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If you’re learning Persian, also known as Farsi, it can be difficult to know where to begin. It’s one of the most spoken languages in the world and there are many different resources and ways you can study. This guide helps take the guesswork out of it and compiles some of the most effective ways to learn. No matter what your learning style is, you’re sure to find a resource on this list that will help you learn Farsi effectively.
Farsi is the official language of Iran, but it’s also spoken by some people in neighboring countries like Afghanistan and Tajikistan. These countries have their own variants of the language known as Dari in Afghanistan and Tajiki in Tajikistan.
There is sometimes confusion on whether to call the language Persian or Farsi. The term Persian is generally used by English speakers to refer to the language while Farsi is the name used by the people that speak it. The word Persian can be used to describe other aspects of Iranian culture, while Farsi only refers to the language. In this article, we’ll use the terms interchangeably.
How Long Will It Take You To Learn Farsi?
What is your current level?
What level do you want to reach?
How many hours will you study each day?
Another confusion many people have is if Farsi is the same language as Arabic. Due to the history of the region, Arabic has had a large impact on Farsi, but the two are not the same language. They are not mutually intelligible languages, meaning a Farsi speaker with no prior studies of the Arabic language will not understand an Arabic speaker, and vice versa.
The languages do share some similarities. The Persian alphabet is derived from the Arabic script. They also share some similar vocabulary words. However, the grammar and pronunciation of these two languages are quite different. While an Arabic speaker might be able to understand a few written Persian words, they most likely would not understand a conversation conducted in Persian.
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How to Learn the Farsi Language: Follow These Steps to Become Fluent Fast!
The best way to learn Farsi fast and effectively is to use a variety of study methods. One book, app, or course can’t cover every topic necessary to learn a language so using different methods will help you understand every aspect of the language. For example, a book can help you learn grammar and sentence structure, but taking a class with an online tutor will help you improve your speaking. Below you’ll find the 6 best ways to learn Farsi and useful resources for each one.
Use the Best Farsi Apps
Persian Language apps are a fun and convenient way to learn Farsi. You can practice anywhere that you can bring your phone or other device. Most apps have addicting features, such as games or ways to track your progress to motivate you to study. Some have complete courses that cover all parts of the language, while others teach specific skills like Persian vocabulary. The apps below, Pimsleur, Mondly, and Drops, are some of the best options to learn Farsi.
Pimsleur is the best overall app to learn Farsi because it focuses on speaking and conversation. The audio lessons feature dialogues from native Farsi speakers and you practice along with them to learn vocabulary and correct pronunciation and speaking. There is additional practice material to help reinforce what you learned in the lesson. You can try Pimsleur for free or read more about it in this Pimsleur review.
Mondly is an excellent choice for beginners. It starts with the basics and helps you build a solid foundation in Persian. In the interactive lessons, you learn words necessary for communication and grammar without getting overwhelmed. It’s a flexible app because you can choose which lessons you want to complete and in what order. Mondly has a 7-day free trial so you can test the app. You can also read more about it in this Mondly review.
Drops is the best app to learn a lot of vocabulary quickly. It has hundreds of words lists and you can choose what interests you. To start, you pick which topic you want to study (family, politics, household items, etc.). Then, you play a few different games to learn the words and practice using them. It has a sophisticated user design and each word has a unique picture to help you remember. You can try Drops with a free trial or learn more about it in this Drops review.
Take an Online Farsi Course
An online course is useful if you like a structured way to learn. Most courses are laid out with a clear path to follow so you always know what to study next. Some courses are designed for self-study, while others include a mix of live classes with independent learning. Udemy, Persian Language Online, and Easy Persian can help you improve all aspects of your language learning.
Udemy is an online learning platform that has courses on every subject imaginable, which includes more than 100 courses in Farsi. It’s best for beginners because most of the courses focus on teaching the basics. There are also specialty courses for topics like Persian calligraphy, learning through stories, and a course on the Dari dialect. For each course, you can read a description, watch a preview video, and see exactly what is taught in each lesson. There are also ratings and past student reviews to verify you’re getting a good option. You can learn more about the Persian courses available on the Udemy website or read this complete Udemy review.
Persian Language Online is a useful resource for learners of any level, not just beginners. The website is owned by the Iran Heritage Foundation, which promotes the languages and cultures of Iran and the Persianate world. You can access traditional language learning courses for beginner, elementary, and intermediate levels. There are also specialty courses and other resources if you want to expand your knowledge. All of the material on the Persian Language Online website is completely free.
The Easy Persian website has lessons that cover all language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. There are 150+ lessons that start with the basics like the alphabet and pronunciation, and go through advanced topics including the more complicated verb tenses. There are additional writing lessons, drills, and Persian poetry. The site is simple but is quite extensive and comprehensive for a free resource. They do accept donations if you enjoy using the course.
Find an Online Farsi Tutor
Taking classes with a teacher is one of the most effective ways to learn Farsi. But finding an in-person teacher can be difficult and expensive. Now, there are many platforms available that can connect you with a teacher for online lessons. You can take classes on your schedule from the comfort of your home. italki, Preply, and Verbling have hundreds of Farsi tutors available for online classes. The platforms are secure so you know your personal information and payments are safe.
italki is a platform that connects Persian students and teachers around the world for 1-on-1 online classes. There are 150+ teachers available. Each teacher has a profile that shows their rating, number of classes taught, and a short bio. Teachers set their own prices so there’s a wide range. Most offer a discounted trial lesson to see if they are a good fit for you. You can learn more in this italki review.
Preply is a platform that’s very similar to italki. There are currently 56 Persian teachers available. You can look at each teacher’s profile to watch their intro video, see their schedule, and read past student reviews to see if you want to take lessons with them. Preply offers a satisfaction guarantee, so if you aren’t happy with your discounted trial lesson, Preply will book you another one for free. Learn more about the platform in this Preply review.
Verbling only has a few Persian tutors, but they all have very high ratings and excellent reviews from students. The site only hire teachers with previous teaching experience so you’re sure to get a qualified instructor. You can search the teachers’ profiles to find one that fits your learning style. Most teachers let you take a free trial class to see if they are a good fit. You can also read more about the platform in this Verbling review.
Study with High-Quality Farsi Books
Using a book to learn Farsi is a traditional, yet effective, method. Books have in-depth explanations and you can use them anytime and anywhere. If you’ve taken a language class before, you’ve probably used a book. Now, there are many options for everybody, even if you want to self-study the language. Complete Modern Persian (Farsi), Farsi (Persian) for Beginners, and How to Write in Persian are popular choices with great reviews on Amazon.
Complete Modern Persian (Farsi) is a comprehensive book that will take you from a beginner level to an upper intermediate (B2) level of Persian. The different chapters focus on everyday situations such as talking about time, expressing your likes/dislikes, and how to ask for directions. Each chapter incorporates grammar and vocabulary into texts and dialogues that you practice with. There are also practice exercises as well as cultural information boxes. People who used the book thought it was useful if you are self-studying Farsi, but you might need additional resources to practice speaking and listening. See what you think about the book here.
Farsi (Persian) for Beginners, as the name suggests, is a useful resource for learners that don’t have previous experience with the language. The book starts with the basics and will teach you how to read and write the Farsi alphabet, as well as be able to understand and communicate basic needs. In addition to learning the language, you also get cultural tips and idioms/common expressions that will help you understand modern Farsi. People who purchased the book thought it was easy to use and understand. See what you think about the book here.
How to Write in Persian is meant for beginners who want to learn and perfect writing the Persian alphabet and script. You will learn how to correctly write the letters as well as how it sounds and it’s different forms. Once you learn the letters, you practice writing different words and phrases to connect everything together. You’ll also learn how to write numbers and different fonts/writing styles. People who bought the book thought it was simple, yet effective, in its goal. See what other people thought about the book here.
Watch Farsi YouTube Videos
YouTube videos are an interesting way to practice Farsi. While they might not work as your only source for learning the language, they are excellent at helping develop listening and comprehension skills. Some channels imitate a classroom setting and teach typical grammar and vocabulary topics, while others create content in Farsi so you’re learning about language and culture at the same time. The YouTube channels on this list are some of the best options to listen to how Persian is actually spoken.
Majid is a native Persian speaker and has created a series of videos covering all aspects of the Persian language and culture. He focuses more on spoken Persian to help you learn real-life communication. He has videos on typical language topics like grammar and vocabulary, and there are videos on other tropics and skills like songs, idioms, conversations, and short stories. Most of the videos include the Persian script, phonetic spelling, and English translation. You can watch all the videos on the Persian Learning YouTube channel.
Max is from the Netherlands and created his YouTube channel to share his journey as he tries to learn Persian. He knows many other languages and his videos show how he learns a new language. He includes tips and tricks, shares resources, and even shares his struggles with learning this difficult language. Follow his journey and learn with him on the Max Learns Persian channel.
Talk Like a Persian is an interesting way to learn because their videos use clips from movies and other media. This way you can learn about Iranian culture as well as hear natural speech and learn how people really speak Persian. You’ll learn about common language topics like grammar, vocabulary, and conversation. There are even videos to teach the alphabet and basic pronunciation if you are a complete beginner. Check out the Talk Like a Persian channel to see all of their videos.
Listen to Farsi Podcasts
Podcasts are an excellent way to practice listening and comprehension in Farsi. Since they are audio-based, you can listen anywhere you have access to your phone. Podcasts can cover a wide range of topics, from teaching simple vocabulary words to explaining intricate cultural topics. PersianPod101, Chai and Conversation, and Persian Podgap are excellent podcasts with many episodes available to listen to.
PersianPod101 has hundreds of podcast-style lessons that feature conversations between native Persian speakers. Each lesson, in addition to the podcast, has lesson notes, vocabulary and practice exercises so you can develop all your skills. In addition to lessons that teach language basics like grammar and vocabulary, there are also lessons about culture and daily life. PersianPod101 has 5 different levels that go from absolute beginner to advanced. You can sign up for a free account to test its features and get access to some of the lessons.
Chai and Conversation focuses on conversational Persian, which is quite different from written Persian. The lessons start from the very beginning, but you can read a description of the units if you are an advanced learner and want to jump to a more useful point. There are three different pathways: Speak, Read/Write, and Poetry, or you can follow all of them at the same time. They consist of podcast audio lessons that last 15-20 minutes and include vocabulary and transcripts. You can try Chai and Conversation free for 30 days.
Persian Podgap has episodes divided by level, from beginner to advanced. The beginner episodes focus on the basics of grammar and vocabulary, while the intermediate and advanced episodes are about Iranian culture and other relevant topics. They teach colloquial Persian, what is needed for speaking and sounding like a native speaker. You can listen to Persian Podgap on most major podcast players like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and PlayerFM.
How to Learn the Farsi Language: Final Thoughts
Finding the right language tool for you can seem overwhelming, and I hope this article has helped guide you to an option that works for you. Whatever way you choose to learn, if you dedicate the time necessary and stick with it, you’ll find that learning Farsi can be a fun and rewarding experience. Learning a language is a marathon, not a sprint, but with practice and dedication, you’ll be speaking Farsi in no time!
Want to learn more? Check out our Farsi resource page.
How to Learn the Farsi Language: FAQ
According to the US Department of State, it takes about 1100 class hours to learn Farsi. But this isn’t an exact number. How fast you can learn Farsi depends on other factors, such as your natural ability to acquire languages and if you already speak another language that is similar.
To see how long it will take you to learn Farsi, check out this fluency calculator.
To learn Farsi quickly, you need to dedicate a lot of time to studying and practicing. It’s important to be consistent and study every day, or at least a few times a week, so you don’t forget what you already learned and can constantly improve. One of the most difficult skills to improve is speaking. You’ll need to find someone you can practice speaking with. You can use an app like Tandem or HelloTalk to find a language exchange partner.
There are many ways to learn Persian online at home, such as taking an online course, using a book, or a language app. One of the most popular ways is to use a language app, such as Pimsleur or Mondly. You can start with the basics and quickly build a foundation in Farsi in a fun and interactive way. There are also many books available on Amazon that are designed to help you self-study the language.
Farsi is considered a difficult language for English speakers to learn. This is because it has significant linguistic differences. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible! With dedication and the right study tools, you can make steady progress in learning the language.
You can reach an advanced level of Farsi by studying with a high-quality resource such as a textbook or language app. But if you want to become completely fluent, you’ll need to practice with native speakers. This might be difficult depending on where you live. Now there are platforms like italki and Preply that can connect you with a Persian tutor to take online classes.
There are quite a few resources available if you want to learn Farsi for free. There are language apps such as PersianPod101 and Drops, that offer some of their content for free. You can also find resources online, like YouTube channels, newspapers, and podcasts that are completely free.