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Your Ultimate Persian Pronunciation Guide

Knowing how to correctly pronounce words when you learn to speak a new language is crucial for speaking it well. It is no different with Persian. At PersianPod101, we put a lot of emphasis on teaching and demonstrating correct pronunciation, as it is our aim to help you to speak like a native after a while!

According to Dictionary.com, ‘pronunciation’ is: the act or result of producing the sounds of speech, including articulation, stress, and intonation, often with reference to some standard of correctness or acceptability.

Paying attention to your Persian pronunciation not your own essentially means you’re learning to ditch most of your foreign accent. This is very important if you want to be a successful communicator in any language. Getting Persian pronunciation right may seem like a daunting task at the onset, but it need not be!

Download Your FREE Guide to Beginner Persian!

If you want to master the Persian language and become fluent, you must learn the Persian alphabet letters first. And you need physical worksheets to practice on.

This eBook is a MUST-HAVE for all Persian learning beginners!

FREE Persian eBook

Download your FREE Persian practice sheets PDF today and learn the Persian language in no time!
This is a must-have guide for absolute beginners

1. Introduction to Persian Pronunciation

Introduction

The most important factor in Persian pronunciation is considered to be vowels. Since the Persian language is a syllabic language, the existence of words depends on syllables, and the existence of syllables depends on vowels. Each syllable has one vowel. Without any vowels, there wouldn't be any syllables, and therefore any words, and we'd only have a series of letters.

As a quick reminder, the Persian language has 32 alphabet characters, including the four non-Arabic letters. Six of these are vowels, and there are 23 consonant sounds (due to some of them having the same sound).

1) Consonants

There are 23 consonant sounds in Persian. In fact, there are 29 consonants, some of which have the same or similar sounds because of their different shapes. The letters with the same sounds comprise six groups:

  • غ ق (GH),
  • ع ء (EA),
  • ذ ز ض ظ  (Z),
  • ح ه  (H),
  • ث س ص  (S),
  • ت ط (T)

Some of the sounds don't have exact equivalents in English, and are:

  • خ  (KH, like the "ch" in "loch"),
  • ژ  (ZH, like the "s" in "measure"),
  • غ ق (gh, like the French R)
  • ب is called be and pronounced like the "b" in "ball"
  • پ is called pe and pronounced like "p" in "pink"
  • ت and ط are called ta and te and pronounced like [t] in "ten."
  • ث and س and ص are called "sad, sin and se" and pronounced like [s] in "simple"
  • ج is called jim and pronounced like [j] in "jelly"
  • چ is called che and pronounced like "ch" in "church"
  • ح and ه are called he and he and pronounced like the "h" in "house"
  • خ is called khe and pronounced like "ch" in "loch"
  • د is called dal and pronounced like "d" in "doll"
  • ذ and ز and ض and ظ are called za, zad, ze and zal and pronounced like "z" in "zebra"
  • ر is called re and pronounced like "r" in "round"
  • ژ is called zhe and pronounced like "s" in "measure"
  • ش is called shin and pronounced like "sh" in "shell"
  • ع and ء are called hamze and ein and pronounced like [u] in "umbrella"
  • غ and ق are called ghaf and ghein and pronounced like [r] in the French language
  • ف is called fe and pronounced like "f" in "family"
  • ک is called kaf and pronounced like [k] in "kite"
  • گ is called gaf and pronounced like [g] in "girl"
  • ل is called lam and pronounced like [l] in "like"
  • م is called mim and pronounced like [m] in "moon"
  • ن is called noun and pronounced like [n] in "number"
  • و is called vav and pronounced like [v] in "volcano"
  • ی is called ye and pronounced like [y] in "yoyo"

2) Vowels

Persian has six vowels (three short vowels, and three long vowels) plus two diphthongs.

Short vowels:

  •  َ  اَ  is called fathe/zebar and pronounced like [a] in "cat."
  • ِ  اِ  is called kasre/zir and pronounced like [e] in "bell."
  • ُ  اُ  is called zammeh/pish and pronounced like the [o] in "mode."

Long vowels:

  • آ is called alef and pronounced like [a] in "ball."
  • و is called vav and pronounced like [oo] in "moon."
  • ی is called Ye and pronounced like [ee] in "feel."

Diphthongs:

  • ای is called ey and pronounced like [ay] in "pay."
  • او is called ow and pronounced like [o] in "no."

Note that vav and ye are considered vowels when they sound like [ee] and [oo] and consonants when they sound like [ye] and [v].

3) Tones and Stress

There aren't so many different variants of tones in words and syllables in the Persian language, and mostly they are all pronounced the same way, except for the question words, which start at a lower level and gradually go up to a higher level.

The emphasis or stress (of sounds) is generally on the last syllable of a word.

For example:

  • مادر (Madar = "mother")  
  • مار (Mar = "snake")
  • در یا (Darya = "sea")

In verbs only, (except three-syllable past forms) the stress is on the first syllable of the word. In three-syllable past forms, the stress is on the middle syllable.

For example:

  • نرفت (Naraft = "(he) didn't go")  
  • ببینید (Bebinid = "look")  
  • می خورم  (Mikhoram = "(I) eat")
  • دویدم (Davidam = "(I) ran)"

2. Why is Correct Pronunciation in Persian Important?

Correct Pronunciation

Proper pronunciation is important, very important. Some say it’s even more important than getting the grammar perfectly correct! Why would this be?

1) Good Understanding

If communicating with native speakers matters to you when learning Persian, you need to be understood when you talk, and you need to be able to understand the native speakers. After all, without understanding, the purpose of language is null and void! In order to be understood, you need to be able to speak the language in a way that is familiar to native speakers, or at least recognizable by them.

When learning to speak a new language, you will learn that the more you progress the more intricate it becomes! For instance, almost every language has vocabulary that may look the same in writing, but because the words are pronounced differently, they have very different meanings. This means that you may say a word in Persian, and because of a slight change in pronunciation, the meaning of the word changes completely. Understandably, this can make for pretty embarrassing situations! At worst, your mispronounced Persian will sound garbled to a native speaker.

Knowing the nuances of how a word or letter is pronounced will also help you to understand spoken Persian better.

No worries if this feels hard; you’re learning, and with our help at PersianPod101, you will not have a problem with mispronunciation if you follow our advice and examples carefully.

2) Good Communication

Not pronouncing Persian or any other language correctly can lead to a lot of frustration because you’re unable to express what you mean, and you will not be understood correctly. Even if you have total knowledge of Persian grammar, and can write it like a native, not knowing how to speak it properly will only make for very frustrating communication all around.

3) A Good Impression

Even if you’re only a beginner, it is possible to speak any language correctly. This way, you are bound to make a good impression on native speakers, and when you’re more fluent, you will be likely to garner a lot more respect than a fumbling newbie speaker who doesn’t care much for correct pronunciation.

People often have a lot of patience for someone who learns to speak a new language, but native speakers are more likely to address you and engage with you in conversation if you work hard on your accent. This is simply because you’ll be able to understand one another! So, proficiency in pronunciation can mean the difference between having none or plenty of Persian speaking friends. It will also serve you well in the workplace, and make you popular with your Persian speaking managers and employers or employees.

Learning to speak Persian properly is also a sign of respect for not only the language, but also the native speakers and their customs.

3. Secrets to Learning the Correct Persian Pronunciation

Secrets to Learning

1) Use voice recording tools to perfect your pronunciation

PersianPod101 has plenty of resources to help you with your Persian pronunciation, so be sure to make thorough use of our recordings with native Persian speakers. These are available not only to demonstrate to you how you should pronounce Persian vocabulary, but also sentences and dialogues. Watch and listen to these over and over again to train your ear, and watch the teacher’s mouth as she speaks in the video lessons. Then, copy the speech as best you can. Later, you can record yourself to hear if you sound like a native speaker and compare yourself with native speakers. Great for self-motivation.

2) Practice in front of the mirror.

And see that you’re copying the correct lip and mouth movements.

3) Use our PersianPod101 dictionary!

Use the Persian dictionary provided by PersianPod101 to look up words and listen to the audio pronunciation. This will go a long way towards giving you an idea of how to pronounce a word or letter correctly.

4) Train your ear to the language!

Make an effort to often listen to Persian music and recorded books, and watch plenty of Persian movies and/or TV shows in Persian. This will train your ear to the language, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you pick up the accent. Remember, this is the way we learned to speak when we were young - mostly by listening to the adults talking, and repeating what they say!

5) Practice, practice, practice…

Repetition of the same thing may be boring, but in learning a new language, you’re creating new pathways in your brain. For these to remain and become habitual, you will need to repeat the correct pronunciation often.

6) Make friends with a native Persian speaker.

Don’t be shy to address them in Persian! Ask them to correct you when you make a pronunciation mistake - this is a wonderful way to practice and learn the language first-hand, and also to make new friends.

7) Practice your pronunciation with your Persian teacher!

If you’re a serious student and don’t know where to meet native Persian speakers, consider investing in PersianPod101’s Premium PLUS plan. This means you will have your own native Persian teacher available to practice your pronunciation with, and much more! Send recordings of yourself speaking Persian and get feedback from your Persian teacher.

4. How to Download Your Free Guide to Beginner Persian

Download Your FREE Guide to Beginner Persian!

If you want to master the Persian language and become fluent, you must learn the Persian alphabet letters first. And you need physical worksheets to practice on.

This eBook is a MUST-HAVE for all Persian learning beginners!

FREE Persian eBook

Download your FREE Persian practice sheets PDF today and learn the Persian language in no time!
This is a must-have guide for absolute beginners

Log in with Your Free Lifetime Account and we’ll give you a bundle of PDF cheat sheet including Survival Phrases, Romantic Lines, Learning Tips… — absolutely FREE!

3 Reasons to Learn Persian Through PDF Lessons

Let’s now take a closer look at how studying Persian lessons in PDF format can help you reach your dream in up to half the time of normal video or audio lessons!

① Saves Minutes on Your Data Plan

Learning Persian through PDF lessons can dramatically reduce your data use. Once a lesson or tool is downloaded, you can then access it offline via your computer or smartphone any time or place regardless of Internet access. And once you’ve downloaded the Persian lessons in PDF format, you can actually access them faster than logging in and trying to do so via a live site. So not only will learning Persian using PDF lessons save minutes on your data plan—it will save you some significant time as well as the lessons add up!

② Print and Take All Persian Lessons and PDF Tools With You Anywhere

Sometimes, a tiny smartphone screen just isn’t adequate, especially when you are trying to learn something new. The great thing about PDF lessons, tools or files is that they can be quickly printed and taken anywhere after you download them. In fact, printing out Persian lessons in PDF format can actually save you time when compared to going through the material on a smartphone with a small screen—even with the extra printing time!

③ Great Study Tool to Boost Retention and Mastery

Studying video or audio lessons online is a great way to learn a language because students can play and rewind sections as many times as needed until the lesson is mastered. But when you review the same Persian lessons again in PDF format, an incredible thing happens: your retention dramatically improves! Thanks to Time Spaced Repetition, seeing the information again in written format helps reinforce the information in your mind and improves both retention and recall. The benefits of learning Persian using PDF lessons quickly add up to significant time savings for you, your data plan, and your dream of learning a new language!

Why are we giving it away?

Learning to read and write is a must for all beginners. Although you get video lessons on how to write in Persian at PersianPod101, you’ll still need physical worksheets to practice on. That’s why you’re getting this printable tutorial PDFs as a gift.

5. Related Lessons

How to Say Hello in Persian
Do you know how to say hello in Persian? It’s the most basic phrase that you’ll need to say and hear in everyday life. If you don’t know yet, learn 15 ways to say hello and greet others in Persian. Why 15? The more variations you know, the more you can speak and the more fluent you become!
How to Introduce Yourself in Persian
Can you introduce yourself in Persian? Don’t worry! Check out the 10 Persian Lines You Need To Introduce Yourself with this free Review Sheet. From “My name is…“ and “I live in…” down to “My hobbies are…” Just review the 10 lines. It will only take you 2 minutes. Then, introduce yourself in the comment section below!
Persian Alphabet
Learn everything you need to know about the Persian alphabet. At PersianPod101, we introduce you to Persian writing in simple, easy-to-follow steps, and you can ask for advice or help anywhere along the way. It is important to master the Persian alphabet completely from the start.
How to Say Thank You in Persian
Has anyone thanked you today? We will. Thank you for reading this article and learning with us! In fact, today, you’ll learn the many different ways to say “Thank You” in Persian. It’s one of the most important Persian phrases. Check it out and watch the video too to practice your pronunciation.

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