This Persian Language Sustainment Resources webpage serves as a useful resource for Persian/Farsi language learners and individuals who wish to keep up their Persian language skills, improve their communicative skills, and learn about Iranian culture and contemporary political and social events in Iran.
Persian is an Indo-European language. Therefore, it is structurally related to Indo-European languages such as English, German, Latin, etc. and shares many cognate words (e.g., “پِدَر”, pedar in Persian = father in English, Vater in German, pater in Latin, πατήρ, patêr in Greek, , pitṛ in Sanskrit; or “بَرادَر” barâdar in Persian = brother in English and Bruder in German) with them.
Persian today includes Farsi, Dari and Tajiki dialects which is spoken by more than 100 million people in Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and parts of Uzbekistan.
The following list is by no means exhaustive; however, it provides a good starting point for expanding your knowledge of Iran, its language and culture.
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- Aryanpour: An English to Persian and Persian to English dictionary.
- Vajehyab: A comprehensive Persian dictionary comprised of more than 17 dictionaries including Persian dictionaries alongside four Iranian dialects dictionaries. Also available as an iOS and Android app.
- Farsi123: A very popular Persian-English dictionary, and very easy to use.
- Hayyim: Persian-English dictionary
- Farvo: This is the largest pronunciation dictionary available. Search words in Persian and hear them pronounced by native speakers.
- Platts: This is a valuable resource for finding etymologies of Persian words found in Urdu.
- Hobson-Jobson: A good resource for English words of Persian origin. All diacritics are viewable with a Unicode font.
- Memrise: A flashcard site featuring existing decks in Persian at various levels.
- Study Blue: Customizable flashcard decks that allow you to create and share your own flashcards and also use flashcards and quizzes made by others which yo can sort by least reviewed, newest, or hardest words and phrases.
- DLI Online Assessment: This online Diagnostic tool will provide individual feedback on areas and skills you can improve in through reading and listening exams.
- Jahanshiri.ir: This online verb conjugator can conjugate Persian verbs in all tenses, aspects and moods.
- Encyclopeadia Iranica: A a comprehensive research tool dedicated to the study of Iranian civilization in the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent
- Britannica-Iran: A good source to learn about Iran’s land, history, economy, people, government and society, cultural life and beyond.
Many different dialects and accents of Persian are spoken in various parts of Iran and countries around. Learn about some of these dialects/accents.
Dari, Tajik, Farsi, different dialects or languages?
Podcast, Radio & Print Media
- PersianPod 101: Gives you access to thousands of audio and text lessons, organized with the best content for your level and needs.
- Linguaboost: Helps expand your everyday Persian phrases over the course of 30 lessons.
- PodGap: Provides you Persian conversation for beginners to advanced level, learning vocabularies, grammar, Persian literature, & interview with different people.
- Chai & Conversation: Teaches you conversational Persian in a fun and casual manner in weekly lessons of about 15-20 minutes each
- Rokh: The life story of those who marked a part of the history of Iran and the world. (App for both Android and IOS devices)
- ChannelB: Tells you the report of a real story quoted from a reliable English-speaking media in Persian. (App for both Android and IOS devices)
- Koron: A podcast about music of Iran. (App for both Android and IOS devices)
- Radio Farda: Listen to Persian news and music live streaming 24 hours.
- Radio Zamaneh: An Amsterdam-based radio providing Persian news, talk, interviews on a variety of topics.
- Radio Javan: Listen to Persian music and podcasts from the largest collection available online.
- Radio Hamrah: Broadcasting from Los Angles providing topics ranging from news, psychology, literature, and more.
- Radio Darvish: Just click, listen and enjoy Persian traditional music.
Magazines & Newspapers
- Daneshmand: A weekly published Persian magazine based out of Vancouver, British Columbia.
- Etemad: A source for the region’s latest political, cultural, social and economic news.
- Shargh: One of the most popular Reformist newspapers in Iran
- Entekhab: Focuses on foreign policy and domestic affairs.
- Khabaronline: Provides the latest analyzes and reports of the most important events in Iran and the world.
- Cuisine & Recipes
- Literature and ebooks
- Arts & History
- Cultural celebrations and festivities
Ali Daei, nicknamed ‘Mr Goal’, scored 109 times in 149 matches for Iran (fourfourtwo.com)
In Iran, soccer (football), freestyle wrestling, futsal and volleyball are the most popular sports. Below you can find resources about the sports news and videos of games with Persian commentary.
- Khabarvarzeshi: Latest sports news of sports and premier leagues in Iran and the world
- Varzesh3: Provides sports news, game results and sports league tables live.
- Footballi: Latest news about football in Iran and the world.
- Persian Gulf Pro League: The Persian Gulf Pro League, formerly known as the Iran Pro League, is the highest division of professional football in Iran
- Volleyball super league: Watch some of the games of the professional volleyball league of Iran.
- Futsal super league: is a professional futsal league competition for clubs which are located at the highest level of the Iranian futsal league system.
- Wrestling league: is a form of submission grappling that has been practiced since ancient times in Iran.
- Freestyle wrestling: Learn about and watch the news, interviews and freestyle wrestling matches here.
- Polo: Provides the latest news from polo, programs and sports calendar and explains about the history of this ancient sport and its role in Iranian literature and Arts
Gheime, A tasty Persian food, served with salad shirazi and doogh (irandoostan.com)
Iran and other Persian speaking countries around are home to some of the world’s richest cuisines, which reflect the diverse cultures of the region.
- Ariana Bundy: Ariana Bundy takes you step-by-step through some of the most delicious Iranian dishes on her YouTube channel.
- Navab Ebrahimi: Navab teaches you how to make authentic and local Iranian food.
- Zahra: Try Zahra’s unique recipes as you enjoy her culinary journey of traditional and modern interpretations of Middle Eastern cuisine
- Persian mama: Homa shares with you the Persian recipes that have been in her family for generations.
- Family spice: Easy and delicious Persian and campfire recipes inspired from around the world.
- The Persian Kitchen: An Iranian food blog.
- Fig and Quince: Recipes and all the tools and tricks of Iranian cooking.
- Turmeric Saffron: Azita shares traditional recipes that she has learned from her late mother with a lot of love and care.
Seared kebabs, plush flatbreads, aromatic pilafs, and ghorme-sabzi (la.eater.com)
The Shahnameh is a poetic opus written by the Persian poet, Ferdowsi, around 1000CE (irandestination.com)
Persian literature is one of the world’s oldest literatures and a jewel in the crown of Persian culture. Persian literature profoundly influenced the literatures of Ottoman Turkey, Muslim India and Turkic Central Asia and was a source of inspiration for Goethe, Emerson, Matthew Arnold and Jorge Luis Borges among others.
Learn More about Persian literature:
- Ganjoor: Online collection of poems by Persian-speaking poets. You can search by poet or poem and find their various readings of poems.
- Rare literary materials: Collection of rare Persian language manuscripts, lithographic books and early imprints, as well as printed books.
- Persian periodicals: Rare old article and newspapers.
- Mix of art and poetry: Let’s explore paintings from an illustrated manuscript of the Shahnameh — or ‘Book of Kings’ composed by the national epic of Iran, Firdawsi around 1010.
- Proverbs: A list of some common proverbs.
- Persian Literature: Michigan State University Library, with available books to read.
Persian arts or Iranian arts have a long history dating back many centuries as one of the richest art heritages in world history. From architecture to weaving to painting to calligraphy to pottery to metalworking to stonemasonry to sculpture, Arts of Iran encompasses many different forms.
You can learn more about art and history of Iran by reading:
- هنرایرانی: A brief introduction of ّIranian arts and handicrafts.
- Handicrafts of Iran: Learn more about Iran’s handicarfts.
- Iranian handicrafts: Watch some of the Iranian handicrafts and cultural elements.
- کجارو: Find out more about Iranian architecture.
- Calligraphy: Take a look at different styles of calligraphy in the Arab, Ottoman, and Persian traditions.
- قالی بافی: Learn about the history and methods of carpet weaving
- Pottery making: Watch the traditional process of pottery making from scratch.
- قلم زنی: Learn more about this beautiful artwork and how it is made.
Learn about Iranian celebrations and festivities:
Norooz celebration-Haft Sin (سفره هفت سبن)
- Norooz or Nowruz (نوروز): Norooz meaning ‘New Day’ is a festival which dates back 3000 years to when King Jamshed called astrologers and declared that 21st March, the day that the sun leaves Pisces, the twelfth sign of the zodiac and enters into Aries, the very first zodiac sign would be the day when his kingdom would celebrate ‘New Year’. It has been celebrated with pomp and fervor ever since. Learn more about Norooz here.
Fire jumping in Chaharshanbe Souri
- Chaharshanbe Souri (چهارشنبه سوری): If Norooz is the Persian equivalent of Easter, Chaharshanbeh Souri, in many ways is the equivalent of Halloween. The event is celebrated on the eve of Navroz. Chahar-Shanbeh means Wednesday and Souri means both ‘Red’ and ‘Celebration’. In this “red celebration” which takes place on the last Wednesday of the solar calendar, people go out and make bush fires and keep them burning till the next morning. This is symbolic of burning all that was bad pain, unhappiness, sickness and worry and looking forward to a new beginning. Learn more about Chaharshanbeh here.
- Tirgan Festival (تیرگان): Tirgan is celebrated by people in the Mazandaran province on the evening of the twelfth day of the fourth month of their own calendar. Tirgan is a celebration born out of the legend of Arash, the legendary bowman who shot an arrow to indicate the borderline between Iran and Turan but died soon after, drained of all his energy. People come together to eat traditional Iranian food, drink lots of sherbets and tea and participate in drama, reciting poetry and singing
- Mehrgan Celebration (مهرگان): Mehr is the name of the Sun Goddess and the seventh month of the Iranian calendar. Mehrgan is a Zoroastrian and Iranian festival celebrated to honor the yazata Mithra (Persian: Mehr), which is responsible for friendship, affection and love. “Mehregan” is derived from the Middle Persian name Mihrakān/Mihragān, itself derived from Old Persian Mithrakāna
- Yalda (Chelleh) (شب یلدا): Yalda is an ancient festival in Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey celebrated on the winter solstice. Yalda celebrates the longest night of the year, at the end of which light triumphs over darkness. The following day is the day of harvest and the beginning of the rest period, a time for family to converge at the home of oldest family members and indulge in a spread of Iranian food, summer fruits and an array of nuts while reciting poetry and catching up with what is happening in each other’s lives.
- Sadeh Festival (جشن سده): Sadeh meaning “emergence” is a non-religious celebration observed by people of all faiths and is celebrated on the 10th day of Bahman. People set up huge bonfires outside cities and eat special soup (aash), fruits and nuts.
Learn about the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Persian as well as it’s Persian cultural events.
- دانشگاه ویسکانسین مدیسون: Learn about the University of Wisconsin Madison in Farsi.
- Persian Student Society (PSS): If you are in Madison, make sure to join PSS and attend their gatherings and cultural events they organize on and off campus.
Films and TV Shows
- Netflix, Hulu, Prime & Cinema list: Top Iranian/Persian movies on different genres to watch on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+ & other Streaming service.
- Amazon prime: Watch Iranian movies & dramas.
- Top movies: The top Iranian movies.
- چند شنبه با سینا: A Persian show of interviews with celebrities, athletes, entrepreneurs, and influencers including political satire.
- Manototv: Manoto is a TV and Radio program broadcasted in London. It shows latest series dubbed in Farsi, historical and political documentaries and videos, the latest news of Iran, the Middle East and the world.
A Mix of Songs for Learning Persian with Music
- “دیشب” “last night” This song is performed by Marjan Farsad whose style is relaxed and elegant. The song is accompanied by Persian lyrics, English translation, and a list of useful words at the end of the video.
- “بیا کزعشق تو دیوانه گشتم” This song is performed by Homayoon Shajarian (Singer) and Sohrab Pournazeri (instrumentist). It is one of Rumi’s poems.
- “رویای ما” “Our dreams” by Ebi and Shadmehr with Persian lyrics and translation. This Song comes with a Persian lesson on its vocabularies and their pronunciations.
- “برای” “For” by Shervin Hajipoor. It is a power ballad inspired by the death of Mahsa Amini and its aftermath.
- “بهت قول میدم”: “I promise you” by Mohsen Yeganeh with translation.
- “خونه ی ما”: “Our home” by Marjan Farsad.
Hadis is a doctoral candidate in the Second Language Acquisition program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has been a teaching assistant and tutor for Farsi in the Middle East and Mediterranean Languages Institute (MEDLI) since 2017. Hadis holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from Persian Gulf University and a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from Shiraz University, Iran. Her research interests focus on both Persian and English language teaching and exploring learner’s perceptions and experiences in second language acquisition. She aims to contribute to the field by investigating effective methods and strategies for language learning and teaching.