Translate this Farsi term, please.

I hear quite a lot of music from India, both incidentally and intentionally, and I seem to hear one term a lot. I’m trying to spell it phonetically, so bear with me.
Ok, it sounds like “jonny” or shanni, and often has an “oh” or “ah” sound at the front. It’s also often repeated, and is sung by both man and woman in duets (duets are popular in Indian music).
This question belongs here in GQ because it’s not about the music, but about the English translation of an Indian word.
Hands off, Manny :wink:

‘Shani’ refers to Saturn in Hindu astrology.
It is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning “slow-moving one” (of the planets the Indians knew about, Shani took longest to revolve around the Sun).

I don’t know if that would be relevant to the Indian songs of which you speak.

Farsi is Persian, not Indian.

Is it Indian Rock music? Maybe it’s “Johnny be good” or something like that.

Other than that, do you have Dell or Microsoft tech support? All their call centers are in India, so just dial that 800 number and ask away.

I don’t think shani is very relevant when you think about normal duets. :slight_smile:

Based on the assumption that mangeorge is listening to Hindi movie songs, it seems most likely that the phrase he hears is O jaani. Jaani is a corruption of the Urdu word Jaan, which means ‘life’. It’s an affectionate term for the person one loves. Kind of like ‘honey’ and ‘pookie pie’ and ‘light of my life’.

The Persians I hang with pronounce it “jun”, with a soft j and a short u (or sort of more like the a in “what”. As aasna says, it is a term of endearment; but also one of respect. One of my Persian friends never, ever says anything to her kids, addressing them by name, without adding “jaan”, so her kids are Karina-jaan or Rohan-jaan. She refers to her aunt as “Zanda-jaan”. For a long time, I assumed “zanda” meant “aunt”, as I knew it wasn’t the woman’s name. Come to find out, it really means “my father’s brother’s wife”! Anyway, I like the jaan designation so much that I now often use it with my own kids.

I don’t know if it’s movie music or not, but it’s definitely pop music. And from India for sure. On tv it’s video with young (and beautiful) lovers. “Oh, honey” or “Oh, baby” would fit. Pretty sexy stuff, and they never actually kiss. Not on the lips, anyway.
Thanks. Next time I’ll listen with your replies in mind.

Well if you can get the name of the song and/or the artists name I could catch it and translate it for you.

Can I ask, what made you assume it was Farsi, of all languages?

Now why didn’t I think of that? :smack:

The Urdu/Hindi language is infused with huge amounts of Persian vocabulary, especially in popular song. So chances are fairly good that a word heard in a Hindi pop song would be of Persian origin.

The pronunciation jûn instead of jân is modern Iranian colloquial, but only in modern Iran. (They also call their country “Irûn.” In general, final -ân tends to -ûn, but you won’t hear this in any other countries that use Persian words.)

The form jânî that you heard in the song was the Persian and also Urdu/Hindi word jânî, which means, according to the Oxford Hindi Dictionary, “1. cordial; beloved, intimate (a friend. 2. mortal, deadly (an enemy). 3. Pl. darling.”

Who knows. For some reason I got it in my head that people in India speak Farsi. As soon as my error was pointed out here I connected India with Hindi. One of my favorite people is from India, the mother in a family that owns a M&P market here in Berkeley. I should go ask her, huh? :wink: I’ve already bugged them to death with questions though.

I shall try. They’ve changed my cable channel arrangement around and I’ve had trouble finding the program. The same channel has a game show (I think it is) where couples compete by singing.
Like I said, I hear it a lot, In many songs by many artists. I’m pretty sure the term of endearment theory is correct. It would be cool, though, to be more specific.

The same channel has a game show (I think it is) where couples compete by singing.

That would the International Channel and the program would be Antakshari (French Un + taak + sh + ree)

If you want to listen to streaming Hindi movie songs, visit Raaga. (Realplater format)

The Farsi influence is due to the Mughals (properly speaking, the Timurids) in India. They ruled from the mid-16th century till the 18th. They hailed from Central Asia (Uzbekistan and nearby). The language of their courts was Farsi.

Gyan9. no doubt you are aware that the Persian language in India predates the Mughals by several centuries. It had already been the language of the Delhi Sultanate dynasties dating back to the 11th century. One of the great Indian poets was Amir Khusraw of Delhi in the 13th century, who not only wrote in Persian, he invented both Urdu poetry and (legend has it) the sitar. In fact, sitar is a Persian word.

When writing in English, I prefer to call the Persian language “Persian” (a perfectly good word) instead of “Farsi.” Otherwise, we would have to refer to German as “Deutsch,” Hungarian as “Magyar,” and Chinese as “Putonghua.”

Jomo Mojo, I wasn’t particularly aware of that. The history of Mughal rule that I read, gave the impression that they popularised the language in India, even if they didn’t introduce it.

OK, your reading assignment is to read up on the Delhi Sultanate. The dynasties that made Delhi the capital of northern India, contributed to the spread of Islam from the 11th to the 16th centuries, originated the Urdu language and made the Hindustani khaRi boli the standard language for most of northern India (which explains how so many Persian words got into Hindi), originated Hindustani music (including the sitar, sarod, shahnai, tanpura, and tabla), and in general established Hindustani architecture, art, and other culture which the Mughals later took over. For me, one of the most interesting episodes in the Delhi Sultanate period was the reign of Raziyah Sultanah, the world’s first female Muslim monarch.


A GQ just for me and it’s not even about Farsi, really.

Yes, joon is like darling, or dear, and can also be pronounced jahn. Just so you know, it would be very odd to refer to oneself as Name-joon. Don’t do it. It sounds odd.

Any more Farsi questions, I’m your girl.

Now I’m getting confused. :confused:
Would three people, speaking Farsi, Hindi, and Persian, understand each other?

Farsi is Persian. Two names for it: Espanol-Spanish, Deutsch-German etc.

As to your question, no, they wouldn’t.

In fact, even someone from India or Pakistan who knows Persian would have a very hard time understanding someone from Iran, because the accent is so different. The type of Persian spoken in India and Pakistan is (was) a variety called Indo-Persian. It has mostly died out now, but it was the administrative language of both the Mughal Empire and the British Empire in India. (I once saw a rare history of the world written in Persian by a British officer stationed in India in the 19th-century.) The first Persian grammar written in English was by Sir William Jones, a British judge in 18th-century Calcutta. The same fellow who discovered the Indo-European language family.

Indo-Persian was pronounced according to the way Persian was spoken 800 years ago. In Iran, the pronunciation changed significantly over the years, but in India it stayed the same. Iran went through a Great Vowel Shift of its own, parallel to the Great Vowel Shift in English, and at about the same time. Modern Iranian Persian lost two of its vowels, and the rest of the vowels all shifted position. This, plus the fact that in Iran the stress is oxytonic (always on the last syllable, as in French) while in Indo-Persian the stress is variable (as in Urdu), makes spoken Iranian Persian very hard to understand for someone from India or Pakistan. Indo-Persian was pronounced pretty much the same as Urdu. This was because the vowel system in both older Persian and Hindi/Urdu had remained essentially unchanged from Sanskrit, from Proto-Indo-Iranian.

Hardly anyone nowadays still learns Indo-Persian (its last great poet was Muhammad Iqbal, who died in 1938), but its influence lives on in the many thousands of words and phrases, and poetic forms, it contributed to Urdu.