be irân xoš umadin Welcome to Iran!
esm-e šomâ či-ye(h)? What is your name?
kojâyi hasti? Where are you from?
These are three sentences you may hear from the moment you arrive in Iran till the moment you leave. To tell the truth, you may get tired and sick of “kojâyi hasti” after hearing it twenty times a day, but if you want to talk to people, make friends and improve your Farsi, you’d better be patient and learn the answer, “man … hasam”, I am … . To fill in the blank, you need to learn how to say your nationality. The general rule is to add a suffix, -i, to the name of your country. For example, irân becomes irân-i. It is very simple, isn’t it? But it depends on how lucky you are because any rule has its sub-rules and exceptions. This is why the farsimonde group provided you with the names of all the countries, nationalities, languages, and their pronunciations in Farsi. But let’s take a look at the rules:
– There are many country names which end in -estân, like torkmanestân, tâjikestân, moqolestân, arabestân, ozbakestân, and afghânestan. This suffix in Farsi means a place where you can find a group of people or things that have something in common, for example, golestân is a place full of gol, flowers, and moqolestân is a place where you can find moqol. Therefore, when you come across these countries you can make the nationality by omitting that estân. But these days, there is a debate that torkman, tâjik, or arab are general terms to name groups of people who speaktorkmani, tâjiki, or arabi. So, when we say someone is ozbak, it means that s/he speaks ozbaki, or when we say someone is arab, s/he can be from any Arabic-speaking country. To be precise we need to call people who are from ozbakestân or arabestân as ozbakestâni and arabestâni.
– You may encounter the same issue when you talk about the countries such as torkiye(h), Turkey, or rusiye(h), Russia. You may say “man tork hastam”. But then Iranians may think that you are an Iranian who is originally from the northwest of Iran where people speak Azeri. To make it clear, you need to mention that you are a Turk from Turkey or to say that you are torkiye(h)-i. There will be less problem with being rus or rusiye(h)-i, simply because we do not have Russian speakers in Iran.