Unofficial Persian Course 2#: Persian vs. Arabic Alphabet

Hello again!

So, I did more thinking and I figured Duolingo has already made a fun and effective way on how to teach this alphabet. So I decided it’s better to ask you guys to do the Arabic alphabet lessons and just explain the differences between the two alphabets. I think after this you would have no problem reading what I write.

First of all, Persian has simpler pronunciation than Arabic. Let me show you:

The /z/s: ز ظ ض ذ are all pronounced the same way and it’s /z/ as in zebra

The /s/s: س ص ث are all pronounced as /s/ as in snake

The /t/s: ط ت are both pronounced as a soft /t/ as in table

The /h/s: ح ه are both soft /h/ as in hand

The /gh/s: ق غ are both pronounced as /gh/ which there’s no such sound in English unfortunately

The /’/s: ع ئ are both pronounced as a really soft stop. Kinda like the ء in Arabic course( which is shown like /2/) but still softer. I will be showing this sound with /’/

This makes pronouncing words easier than in Arabic, but on the downside, writing would be more confusing since there are so many letters for the same sound! But don’t be intimated, English has weird spellings too! And once you’re familiar with language you’d usually have no problem guessing how a word is written.

There are four additional letters in Persian:


It’s basically a ک with an additional line at the top. It’s called gaaf and has a /g/ sound as in gas


It’s a ب with two more dots. It’s called pe and makes a /p/ sound


It’s a ج with two more dots. It’s called che and makes a /ch/ sound as in child


It’s like a ز with two more dots. It’s called zhe and makes a /zh/ sound as in Bouji( I couldn’t think of any other word!) now you may think it’s similar to how ج is pronounced in Arabic course and it’s true! Instead we pronounce ج like /j/ as in John

There are slight differences in pronouncing the vowels as well:

ِ is pronounced as /e/ as in elf

ُ in pronounced as /o/ as in or

َ in pronounced as /a/ as in apple

Long vowel ا( or آ if it comes at the beginning of a word) is pronounced as /aa/ as in done

Long vowel ی is pronounced as /i/ as in ski

Long vowel و is pronounced as /u/ as in tomb

And finally, و is pronounced like /w/ in Arabic. We don’t have that sound in Persian. Instead we have /v/ and that’s how و is pronounced, as in violet.

P.s: The pronunciation of which I’m talking about is the standard Farsi dialect of Persian, the one spoken in Iran. But there might be slight differences in Dari and Tajik dialects and regional accents.

You can see my first post on Persian here

خُدا نِگَه‌دار!

(/khodaa negah daar/, meaning goodbye, literally meaning may god take care of you)

August 11, 2019, 11:36 AM


Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.