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Contents

Lessons

Appendices

Resources

Contribute to this Wikibook

This is a Wikibook. Feel free to edit, enhance, correct, and add to it, in any way that will make it a better learning resource. Contribute to this book to make it a good way for new learners to learn Farsi!

Next: Introduction to the Persian language course

Continue to Introduction to the Persian language course >>

ContentsIntroduction

Persian Alphabet lessons: 1 ( ۱ )2 ( ۲ )3 ( ۳ )4 ( ۴ )
Elementary grammar: 5 ( ۵ )6 ( ۶ )7 ( ۷ )8 ( ۸ )9 ( ۹ )
10 ( ۱۰ )11 ( ۱۱ )12 ( ۱۲ )13 ( ۱۳ )14 ( ۱۴ )15 ( ۱۵ )
Intermediate: 16 ( ۱۶ )17 ( ۱۷ )18 ( ۱۸ )19 ( ۱۹ )20 ( ۲۰ )
21 ( ۲۱ )22 ( ۲۲ )23 ( ۲۳ )24 ( ۲۴ )25 ( ۲۵ )26 ( ۲۶ )
Advanced:
Appendix: AlphabetGlossaryHandwriting




Contents

  
     
     


Contents

Lessons

Appendices

Resources

Contribute to this Wikibook

This is a Wikibook. Feel free to edit, enhance, correct, and add to it, in any way that will make it a better learning resource. Contribute to this book to make it a good way for new learners to learn Farsi!

Next: Introduction to the Persian language course

Continue to Introduction to the Persian language course >>

ContentsIntroduction

Persian Alphabet lessons: 1 ( ۱ )2 ( ۲ )3 ( ۳ )4 ( ۴ )
Elementary grammar: 5 ( ۵ )6 ( ۶ )7 ( ۷ )8 ( ۸ )9 ( ۹ )
10 ( ۱۰ )11 ( ۱۱ )12 ( ۱۲ )13 ( ۱۳ )14 ( ۱۴ )15 ( ۱۵ )
Intermediate: 16 ( ۱۶ )17 ( ۱۷ )18 ( ۱۸ )19 ( ۱۹ )20 ( ۲۰ )
21 ( ۲۱ )22 ( ۲۲ )23 ( ۲۳ )24 ( ۲۴ )25 ( ۲۵ )26 ( ۲۶ )
Advanced:
Appendix: AlphabetGlossaryHandwriting




Introduction

 

 

 

فارسی (‹fârsi›, “Persian”)
Learn the Persian language
ContentsIntroduction
Persian Alphabet lessons: 1 ( ۱ )2 ( ۲ )3 ( ۳ )4 ( ۴ )
Elementary grammar: 5 ( ۵ )6 ( ۶ )7 ( ۷ )8 ( ۸ )9 ( ۹ )
10 ( ۱۰ )11 ( ۱۱ )12 ( ۱۲ )13 ( ۱۳ )14 ( ۱۴ )15 ( ۱۵ )
Intermediate: 16 ( ۱۶ )17 ( ۱۷ )18 ( ۱۸ )19 ( ۱۹ )20 ( ۲۰ )
21 ( ۲۱ )22 ( ۲۲ )23 ( ۲۳ )24 ( ۲۴ )25 ( ۲۵ )26 ( ۲۶ )
Advanced:
Appendix: AlphabetGlossaryHandwriting

 

To continue, your computer must display Persian. The box below should show these Persian letters on the far right:    
ا ب پ ت ث ج چ ح خ د ذ ر ز ژ س ش ص ض ط ظ ع غ ف ق ک گ ل م ن و ه ی

If they are different or in the wrong order, see Persian Computing.


Welcome to the English Wikibook for learning the Persian Language.

This course requires no prior knowledge of Persian. It aims to teach grammar, vocabulary, common phrases, conversational language, and formal/literary Persian. By the end, you should be able to read and write Persian but will probably need a human teacher to help with listening and speaking. The book is meant to be read starting with lesson 1 and moving forward. It will move slowly.

The Persian Language

Persian (local names: Parsi, Farsi or Dari) is an Indo-European language, the dominant language of the Indo-Iranian language family and is a major language of antiquity. After the 7th century Persian absorbed a great deal of Arabic vocabulary. Persian is the official language of Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. Persian is also a popular language in academia and business. Related languages include Pashto, Kurdish, Ossetian, and Balochi. Urdu and Turkish also have a sizable vocabulary from Persian.

Persian or Farsi?

Farsi is an Arabized form of the word Parsi, one of the original names in Persian for the Persian language. Since there is no [p] sound in Arabic, Parsi became Farsi after the Arab conquest of Persia. Farsi then became the local name of Persian, but English speakers still call the language “Persian”, just as they say “German”, “Spanish”, and “Chinese” for languages locally called Deutsch, español, and Hanyu. There is considerable opposition to calling Persian Farsi in English and other languages, as is summarized by the following pronouncement on the English name of Persian language by the Academy of Persian language and literature:

  1. “Persian” has been used in a variety of publications including cultural, scientific and diplomatic documents for centuries and, therefore, it carries a very significant historical and cultural meaning. Hence, changing “Persian” to “Farsi” would negate this established important precedent.
  2. Changing the usage from “Persian” to “Farsi” may give the impression that “Farsi” is a new language, although this may well be the intention of some users of “Farsi”.
  3. Changing the usage may also give the impression that “Farsi” is a dialect used in some parts of Iran rather than the predominant (and official) language of the country.
  4. The word “Farsi” has never been used in any research paper or university document in any Western language, and the proposal to begin using it would create doubt and ambiguity about the name of the official language of Iran.

Persian and English

Since Persian and English are both Indo-European languages, many basic Persian words are familiar to English speakers. For example مادر   ‹mâdar› (“mother”), پدر   ‹pedar› (“father”), and برادر   ‹barâdar› (“brother”).

Pronunciation

Although Persian was influenced by Arabic, English speakers should not find it too difficult to pronounce Persian letters fairly well. Fortunately for English speakers, the glottal stop ء [ʔ] from Arabic is barely pronounced in Persian, and the “emphatic” consonants in Arabic (ط ض ص ظ‎ ح‎ ع) are pronounced without the pharyngealization, making them much easier for most native English speakers.

It is important to listen to Persian often and to try to use the language. Pronunciation guides can only closely convey the sounds of Persian but are never totally exact, so pronunciation benefits greatly from listening to native speakers.

Transcription

There are several systems of transcription to represent the sounds of Persian in the Latin alphabet. This book uses the UniPers (also called Pârsiye Jahâni, "Universal Persian") transcription system, which uses the basic Latin alphabet plus a few modified letters (‹â›, ‹š›, ‹ž›, and an apostrophe ‹’›) as a standard phonemic script that is clear, simple, and consistent. Each transcription is enclosed in angle brackets, e.g., ‹fârsi›:

Vowels Diphthongs
UniPers ‹a› ‹â› ‹e› ‹i› ‹o› ‹u› ‹ow› ‹ey› ‹ay› ‹ây› ‹oy› ‹uy›
IPA /æ/ /ɒː/ /e/ /iː/ /o/ /uː/ /ow/ /ej/ /aj/ /ɒj/ /oj/ /uj/
Persian ا آ، ا
(خوا)
ا، ه ای، ی ا، و او و ی ای وی
Consonants
UniPers ‹b› ‹c› ‹d› ‹f› ‹g› ‹h› ‹j› ‹k› ‹l› ‹m› ‹n› ‹p› ‹q› ‹r› ‹s› ‹š› ‹t› ‹v› ‹x› ‹z› ‹ž› ‹’›
IPA /b/ /tʃ/ /d/ /f/ /ɡ/ /h/ /dʒ/ /k/ /l/ /m/ /n/ /p/ /ɣ/ /ɾ/ /s/ /ʃ/ /t/ /v/ /χ/ /z/ /ʒ/ /ʔ/
Persian ب چ د ف گ ه، ح ج ک ل م ن پ غ، ق ر ث، س، ص ش ت، ط و خ ذ، ز، ض، ظ ژ ع، ء


Vocabulary and grammar

In learning to read or speak any language, the two aspects to be mastered are vocabulary and grammar. Acquiring vocabulary is a matter of memorization. Children learn thousands of words of their native language by the time they are conscious of the learning process, so it is easy to underestimate importance of having a large vocabulary. This process can be reactivated by immersion: moving to where the language is spoken and one’s native tongue cannot be used for daily communication.

Without the opportunity to move to a Persian-speaking area, a student must make a substantial effort to learn the meaning, pronunciation, and proper use of words. Be sure to learn all of the vocabulary words in each lesson. Early lessons have simple sentences because the student’s vocabulary is presumably limited, but more complex sentences in later lessons demonstrate more typical Persian. It may be helpful to translate these using a Persian-English dictionary. Access to a print dictionary is very helpful. Other sources of Persian, such as newspapers, magazines, and web sites can help to build vocabulary and to develop a sense of how Persian sentences are put together.

Resources

The Internet has a wide variety of study resources. You can refer to the appendix of this book for a selection of some of the best sources:

Also, each new vocabulary term introduced in this course can be looked up easily in the English Wiktionary wherever the dictionary image   appears. Click on the image to look up a Persian word wherever you see a link like the following:

خوب   ‹xub›   /ˈxuːb/ (“fine/well/good”)

Next: Lesson 1 ( ۱ ), Introduction to the Persian alphabet

Continue to Lesson 1 ( ۱ ), Introduction to the Persian alphabet >>

ContentsIntroduction

Persian Alphabet lessons: 1 ( ۱ )2 ( ۲ )3 ( ۳ )4 ( ۴ )
Elementary grammar: 5 ( ۵ )6 ( ۶ )7 ( ۷ )8 ( ۸ )9 ( ۹ )
10 ( ۱۰ )11 ( ۱۱ )12 ( ۱۲ )13 ( ۱۳ )14 ( ۱۴ )15 ( ۱۵ )
Intermediate: 16 ( ۱۶ )17 ( ۱۷ )18 ( ۱۸ )19 ( ۱۹ )20 ( ۲۰ )
21 ( ۲۱ )22 ( ۲۲ )23 ( ۲۳ )24 ( ۲۴ )25 ( ۲۵ )26 ( ۲۶ )
Advanced:
Appendix: AlphabetGlossaryHandwriting



The Alphabet

 

 

 

فارسی (‹fârsi›, “Persian”)
Learn the Persian language
ContentsIntroduction
Persian Alphabet lessons: 1 ( ۱ )2 ( ۲ )3 ( ۳ )4 ( ۴ )
Elementary grammar: 5 ( ۵ )6 ( ۶ )7 ( ۷ )8 ( ۸ )9 ( ۹ )
10 ( ۱۰ )11 ( ۱۱ )12 ( ۱۲ )13 ( ۱۳ )14 ( ۱۴ )15 ( ۱۵ )
Intermediate: 16 ( ۱۶ )17 ( ۱۷ )18 ( ۱۸ )19 ( ۱۹ )20 ( ۲۰ )
21 ( ۲۱ )22 ( ۲۲ )23 ( ۲۳ )24 ( ۲۴ )25 ( ۲۵ )26 ( ۲۶ )
Advanced:
Appendix: AlphabetGlossaryHandwriting

 

To continue, your computer must display Persian. The box below should show these Persian letters on the far right:    
ا ب پ ت ث ج چ ح خ د ذ ر ز ژ س ش ص ض ط ظ ع غ ف ق ک گ ل م ن و ه ی

If they are different or in the wrong order, see Persian Computing.


The Persian Alphabet: الفبا ‹alefbâ›

The six vowels and 23 consonants of Persian are written using a modified version of the Arabic alphabet with four extra Persian letters to represent sounds which do not exist in Arabic. Its Persian name is الفبا ‹alefbâ› , which is the equivalent of the English “ABCs”.

Isolated Initial Middle End Pronunciation, ‹UniPers›, [IPA] Name
ا ‹â› [ɒː] as in North American English caught, Received Pronunciation father, South African English park,

‹a› [æ] as in cat, ‹o› [o] as in soap or ‹e› [e] as in well

‹alef›
‹b› [b] as in big ‹be›
‹p› [p] as in park ‹pe›
‹t› [t] as in tea ‹te›
‹s› [s] as in salad ‹se›
‹j› [d͡ʒ] as in jade ‹jim›
‹c› [t͡ʃ] as in cheese ‹ce›
‹h› [h] as in house ‹he›
‹x› [x] as in Bach or Loch ‹xe›
‹d› [d] as in dog ‹dâl›
‹z› [z] as in zoo ‹zâl›
‹r› [ɾ] as in rain ‹re›
‹z› [z] as in zoo ‹ze›
‹ž› [ʒ] as in mirage or French je ‹že›
‹s› [s] as in sand ‹sin›
‹š› [ʃ] as in sugar ‹šin›
‹s› [s] as in sand ‹sâd›
ﺿ ‹z› [z] as in zoo ‹zâd›
‹t› [t] as in tiger ‹tâ›
‹z› [z] as in zoo ‹zâ›
‹'› [ʔ] as in uh-oh ‹'eyn›
‹q› [ɣ]   Voiced velar fricative.ogg or [ɢ],   Voiced uvular stop.oga ‹qeyn›
‹f› [f] as in France ‹fe›
‹q› [ɣ]   Voiced velar fricative.ogg or [ɢ],   Voiced uvular stop.oga ‹qâf›
ک ک ‹k› [k] as in kid ‹kâf›
‹g› [g] as in golf ‹gâf›
‹l› [l] as in love ‹lâm›
‹m› [m] as in music ‹mim›
‹n› [n] as in new ‹nun›
‹w›, ‹u›, ‹o› and ‹v› as in ‹vâv›
‹h› [h] as in horse ‹he›
ى ى ‹y› [j] as in year or ‹i› [iː] as in free ‹ye›

Transcription

UniPers is used as a guide to pronunciation in this book:

Vowels Diphthongs
UniPers ‹a› ‹â› ‹e› ‹i› ‹o› ‹u› ‹ow› ‹ey› ‹ay› ‹ây› ‹oy› ‹uy›
IPA /æ/ /ɒː/ /e/ /iː/ /o/ /uː/ /ow/ /ej/ /aj/ /ɒj/ /oj/ /uj/
Persian ا آ، ا
(خوا)
ا، ه ای، ی ا، و او و ی ای وی
Consonants
UniPers ‹b› ‹c› ‹d› ‹f› ‹g› ‹h› ‹j› ‹k› ‹l› ‹m› ‹n› ‹p› ‹q› ‹r› ‹s› ‹š› ‹t› ‹v› ‹x› ‹z› ‹ž› ‹’›
IPA /b/ /tʃ/ /d/ /f/ /ɡ/ /h/ /dʒ/ /k/ /l/ /m/ /n/ /p/ /ɣ/ /ɾ/ /s/ /ʃ/ /t/ /v/ /χ/ /z/ /ʒ/ /ʔ/
Persian ب چ د ف گ ه، ح ج ک ل م ن پ غ، ق ر ث، س، ص ش ت، ط و خ ذ، ز، ض، ظ ژ ع، ء


Pronunciation

Most letters in this system of transcription can be pronounced like their English equivalents, but some deserve special attention:

Persian letter Pronunciation
آ ا
ژ
خ
ر

Differing Systems of Transcription

There are several different systems of transcription in use for Persian, and no one official system. This can cause difficulties when more than one textbook is consulted, and may lead an absolute beginner to confuse the different letters. There are too many differences to be listed here, but it is useful to be familiar with the most significant examples:

Some common differences include:‎

  • آ ‹â›   listen may be transcribed as ā, á, A, aa, or a. For example, بابا ‹bâbâ› may be written elsewhere as bābā, bábá, bAbA, baabaa, or baba. In texts where ‹â› is transcribed as a, the short ‹a› sound may be written as æ or there may be no written distinction between the long and short sounds.
  • Short ‹a›   listen may be transcribed as æ, especially in texts where a represents long ‹â›. For example, ابر ‹abr› may be written elsewhere as æbr and بابا ‹bâbâ› as baba.
  • چ ‹c› may be transcribed as ch or č. For example, چطور ‹cetor› may be written elsewhere as chetor or četor.
  • خ ‹x› may be transcribed as kh. For example, خوب ‹xub› may be written elsewhere as khub.
  • ‹š› may be transcribed as sh or s. For example, شما ‹šomâ› may be written elsewhere as shoma or soma.
  • Long ‹u›, may be transcribed as oo. For example, دوست ‹dust› may be written elsewhere as doost.

Duplicate Letters

Diacritical Markings

Name Pronunciation Symbol
Hamze ء
Alef hamze أ
Vâv hamze ؤ
Alef Tanvin اً
Tashdid ً
Short "a" ـَ
Short "o" ـُ
Short "e" ـِ
ContentsIntroduction

Persian Alphabet lessons: 1 ( ۱ )2 ( ۲ )3 ( ۳ )4 ( ۴ )
Elementary grammar: 5 ( ۵ )6 ( ۶ )7 ( ۷ )8 ( ۸ )9 ( ۹ )
10 ( ۱۰ )11 ( ۱۱ )12 ( ۱۲ )13 ( ۱۳ )14 ( ۱۴ )15 ( ۱۵ )
Intermediate: 16 ( ۱۶ )17 ( ۱۷ )18 ( ۱۸ )19 ( ۱۹ )20 ( ۲۰ )
21 ( ۲۱ )22 ( ۲۲ )23 ( ۲۳ )24 ( ۲۴ )25 ( ۲۵ )26 ( ۲۶ )
Advanced:
Appendix: AlphabetGlossaryHandwriting


This section of the Persian Language Wikibook is a stub.
You can help Wikibooks by expanding it. (See the Persian course Planning page.)



Lesson One

 

 

 

فارسی (‹fârsi›, “Persian”)
Learn the Persian language
ContentsIntroduction
Persian Alphabet lessons: 1 ( ۱ )2 ( ۲ )3 ( ۳ )4 ( ۴ )
Elementary grammar: 5 ( ۵ )6 ( ۶ )7 ( ۷ )8 ( ۸ )9 ( ۹ )
10 ( ۱۰ )11 ( ۱۱ )12 ( ۱۲ )13 ( ۱۳ )14 ( ۱۴ )15 ( ۱۵ )
Intermediate: 16 ( ۱۶ )17 ( ۱۷ )18 ( ۱۸ )19 ( ۱۹ )20 ( ۲۰ )
21 ( ۲۱ )22 ( ۲۲ )23 ( ۲۳ )24 ( ۲۴ )25 ( ۲۵ )26 ( ۲۶ )
Advanced:
Appendix: AlphabetGlossaryHandwriting

 

To continue, your computer must display Persian. The box below should show these Persian letters on the far right:    
ا ب پ ت ث ج چ ح خ د ذ ر ز ژ س ش ص ض ط ظ ع غ ف ق ک گ ل م ن و ه ی

If they are different or in the wrong order, see Persian Computing.


In this lesson, you will learn basic greetings, the first nine Persian letters, connecting letters, and unwritten vowels.

Dialogue: ‹salâm!›

Shirin sees her friend Arash in passing and greets him:

The dialogues in lessons 1 through 3 are shown in UniPers, a system of writing the Persian language in the Latin alphabet. In later lessons, the native Persian script is shown along with a transcription.
Shirin :   ‹salâm, âraš!›
“Hello Arash!”
Arash :   ‹salâm, širin! cetori?›
“Hello, Shirin! How are you?”
Shirin :   mersi, xubam. tow cetori?›
“Thank you, I’m fine. How are you?”
Arash :   ‹man xubam.›
“I'm fine.”

Explanation

Arash and Shirin are using a casual style of speech typically among friends. Later lessons will use various styles of speech, including some for more formal situations.

Vocabulary

  • ‹salâm›    IPA  /sæˈlɒːm/ — “peace” a common greeting like “hello” in English

The Persian Alphabet

The Persian language has six vowel sounds and twenty-three consonant sounds. Old Persian was written using its own cuneiform alphabet. Other scripts were used in later stages of the language, and eventually the Arabic alphabet was adopted. The sounds of Persian are different from Arabic, though, so four letters were added for Persian sounds that do not exist in Arabic ( پ   ‹pe›, چ   ‹ce›, ژ   ‹že›, and گ   ‹gâf›), and letters for several foreign Arabic sounds are pronounced like their closest Persian approximation.

Thus, the twenty-nine sounds of Persian are written in the Perso-Arabic script, which has thirty-two letters and is called الفبا   ‹alef›, named after its first two letters (similar to "ABCs" in English). It is a cursive script, written from right to left like Arabic, opposite of the English direction. The letters are presented in the first four lessons of this book, followed by a summary of the whole alphabet in the "Alphabet summary" section of Lesson 4.

 
The Coat of Arms of Tajikistan
Culture Point: The Tajik (тоҷикӣ) language

Not all dialects of Persian are written using the Perso-Arabic alphabet taught here. The Tajik (тоҷикӣ) language, spoken mainly in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, is a variety of Persian written in the Cyrillic alphabet.

The language diverged from Persian as spoken in Afghanistan and Iran as a result of political borders, geographical isolation, and the influence of Russian and neighboring languages. The standard language is based on the north-western dialects of Tajik, which were influenced by the neighboring Uzbek language. Tajik also retains numerous archaic elements in its vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar that have been lost elsewhere in the Persian world.


ا ‹alef›

The two forms of ‹alef›:
آ ا
  ‹â›

The first letter in Persian is ا   ‹alef›.

At the beginning of a word (on the right side), alef has two forms. The form on the far right here with the madde (the small "hat" on top: آ ) is written as a tall, vertical stroke from top to bottom followed by the madde on top written from right to left as a straight ( - ) or curved ( ~ ) line. This form represents a doubled alef ( اا ). It is pronounced with the long vowel sound /ɒː/ (IPA), transcribed here as ‹â›. That is, it has a long duration and is produced with rounded lips and the tongue low and far back in the mouth, like a slow version of the vowel in the Queen's English pronunciation of hot, American English caught, or South African English park. When the first letter of a word is alef without a "hat" ( ا ), it is read as a short vowel: ‹a› (IPA: /æ/) as in at, ‹e› (/e/) as in end or ‹o› (/o/) as in open, as will be seen in later examples.

When alef appears later in a word (after the first letter), it is always written without the "hat" ( ا ) and it always represents long ‹â›.

  Distinguishing a and â:
Decide whether the ‹alef› in the following words stands for (short) ‹a› or (long) ‹â›. You do not need to be able to read the whole word at this stage. To see the correct answer, click “[show ▼]”.
آب

(long) ‹â›

اتو

(short) ‹a›

اسب

(short) ‹a›

آن

(long) ‹â›

  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing آ ‹alef madde› and ا ‹alef›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

       

آ آآآ ا ااا    
آ آآآ ا ااا    

         


ب ‹be›, پ ‹pe›, ت ‹te›, ث ‹se›

(read from right to left)
ب پ ت ث
‹be› ‹pe› ‹te› ‹se›

After alef ( ا ), the next four Persian letters, shown on the right, are all written similarly but with varying dots.

Persian letters have names that begin with the sound they make, so these four letters make the sounds ‹b›, ‹p›, ‹t›, and ‹s›.


ب
  ‹be›

The second Persian letter is ب   ‹be›. It represents the /b/ sound. Its name sounds like a quick pronunciation of the English word “bay”.


آب آ ب آب
  ‹âb› ‹â› ‹b›

The Persian word آب   ‹âb› (“water”) is shown on the right. In this word, the initial alef is written with a “hat” ( آ ), so it is read as long ‹â›. Persian is written from right to left and positioned on and around a horizontal baseline that is typically not visible on the page. The swooping stroke of ب is written from right to left and sits on that baseline, as does آ . The dot is below the baseline and, like the dot in the English cursive letter i, it is written after the connected strokes in the word.


Connecting letters

Like English cursive, most Persian letters in a word connect with each other, but separate Persian words never connect. For example, ب connects with the letter that follows it. Notice, though, that the letters in آب above do not connect with each other. That's because ا never connects with the letter that follows it.

Connecting letters may be written one way alone (in the “isolated” form) or with slightly different forms when connected with letters before or after them:

ب ب‍ ‍ب‍ ‍ب ← ب ببب


The line above shows ب in its “isolated” form on the far right, then in its “initial” form used when another letter follows, then its “medial” form used to connect it with letters on both sides, and then its “final” form used to connect it only to the previous letter. Notice that the upward-swooping tail only appears in the isolated and final forms. Many Persian letters have tails that behave this way.

As the remaining alphabet lessons will explain, all but seven Persian letters connect with the letter that follows.

بابا ب‍ ‍ا ب‍ ‍ا بابا
  ‹bâ ‹b› ‹â› ‹b› ‹â›

As shown on the right, the swooping stroke of each ب connects with the following ا to spell بابا   ‹bâ›, an informal word for “father”, similar to the English words “dad” and “daddy”. The other letters in this section are like ب in that each has a swooping stroke that sits on the baseline and connects with the following letter, and each has one or more dots that are written after all of the connected strokes of the word.

Note that the alefs in بابا are not at the beginning of the word, so they represent long ‹â› and are not written with a “hat”.


پ پ‍ ‍پ‍ ‍پ پپپ
  ‹pe› connecting forms

The third Persian letter is پ   ‹pe›. It is pronounced as /p/ and its name sounds like a quick pronunciation of the English word “pay”. Its swooping stroke is written from right to left like the other letters of this group, then after the rest of the connected strokes of the word are written, the three dots of پ are written below the baseline.


پا پ‍ ‍ا پا
  ‹pâ› ‹p› ‹â›

پ followed by ا spells the word پا   ‹pâ› (“foot”).


ت ت‍ ‍ت‍ ‍ت تتت
  ‹te› connecting forms

The letter ت   ‹te› is pronounced like /t/ and is written with two dots above the swooping line. Its name rhymes with the other letters in this section.


تا ت‍ ‍ا تا
‹tâ› ‹t› ‹â›

ت followed by ا spells the word تا   ‹tâ› (“until”).


Letters with dots

Many Persian letters have one, two, or three dots. In most printed publications, those dots appear as diamond shapes, or squares, or circles. Groups of three dots are positioned in a triangle, and groups of two dots are positioned side by side. In fast handwriting, though, three dots are often written as a caret ( ^ ) and two dots are often written as a dash ( - ) or like a reversed tilde ( ~ ).
ث ث‍ ‍ث‍ ‍ث ثثث
  ‹se› connecting forms

The letter ث   ‹se› is one of three separate Persian letters for the /s/ sound, since that is the Persian approximation of the letter's Arabic sound [θ]. In Persian, its name sounds like an abbreviated version of the English word “say”. It is used mainly in words of Arabic origin and is not a very common letter in Persian.


اثاث ا ث‍ ‍ا ث اثاث
‹asâs ‹a› ‹s› ‹â› ‹s›

As shown on the right, ث appears twice in the word اثاث   ‹asâs› (“furniture”).

Note the difference between a hatless initial alef pronounced as short ‹a› and an alef in the middle of a word, pronounced as long ‹â›.

  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing ب ‹be›, پ ‹pe›, ت ‹te› and ث ‹se›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

               

ب ببب پ پپپ ت تتت ث ثثث
ب ببب پ پپپ ت تتت ث ثثث

             


ج ‹jim›, چ ‹ce›, ح ‹he›, خ ‹xe›

ج چ ح خ
‹jim› ‹ce› ‹he› ‹xe›

The next four Persian letters, shown on the right, are all written similarly but with varying dots.


Hook-shaped tails

Notice that the tails in these four letters hook to the right. Recall that tails only appear in the isolated and final forms for letters. When another letter follows, the tails are not written, so these four letters lose their hooks when another letter follows them.
ج ج‍ ‍ج‍ ‍ج ججج
  ‹jim› connecting forms

The letter ج   ‹jim› is transcribed as ‹j› and pronounced as [d͡ʒ] (i.e. like the English letter j in jump). The top stroke is written first from left to right above the baseline, followed by the lower hook extending counterclockwise below the baseline. The dot is written later, after any other connected strokes in the word.


جا ج‍ ‍ا جا
‹jâ› ‹j› ‹â›

ج followed by ا spells the word جا   ‹jâ› (“place”). This example shows that the shape of this letter changes when another letter follows it. The top stroke is still written from left to right, but a simple right-to-left stroke along the baseline replaces the hook when another letter follows. The other letters in this section change shape similarly when another letter follows.


چ چ‍ ‍چ‍ ‍چ چچچ
‹ce› connecting forms

The letter چ   ‹ce› is transcribed in UniPers as ‹c› and pronounced as [t͡ʃ] (i.e., like ch in English church).


ح ح‍ ‍ح‍ ‍ح ححح
‹he› connecting forms

The letter ح   ‹he› is pronounced as /h/. Its name sounds like a quick version of the English word “hay” (that is, it does not sound like the English word “he”).


حب ح‍ ‍ب حب
‹hab› ‹h› ‹b›

ح followed by ب spells the word حب   ‹hab› (“pill”).

Unwritten vowels

You probably noticed that the short vowel ‹a› is not represented in حب ‹hab›. That is because Persian makes an important distinction between short and long vowels. The short vowels (‹a›, ‹e› and ‹o›) are not usually written in Persian. When you come across a new word in writing you might have to find out how it is pronounced from a dictionary or someone who speaks Persian. Although there is a system of marking vowel sounds (see Alefba), it is only usually seen in children's books, because it disrupts the normal layout of text. In contrast, long vowels have their own letters and are written down.

More details about writing and pronouncing vowels will be presented in the Lesson 4.



خ خ‍ ‍خ‍ ‍خ خخخ
‹xe› connecting forms

The letter خ   ‹xe› is pronounced like the IPA sound [x] (like the Spanish letter j or the German ch), transcribed in UniPers as ‹x›.


خاج خ‍ ‍ا ج خاج
‹xâj› ‹x› ‹â› ‹j›

خ followed by ا and ج spells the word خاج   ‹xâj› (“cross”). Like the previous few letters, the tail of خ is not written when another letter follows it.

  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing ج ‹jim›, چ ‹ce›, ح ‹he› and خ ‹xe›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

               

ج ججج چ چچچ ح ححح خ خخخ
ج ججج چ چچچ ح ححح خ خخخ

                 

Exercises

  Distinguishing a and â:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
Decide whether the ‹alef› in the following words stands for (short) ‹a› or (long) ‹â›. You do not need to be able to read the whole word at this stage.
آبی

(long) ‹â›

اب

(short) ‹a›

آلمان

(long) ‹â›

اکبر

(short) ‹a›

  Recognizing letters:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
What are the names of and sounds represented by the following letters?
ج

The letter ‹jim›, which represents the sound ‹j› (IPA: [d͡ʒ]).

ا

The letter ‹alef› without madde, which represents the long vowel sound ‹â› (/ɒː/) in the middle or end of a word, or a short vowel sound (‹a›, ‹e›, or ‹o›) at the beginning of a word.

The letter ‹se›, which represents the sound ‹s›.

آ

The letter ‹alef›, with madde at the beginning of a word is represents the long ‹â› sound.)

ت

The letter ‹te›, which represents the sound ‹t›.

The letter ‹be›, which represents the sound ‹b›.

پ

The letter ‹pe›, which represents the sound ‹p›.

ا

The letter ‹alef›, without a madde, it represents the long vowel sound ‹â›, or at the beginning of a word, a short vowel sound (‹a›, ‹e›, or ‹o›).

خ

The letter ‹xe›, which represents the sound ‹x› (IPA: [x]).

ح

The letter ‹he›, which represents the sound ‹h›.

  The Persian alphabet:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
Which sounds have no letters of their own in Persian?

Short vowels usually are not written in Persian.

Which four letters were added to the Arabic alphabet by Persians to represent sounds which do not exist in Arabic?

پ ‹pe›, چ ‹ce›,ژ ‹že› and گ ‹gâf›.

  Reading words:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
Read these words by breaking them down into their component parts.
جا

‹jâ›: ج‍  ‍ا

آب

‹âb›: آ ب

بابا

‹bâbâ›: ب‍ ‍ا ب‍ ‍ا

اثاث

‹asâs›: ا ث‍ ‍ا ث

  Conversation:
Use the following phrases in a short dialogue:
  • ‹salâm.›
  • ‹tow cetori?›
  • ‹man xubam, mersi›.

Review

In this lesson, you learned some greetings, the first nine letters of the Persian Alphabet, and how to spell several words with those letters from right to left. You also learned that short vowels are usually not written, and that many letters change their shape depending on whether they connect with letters before or after them.

Core vocabulary:
  • ‹cetori›      /t͡ʃeˈtoɾiː/ — “how are (you)” (informal)
  • ‹tow›      /tow/ — “you” (informal)
  • ‹tow cetori?›    — “How are you?” (informal)
  • mersi›      /'meɾsiː/ — “thanks”
  • ‹man›      /mæn/ — “I, me”
  • xubam›      /ˈxuːbæm/ — “(I) am fine/well/good”
  • ‹man xubam.›    — “I’m fine.”
Letters:
  • ا   ‹alef
  • ب   ‹be›
  • پ   ‹pe›
  • ت   ‹te›
  • ث   ‹se›
  • ج   ‹jim›
  • چ   ‹ce›
  • ح   ‹he›
  • خ   ‹xe›
Bonus words:
  • آب   ‹âb› — “water”
  • بابا   ‹bâ› — “dad, papa”
  • پا   ‹pâ› — “foot”
  • تا   ‹tâ› — “until”
  • اثاث   ‹asâs› — “furniture”
  • جا   ‹jâ› — “place, space”
  • حب   ‹hab› — “pill”
  • خاج   ‹xâj› — “cross”

Next: Lesson 2 ( ۲ ), The alphabet (continued)

Continue to Lesson 2 ( ۲ ), The alphabet (continued) >>

ContentsIntroduction

Persian Alphabet lessons: 1 ( ۱ )2 ( ۲ )3 ( ۳ )4 ( ۴ )
Elementary grammar: 5 ( ۵ )6 ( ۶ )7 ( ۷ )8 ( ۸ )9 ( ۹ )
10 ( ۱۰ )11 ( ۱۱ )12 ( ۱۲ )13 ( ۱۳ )14 ( ۱۴ )15 ( ۱۵ )
Intermediate: 16 ( ۱۶ )17 ( ۱۷ )18 ( ۱۸ )19 ( ۱۹ )20 ( ۲۰ )
21 ( ۲۱ )22 ( ۲۲ )23 ( ۲۳ )24 ( ۲۴ )25 ( ۲۵ )26 ( ۲۶ )
Advanced:
Appendix: AlphabetGlossaryHandwriting



Lesson Two

 

 

 

فارسی (‹fârsi›, “Persian”)
Learn the Persian language
ContentsIntroduction
Persian Alphabet lessons: 1 ( ۱ )2 ( ۲ )3 ( ۳ )4 ( ۴ )
Elementary grammar: 5 ( ۵ )6 ( ۶ )7 ( ۷ )8 ( ۸ )9 ( ۹ )
10 ( ۱۰ )11 ( ۱۱ )12 ( ۱۲ )13 ( ۱۳ )14 ( ۱۴ )15 ( ۱۵ )
Intermediate: 16 ( ۱۶ )17 ( ۱۷ )18 ( ۱۸ )19 ( ۱۹ )20 ( ۲۰ )
21 ( ۲۱ )22 ( ۲۲ )23 ( ۲۳ )24 ( ۲۴ )25 ( ۲۵ )26 ( ۲۶ )
Advanced:
Appendix: AlphabetGlossaryHandwriting

 

To continue, your computer must display Persian. The box below should show these Persian letters on the far right:    
ا ب پ ت ث ج چ ح خ د ذ ر ز ژ س ش ص ض ط ظ ع غ ف ق ک گ ل م ن و ه ی

If they are different or in the wrong order, see Persian Computing.


In lesson 1, you learned some greetings, the first nine letters of the Persian Alphabet, and how to spell several words with those letters from right to left. You also learned that short vowels are usually not written, and that many letters change their shape depending on whether they connect with letters before or after them.

In this lesson, you will learn more formal greetings, the next eleven Persian letters and syllable stress.

Dialogue: ‹hâl-e šo cetor e?›

Arash sees Peyman:

Arash : ‹salâm, âqâ-ye peymân. hâl-e šo cetor e?›
“Hello, Mr. Peyman. How are you?”

  Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
Peyman : ‹salâm, âraš. xubam, mersi. šo cetorin?›
“Hello Arash. I am well, thank you. How are you?”

  Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
Arash : ‹man xubam, mersi. xofez, âqâ-ye peymân.›
“I am well, thanks. Goodbye, Mr. Peyman!”

  Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
Peyman : ‹xofez.›
“Goodbye.”

  Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.

Explanation

Arash and Peyman are using a more formal style of speech typically used to show respect. That is why they use the formal pronoun ‹šo›    instead of the informal ‹tow›    used in lesson 1.

Vocabulary

  • hâl›      /ˈhɒːl/ — “health”
  • ‹šo›      /ʃoˈmɒː/ — “you” (formal, shows speaker's respect for listener)
  • ‹cetor›      /t͡ʃeˈtoɾ/ — “how” (the endings ‹e› and ‹-in› will be explained in Lesson 5)
  • ‹xofez›      /xoˈdɒː hɒːˈfez/ — “May God keep you” (similar to the literal meaning of “goodbye”, i.e. “May God be with you”)
Culture Point: Titles

Titles like آقا   ‹âqâ› (“sir, Mr.”) are used before or after the first name, before or after a last name, or before or after both names. In the dialogue above, it is used before the first name پيمان ‹peyman› .

The feminine version of آقا ‹âqâ› (“sir, Mr.”) is آغا ‹âqâ› (“madam, Miss”). The two words are pronounced the same way and are sometimes confused for each other as a misspelling, but آقا is the proper spelling for use with male names and آغا for female names.

Family names are a relatively new aspect of Persian culture, having been introduced in Iran in 1912.


Syllable stress

In most Persian words, the stress falls on the last syllable of the stem.

For example, in the following words from the dialogue, the stress is on the last syllable:

  • ‹šo
  • ‹cetor
  • ‹mamnun
  • ‹xo
  • ‹hâfez

When suffixes and enclitics are added to Persian words and word stems, the stress usually does not move:

  • ‹cetor› + ‹-in› → ‹cetorin›
  • hast› + ‹-am› → ‹hastam›
  • hâl› + ‹-e› → ‹hâl-e›

A few prefixes and suffixes are stressed. Those details will be explained in the lessons for those suffixes and prefixes.

A limited set of Persian words (interjections, conjunctions and vocatives), however, has the stress on the first syllable:

  • mersi› — First syllable is stressed when used as in the conversation above, "Thanks!"
  • âqâ-ye› — First syllable is stressed when addressing someone by title as in the conversation above, but not when talking with someone else about ‹â-ye› so-and-so.
  • âraš› — First syllable is stressed when addressing Arash as in the conversation above, but the last syllable is stressed ‹âraš› when talking about him.
  • peymân› — First syllable is stressed when addressing Peyman as in the conversation above, but the last syllable is stressed ‹peyman› when talking with someone else about him.


د ‹dâl›, ذ ‹zâl›

(read from right to left)
د ذ
‹dâl› ‹zâl›

The next two Persian letters, shown on the right, have the same basic form, but only second one has a dot. Like ا ‹alef›, these two letters do not connect with the letter that follows them.


‌د‌ ‌د‌‍ ‍‌د‌‍ ‍‌د‌ ‌د‌‌د‌‌د‌
  ‹dâl› does not connect with the following letter

The letter د   ‹dâl› represents the /d/ sound. It sits on the baseline and is written beginning at the top, ending at the bottom left. Its name sounds like the English word “doll”.


داد د ا د داد
  ‹dâd› ‹d› ‹â› ‹d›

The Persian word داد   ‹dâd› (“(he/she/it) gave”) is shown on the right. As shown, د does not join with the letter that follows it.


‌ذ‌ ‌ذ‌‍ ‍‌ذ‌‍ ‍‌ذ‌ ‌ذ‌‌ذ‌‌ذ‌
‹zâl› does not connect with the following letter

The letter ذ   ‹zâl› is one of the “foreign” letters in Persian. In Arabic, it represents the consonant [ð], but Persian does not have that sound, so it is pronounced as the closest Persian sound. Thus, ذ ‹zâl› is one of four Persian letters pronounced /z/.


ذات ذ ا ت ذات
‹zât› ‹z› ‹â› ‹t›

As shown in ذات   ‹zât› (“essence”) on the right, the letter ذ also does not join with the letter that follows it.

  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing د ‹dâl› and ذ ‹zâl›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

       

د ددد ذ ذذذ    
د ددد ذ ذذذ    

         


ر ‹re›, ز ‹ze›, ژ ‹že›

ر ز ژ
‹re› ‹ze› ‹že›

The next three Persian letters, also have the same basic form except for the dots. They are all written with a tail that drops well below the baseline. Like ا ‹alef›, د ‹dâl›, and ذ ‹zâl›, these three letters do not connect with the letter that follows them.


‌ر‌ ‌ر‌‍ ‍‌ر‌‍ ‍‌ر‌ ‌ر‌‌ر‌‌ر‌
  ‹re› does not connect with the following letter

The letter ر   ‹re› is pronounced as [ɾ], that is, it is produced by striking the tongue against the roof of the mouth just behind the teeth, then expelling air over the middle of the tongue, similar to the r in the Scottish English pronunciation of free or the tt in the American English and Australian English better. Between vowels, it is often trilled like rr in the Spanish word perro. Its name, ‹re›, sounds similar to a quick pronunciation of the English word "ray".


در د ر در
  ‹dar› ‹d› ‹r›

As shown below the word در   ‹dar› (“door”), the letter ر does not join with the letter that follows it.


چرا چ‍ ‍ر ا چرا
‹cerâ› ‹c› ‹r› ‹â›

چ followed by ر and ا spells the word چرا   ‹cerâ› (“why”). Recall that ‹e›, like other short vowels, is not usually written in Persian.


‌ز‌ ‌ز‌‍ ‍‌ز‌‍ ‍‌ز‌ ‌ز‌‌ز‌‌ز‌
  ‹ze› does not connect with the following letter

The letter ز   ‹ze› is the most common of the four ‹z› letters in Persian.


رز ر ز رز
‹roz› ‹r› ‹z›

The word رز   ‹roz› (“rose”) is shown on the right. Recall that ‹o› is usually not spelled in Persian words. Like ر, ز does not join with the letter that follows it.


‌ژ‌ ‌ژ‌‍ ‍‌ژ‌‍ ‍‌ژ‌ ‌ژ‌‌ژ‌‌ژ‌
  ‹že› does not connect with the following letter

The letter ژ   ‹že› is transcribed in UniPers and here as ‹ž› and is pronounced as [ʒ], i.e. like the "g" in "mirage" or the s in measure and Persian. If you open your Persian-English dictionary at the letter ژ , you can see that it is not used in very many words. It occurs in many loanwords of French origin.


ژخ ژ خ ژخ
‹žax› ‹ž› ‹x›

As shown in the word ژخ    ‹zhakh› (“wart”), ژ does not join with the letter that follows it.

  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing ر ‹re›, ز ‹ze› and ژ ‹že›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

           

ر ررر ز ززز ژ ژژژ  
ر ررر ز ززز ژ ژژژ  

              


س ‹sin›, ش ‹šin›

س ش
‹sin› ‹šin›

The next two Persian letters have the same shape, but one of them has no dots and the other has three.


س س‍ ‍س‍ ‍س سسس
  ‹sin› connecting forms

The letter س   ‹sin› is the usual Persian letter for /s/. Its name sounds like the English word "seen".


سر س‍ ‍ر سر
‹sar› ‹s› ‹r›

As shown in the word سر   ‹sar› (“head”) on the right, the letter س joins with the letter that follows it.


ش ش‍ ‍ش‍ ‍ش ششش
  ‹šin› connecting forms

The letter ش   ‹šin› is pronounced as [ʃ], that is, like "sh" in English. It is transcribed in UniPers as ‹š›, but in other literature it may be transcribed as sh, sch, ʃ, or ş. Its name sounds like the English word “sheen”.


شب ش‍ ‍ب شب
‹šab› ‹š› ‹b›

As shown in the word شب   ‹šab› (“evening”), the letter ش joins with the letter that follows it.

  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing س ‹sin› and ش ‹šin›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

       

س سسس ش ششش    
س سسس ش ششش    

         


ص ‹sâd›, ض ‹zâd›

ص ض
‹sâd› ‹zâd›

The next two Persian letters have the same shape, but only one has a dot.


ص ص‍ ‍ص‍ ‍ص صصص
  ‹sâd› connecting forms

The letter ص   ‹sâd› is the third Persian letter for the sound /s/.


صد ص‍ ‍د صد
‹sad› ‹s› ‹d›

As shown in the word صد   ‹sad› (“hundred”), on the right, the letter ص joins with the letter that follows it.


ض ض‍ ‍ض‍ ‍ض ضضض
  ‹zâd› connecting forms

The letter ض   ‹zâd› is another Persian letter for the sound /z/.


ضد ض‍ ‍د ضد
‹zed› ‹z› ‹d›

As shown in the word ضد   ‹zed› (“opposite”) on the right, the letter ض joins with the letter that follows it.

  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing ص ‹sâd› and ض ‹zâd›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

       

ص صصص ض ضضض    
ص صصص ض ضضض    

         


ط ‹tâ›, ظ ‹zâ›

ط ظ
‹tâ› ‹zâ›

The next two Persian letters have the same shape, but only one has a dot.


ط ط‍ ‍ط‍ ‍ط ططط
  ‹tâ› connecting forms

The letter ط   ‹tâ› is another Persian letter for the sound /t/.


طاس ط‍ ‍ا س طاس
‹tâs› ‹t› ‹â› ‹s›

As shown in the word طاس    ‹tâs› (“bald”) on the right, the letter ط joins with the letter that follows it.


ظ ظ‍ ‍ظ‍ ‍ظ ظظظ
‹zâ› connecting forms

The letter ظ   ‹zâ› is another Persian letter for the sound /z/. It is rare and only appears in words of Arabic origin.

ظ joins with the letter that follows it.

  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing ط ‹tâ› and ظ ‹zâ›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

       

ط ططط ظ ظظظ    
ط ططط ظ ظظظ    

         

Exercises

  Recognizing letters:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
What are the names of and sounds represented by the following letters?

The letter ‹šin›, which represents the sound ‹š› (IPA: [ʃ]).

The letter ‹dâl›, which represents the sound ‹d›.

The letter ‹sin›, which represents the sound ‹s›.

ژ

The letter ‹že›, which represents the sound ‹ž› (IPA: [ʒ]).

The letter ‹zâ›, which represents the sound ‹z›.

The letter ‹zâl›, which represents the sound ‹z›.

The letter ‹sâd›, which represents the sound ‹s›.

The letter ‹zâd›, which represents the sound ‹z›.

The letter ‹ze›, which represents the sound ‹z›.

The letter ‹tâ›, which represents the sound ‹t›.

The letter ‹re›, which represents the sound ‹r›.

  Reading words:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
Read these words by breaking them down into their component parts.
چرا

‹čerâ›: چ‍ ‍ر ا

صبح

‹sobh›: ص‍ ‍ب‍ ‍ح

بابا

‹bâbâ›: ب‍ ا‍ ب‍ ‍ا

اسم
This exercise is incomplete. Help the English Wikibooks Persian Language course by completing it.
چرا

‹čerâ›: ج‍ ‍ر ا

اثاث

‹asâs›: ا‍ ث‍ ا‍ ث

توت
This exercise is incomplete. Help the English Wikibooks Persian Language course by completing it.
  Word recognition.:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
See if you can recognize these familiar words:
ژاكت

ژاكت   ‹žâkat› (“jacket”)

بازار

بازار   ‹bâzâr› (“bazar, marketplace”)

بد

بد   ‹bad› (“bad (not good)”)

Review

In this lesson, you learned some greetings, the first nine letters of the Persian Alphabet, and how to spell several words with those letters from right to left. You also learned that short vowels are usually not written, and that many letters change their shape depending on whether they connect with letters before or after them.

Core vocabulary:
  • hâl›      /ˈhɒːl/ — “health”
  • ‹šo›      /ʃoˈmɒː/ — “you” (formal, shows speaker's respect for listener)
  • ‹cetor›      /t͡ʃeˈtoɾ/ — “how”
  • ‹xofez›      /xoˈdɒː hɒːˈfez/ — “May God keep you” (similar to “goodbye”, “God be with you”)
  • hâl-e šo cetor e?› — "How is your health?"
  • ‹man xub hastam.› — “I am well.”
  • ‹šo cetorin?› — “How are you?” (formal)
Letters:
  • د   ‹dâl›
  • ذ   ‹zâl›
  • ر   ‹re›
  • ز   ‹ze›
  • ژ   ‹že›
  • س   ‹sin›
  • ش   ‹šin›
  • ص   ‹sâd›
  • ض   ‹zâd›
  • ط   ‹tâ›
  • ظ   ‹zâ›
Bonus words:
  • داد   ‹dâd› — “(he/she/it) gave”
  • ذات   ‹zât› — “essence”
  • در   ‹dar› — “to, for, at”
  • رز   ‹roz› — “rose”
  • چرا   ‹ce› — “why”
  • ژخ   ‹žax› — “wart”
  • سر   ‹sar› — “head”
  • شب   ‹šab› — “evening”
  • صد   ‹sad› — “hundred”
  • ضد   ‹zed› — “opposite”
  • طاس   ‹tâs› — “bald”

Below are all the core vocabulary words from lessons 1 and 2. The far right column shows the words in Persian script. Don't worry if you can't yet read the Persian script:

All vocabulary Lessons 1 - 2   edit
English gloss Notes ‹fârsi› فارسی

Letter: [ɒː], [æ], [e], [o]   Lesson 1 ‹alef ا
Noun: gentleman, sir, Mr.   Lesson 2 âqâ› آقا
Letter: [b]   Lesson 1 ‹be› ب
Letter: [p]   Lesson 1 ‹pe› پ
Letter: [t]   Lesson 1 ‹te› ت
Pronoun: you (singular, informal)   Lesson 1 ‹tow› تو
Letter: [s]   Lesson 1 ‹se› ث
Letter: [dʒ]   Lesson 1 ‹jim› ج
Letter: [tʃ]   Lesson 1 ‹ce› چ
Adjective: how   Lesson 2 ‹cetor چطور
Phrase: How are you? (informal)   Lesson 1 ‹cetori?› چطوری؟
Letter: [h]   Lesson 1 ‹he› ح
Noun: health   Lesson 2 ‹hâl› حال
Letter: [x]   Lesson 1 ‹xe› خ
Phrase: May God keep you. (Goodbye.)   Lesson 2 ‹xofez.› خداحافظ.
Phrase: I’m fine.   Lesson 1 ‹(man) xubam.› (من) خوبم.
Letter: [d]   Lesson 2 ‹dâ› د
Letter: [z]   Lesson 2 ‹zâ› ذ
Letter: [ɾ]   Lesson 2 ‹re› ر
Letter: [z]   Lesson 2 ‹ze› ز
Letter: [ʒ]   Lesson 2 ‹že› ژ
Letter: [s]   Lesson 2 ‹sin› س
Phrase: Peace (hello)!   Lesson 1 ‹salâm!› سلام!
Letter: [ʃ]   Lesson 2 ‹šin› ش
Pronoun: you (plural or polite singular)   Lesson 2 ‹šomâ› شما
Letter: [s]   Lesson 2 ‹sâd› ص
Letter: [z]   Lesson 2 ‹zâd› ض
Letter: [t]   Lesson 2 ‹tâ› ط
Letter: [z]   Lesson 2 ‹zâ› ظ
Interjection: thanks   Lesson 1 mersi› مرسی
Pronoun: I, me   Lesson 1 ‹man› من

Next: Lesson 3 ( ۳ ), The alphabet (continued)

Continue to Lesson 3 ( ۳ ), The alphabet (continued) >>

ContentsIntroduction

Persian Alphabet lessons: 1 ( ۱ )2 ( ۲ )3 ( ۳ )4 ( ۴ )
Elementary grammar: 5 ( ۵ )6 ( ۶ )7 ( ۷ )8 ( ۸ )9 ( ۹ )
10 ( ۱۰ )11 ( ۱۱ )12 ( ۱۲ )13 ( ۱۳ )14 ( ۱۴ )15 ( ۱۵ )
Intermediate: 16 ( ۱۶ )17 ( ۱۷ )18 ( ۱۸ )19 ( ۱۹ )20 ( ۲۰ )
21 ( ۲۱ )22 ( ۲۲ )23 ( ۲۳ )24 ( ۲۴ )25 ( ۲۵ )26 ( ۲۶ )
Advanced:
Appendix: AlphabetGlossaryHandwriting



Lesson Three

 

 

 

فارسی (‹fârsi›, “Persian”)
Learn the Persian language
ContentsIntroduction
Persian Alphabet lessons: 1 ( ۱ )2 ( ۲ )3 ( ۳ )4 ( ۴ )
Elementary grammar: 5 ( ۵ )6 ( ۶ )7 ( ۷ )8 ( ۸ )9 ( ۹ )
10 ( ۱۰ )11 ( ۱۱ )12 ( ۱۲ )13 ( ۱۳ )14 ( ۱۴ )15 ( ۱۵ )
Intermediate: 16 ( ۱۶ )17 ( ۱۷ )18 ( ۱۸ )19 ( ۱۹ )20 ( ۲۰ )
21 ( ۲۱ )22 ( ۲۲ )23 ( ۲۳ )24 ( ۲۴ )25 ( ۲۵ )26 ( ۲۶ )
Advanced:
Appendix: AlphabetGlossaryHandwriting

 

To continue, your computer must display Persian. The box below should show these Persian letters on the far right:    
ا ب پ ت ث ج چ ح خ د ذ ر ز ژ س ش ص ض ط ظ ع غ ف ق ک گ ل م ن و ه ی

If they are different or in the wrong order, see Persian Computing.


In lessons 1 and 2, you learned some greetings, the first fourteen letters of the Persian Alphabet, and how to spell several words with those letters. You also learned syllable stress in Persian words.

In this lesson, you will learn more about casual and formal speech, the next nine Persian letters, and more about short vowels in Persian.

Dialogue: ‹sobh bexeyr

Hassan drops by to see his good friend Mohamad:

Hassan : ‹sobh bexeyr, mamad!›
“Good morning, Mamad!”

  Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
Mohamad : ‹sobh bexeyr, hasani. hâlet cetor e?›
“Good morning, Hassani. How’s your health?”

  Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
Hassan : ‹bad nistam, mersi. va to?›
“Not bad, thanks. And you?”

  Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
Mohamad : ‹man xeyli xubam.›
“I'm very good.”

  Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.

Explanation

Mohamad and Hassan are using a very casual style of speech because they are close friends. “Mamad” is a common nickname for people named Mohamad. “Hassani” is a common nickname for people named “Hassan”.

Vocabulary

  • hâlet›      /ˈhɒːlet/ — “your health” (informal)
  • ‹bad›      /bæd/ — “bad” similar meaning and pronunciation as the English word
  • nistam›      /ˈniːstæm/ — “(I) am not”
  • ‹va, o›      /væ/, /o/ — “and”
  • xeyli›    — “very”
Familiarity and formality

In any language, speakers use various levels of formality in various social settings. For example, an English speaker in a formal setting may use proper grammar, pronounce -ing clearly (i.e., so that "walking" does not sound like "walkin'"), may choose formal or technical words (e.g. sodium chloride rather than salt and child rather than kid), and refrain from saying ain't, but the same person could violate some or all of those rules in an informal setting.

In Persian, several speech patterns are used to raise or lower the level of formality. One general rule in the Persian formality system is that referring to an individual with a plural pronoun and/or plural verb indicates respect for that individual. In polite Persian conversations, it is therefore customary to use the plural pronoun شما ‹šomâ› to when speaking with a superior or someone whom one has just met, and to use the singular pronoun تو ‹to› only when talking to friends, family members, and the like.



ع ‹’eyn›, غ ‹qeyn›

(read from right to left)
ع غ
‹’eyn› ‹qeyn›

The next two letters have the same form except only one has a dot over it. The bottom hook in these letters is a tail that only appears in isolated and final position.


ع ع‍ ‍ع‍ ‍ع ععع
  ‹’eyn› connecting forms

The Persian letter    ‹’eyn› represents the sound [ʔ], i.e. the glottal stop in the middle of “uh-oh” in English. Traditionally, as well as in UniPers it is transcribed as ‹’›. Its name sounds something like the English word “main”, but beginning with a glottal stop instead of an m. The top loop sits on the baseline. When it is the last (or only) letter in a word, its lower loop hangs below the baseline. When another letter follows it, it has a different form.


رعد ر ع‍ ‍د رعد
  ‹ra'd› ‹r› ‹’› ‹d›

As shown on the right, the letter ‹’eyn› combines with the letter that follows it, e.g. with د in the word رعد   ‹ra’d› (“thunder”).


غ غ‍ ‍غ‍ ‍غ غغغ
  ‹qeyn› connecting forms

The Persian letter غ   ‹qeyn› represents the sound [ɣ], that is, it is produced by placing the back part of the tongue against the soft palate and vibrating the vocal cords while pushing air from the lungs over the middle of the tongue.

The top loop sits on the baseline. When it is the last (or only) letter in a word, its lower loop hangs below the baseline. When another letter follows it, it has a different form.


باغ ب‍ ‍ا غ باغ
  ‹bâq› ‹b› ‹â› ‹q›

As shown on the right, the letter ‹qeyn› is used to spell باغ   ‹bâq› (“garden”).

  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing ع ‹'eyn› and غ ‹qeyn›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

       

ع ععع غ غغغ    
ع ععع غ غغغ    

         


ف ‹fe›, ق ‹qaf›

ف ق
‹fe› ‹qaf›

The next two letters are shown on the right.


ف ف‍ ‍ف‍ ‍ف ففف
  ‹fe› connecting forms

The Persian letter ف   ‹fe› sits on the baseline. Its name sounds like a quick pronunciation of "Faye".


فردا ف‍ ‍ر د ا فردا
‹fardâ› ‹f› ‹r› ‹d› ‹â›

As shown on the right, the letter ف ‹fe› combines with the letter that follows it, e.g. as the first letter in the word فردا   ‹fardâ› (“tomorrow”).


ق ق‍ ‍ق‍ ‍ق ققق
  ‹qaf› connecting forms

The Persian letter ق   ‹qaf› is pronounced like غ ‹qeyn›, i.e. like [ɣ]. The small loop sits on the baseline and the tail, when present, hangs below the baseline. Like other Persian letters with tails, the tail is only written when no other letter follows.


آقا آ ق‍ ‍ا آقا
‹âqâ› ‹â› ‹q› ‹â›

As shown on the right, the letter ‹qaf› combines with the letter that follows, as in آقا   ‹âqâ› (“Mr., sir, gentleman”).

  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing ف ‹fe› and ق ‹qaf›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

       

ف ففف ق ققق    
ف ففف ق ققق    

         


ک ‹kaf› and گ ‹gaf›

ک گ
‹kaf› ‹gaf›

The next two letters are shown on the right.


ک ک‍ ‍ک‍ ‍ک ککک
  ‹kaf› connecting forms

The Persian letter ک   ‹kaf› sits on the baseline. The slash on top ( / ) is written after the connected strokes of the word, along with the dots in any of the word’s dotted letters. Its name sounds a bit like the English word “cough”.


کتاب ک‍ ‍ت‍ ‍ا ب کتاب
  ‹ketâb ‹k› ‹t› ‹â› ‹b›

As shown on the right, the letter ک combines with the letter that follows it, e.g. as the first letter in the word کتاب   ‹ketâb› (“book”).


گ گ‍ ‍گ‍ ‍گ گگگ
  ‹gaf› connecting forms

The Persian letter گ   ‹gaf› sits on the baseline. The two slashes on top ( // ) are written after the connected strokes of the word, along with the dots in any of the word’s dotted letters.


بزرگ ب‍ ‍ز ر گ بزرگ
  ‹bozorg› ‹b› ‹z› ‹r› ‹g›

As shown on the right, the letter گ is used in the word بزرگ   ‹bozorg› (“big”).

  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing ک ‹kaf› and گ ‹gaf›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

       

ک ککک گ گگگ    
ک ککک گ گگگ    

        


ل ‹lâm›

ل ل‍ ‍ل‍ ‍ل للل
‹lâm› connecting forms

The letter ل   ‹lâm› sits on the baseline and connects with the letter that follows it.


گل گ‍ ‍ل گل
‹gol› ‹g› ‹l›

ل is the last letter in گل   ‹gol› (“flower”).

  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing ل ‹lâm›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

   

ل للل      
ل للل      

    


م ‹mim›

م م‍ ‍م‍ ‍م ممم
  ‹mim› connecting forms

The Persian letter م is pronounced as /m/.


اسم ا س‍ ‍م اسم
  ‹esm› ‹e› ‹s› ‹m›

The Persian word اسم   ‹esm› (“name”), shown on the right, is an example of an initial alef without a “hat” ( ا ) used to indicate that the word begins with a short vowel, in this case, with ‹e›.

  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing م ‹mim›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

   

م ممم      
م ممم      

    


ن ‹nun›

ن ن‍ ‍ن‍ ‍ن ننن
  ‹nun› connecting forms

The name of this letter "nun" is pronounced rhyming with "noon" and not "nun". Note the difference between ن nun and be, in be the dot is below the curve and in nun it is above. The shape of nun is also narrower than the "be, pe, se, te" group of letters.


نان ن‍ ‍ا ن نان
‹nun› ‹n› ‹â› ‹n›

The Persian word نان   ‹nun› (“bread”) is shown on the right. Note that the written form uses ا ‹â› , indicating that the word should be pronounced as ‹nân›, but in standard Persian, ان ‹ân› is usually pronounced ‹un›, including the word آن   ‹un› (“that”).

  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing ن ‹nun›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

   

ن ننن      
ن ننن      

    

Exercises

  Recognizing letters:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
What are the names of and sounds represented by the following letters?
ف

The letter ‹fe›, which represents the sound ‹f›.

The letter ‹lâm›, which represents the sound ‹l›.

گ

The letter ‹gaf›, which represents the sound ‹g›.

ق

The letter ‹qaf›, which represents the sound ‹q›.

ع

The letter ‹'eyn›, which represents the sound ‹'›.

غ

The letter ‹qeyn›, which represents the sound ‹q›.

ک

The letter ‹kaf›, which represents the sound ‹k›.

  Reading words:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
Read these words by breaking them down into their component parts.
بازار

بازار   ‹bâzâr› (“bazaar, market”)

چادر

چادر   ‹câdor› (“chador, covering”)

بانک

بانک   ‹bânk› (“bank”)

چک

چک   ‹chek› (“Czech”)

Review

In this lesson, you learned ..., the next seven letters of the Persian Alphabet, and how to spell several words with those letters from right to left. You also learned about syllable stress in Persian words.

Core vocabulary:
  • ‹sobh bexeyr›      /sobh beˈxejɾ/ — “Good morning”
  • hâlet›      /ˈhɒːlet/ — “your health” (informal)
  • ‹bad›      /bæd/ — “bad” similar meaning and pronunciation as the English word
  • xeyli›    — “very”
Letters:
  • ع   ‹’eyn›
  • غ   ‹qeyn›
  • ف   ‹fe›
  • ق   ‹qaf›
  • ک   ‹kaf›
  • گ   ‹gaf›
  •    ‹lâm›
  • م   ‹mim›
  • ن   ‹nun›
Bonus words:
  • رعد   ‹ra’d› — “thunder”
  • باغ   ‹bâq› — “garden”
  • فردا   ‹fardâ› — “tomorrow”
  • آقا   ‹âqâ› — “sir, Mr., gentleman”
  • کتاب   ‹ketâb› — “book”
  • بزرگ   ‹bozorg› — “big”
All vocabulary Lessons 1 - 3   edit
English gloss Notes ‹fârsi› فارسی

Letter: [ɒː], [æ], [e], [o]   Lesson 1 ‹alef ا
Noun: gentleman, sir, Mr.   Lesson 2 âqâ› آقا
Letter: [b]   Lesson 1 ‹be› ب
Adjective: bad   Lesson 3 ‹bad› بد
Letter: [p]   Lesson 1 ‹pe› پ
Letter: [t]   Lesson 1 ‹te› ت
Pronoun: you (singular, informal)   Lesson 1 ‹tow› تو
Letter: [s]   Lesson 1 ‹se› ث
Letter: [dʒ]   Lesson 1 ‹jim› ج
Letter: [tʃ]   Lesson 1 ‹ce› چ
Adjective: how   Lesson 2 ‹cetor چطور
Phrase: How are you? (informal)   Lesson 1 ‹cetori?› چطوری؟
Letter: [h]   Lesson 1 ‹he› ح
Noun: health   Lesson 2 ‹hâl› حال
Noun: your health (informal)   Lesson 3 ‹hâlet› حالت
Letter: [x]   Lesson 1 ‹xe› خ
Phrase: May God keep you. (Goodbye.)   Lesson 2 ‹xofez.› خداحافظ.
Phrase: I’m fine.   Lesson 1 ‹(man) xubam.› (من) خوبم.
very   Lesson 3 xeyli› خیلی
Letter: [d]   Lesson 2 ‹dâ› د
Letter: [z]   Lesson 2 ‹zâ› ذ
Letter: [ɾ]   Lesson 2 ‹re› ر
Letter: [z]   Lesson 2 ‹ze› ز
Letter: [ʒ]   Lesson 2 ‹že› ژ
Letter: [s]   Lesson 2 ‹sin› س
Phrase: Peace (hello)!   Lesson 1 ‹salâm!› سلام!
Letter: [ʃ]   Lesson 2 ‹šin› ش
Pronoun: you (plural or polite singular)   Lesson 2 ‹šomâ› شما
Letter: [s]   Lesson 2 ‹sâd› ص
Interjection: Good morning   Lesson 3 ‹sobh bexeyr صبح بخیر
Letter: [z]   Lesson 2 ‹zâd› ض
Letter: [t]   Lesson 2 ‹tâ› ط
Letter: [z]   Lesson 2 ‹zâ› ظ
Letter: [ʔ]   Lesson 3 ‹’eyn› ع
Letter: [ɣ], [ɢ]   Lesson 3 ‹qeyn› غ
Letter: [f]   Lesson 3 ‹fe› ف
Letter: [ɢ], [ɣ], [q]   Lesson 3 ‹qaf› ق
Letter: [k]   Lesson 3 ‹kaf› ک
Letter: [g]   Lesson 3 ‹gaf› گ
Letter: [l]   Lesson 3 ‹lâm› ل
Letter: [m]   Lesson 3 ‹mim› م
Interjection: thanks   Lesson 1 mersi› مرسی
Pronoun: I, me   Lesson 1 ‹man› من
Letter: [n]   Lesson 3 ‹nun› ن
Verb: (I) am not   Lesson 3 nistam› نیستم
Conjunction: and   Lesson 3 ‹va, vo, o› و

Next: Lesson 4 ( ۴ ), The alphabet (continued)

Continue to Lesson 4 ( ۴ ), The alphabet (continued) >>

ContentsIntroduction

Persian Alphabet lessons: 1 ( ۱ )2 ( ۲ )3 ( ۳ )4 ( ۴ )
Elementary grammar: 5 ( ۵ )6 ( ۶ )7 ( ۷ )8 ( ۸ )9 ( ۹ )
10 ( ۱۰ )11 ( ۱۱ )12 ( ۱۲ )13 ( ۱۳ )14 ( ۱۴ )15 ( ۱۵ )
Intermediate: 16 ( ۱۶ )17 ( ۱۷ )18 ( ۱۸ )19 ( ۱۹ )20 ( ۲۰ )
21 ( ۲۱ )22 ( ۲۲ )23 ( ۲۳ )24 ( ۲۴ )25 ( ۲۵ )26 ( ۲۶ )
Advanced:
Appendix: AlphabetGlossaryHandwriting


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Lesson Four

 

 

 

فارسی (‹fârsi›, “Persian”)
Learn the Persian language
ContentsIntroduction
Persian Alphabet lessons: 1 ( ۱ )2 ( ۲ )3 ( ۳ )4 ( ۴ )
Elementary grammar: 5 ( ۵ )6 ( ۶ )7 ( ۷ )8 ( ۸ )9 ( ۹ )
10 ( ۱۰ )11 ( ۱۱ )12 ( ۱۲ )13 ( ۱۳ )14 ( ۱۴ )15 ( ۱۵ )
Intermediate: 16 ( ۱۶ )17 ( ۱۷ )18 ( ۱۸ )19 ( ۱۹ )20 ( ۲۰ )
21 ( ۲۱ )22 ( ۲۲ )23 ( ۲۳ )24 ( ۲۴ )25 ( ۲۵ )26 ( ۲۶ )
Advanced:
Appendix: AlphabetGlossaryHandwriting

 

To continue, your computer must display Persian. The box below should show these Persian letters on the far right:    
ا ب پ ت ث ج چ ح خ د ذ ر ز ژ س ش ص ض ط ظ ع غ ف ق ک گ ل م ن و ه ی

If they are different or in the wrong order, see Persian Computing.


In lessons 1, 2, and 3, you learned some greetings, the first twenty-nine letters of the Persian Alphabet, and how to spell and pronounce several words with those letters.

In this lesson, you will learn the final three letters (ﻭ ‹vâv›, ﻩ ‹he› and ى ‹ye›), diacritics, and the remaining rules for reading and writing Persian vowels. You will also learn about a Persian tradition called ‹haft sin›.

Dialogue: ‹esm-e šo ci e?›

Reza meets Shirin:

The dialogue below and those in subsequent lessons are shown in both Persian script and UniPers. Some of the Persian letters used below are explained later in this lesson, so read the UniPers transcription for now, then come back to read the Persian script version after completing this lesson.
Shirin: ‹bebaxšid, esm-e šo ci-st?›
“Excuse me, what is your name?”
ببخشید، اسم شما چی است؟
  Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
شيرين:
Reza: esm-e man re-st. va šo?›
“My name is Reza. And you?”
اسم من رضا است. و شما؟
  Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
رضا:
Shirin: esm-e man širin e.›
“My name is Shirin.”
اسم من شیرین است.
  Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
شيرين:
Reza: ‹xošbaxtam, nom-e širin.›
“Nice to meet you, Miss Shirin.”
خوشبختم، خانم شیرین.
  Missing audio. If you are fluent in Persian, record and upload your voice.
رضا:

Explanation

Shirin meets Reza.

Vocabulary

  • ببخشید   ‹bebaxšid› — “excuse me”
  • اسم   ‹esm› — “name”
  • چی   ‹ci› — “what”
  • خانم   ‹xânom›   /xɒːnom/ — “Miss”
  • خوشبختم   ‹xošbaxtam› — “Nice to meet you.”


و ‹vâv›

‌و ‌و‍ ‍‌و‍ ‍‌و ‌و‌و‌و
  ‹vâv› does not connect with the following letter

The letter و does not connect with the following letter. It is pronounced in different ways, depending on the word: ‹v›, ‹u›, or ‹o›.


آواز آ و ا ز آواز
‹âvâz› ‹â› ‹v› ‹â› ‹z›

The word آواز   ‹âvâz›   /ɒːˈvɒːz/ (“voice, song”) is shown on the right, demonstrating that و ‹vâv› is pronounced as the consonant ‹v› in some words.


چوب چ‍ ‍و ب چوب
‹cub› ‹c› ‹u› ‹b›

The word چوب    ‹cub›   /tʃuːb/ (“wood”) is shown on the right, demonstrating that و ‹vâv› is pronounced as the long vowel ‹u› in some words.


اوت ا و ت اوت
‹ut› ‹-› ‹u› ‹t›

The long vowel sound ‹u› may also occur at the beginning of a word, in which case it is spelled with initial او, as demonstrated on the right in اوت   ‹ut› (“August”).


تو ت‍ ‍و تو
‹to› ‹t› ‹o›

Some Persian words that were originally pronounced with the long vowel sound ‹u› are pronounced today with the sound ‹o›, but their spelling has not changed. So و sometimes represents the sound ‹o› in Modern Persian:

  • تو   ‹to› (“you (informal)”)
  • دو   ‹do› (“two”)
  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing و ‹vâv›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

   

و ووو      
و ووو      

    


ه ‹he›

ه ه‍ ‍ه‍ ‍ه ههه
  ‹he› connecting forms

The letter ه   ‹he› is often pronounced like ‹h›, just like the Persian letter ح   ‹he›. To distinguish between them, a Persian speaker may specify ح by saying ‹he-ye jimi›, in reference to the similar form shared with ج ‹jim› . Or, because of the traditional arrangements of letters in chronograms, they may be distinguished as حاء حطّی ‹he-ye hotti› for ح and هاء هوّز ‹he-ye havvaz› for ه .

جوجه ج‍ ‍و ج‍ ‍ه جوجه
‹jojeh› ‹j› ‹o› ‹j› ‹h›

The connecting forms of ه ‹he› are shown on the right in a typical Persian style. There are several variations, though, so you may run across any of the following:

  • راه   ‹râh› (“road, path”)
  • جوجه   ‹jojeh› (“chicken”)

At the end of a word, ه often is not pronounced as ‹h›, but just indicates that the word ends in the sound ‹e›: خانه ‹xâne› (“house”)

  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing ه ‹he›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

   

ه ههه      
ه ههه      

    

Duplicate Letters

In Persian there is more than one letter available for some sounds because words imported from Arabic are spelled using their Arabic spelling, but with Persian pronunciation. So, there are three letters for ‹s›, four for ‹z›, two for ‹t›, two for ‹q›, two for ‹h›, and two for ‹'›. They are not all used equally, for example ز is more common than the other ‹z› letters.
  • ‹s›:
    • س
    • ص , e.g. صد   ‹sad› (“hundred”)
    • ث
  • ‹z›:
    • ز
    • ذ
    • ظ
    • ض, e.g. راضی   ‹râzi› (“satisfied”)
  • ‹t›:
    • ت
    • ط, e.g. طور   ‹towr› (“method”)
  • ‹q›:
    • ق, e.g. آقا   ‹âqâ› (“sir”)
    • غ, e.g. آغا   ‹âqâ› (“madam”)
  • ‹h›:
    • ه
    • ح
  • <'>:
    In Arabic, a symbol known as hamzaء ) is used to separate two vowels. This convention only used in Persian for words of Arabic origin.
    • ء, e.g. رأس   ‹râ's› (“head”)
    • ع, e.g. رعد   ‹ra'd› (“thunder”)


ی ‹ye›

ی ی‍ ‍ی‍ ‍ی ییی
  ‹ye› connecting forms

The last Persian letter, ى   ‹ye›, has a few different pronunciations: ‹y›, ‹i›, or ‹ey›. Its isolated and final forms vary significantly from its initial and medial forms: It has a tail and no dots in the isolated and final forms, but it has two dots and no tail in the initial and medial forms,.


یک ی‍ ‍ک یک
‹yek› ‹y› ‹k›

In یک   ‹yek› (“one”), ی as the first letter of the word is pronounced ‹y›.


سیب س‍ ‍ی‍ ‍ب سیب
‹sib› ‹s› ‹i› ‹b›
ایران ا ی‍ ‍ر ا ن ایران
‹irân› ‹-› ‹i› ‹r› ‹â› ‹n›
این ا ی‍ ‍ن این
‹in› ‹-› ‹i› ‹n›

As the examples این ‹in› (“this”) and سیب   ‹sib› (“apple”) show on the right, ی as the second letter of the word is pronounced as ‹i›.

فارسی ف‍ ‍ا ر س‍ ‍ی فارسی
‹fârsi› ‹f› ‹â› ‹r› ‹s› ‹i›

In فارسی   ‹fârsi› (“Persian (language)”), ی as the last letter of the word is pronounced as ‹i›.


Vowels at the beginning of words

When a Persian word begins with any vowel sound, it is spelled with an initial ا. If that initial sound is a short vowel, the specific vowel is not indicated, but if it is a long vowel, the corresponding long vowel letter is written ( ا for ‹â›, و for ‹o›, or ی for ‹i›). So, ا is the first letter in Persian words that begin with a long ‹i› sound, such as ایران   ‹irân› (“Iran”) and اين   ‹in› (“this”).

Remember from lesson 1, though, the long ‹â› sound at the beginning of a word is not spelled with two ا letters in a row, but with آ, alef madde.


  Writing practice

Get out a pen and paper and practice writing ی ‹ye›. Remember to write from right to left and to keep the base lines even.

   

ی ییی      
ی ییی      
Culture Point: هفت‌سین   ‹haft sin›

Do you remember the letter س ‹sin› from lesson 3? Combined with هفت   ‹haft› (“seven”) from this lesson makes an important Iranian New Year tradition of هفت‌سین   ‹haft sin› (“seven Ss”). During the Persian New Year ‹nowruz›, the سفره   ‹sofreh› (“tablecloth”) is arranged with seven items beginning with the letter س ‹s›. That might include:

  1. ‹sabzeh›
  2. ‹sib›
  3. ‹sir›
  4. ‹samanu›
  5. ‹senjed›
  6. ‹serkeh›
  7. ‹somâk›

Originally called هفت چین   ‹haft cin›


  Which of the following items would go on your traditional هفت سین   ‹haft sin› table? (Clue: Sabzeh, Sib, Sir, Samanu, Senjed, Serke and Somâq):
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
سیب زمینی

sib zamini (potato)- no

سیب

sib (apple)- yes

سگ

sag (dog)- no

ستاره

setareh (star)- no

سير

sir (garlic)- yes

سركه

serke (vinegar)- yes

سوسک‌

(cockroach)- no

سبزه

sabzeh (wheat, barley or lentil sprouts)- yes

سیگار

sigar (cigar)- no

سنگ

sang (stone)- no

سماق

somâq (sumac berries)- yes

سنجد

senjed (senjed, the dried fruit of the oleaster tree )- yes

سمنو

samanu (wheat pudding)- yes

Ligatures

Certain combinations of letters are written in a combined form known as a ligature.


لا ل‍ ‍ا لا
‹lâ› ‹l› ‹â›

When ل ‹lâm› is followed by ا ‹alef› , they combine to form the ligature لا ‹lâ› , as shown on the right.

سلام س‍ ‍ل‍ ‍ا م سلام
‹salâm› ‹s› ‹l› ‹â› ‹m›

The lâm-alef ligature appears in the greeting سلام ‹salâm› .


ۀ ه‌ ‌ی ۀ
‹he-ye› ‹he› ‹ye›

In an ezafe construction after a word ending in ‹he›, the ی is sometimes written in a small form over the ه, i.e. as ۀ ‹he-ye› . It looks like a hamze, and is considered such by some, but others consider this a ligature of ه‌ی.

Diacritics

Like the accent mark over the e in café, Persian diacritics (symbols written above or below the letters) are not actual letters in the Persian alphabet.

  • ّ ‹tašdid› (“strengthening”)

Tashdid is a mark that looks like a small, curly w, placed above a consonant to double or strengthen it. It may be omitted, but is used in many situations for clarity.

ء ‹hamze›

The diacritic ‹hamze›, isolated and over ‹he›:
ء هٔ
  ‹’›, ‹ye›

The symbol on the right is called همزه ‹hamze› . It is never at the beginning of a word and has different pronunciations, depending on whether it is in a native Persian word or one borrowed from Arabic.


خانهٔ خ ا ن هٔ خانهٔ
‹xuneye› ‹x› ‹â› ‹n› ‹e-ye›

In Persian words, hamze may be written over silent final ‹he› ( هٔ ), as shown on the right, to represent the sound ‹ye› in a construction called ‹ezâfe› that will be explained in Lesson 6. The hamze for this purpose is usually left unwritten and is only added for extra clarity. Rarely, it is used in the same way with words ending in ی (that is, ئ).

Historically   Modern
جملهٔ جمله‌ای ‹jomlei› (“a sentence”)
قهوهٔ رنگ قهوه‌ای رنگ ‹qahvei rang› (“brown”)
خستهٔ خسته‌ای ‹xaste i› (“you are tired”)
شیمیائی شیمیایی ‹šimiāi› (“chemical”)
بگوئید بگویید ‹beguid› (“say”)

Historically, Persian words with the sounds ‹âi› or ‹ui› were written with a hamze (that is, with ائی or وئی) to show that the vowel sounds were separate, but today such words are usually written with a doubled ی (that is, ‹âi› is written as ایی and ‹ui› as ویی) instead. Similarly, words ending with ‹ei› were once written as هٔ, but today that ending is written as ه‌ای.


ژوئن ژ و ئ‍ ‍ن ژوئن
‹žuan› ‹ž› ‹u› ‹-› ‹n›

As shown on the right, ئـ is used in some foreign words, like ژوئن   ‹žuan› (“June”) (from French juin), to show a transition between vowels.


أ ‹a’›/‹’a›
  • متأسف ‹mota’assef› (“sorry”)
  • تأسیس ‹ta’sis› (“foundation”)
ؤ ‹o’›
  • مؤمن ‹mo’men› (“believer”)
  • مسئول ‹mas’ul› (“responsible”)
ئو ‹’u›, ئـ ‹’›
  • مسأله\مسئله ‹mas’ale› (“problem”)

In words taken from Arabic, like the ones on the right, hamze may appear anywhere after the first letter of a word to represent a glottal stop [ʔ], i.e. the same ‹’› sound that ع ‹’eyn› represents. Usually, though, أ is written without the hamze, e.g. متاسف ‹mota’assef› , مساله ‹masale› .


جزء ج‍ ‍زء جزء
‹joz› ‹j› ‹z›

At the end of an Arabic word, ء is usually silent and written by itself, e.g. جزء ‹joz› (“part”).

Arabic loanwords ending with a final اء are sometimes still spelled that way, but the final hamze in such words is silent, so the hamze is usually omitted. For example, ابتداء ‹ebtedâ› (“beginning”) is now usually written ابتدا .

Short vowel marks

In children's books and some other learning resources, short vowel are marked using the following symbols:

  • َ , called زَبَر ‹zabar› (“above”) or فتحه‎‎   ‹fatha› (“opening”), is used to represent short ‹a›. E.g. دَر   ‹dar› (“door, at”)
  • ِ , called زير ‹zir› (“below”) or كَسره   ‹kasra› (“breaking”), is used to represent ‹e›.
  • ُ , called پيش ‹piš› (“before”) or ضَمّه   ‹zamah›, is used to represent ‹o›.

The short vowel diacritics may be doubled at the end of an Arabic loanword to indicate that the vowel is followed by ‹-n›, known as تنوين ‹tanvin› (“nunation”) (also, تنوين نصب ‹tanvin nasb› (“marking a consonant with tanvin”)). In Arabic, the signs indicate grammatical case endings: ـً ‹-un› (nominative), ـٍ ‹-en› (accusative), and ـٌ ‹-an› (genitive).

A related mark is سُكون ‹sokun› , also called جَزْم ‹jazm› (“amputation”). It is used to indicate the absence of a vowel and is written as a superscripted o: ْ

Exercises

  Recognizing letters:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
What are the names of and sounds represented by the following letters?

The letter ‹vâv›, which represents the consonant ‹v›, the long vowel ‹u›, or the short vowel ‹o›.

ى

The letter ‹ye›, which represents the long vowel ‹i› or ‹ay› in a dipthong, e.g. ‹ye›, ‹ay›, ‹ey›, ....

ن

The letter ‹nun›, which represents the sound ‹n›.

The letter ‹he›, which represents the consonant ‹h› or the short vowel ‹e›.

م

The letter ‹mim›, which represents the sound ‹m›.

Non-connecting letters.
Which seven Persian letters do not join with the letter that follows?

ا ‹alef›, ‹dâl›, ‹zâl›, ‹re›, ‹ze›, ژ ‹že› and ‹vâv›.

  Reading words:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
Read these words by breaking them down into their component parts.
ما

‹mâ›: م‍  ‍ا

ماه

‹mâh›: م‍  ‍ا ه

نه

‹nah›: ن‍  ‍ه

هفت

‹haft›: ه‍  ‍ف‍ ‍ت

طناب

‹tanâb›: ط‍ ‍ن‍ ‍ا ب

اسم

‹esm›: ا س‍ ‍م

  The Persian script:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
Determine which of these words has unwritten vowels (vowels not included in the spelling of the word).
ما

No, the one vowel ‹â› is written, like all long vowels in Persian.

ماه

No, the one vowel ‹â› is written, like all long vowels in Persian.

نه

Yes, نه   ‹nah› (“not”) has an unwritten short vowel: ‹a›.

چرا

Yes, چرا   ‹cerâ› (“why”) has a written long vowel ‹â› and an unwritten short vowel ‹e›.

هفت

Yes, هفت   ‹haft› (“seven”) has an unwritten short vowel: ‹a›.

آب

No, the one vowel ‹â› is written, like all long vowels in Persian.

بابا

No, the vowel ‹â› is written, like all long vowels in Persian.

اسم

No, the vowel ‹â› is written, like all long vowels in Persian.

چرا
This exercise is incomplete. Help the English Wikibooks Persian Language course by completing it.
اثاث

Yes, the vowel ‹â› in the middle of the word is written, but the short vowel ‹e› at the beginning of the word is unwritten.

توت
This exercise is incomplete. Help the English Wikibooks Persian Language course by completing it.
  Word recognition:
(To check your answers, click “[show ▼]”.)
See if you can recognize these familiar words.
شاه

شاه   ‹šâh› (“shah, king”)

افغانستان

افغانستان   ‹afqânestân› (“Afghanistan”)

زعفران

زعفران   ‹za'ferân› (“saffron”)

پايجامه

پايجامه   ‹payjâma› (“pajamas”)

مادر

مادر   ‹mâdar› (“mother”)

Review

In this lesson, you learned the final letters of the Persian Alphabet and some diacritics. You will also learn about a Persian tradition called ‹haft sin›.

Congratulations! You now know how to read, write, and pronounce Persian words!

Core vocabulary:
  • ‹bebaxšin›    — “excuse me”
  • ‹esm›    — “name”
  • ‹ci›    — “what”
  • ‹xânom›      /xɒːnom/ — “Miss”
Letters:
  • و   ‹vâv›
  • ه   ‹he›
  • ی   ‹ye›

Diacritics and ligatures:

  • لا ‹lâ› (‹lâm› + ‹alef›)
  • ۀ ‹he ye›
  • اً ‹tanvin nasb›
  • ّ ‹tašdid›
  • ء ‹hamze›
  • َ ‹fatha›
  • ِ ‹kasra›
  • ُ ‹zamma›
Bonus words:
  • آواز   ‹âvâz› — “voice, song”
  • چوب   ‹cub› — “wood”
  • اوت   ‹ut› — “August”
  • تو   ‹to› — “you” (informal)
  • جوجه   ‹jojeh› — “chicken”
  • یک   ‹yek› — “one”
  • سیب   ‹sib› — “apple”
  • فارسی   ‹fârsi› — “Persian”
  • ايران   ‹irân› — “Iran”
  • هفت   ‹haft› — “seven”
  • هفت‌سین   ‹haft sin› — “seven Ss” (Iranian New Year tradition)
  • سي   ‹sir› — “garlic”
  • سنجد   ‹senjed› — “senjed” (the dried fruit of the oleaster tree)
  • سمنو   ‹samanu› — “samanu” (a kind of wheat pudding)
All vocabulary Lessons 1 - 4   edit
English gloss Notes ‹fârsi› فارسی

Letter: [ɒː], [æ], [e], [o]   Lesson 1 ‹alef ا
Noun: gentleman, sir, Mr.   Lesson 2 âqâ› آقا
Noun: name   Lesson 4 ‹esm› اسم
Letter: [b]   Lesson 1 ‹be› ب
Interjection: excuse me   Lesson 4 ‹bebaxšid› ببخشید
Adjective: bad   Lesson 3 ‹bad› بد
Letter: [p]   Lesson 1 ‹pe› پ
Letter: [t]   Lesson 1 ‹te› ت
Pronoun: you (singular, informal)   Lesson 1 ‹tow› تو
Letter: [s]   Lesson 1 ‹se› ث
Letter: [dʒ]   Lesson 1 ‹jim› ج
Letter: [tʃ]   Lesson 1 ‹ce› چ
Adjective: how   Lesson 2 ‹cetor چطور
Phrase: How are you? (informal)   Lesson 1 ‹cetori?› چطوری؟
Pronoun: what?   Lesson 4 ‹ci› چی
Letter: [h]   Lesson 1 ‹he› ح
Noun: health   Lesson 2 ‹hâl› حال
Noun: your health (informal)   Lesson 3 ‹hâlet› حالت
Letter: [x]   Lesson 1 ‹xe› خ
Phrase: May God keep you. (Goodbye.)   Lesson 2 ‹xofez.› خداحافظ.
Noun: (person) wife, lady, Miss   Lesson 4 ‹xânom› خانم
Phrase: I’m fine.   Lesson 1 ‹(man) xubam.› (من) خوبم.
Phrase: Nice to meet you.   Lesson 4 ‹xošbaxtam› خوشبختم
very   Lesson 3 xeyli› خیلی
Letter: [d]   Lesson 2 ‹dâ› د
Letter: [z]   Lesson 2 ‹zâ› ذ
Letter: [ɾ]   Lesson 2 ‹re› ر
Letter: [z]   Lesson 2 ‹ze› ز
Letter: [ʒ]   Lesson 2 ‹že› ژ
Letter: [s]   Lesson 2 ‹sin› س
Phrase: Peace (hello)!   Lesson 1 ‹salâm!› سلام!
Letter: [ʃ]   Lesson 2 ‹šin› ش
Pronoun: you (plural or polite singular)   Lesson 2 ‹šomâ› شما
Letter: [s]   Lesson 2 ‹sâd› ص
Interjection: Good morning   Lesson 3 ‹sobh bexeyr صبح بخیر
Letter: [z]   Lesson 2 ‹zâd› ض
Letter: [t]   Lesson 2 ‹tâ› ط
Letter: [z]   Lesson 2 ‹zâ› ظ
Letter: [ʔ]   Lesson 3 ‹’eyn› ع
Letter: [ɣ], [ɢ]   Lesson 3 ‹qeyn› غ
Letter: [f]   Lesson 3 ‹fe› ف
Letter: [ɢ], [ɣ], [q]   Lesson 3 ‹qaf› ق
Letter: [k]   Lesson 3 ‹kaf› ک
Letter: [g]   Lesson 3 ‹gaf› گ
Letter: [l]   Lesson 3 ‹lâm› ل
Letter: [m]   Lesson 3 ‹mim› م
Interjection: thanks   Lesson 1 mersi› مرسی
Pronoun: I, me   Lesson 1 ‹man› من
Letter: [n]   Lesson 3 ‹nun› ن
Verb: (I) am not   Lesson 3 nistam› نیستم
Letter: [v], [u], [ow]   Lesson 4 ‹vâv› و
Conjunction: and   Lesson 3 ‹va, vo, o› و
Letter: [h]   Lesson 4 ‹he› ه
Noun: Persian New Year’s tradition of “seven S’s”   Lesson 4 ‹haftsin› هفت‌سین
Letter: [j], [i], [ej]   Lesson 4 ‹ye› ی
Symbol: (ligature) lam-alef   Lesson 4 ‹lâ› لا
Symbol: (diacritic) tashdid (“strengthening”)   Lesson 4 ‹tašdid› ّ
Symbol: (diacritic) hamze   Lesson 4 ‹’› ء
Symbol: (diacritic) zabar (“above”)   Lesson 4 ‹a› َ
Symbol: (diacritic) zir (“below”)   Lesson 4 ‹e› ِ
Symbol: (diacritic) pish (“before”)   Lesson 4 ‹o› ُ
Symbol: (diacritic) sokun   Lesson 4 ‹-› ْ

Next: Lesson 5 ( ۵ ), Introduction to Verbs

Continue to Lesson 5 ( ۵ ), Introduction to Verbs >>

ContentsIntroduction

Persian Alphabet lessons: 1 ( ۱ )2 ( ۲ )