Lesson 11: Indefinite Izafe (a friend of mine)

In Lesson 6 we learned how to make nouns indefinite. Now that we’ve also learned the izafe concept, we’re ready to learn how to use indefinite nouns in izafe chains. But BE CAREFUL, the izafe endings after indefinite nouns are slightly different than the other izafe endings we’ve learned.

Masculine Singular (Head Noun Only)

Form: noun + (y)ek + î + possessive pronoun/adjective/second noun

Example: kur + ek + î + min = a son of mine (or = one of my sons)

Note that the masculine singular indefinite izafe ending is î while the masculine singular definite izafe ending is ê.

Masculine Singular Indefinite Examples (Head Noun Only)

a tall mountain çiyayekî bilind
a friend (m) of mine (one of my friends) hevalekî min
a good person mirovekî baş
a little boy lawekî biçûk
a teacher (m) of theirs mamosteyekî wan
a nice voice dengekî xweş
a difficult language zimanekî zehmet
a house of his (one of his houses) xaniyekî wî
an old picture wêneyekî kevn
a large village gundekî mezin
a brother of ours (one of our brothers) birayekî me
a closed door deriyekî girtî

Feminine Singular (Head Noun Only)

Form: noun + (y)ek + e + possessive pronoun/adjective/second noun

Example: keç + ek + e + min = a daughter of mine (or = one of my daughters)

Note that the feminine singular indefinite izafe ending is e while the feminine singular definite izafe ending is a.

Feminine Singular Indefinite Examples (Head Noun Only)

a question of mine pirseke min
a good friend (f) hevaleke baş
a long book pirtûkeke dirêj
a sister of hers xwişkeke wê
a cold winter zivistaneke sar
a neighbor (f) of ours cîraneke me
a big airplane balafireke mezin
one of your (s) letters nameyeke te
a sad child (f) zarokeke xemgîn
one of your (pl) lessons waneyeke we
a black shoe soleke reş
an inexpensive notebook lênûskeke erzan

Plural Indefinite (Head Noun Only)

As we noted in Lesson 6, there are two ways to make plural nouns indefinite. The first, and probably more common, is to use the word hin (some) before the noun. The second option is to add the suffix “ine” to the end of the noun. These two options exist for the indefinite plural izafe as well, but note that the izafe endings are different for each option.

Option 1: hin

Form: hin + noun + ên + possessive pronoun/adjective/second noun

Example: hin + heval + ên + min = some friends of mine (some of my friends)

Plural Indefinite Examples (Head Noun Only) – Option 1 (hin)

some of my friends hin hevalên min
some of her books hin pirtûkên wê
some lazy students hin xwendekarên teral
some small villages hin gundên biçûk
some large cities hin bajarên mezin
some black cars hin erebeyên reş
some important questions hin pirsên girîng
some easy answers hin bersivên hêsan
some good schools hin dibistanên baş
some interesting newspapers hin rojnameyên balkêş
Option 2: (y)-ine

Form: noun + (y)in + e + possessive pronoun/adjective/second noun

Example: heval + ine + min = some friends of mine (some of my friends)

Plural Indefinite Examples (Head Noun Only) – Option 2 (-ine)

some of my friends hevaline min
some of her books pirtûkine wê
some lazy students xwendekarine teral
some small villages gundine biçûk
some large cities bajarine mezin
some black cars erebeyine reş
some important questions pirsine girîng
some easy answers bersivine hêsan
some good schools dibistanine baş
some interesting newspapers rojnameyine balkêş

When an indefinite noun is used to modify another noun, the izafe endings become a little more complicated. We’ll introduce them step by step here. If you take it slow and learn them one at a time it will be much easier to minimize confusion. The head noun takes the appropriate ending depending on its gender, number and whether it is definite or indefinite.

Masculine Indefinite Noun Modifier

The indefinite masculine noun modifier is simply –ek. (Remember, as we saw in Lesson 10, masculine nouns do not take the î ending unless it is modified by an adjective, pronouns, or another noun). In the example here, the masculine noun is not being modified, but is modifying another noun.

Examples

the book of a (male) friend pirtûka hevalek
the streets of a city kuçeyên bajarek
the name of a mountain navê çiyayek
a boy’s ball goga lawek
a man’s voice dengê zilamek

Of course, the head noun can also be indefinite:

a book of a (male) friend pirtûkeke hevalek
a street of a city kuçeyeke bajarek
a name of a mountain navekî çiyayek
a ball of a boy gogeke lawek
a voice of a man dengekî zilamek

Feminine Indefinite Noun Modifier

The feminine indefinite noun modifier ending is –ekê. Notice that this is simply the standard indefinite ending (ek) plus the standard feminine noun modifier ending (ê).

Examples

the book of a (female) friend pirtûka hevalekê
a family’s children zarokên malbatekê
the name of a street navê kuçeyekê
a girl’s ball goga keçekê
a woman’s voice dengê jinekê

And if we make the head noun indefinite also, we have to be particularly careful when both nouns are feminine. In those cases (where both nouns are feminine and indefinite), the final letter in the head noun is e, but the final letter in the noun modifier is ê.

a book of a (female) friend pirtûkeke hevalekê
a (female) child of a family zarokeke malbatekê
a name of a street navekî kuçeyekê
a ball of a girl gogeke keçekê
a voice of a woman dengêkî jinekê

Plural Indefinite Noun Modifier

Again, it seems that the most commonly used way of making plural nouns indefinite is to use hin. We will use this method here. Remember that –an must be added to the end of the noun to make it plural.

Examples

the book of some friends pirtûka hin hevalan
the children of some families zarokên hin malbatan
the names of some streets navên hin kuçeyan
the color of some books rengê hin pirtûkan
some women’s voices dengên hin jinan

If the izafe construction does not end with the second noun but has another word (for example, another noun, adjective, or pronoun) modifying the second noun, the ending for the second indefinite noun changes.

Head Noun + Masculine Indefinite Noun Modifier + Modifier

If the noun modifier (in this case, the second noun) is masculine indefinite, it takes the î ending in addition to the –ek. For example,

the book of a (male) friend of mine pirtûka hevalekî min
the streets of a large city kuçeyên bajarekî mezin
the name of a tall mountain navê çiyayekî bilind
a ball of a young boy gogeke lawekî ciwan
a voice of an old man dengêkî zilamekî kal

As we saw in Lesson 9, the placement of the adjective can change things significantly in izafe constructions. Examine these carefully:

the streets of a large city kuçeyên bajarekî mezin
the large streets of a city kuçeyên mezin ên bajarek
the book of an old friend (masc) pirtûka hevalekî kevn
the old book of a friend (masc) pirtûka kevn a hevalek

Head Noun + Feminine Indefinite Noun Modifier + Modifier

the book of a (female) friend of mine pirtûka hevaleke min
a rich family’s children zarokên malbateke dewlemend
the name of a long street navê kuçeyeke dirêj
a young girl’s hair porê keçeke ciwan
an old woman’s voice dengê jineke pîr

Head Noun + Plural Indefinite Noun Modifier + Modifier

the books of some of my friends pirtûkên hin hevalên min
the children of some rich families zarokên hin malbatên dewlemend
the names of some long streets navên hin kuçeyên dirêj
the color of some old books rengê hin pirtûkên kevn
some old women’s voices dengên hin jinên pîr

Izafe Chains with Indefinite Nouns

We have now covered all the izafe forms. You have probably figured out by now that izafe chains can theoretically become quite long, with lots of options (gender, number, definite, indefinite, and adjectives). In practice, however, izafe chains don’t tend to become excessively long, especially in speech. Below are some further examples with possible combinations of forms we’ve learned. Study the examples closely.

a good friend (masc) of mine hevalekî min ê baş
a good friend (fem) of mine hevaleke min a baş
a good friend (masc) of that poor family hevalekî baş ê wê malbata xizan
one of my old books pirtûkeke min a kevn
a lazy student (masc) of hers xwendekarekî wê yê teral
her intelligent students xwendekarên wê yên jîr
a book of her old friend (fem) pirtûkeke hevala wê ya kevn
an old book of her friend (fem) pirtûkeke kevn a hevala wê
a rich family of a small village malbateke dewlemend a gundekî biçûk
some intelligent students of that school hin xwendekarên jîr ên wê dibistanê
a long street of a large city kuçeyeke dirêj a bajarekî mezin
a nice car of a rich man erebeyeke xweş a zilamekî dewlemend
some streets of some cities hin kuçeyên hin bajaran
some streets of that city hin kuçeyên wî bajarî
a door of an old school deriyekî dibistaneke kevn
an old door of a school deriyekî kevn ê dibistanekê

Video 1

Video 2

Remember that these Quizlet sets allow for lots of study and test options. For an explanation of these options, see this page.

Remember that these Quizlet sets allow for lots of study and test options. For an explanation of these options, see this page.

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

Exercise 3