • (fa) دیده اند → They have seen
  • [http://www.easypersian.com/farsi/lesson-22/