Skip to main content

The Persian Alphabet

Persian, also known as Farsi, is spoken today primarily in Iran and Afghanistan. Notable groups of speakers can be found in other Persian Gulf countries (Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates), as well as large communities in the US. If you want to know a little more about the Persian language before starting to learn it, consider watching The Persian Language and What Makes It Fascinating  from the LangFocus channel.

Arabic and Persian are very different languages as expressed for example in the grammar (from the concept of verbs, to grammatical gender, to plurals ) Yet, both languages have also some features in common:  They are written from right to left, they use the same alphabet (mostly) and the vocabulary overlaps: up to 40% of Persian words are of Arabic origin.  You can find out more about the similarities between Persian and Arabic in the video How similar are Persian and Arabic from the LangFocus channel.

Persian is written in the Perso-Arabic script, which is the Arabic script but with slight pronunciation modifications and a few extra letters. The script is cursivee, which means most letters in a word connect to each other; when they are typed, contemporary word processors automatically join adjacent letters. The Persian alphabet consists of 32 characters, 28  are are similar to Arabic and  and  4 additional ones are exclusive to Persian: (P)"پ," (ZH)"ژ," (G)"گ," (CH)"چ". 

The Persian alphabet is actually a lot easier to learn than you might think.  Once you understand a few of the basics, you’ll discover how much progress you can make quickly. The best way to become fluent is to continue practicing the shape of each letter until you develop the necessary muscle memory so that you don't have to  think about it anymore.


There are videos and apps to help you learn the Persian alphabet. They are good options since they frequently combine both audio and written instruction for a well-rounded approach giving you a more practical experience using the new letters.  We strongly recommend that you check out these sources during the summer before you start your class.

Persian Language Online is a free internet resource with many short instructional vides that teach you the Persian alphabet. This resource supported by the Iran Heritage Foundation and is intended to serve as a free-to-access and comprehensive aid to anyone who wants to learn Persian.

Learning the alphabet, you may want to start here.  Click on "alphabet", select the letter you want to learn, and go though the short videos showing you how the letter is written and pronounced in each of the positions (as stand alone, in initial or middle position and at the end of a word).  If you have never written a Persian letter, you may want to watch this short video introduction.


Another good way of practicing the letters over and over again and quiz yourself  is on your smartphone using your index finger as a writing tool.  Try it out and realize how much fun it is and how much you learn.

Back to top