A lot of the resources on this website are great for what they do, but especially as a beginner trying to learn Farsi, you'll want something that gives you some guidance and tells you what to learn next. In addition to joining a local class, there are of course books, audio classes, and recently, apps.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

  • Proficiency in Persian - A 3-book series with an audio CD.
  • Easy Persian - Extensive, free, text-based course on a blog.