вай: him, her

Вайро ин ҷо назди ман биёред.
Bring her to me.
Кадом одамест аз шумо, ки агар писараш аз ӯ нон хоҳиш кунад, санге ба вай диҳад?
Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, gives to him a stone?

Вай is a personal pronoun that when it is the object of the sentence means “him” or “her”. It is only from context that you can tell whether the person is male or female. In the first sentence we don’t know, so we could translate it as “him” or “her”. If we had the context we would know, but just given this one sentence we don’t. The second sentence is clearly “him” because we see from the context that it refers to a son.

In English we use different words when the personal pronoun is the subject of the sentence, “he” or “she”. In Tajik it is the same word – вай. You can tell whether it is the object or the subject by looking at the whole sentence.

In the first sentence, even though “вай” is the first word, it has the attached object marker -ро that lets us know that the personal pronoun is an object, so “him” not “he”. The subject of the sentence is only known from the verb ending -ед, which lets us know that the subject is шумо (you). Notice that in the English translation the subject, you, is also not needed in the sentence.

In the second sentence we know that “вай” is the object because it is preceded by the word “ба” (to). In the English translation we could leave out the word “to”. Notice also, in the second sentence, that there is another “him”, but this time the Tajik word “ӯ” is used. “Вай” and “ӯ” are synonyms and both can be either male or female. In speech it is more common to use “вай”, but in written texts it is common to see “ӯ”. We know that “ӯ” in this sentence is the object because it is preceded by “аз” (from), but we don’t know if it refers to a man or a woman; we only know that it is a parent of the son.

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