Lesson 9: Izafe 2 (Describing Things)

 

Scroll through the slides below to see all forms.

Izafe with an Adjective: the red book

The izafe construction is also used to describe nouns. The adjective comes after the noun, with the izafe ending attaching to the noun. The form is as follows:

noun  +  izafe ending  (ê / a)  +  adjective  (with no ending)

A few examples are given below. Remember that a noun with no indefinite ending (-ek) is automatically considered definite. We will cover indefinite nouns in izafe constructions in Lesson 11.

(the) red book pirtûka sor
(the) big house xaniyê mezin
(the) black car erebeya reş
(the) white ball goga spî
(the) important thing tiştê girîng

Lesson 09 Example 1Listen to the Examples

Easy enough, huh? Let’s complicate it just a little. What if you want to say “my red book” or “the big red book”? (Go to the next slide.)

Izafe with Two Modifiers: my red book

We’ll do this in a couple of separate steps to help you understand the logic, which will be important later when we add multiple adjectives and even multiple nouns or entire clauses.

1. Begin the same way you did with simple izafe construction we first introduced in Lesson 8.

Isolate first part: “my book” = pirtûka min

2. Now “red” is added at the end, but it must have a “connector” in order to join the izafe chain. In this case, it takes the same izafe ending that is added to “book” (-a). However, the connector “a” after min is written separately from min, although when speaking there is no pause between “min” and “a.”

pirtûka min a sor

In the long run it may help to think of this construction like this:

the book of mine of the red category (or the book of mine which is red)

A few more examples:

my big brother birayê min ê mezin (brother of mine who is big)
his old house xaniyê wî yê kevn (house of his which is old)
their short lesson waneya wan a kin (lessons of theirs which is short)
our black car erebeya me ya reş (car of ours which is black)
his white ball goga wî ya spî (ball of his which is white)

Lesson 09 Example 2Listen to the Examples

BE CAREFUL!

When these constructions are used in simple sentences with the “to be” verb and a predicate adjective, at first glance they can be confusing. Here’s an example:

his white ball goga wî ya spî
His white ball is big. Goga wî ya spî mezin e.
Lesson 09 Example 3Listen to the Examples

In the second line you know that “mezin” is not part of the izafe chain for two reasons: 1) there is no connector between spî and mezin, 2) the “e” at the end is the 3rd person singular ending for the “to be” verb (is).

Izafe with Multiple Adjectives: my new, black car

So, what if we want to add more adjectives and say something like, “my new, black car”? This can be done in two ways.

1. The simplest way to do this is add “û” (and) between the adjectives.

new, black car erebeya nû û reş

To add a personal possessive (my), we need to add the izafe connector, as we did in earlier forms:

my new, black car erebeya min a nû û reş
his big, red books pirtûkên wî yên mezin û sor
our small, white house xaniyê me yê biçûk û spî
their big, red apples sêvên wan ên mezin û sor
Lesson 09 Example 4Listen to the Examples

2. This can also be done by adding izafe connectors between each of the adjectives. Of course, the connector stays the same as long as the adjectives refer back to the original noun.

my new, black car erebeya min a nû ya reş
his big, red books pirtûkên wî yên mezin ên sor
our small, white house xaniyê me yê biçûk ê spî
their big, red apples sêvên wan ên mezin ên sor
Lesson 09 Example 5Listen to the Examples

NOTE: This second option can imply a slight emphasis on one of the adjectives (specifically, the second adjective). For example, if we say “erebeya min a nû ya reş” it is possible that I am implying I have more than one new car and I am emphasizing the black, new car, not the other new car(s).

However, if we reverse the adjectives and say “erebeya min a reş a nû” it is possible that I am implying I have more than one black car and I am emphasizing the new, black car, not the other black car(s).

 

 

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

Lesson 03 Vocabulary Vocabulary Lesson 09 Audio

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