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Lesson Transcript

Mohammad: Hi everyone! My name is Mohammad.
Becky: And I’m Becky! Welcome back to PersianPod101.com! This is Pronunciation lesson 5, Common Persian Pronunciation Mistakes. Mohammed, it’s already the last lesson in our series! Can you believe it?
Mohammad: It’s sad, isn’t it? But you’ve come such a long way, listeners. And In this lesson, we’re going to teach you a few more essential Persian pronunciation tips, to help you on your way to speaking Persian.

Lesson focus

Becky: Yes - we’ll be going over the top five pronunciation mistakes in Persian, so that you won’t make them! Mohammed, what’s our first one?
Mohammad: Stress is a crucial element of Persian pronunciation. You should pay attention to it, and try to stress words in the way we learned in previous lessons, so you can make it sound like standard Persian.
Becky: The good news is that stress won't really change the meaning of words or sentences.
Mohammad: You may even sound sweet and natural to the locals.
Becky: But again, if you want your Persian to be standard, just try to keep this syllable stress in mind, so you can imitate the locals. After all, you want to sound like a native, right?
Mohammad: Right! Now, the second most common mistake is mispronouncing "Zal" and the three variations of "Se".
Becky: Even the locals sometimes get this one wrong though, right Mohammed?
Mohammad: That's right. The correct way to say the letter "Se", is like the "th" combination in the word "Thank you".
Becky: In other words, it's "THe" instead of "Se", right?
Mohammad: Yes, and the letter "Zal" should be pronounced like the "th" sound in the word "That", so the name of the letter becomes "THal".
Becky: This happens because these letters are derived from Arabic, right?
Mohammad: That’s right. And although it is taught in schools, it is not common even for Iranian speakers.
Becky: Now let’s continue with the third most common mistake. This one is about similar words with only a small vowel difference.
Mohammad: We learned that short vowels are little marks above consonants, which are usually not written, but still pronounced.
Becky: But, wait a minute - if you remove these short vowels in writing, how would you know which one to read?
Mohammad: That's a very good question. The clue is in the sounds around it. The reading depends on those surrounding sounds, and their meaning in the sentence.
Becky: That’s because there are words that are written in exactly the same way, but with different meanings, and different short vowels.
Mohammad: Exactly. Like the word "Gol" meaning "Flower", and "Gel" meaning "Mud".
Becky: Okay. Our next most common mistake, is getting confused about the "Vav" letter and the different sounds it makes, depending on the word.
Mohammad: That's right. Most of the time, it will sound like the vowel "U/OO", but there are cases where it may sound like a long "O" vowel. These shouldn't be confused with each other.
Becky: But there are only a few words that have the "O" sound, so they can be easily remembered. Could you give us some examples of these sounds, Mohammad?
Mohammad: Of course. Like the second O in the word "Nokhod" which means "Peas". The sound is written with "Vav", but you don't read it as "Nokhud". And the same goes for the O sound in the word "Khod" which means "Self".
Here it is again - "Khod".
Becky: There are other similar words with the "O" sound, but these are written in the original "O" short vowel mark.
Mohammad: That's right, like the word "Khoda" meaning "God".
Becky: “Khoda” Is that right, Mohammed?
Mohammed: Yes, Becky! Excellent! Why don’t you try is again too, listeners? “Khoda”.
Becky: And finally, our last common pronunciation mistake is...
Mohammad: Confusing the short "A" vowel with the Long "A" vowel sound in words.
Becky: They're easily confused, because both have similar sounds made by the same alphabet letter "Alef", and also because they're both shown with the same character "A" in English.
Mohammad: Yes. But they're actually different. " اَ " is a short vowel like the "a" in "apple", and " آ " is a long vowel like "a" in the word "car".
Becky: Can you give us some examples of both sounds in the same word?
Mohammad: One word that includes both sounds is The word "Tanha" meaning "Alone". The first "A" is short, and the second one is long. Let’s try it again. "Tanha" {pause}. Another example is "Shaparak", which means "Butterfly". The first "A" is long, while the second and third ones are short. "Shaparak" {pause}. One more time, listeners - "Shaparak".
Becky: Okay. And that brings us to the end of the five most common mistakes learners of Persian make. And this series has also come to an end! Listeners, we hope we’ve helped you to develop a clearer understanding of the Persian language...
Mohammad: …And that you have enjoyed practicing these essential sounds with us!
Becky: And one last thing, listeners. Don't forget to keep practicing what you’ve learned every day!


Becky: So, that’s it for now. Thanks for listening and good luck!
Mohammad: Khoda Hafez.