- Can we name Persian tenses according to English grammar?
- What is the best way to teach Persian tenses?
Each language has its own way of naming tenses. For example, the tense of “He has gone” is called:
- present perfect in English,
- past perfect (pretérito perfecto) in Spanish,
- compound past (passé composé) in French and
- narrative past (گذشتهی نقلی) in Persian.
There can be conflicts between the tense names. What they call past perfect in Spanish, means a different tense in English (“I had gone”). Another important point is that not all tenses of a language necessarily have an equivalent in another language. Consider رفته بود (“he had gone”. Literally, “he was gone”). It is called past precedent in Persian and past perfect in English. Its perfect form i.e. رفته بودهاست does not have an English equivalent (literally, “he has been gone”). Therefore, it is not possible to follow English tense terminology and call رفته بودهاست as past perfect perfect.
For these reasons, I find it best to teach the tenses of a foreign language with their original name. In other books and online resources, you may see names that are similar to what is used in English grammar but please note that not all tenses are discussed there. When it comes to talking about all Persian tenses, the only possible approach is to use the literal translation of their Persian name.