Reddit: r/farsiFairly active and friendly group on reddit

Storybooks CanadaChildren's stories in Persian, with pictures and English translations.

Storybooks Canada takes stories from the African Storybook, and publishes translations into Persian (as well as many other languages).

They have everything from simple stories for beginners, to fairly advanced language. But what's really great is that all of the stories come with an audio track, by a native speaker, that can be played section by section.

And if you struggle, there are easily accessible English and French translations to help you along.

Farsi.SchoolAuthentic Persian Videos with Interactive Subtitles

Full disclosure: This is my own project. I happen to think it is pretty neat, but keep in mind I might be biased.

It's like Yabla, or FluentU, but for Persian. We select interesting Persian-language content, create high-quality subtitles and translations, and then make sure we define the grammar of every single word. This means that whenever you are unsure what something means, we can tell you exactly what the form is, which word it comes from, and what that word means.

In addition, everything is transliterated - in multiple style options, so don't worry if you are not comfortable with the Persian script yet.

Persian LyricsYouTube channel with numerous Persian songs with subtitles, transliteration and translation.

WiktionaryHas a fairly large number of Farsi words.

The best English/Farsi dictionary I have seen so far is actually the English-language Wiktionary, which sports a significant number of entries for Persian words, and often comes with the usual goodies you'll find in a Wiktionary: inflection tables, pronouncations, etymology.

The English Wiktionary of course also contains entries for English, and so you'll also be able to lookup an English word, and often, you'll find a link to the Persian translation. It's not as user-friendly as a dedicated two-language dictionary, as you'll be browsing through a list of translation into dozen of languages, but it will work.

GlossikaCourse based on spaced repetition of sentences.

Glossika is trying something new. They give you sentences in Persian, in both translation with pronounciation, and script. You study those sentences by being confrontend with them repeatedly, typing them out, or pronouncting them yourself. They'll be repeated again later in the future. In a way, it's a spaced repitition system with whole sentences. They system will add the sentences for you to learn. The sentences you are learning are organized in a sort-of course form, introducing new grammar concepts along the way - though there seem to be no actual explanations of grammatical concepts.

An interesting idea of theirs is having you copy a sentence by typing that you see right in front of you. It's not practicing recall, rather, they say, it will help you associate the sounds you hear in the audio with the written version of the language as you learn the sentences. You can type not only in Persian script, but also in romanization, which is pretty neat, at least in principal.

Persian is just one of the many languages they support. As such, I don't think it got the love it deserves. For example, when typing in romanization, it expects you to type "tw" instead of "to" for "you", as it does not understand that the character و here is a vowel.

VajjeA meta dictionary combining multiple Persian dictionaries, of different languages.

Collects a number of different dictionaries, some of them very specialised, such as 6155 words and abbreviations about chemistry. It's not just English either, but includes Persian-Arabic, Persian-Italian and many more, including mono-lingual Persian-only.

MondlyApp-based course, available for iOS devices and Android.

Englisi FarsiBilingual picture books.

Lovingly designed, bilingual English/Farsi picture books for children. Both physical and ebooks are available.

Grammar & Resources, University of Texas at AustinExtensive description of the grammar.

A deep dive into the Persian grammar, compiled by the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at the The University of Austin, Texas. While I feel the material at times could be organized and presented a little better, it is a very exhaustive walkthrough of all the grammatical structures.

The websites also features high-quality audio pronouncations throughout, as well as some video content designed for learners.

Dehghani Learner's DictionarySmartly designed for learners

Screenshot

The full title is Persian-English English-Persian Learner's Dictionary by Yavar Dehghani.

This is the best dictionary for learners I have seen, because of some very sensible decisions: First, to include the English transliteration (which will give you the pronouncation). More importantly, the entries are listed in alphabetical order according to the transliteration. That makes looking up words very fast.

A small critique would be the lack of usage examples. It's really just Persian/English word pairs.

SteingassClassic Persian->English dictionary from 1891, with transliterations and mobile apps.

Francis Joseph Steingass published A Comprehensive Persian-English dictionary in 1891. It is Persian->English only, and does feature transliterations.

While you can get it as a physical book, an online version is available by the University of Chicago. There are even apps available for both Android and iOS.

Content-wise it no doubt shows it's age, and the way it is presented - full pages from the original dictionary rather than individual word entries - is a bit strange. But it will be useful resources for deeper study of older texts in particular.

Another classic dictionary published by the same university is the Sulayman Hayyim.

FreeDict Farsi/GermanDictionary based on community-submissions

This dictionary has an interesting backstory. The guy who runs it in his free time does not actually speak a word of Persian. There is an article about him and the dictionary in the German newspaper TAZ.

DasturVery academic discussion of the Persian grammar

Navid Fazel's resource is so extensive, it really deserves to be published as a book. But it also clearly targets people with a background in linguistics. It is full of specialist terminology, and spends a lot of effort on categorizing and classifying.

I would think that someone starting to learn the language would very quickly feel lost, but for those more advanced seeking a reference, this will come in handy.

Unfortunately, on occasion the right-to-left text on the page does not interact correctly with the English left-to-right text, which can be annoying.

PodGap PodcastStructured audio classes for all levels, with transcripts

Mohsen and Hanieh are two native speakers who moderate every episode of this podcast. The episodes range from material for beginners to fairly advanced. I like that they focus on immersion: There are generally no long explanations or discussions in English to distract you.

You can support them via their Patreon, and through it you'll get access to the episode transcriptions.

TED TalksTEDx talks that were organized in Iran, sometimes with subtitles.

There have been a bunch of different number of TEDx Talks in Iran, and you can watch those videos on YouTube - in rare cases, there will even be Persian-language subtitles.

This is obviously not exactly "easy" content, but can be great for advanced learners who are in need of demanding material.

I am aware of the following Persian-language TED events:

- TEDx Teheran

- TEDxKeshavarzBlvd

- TEDx Naghshe Jahan

- TEDx Molla Sadra Street

Ali Jahanshiri's Personal WebsiteVerb conjugator and concise, but extensive grammar resource.

A real gem. In addition to many other things, this contains one of the most concise, well-organized guides to Persian grammar you'll find, and a verb conjugator that works with both Persian script as well as roman transcription.

It was a great help to me when I was coding the grammar-parser of Farsi.school, and also my inspiration to start the page you are reading right now.

Ali is taking Bitcoin-donations, and if you find is site useful, I encourage you to support him.

AparatThe Iranian version of YouTube.

A huge amount of videos are available across every possible spectrum and subject.

Beginners searching for easier material might want to have a look at the Kids Section, which features a number of cartoons, including Western properties such as "Boss Baby" with Persian voice actors.

There are live streams of Iranians playing video games, similar to twitch.tv

The company behind the site also produces some of their own content, such as Cafe Aparat.

Persian Language Online

Produced by a charity tasked with promiting Persian language learning, this website offers both apps designed for children, but also a very large set of carefully produced, short animation videos that come with an English translation, a glossary and dialogue sheets. They are ordered by increasing difficulty, and as such they are quite suitable as source material for self-study.

Cooljugator PersianConjugation Tables for Persian Verbs

This will give you the conjugation table for a Persian verb. Conveniently, it lets you input a word in any form, including in a transliterated shape. Pretty neat: You can also have it display the English translation for every individual form.

Rosetta StoneSolid application of the Rosetta Stone methodology

It's Rosetta Stone. They are a fairly well-known brand in language learning, and popularized the idea "let's learn like children do, entirly through immersion". In practice, this means you will not see any explanations in English; and because you don't understand the language you are learning, really no explanations. Many people strongly dislike this, but you cannot argue with their success as a company.

In practice, you'll see pictures representations of the words until you get it. And they don't do this in a dumb way. For example, in the very first slide, they'll try to get you to recognize the relationship between ab miwi (juice) and ab (water). They'll also throw you right away into a complete sentence like "the boy is drinking water", which you will not understand at this point; but you will be able to pick out the words you learned "boy" and "water".

The Persian Edition is of high-quality; there is nothing at all wrong with it. There are even some special features designed for the language, such as an interactive alphabet overview.

In addition to the main lessons, there are a couple of special modules. One teaches the pronouncation (they ask you to speak each segment of a word individually). The Grammar module, having the limitation of not being able to actually explain the grammar, relies on showing you, for example, a picture of two people and highlighting the plural ending. For the reading module, they will highlight one or two characters in a sentence, and ask you to pronounce that individually, until you learn how to associate the script with the sounds. Finally, the Writing module is essentially teaching you how to type on a keyboard. In a sense, it feels like
an extension of the reading module; you'll learn to associate the characters with the sounds
(and then you also have to find them on the keyboard).

Where I think it definitely breaks down a bit is that they rely on the Persian script (there are no transliterations), and expect from you, for example, to pick between two Persian words very early on, when you simply aren't ready to read that yet - because the Reading module only has thought you the first two characters so far.

My Persian CornerBlog on Persian Food and Culture

Strictly speaking, this is not specifically for language learners (though there is a decent amount of such content there as well, including idioms and Persian music with translations). But beyond that, it deserves a mention simply because of the great insights into Iran and it's society and culture; I like to read it when I have some down time, and before I know it, I have this urge to work even harder to learn the language.

Langenscheidt German/Persian

High-quality Persian-German and German-Persian dictionary.

AbadisMonolingual, with a Persian-only UI

A very nicely designed website, sourcing a number of dictionaries, both monolingual, and bilingual. Unfortunatley, the UI itself is in Farsi only, so it is not that accessible for learners. Also, you'll run into the frequently encountered synonym mess here as well (which I gather comes from generating a reverse-dictionary). You can also search for English words.

Dictionaries used for the source data are Moin, Amid, Dekhoda, the Farsi Wikipedia, the Encyclopaedia of Islam, as well as a large number of "specialist" dictionaries, such as IT, chemistry etc.

WordReference Indo-Iranian Languages ForumBusy forum for questions about the Persian language

On the very popular WordReference site you can find a place to discuss basically any one of the world's language. Persian shares a group with it's cousin's such as Urdu, Hindu or Dari, but it's actice community is sure to be able to help you with your query.

MangoLanguagesPolished interactive course with original ideas.

I'm quite fond of this app. Sure, like all systems which support many dozens of languages, you can't completely shake the feeling of your course coming off an assemby line, but it comes much closer than most. The content is organized into sensible units of instruction, they actually explain the grammar (though not as deeply as I'd like), and they seem to care about getting smaller details right.

So for example, you not just have transliterations and diacritic marks, but the app also indicates stress. Every word has an individual pronouncation. And all of this works not only within the excercises, but also within the instruction texts itself - you can tap any Farsi word.

Also worth nothing: You'll often have the option to see both a literal and a natural translation. And both the original Farsi and the translation are color coded to help you understand which parts relate. Very cool.

The way the app works is itself quite interesting. It's almost like an interactive audio book. You can read the explanations youself, or have someone else read them to you. You can sort of scroll through a chapter at your own pace, and go back whenever you want. Granted, a large part of the process is "Do you know how to say?" prompts, which can get a bit monotonous.

Ultimately, you have to love a product that counts "Pirate" and "Shakespearean English" amongst it's product offerings.

Works both in the browser and on mobile.

Cafe Denj

A 14-episode video series about a series of friends running a Cafe, specifically designed for language learners, and with good production value. It was produced by the Department for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Austin Texas.

PersianPod101Not really a podcast, but an extensive audio course.

Despite being advertised as a podcast, this is really a very comprehensive audio course. Each lesson comes with a transcript and a vocabulary list. It may not feel as lovingly crafted as Chai and Conversation, but the library of materials is extensive.

You can browse the lesson library without signing up, and you'll also be able to access for free a number of vocabulary lists, complete with audio pronounciations and transcriptions.

I do not appreciate that as part of their marketing, they agressively spam YouTube, including with 3h vocabulary videos where the Persian script is written the wrong way.

The farsi.school DictionaryA work-in-progress Persian/English dictionary

This dictionary is based on the word list we use at farsi.school - it's very much a work in progress. It mostly does not fullfill the actual purpose of a dictionary - it has very few English definitions (we're working on it). However, you may find it useful to lookup the transliteration of a word or hear a growing list of pronunciations. You'll also find example sentences there in the future.

Chai and ConversationA unique, thoughtfully put-together audio course.

Chai and Conversation is a set of audio lessons, starting at beginner level. The main audio files are freely accessible, while you can upgrade to a paid membership to access accompanying lesson guides and transcripts.

It's clearly a labor of love for Leyla Shams, the woman behind it, and you won't find an industrial, one-size fits-all course, but a deep dive into the Iranian language and culture, including lessons on poetry from Forough Farrokhzad.

Even more links

  • Learn Persian
  • Memrise - Popular vocabulary study tool with lots of community-made word lists.
  • Proficiency in Persian - A 3-book series with an audio CD.
  • goodcyrus's Persian Writing Videos - A video series showing how to write Persian.
  • Discord Channel: Farsi Study Hour
  • Gooya - Portal listing Iranian news websites
  • AriaDic - Digitized version of the Aryanpour dictionary
  • Zero To Hero - Youtube videos with subtitles and word lookups
  • Loecsen
  • Radio Hamrah - Los-Angeles based Persian-language radio station
  • HiNative - Q&A App for Lanuage Learners
  • Dinolingo - Animated videos for children
  • Tehran Podcast Directory - A large selection of Persian-language podcasts.
  • FarsiDic - Simple word-list style lookups (no grammar) in both directions.
  • Farsi123 - English/Farsi
  • Easy Persian - Extensive, free, text-based course on a blog.
  • "Learn Persian Online" Bookshop
  • US government textbooks with audio - Older text books used by the Peace Corps, the Foreign Service Institute, and the Defense Language Institute. Free.
  • Sublearning - Gives you pairs of subtitles from movies, you guess the translation.