Learning the Persian Alphabet ( الفبای فارسی )


Isn’t the Persian alphabet pretty?

Congratulations! You’ve come to this page which means that you have the courage to learn Persian, also known as Farsi. What’s even more impressive is that if you’re here, you’ve at least entertained the thought of learning how to read and write in this amazingly sweet sounding language. For that, you’re going to need to know the Persian alphabet.

I don’t have to tell you that the script used to write the language is very different than the Latin or Cyrillic alphabets used in Europe and the West. Don’t let that that scare you. After all, it’s not nearly as difficult as learning Chinese or Korean.

History and Facts about the Persian Alphabet

For those of you familiar with Middle Eastern languages, the Persian script will immediately be familiar to you. That’s because it’s based on the Arabic script. This is because after the Arabs conquered Iran, they introduced their own script as the primary form of writing. This process was gradual until the 9th century when the Tahirids, the family/dynasty of governors overseeing the Iranian lands of the east for the Abbasid Caliphs, officially replaced the older Pahlavi script with Arabic letters and numerals. However unlike Arabic, the Persian alphabet contains four additional letters, making the total number 32.

Additional letters of the Persian alphabet vs. Arabic

It is also written from right-to-left which is the opposite of English and other European languages. Persian is mostly written in cursive.




I myself am no expert on the subject, but many out in cyberspace are. To help you, I’ve collected a bunch of resources to help you along the way. So without further adieu, let’s get to deciphering the Persian alphabet.

You can click on each Persian letter below to learn more about it individually and see how it is written and sounds. And remember, we always start from right to left.

ح

چ

ج

ث

ت

پ

ب

ا

ش

س

ژ

ز

ر

ذ

د

خ

ق

ف

غ

ع

ظ

ط

ض

ص

ی

ه

و

ن

م

ل

گ

ک

Persian Alphabet & Language Multimedia Resources

Below are several videos with pronunciation of each letter in Persian along with some examples of it in use. Cheesy music aside, these are all really good in terms of pronunciation. My advice would be to practice pronouncing each letter with the narrator in each video.

General Sites for Learning Persian

Persian Online: Grammar & Resources (U of Texas)

Easy Persian: The Alphabet

Iran Chamber Society: Persian Alphabet

Recommended Books for Learning to Write in Persian

I also highly recommend Sorour Nayeri’s book, Farsi Made Easy. I used this book while learning how to write in Farsi and it was extremely helpful.


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