Persian Lesson 2 – The Alphabet, Long Vowels


Persian Cyrus Cylinder
Before beginning lesson two, I think it’s necessary to mention that each lesson is the continuation of the previous one. Consequently, you may find yourself unable to understand the new lessons perfectly if you ignore the previous lessons. So, I strongly recommend that you study the lessons step by step without skipping any of them. I’m sure you will make great progress in near future if you follow the instructions. In the case you followed the instructions as you are being told and still found it difficult to learn, then you would have the right to angrily blame me for wasting your time and I would certainly shut down this site forever! It’s a deal!

Lesson 2 (Welcome back!)

Ok. How was lesson one? Was everything clear? If not, please let me know. Your suggestions will certainly improve the quality of this site to help you get most out of these pages.

Last week, we learned many things, such as short vowels, three big letters along with their small forms, the correct pronunciation of the letters and so on. We also learned how to write these letters. Do you remember those letters? Perfect! Now try to review them before we proceed.

Today, we are going to learn long vowels with the help of the same letters. Then, you will be able to pronounce each letter with six vowels (sounds, as used more frequent in Persian). From now on, make the habit of pronouncing each letter with these six vowels. If this is correctly done, you will become unbelievably fluent in learning and pronouncing the letters.

Ready? Let’s begin!

As you know, we have three long vowels in Persian. Although we can put some signs on or under the letters as we did it with the short vowels, I am trying to avoid doing this with the long vowels here. Therefore, we are not going to put some symbols on or under the letters. We can find these long vowels by detecting some letters. This will make it easier.

If you remember, I told you that all big letters come at the end of the words and may stand either attached or separated from other letters with only one exception. Today, we will see that exception.

Look at this letter. This is the big letter ‘A’ in Persian, which unlike all other big letters comes at the beginning of the words only. Do you still remember the big letter B and P? As you remember, they come at the end of the words and may stand either attached or separated from other letters. But, here, the big letter (the only exception) does not attach to other letters. It stands separated only.

The pronunciation of this letter is not so difficult. It has only one pronunciation, and does not accept any other short and long vowels. You have to pronounce it as /a:/ in arm.

In one word, this is the big letter ‘A’ in Persian and pronounced as /a:/ in arm.

Is that clear? If you need to know how the big letter is pronounced in Persian, click here to listen. Ok.

Long A

This one is the small letter ‘a’ in Persian. It may appear anywhere in words: beginning, middle, and in the end. This letter can accept all six main vowels, including short and long vowels.

Now that we are familiar with the long vowel /a:/ in Persian, we are ready to learn two other long vowels. Those are /i:/ as in see. And /u:/ as in two.

This is the big letter ‘Y’ in Persian. Only this letter can be pronounced as /i:/ sound. /i:/ as in see.

Note: like all other big letters, this comes at the end of the words and may stand either attached or separated. This can be pronounced as /i:/ Mostly when it is attached to other letters.

This one is the small letter ‘y’ in Persian. Like all other small letters, it comes at the beginning or middle of the words and accepts all six vowels.

The last one is the long sound /u:/.

As I told you before, some Persian letters have only one form. That is to say, their small and big forms are equal.

This letter is one of them. This is the only letter that may be pronounced as /u:/. /u:/ as in two.

I guess you may find these explanations a little bit confusing. Nevertheless, this is the only way to explain the long vowels. I am now trying to make it easier to understand through writing.

As you remember, this is ‘B’ in Persian: . Last week, we learned how to pronounce this letter with short vowels: . Toady we will pronounce it with the long vowels too.

1- this is pronounced as /ba:/ in barter.

2- this is pronounced as /bi:/ in beat.

3- this one is pronounced as /bu:/ in boot.

Now, try to pronounce with the help of these three long vowels. You will say: . Need help? Click here to listen.

Big B

Well done! Was it really difficult? Now, we pronounce the letter with the help of six main vowels. Ready? Don’t forget to read from right to left.

All B

From now on, we should pronounce each letter with these six sounds.

Now it’s your turn.

This is ‘p’ in Persian. Try to pronounce it with the six vowels. You will say: . Great job! If you need help, click here to listen.

All P

Finally, this is’T’ in Persian. Try to pronounce it with the six vowels. You will say: .

Still need help? Click here.

All T

All right. This is the end of lesson two. Please remember that the most difficult part of our job is pronouncing the letters with these six vowels, which is the start point of entering into a new language. We wouldn’t have this much problem after we learned the letters successfully. From next week, all we have to do is practicing some new letters with these vowels till we complete the letters. So, you may consider today’s lesson the most difficult one for weeks to come.

Don’t forget to check the Let’s write and the Useful drills now.

Feel tired? Hit me!

Click here if you want to write in Persian.

Lesson 2


  1. Jennifer says:

    I’m a bit confused. Does big letter A stand only alone, or does it come at the beginning of words?

  2. RC Joseph says:


    Letter A stands alone and comes at the beginning of words only – pronounced as a/ in Arm

  3. When you say at beginning, do you mean in the beginning seen from Left to right (like the big letter L is in the beginning of Left), or from right to left (like “sihT”). Great site btw!

  4. commendable efforts to make it learn effortlessly

  5. hi. im learning farsi for a story im working on (im a writer)and this site is unbelievably helpful i just have one question: how does the little a accept the long vowels, what does it look like with the big y and little y. im confused. thanks for your help.

  6. Omg than you so much. Do you also have an application we can download for our phone

  7. Dobbs DeCorsey says:

    You should make an app for this website. I wish I ciuld easily take it on the go, but I dont have any 3g on my tablet so when I’m in the car there’s no way that I can access this website. Really consider making this an app with interactive writing tools.

  8. Antonio Q. says:

    Woow thank you very much! I want to learn farsi since A long time! I was trying to find a farsi teacher here im Mexico City but it is quite expensive! This site is really useful. Thank you verymuch for taking the time helping ppl to learn farsi!

  9. Richard J says:

    “This is the big letter ‘Y’ in Persian. Only this letter can be pronounced as /i:/ sound. /i:/ as in see.” There is no “i” in see or am I missing something here. Downloads would help here so that I can hear the sound.

    • He means the ‘i’ sound, like in Italian, e.g. in the word “si”, or “pizza”. That sound is often written in English with two e’s, like “bee”, or “see”, or “teeth”, or sometimes with ea, like “sea”, and a couple of other ways too. Of course, English has a lot of irregular spellings (where the same sound is written in different ways, like “sea”, “bee”, “piece”) and irregular pronunciations (where the same letter or group of letters is pronounced in different ways, like the letter “i” in “pizza” (/i/), “bit” (/ɪ/), or “price” (/aɪ/), to name a few.), so here is the link to the Wikipedia article on the sound he means, with an audio sample (under the picture of the “i” on the top right of the article):

      If you need any more help, (I’m not an expert at all, but) feel free to e-mail me at “”, and I will see what I can do.

      [Note: all of the letters in /’s, like /i/, is referring to their transcription (how they are written down) in the IPA, or International Phonetic Alphabet, which you can read more about here:

    • Richard J says:

      Later downloads in lesson helped thanks i think ive mastered it.

  10. So I have gotten up to lesson 11 and Im still a little confused about the short vowels. If Im reading a word how do I know if its going to be e, a or i. Kind of like the word – Shoma which is one of the You words. I get that ma is a long vowel But when I learned the character in shoma it was described as Shin. How do I know when Im reading Shoma in persian I dont read it as Shinma or Shima?

  11. dear Mel, “Shin” is the name of the character having the sound “sh”. I’m sure as you go on with the lessons it will be easier to differentiate between reading it has Shoma or Shima, you will get a sense of it, although it seems hard at first.

  12. Dear Mr Hassan,
    your lessons are absolutely dettailed with a rare method. The whole project is wonderful. Congratulations. Thank you for this site.
    yours faithfully
    Despina Asimakopoulou (Athens-Greece)

  13. Hello,
    I know Arabic and English , Any one could trade ?I could teach you one of these languages and you could teach me Farsi :)
    My yahoo


  14. Hi,
    I am a native Iranian and living in Iran.
    I will be happy to help everyone that wants to leering Persian.
    This is my email:

  15. Wow this is amazing! I look forward to learning Persian through your site. This is perfect! Thank you!

  16. Luis Alfonso says:

    Greetings all and Dear Professor,
    Thank you for this valuable tool, I am enjoying it immensely!

  17. Irfan Ali says:

    i like the pronunciation of farsi very much

  18. mohammad says:

    I’m iranian
    add me to teach you persain

  19. Antonio says:

    I don’t exactly understand one thing. Do long vowels “attach” do letters while short vowels don’t?

  20. In last chapter in terms of vowels there was no big no it is and usage is only described with big vowles. I am not understanding it here.

  21. does persian have long “e” sound? I mean, “e” like in “bed” only longer pronounced.
    and, does persian have short “i” sound? I mean, “i” like in “fit”.


  22. Salam, Can you see this comment? I am looking to learn Farsi. Please email me if you can help.

  23. Hi,
    Thank you!

    I have one question from this lesson:
    So are the long vowels just letters that can express a sound (act as a vowel) but CAN be a letter with different pronunciation (act as consonant)? However the short vowels are NOT letters, correct?

  24. Margaret Zambrano says:

    thank you very much for the great job!! I love the persian language!!!!

  25. I’m also confused with the long vowels. As Kamran above me said, are the long vowels BOTH letters and sounds (vowels) that attach to words, while the short vowels are ONLY sounds that do NOT attach to words? There seems to be much difference between the short vowels and long vowels. Thanks

    • Micah, you are correct. The terms long and short in the way Hassan is using them don’t have the same meaning that you may be used to in discussing linguistics. In fact, using the terms may cause too much confusion. You don’t have to think in terms of long & short. For now, it’s probably enough to know that there are three unwritten vowel sounds and three written letters with vowel sounds.

  26. anushaw askari says:

    wonderfully explained. very precise and helpful! amazed to find such a wonderful site to learn persian, finally!!

  27. majalmirasol says:

    Typo: Toady we will pronounce it with the long vowels too.

  28. Iris Marquela Santamaria Jurado says:

    felicidades al señor q tomo esta iniciativa de este curso

  29. I can’t find the next lesson,how I can find it? Please help me.

  30. Amazing teaching methods and explanations. Very accurate and realistic! Thank you for providing these free online lessons to the public.

  31. You forgot one of the vowels of the alefba alphabet amongst other mistakes made upon the Farsi language on your website.

  32. Wow! Thx so much. You explain everything so clearly! :)

  33. WOW this is legit if i was white and i wanted to learn farsi it would be great too bad i type farsi like an old person and can’t use it in a practical sense

  34. Salam!

    I assume most of you are trying to learn enough farsi to speak with friends or family that you’ve been trying to communicate with for a long time but the ‘language barrier’ (the dreaded barrier) gets in the way. I understand how that feels. I used to feel like that with farsi when I was younger. However, after having lived in Iran for a couple years and visiting it on several occasions(In fact I just got back a week ago from a one month visit), as well as growing up speaking it with my family, I can now communicate with friends and family in Farsi fluently. If anyone wants to speak the language, and understand the Iranian culture so you can talk and connect with those you care about, it’s a lot easier then you think. Fortunately farsi is one of those languages where most of the meaning is expressed directly rather then subtly, such as English.I also believe it’s much easier to learn then English. Therefore it’s very simple picking up the language. And there’s not an endless amount of words to learn. One must understand that 80% of conversations use only 20% of the vocabulary. Therefore, you only need to learn 20% of the words to speak and understand 80% of conversation! The ’80/20′ rule holds true in almost every language. In fact, I don’t even know how to read and write in Farsi, yet I can still speak it fluently and communicate with those I care about. So if your interested in learning how to connect with us Iranians, whether it’s friends, family, coworkers or because you want to visit Iran one day and see it’s breathtaking scenery, amazing culture and extremely hospitable people, then I can help you learn farsi! Contact me at Best of luck!

  35. “Now that we are familiar with the long vowel /a:/ in Persian,” you never said that /a:/ was the first long vowel. s: bit of confusion there. s:

  36. so the “y” is a vowel?

  37. I’m confused with the “long A” sound that you are describing. To me, the long A sound is in the word “hay” and the word “arm” sounds more like a short sounding A.

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