With over 100 million speakers Farsi (or Persian) is one of the most spoken languages in the greater Middle East. Although mostly associated with Iran, Farsi is also spoken in Afghanistan (where it is called Dari) and also pockets of other surrounding countries. Farsi is written from right to left using a modified form of the Arabic alphabet, so native speakers of English will have to learn a new script. However, Farsi is an Indo-European language and thus shares some grammatical constructions with more commonly known languages. While Farsi has an extensive amount of Arabic influence it is also responsible for donating words to other languages too. A few examples in English include 'assassin', 'bazaar', and 'jasmine'.

Online Resources

FSI Farsi is a free course offered by the Foreign Service Institute

Easy Persian is a website with tons of free Farsi lessons

Persian Dee is a website for learning Persian.

Virtual Persian is an introductory course developed by New York University

Online News

BBC Persian


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Where Can I Study It?

Dehkhoda Lexicon Institute in Tehran, Iran offers programs in Farsi

University of Maryland offers a BA in Persian Studies

The University of Utah offers a BA in Middle Eastern Studies - Persian

McGill University offers a Minor in Persian

Famous Speakers

Shirin Ebadi
She was the winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize

One of the most popular and well known poets ever.

Ali Khamenei
Khamenei is a cleric and is a central figure in Iranian politics and economics.

Hassan Rouhani

Current president of Iran

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