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Today, Persian is mainly spoken in [[Iran]], [[Afghanistan]], [[Tajikistan]], [[Uzbekistan]] and [[Bahrain]]. It has official status in the first three countries but was once the official, court, or literary language of many more places ranging from Turkey through India. At this time, many Persian poets emerged from Indian subcontinent, [[Central Asia]] and the regions under the control of Ottoman Empire. It is still appreciated as a literary and prestigious language among the educated elite. Many people in Iran and neighboring countries know Persian fluently even though it's not their mother tongue. It's because Iran (formerly "Persia" until 1935) was historically much bigger before losing many territories, especially to its neighbor [[Russia]] (for more information, see [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Iran Wikipedia: Greater Iran]). After the 1979 revolution, many Iranians migrated to the West and as a result, there are numerous Persian-speaking communities throughout the world, particularly in USA. Persian is the second language of Islam so in many Islamic countries you can find someone knowing Persian.
 
Today, Persian is mainly spoken in [[Iran]], [[Afghanistan]], [[Tajikistan]], [[Uzbekistan]] and [[Bahrain]]. It has official status in the first three countries but was once the official, court, or literary language of many more places ranging from Turkey through India. At this time, many Persian poets emerged from Indian subcontinent, [[Central Asia]] and the regions under the control of Ottoman Empire. It is still appreciated as a literary and prestigious language among the educated elite. Many people in Iran and neighboring countries know Persian fluently even though it's not their mother tongue. It's because Iran (formerly "Persia" until 1935) was historically much bigger before losing many territories, especially to its neighbor [[Russia]] (for more information, see [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Iran Wikipedia: Greater Iran]). After the 1979 revolution, many Iranians migrated to the West and as a result, there are numerous Persian-speaking communities throughout the world, particularly in USA. Persian is the second language of Islam so in many Islamic countries you can find someone knowing Persian.
  
The local name of the language is '''Farsi''' (officially, ''Fârsiyè Dari'' (Dari Persian), which means "Official/Court Persian"). The word ''Farsi'' has also entered English mainly because West-migrated Iranians didn't know about the native English name of their language (i.e. ''Persian'') and began to use ''Farsi'', which still prevails although somewhat decreased. Persian has three main dialects: Iranian Persian, Afghanistani Persian and Tajikistani Persian. They are all mutually intelligible and the written language is literally the same.
+
The local name of the language is '''Farsi''' (officially, ''Fârsiyè Dari'' (Dari Persian), which means "Official/Court Persian"). The word ''Farsi'' has also entered English mainly because West-migrated Iranians didn't know about the native English name of their language (i.e. ''Persian'') and began to use ''Farsi'', which still prevails although somewhat decreased. Persian has three main dialects: Iranian Persian (Farsi), Afghan Persian (Dari) and Tajik Persian (Tajik). They are all mutually intelligible. The written form is the same for Farsi and Dari, both using the Arabic alphabet; Tajik is generally written with the Cyrillc alphabet.
  
'''Note''' - The contents of this page are written in ''bookish Persian'' so that you can use them not only in Iran but also in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and other countries. Nevertheless, this page is centered on Iranian Persian;  [[Afghanistani_Persian_phrasebook | Afghanistani Persian]] and [[Tajikistani_Persian_phrasebook | Tajikistani Persian]] should have their own pages for a closer coverage.
+
'''Note''' - The contents of this page are written in ''bookish Persian'' so that you can use them not only in Iran but also in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and other countries. See [[Dari phrasebook]] for Afghan Persian and [[Tajik phrasebook]] for that dialect.
  
 
==Pronunciation guide==
 
==Pronunciation guide==
Line 65: Line 65:
 
|-
 
|-
 
|خ || x || x || as '''ch''' in Scottish lo'''ch''', German Bu'''ch'''
 
|خ || x || x || as '''ch''' in Scottish lo'''ch''', German Bu'''ch'''
 +
|-
 +
|د || d || d || as in '''d'''ad
 +
|-
 +
|ذ || z || z || as in '''z'''oo
 
|-
 
|-
 
|ر || r || r || similar to '''r''' in Spanish '''r'''eloj
 
|ر || r || r || similar to '''r''' in Spanish '''r'''eloj
Line 109: Line 113:
 
|}
 
|}
  
As you may note, there are characters that denote identical sounds e.g. ظ ,ض, ز are all pronounced '''z'''. It's because Persian has preserved the spelling of Arabic loanwords. Each of these characters has distinguished sounds in Arabic but they are all pronounced the same in Persian.
+
As you may note, there are characters that denote identical sounds e.g. ظ ,ض, ز are all pronounced '''z'''. It's because Persian has preserved the spelling of Arabic loanwords. Each of these characters has distinguished sounds in Arabic but they are all pronounced the same in Persian.
  
 
===Syllable===
 
===Syllable===
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|xiyâbân || xi.yâ.bân || street
 
|xiyâbân || xi.yâ.bân || street
 
|-
 
|-
|otobus || øo.to.bus || bus
+
|autobus || øo.to.bus || bus
 
|-
 
|-
 
|metro || met.ro || subway
 
|metro || met.ro || subway
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===Articles===
 
===Articles===
There is no definite article in Persian. A bare noun indicates a definite noun (which includes common and generic nouns) e.g. ''mâšin dar pârking ast'': the car is in the garage (literally: car, in garage, is); ''az mâr mitarsam'': I'm afraid of snakes (literally: from snake fear-I)
+
There is no definite article in Persian. A bare noun indicates a definite noun (which includes common and generic nouns) e.g. ''mâšin dar pârking ast'': the car is on the parking(literally: car, on parking, is); ''az mâr mitarsam'': I'm afraid of snakes (literally: from snake fear-I)
  
 
Indefiniteness is expressed with the enclitic ''-ì'' (or ''-yì'' after vowels). It is for both singular and plural nouns. English does not have an exact equivalent for the Persian's plural indefinite article. It's often translated as "some" or "a few" or is simply omitted. The indefinite enclitic is added to the end of the noun phrase: ''mâšinì'' (a car, some car), ''mâšinhâyì'' (some cars)
 
Indefiniteness is expressed with the enclitic ''-ì'' (or ''-yì'' after vowels). It is for both singular and plural nouns. English does not have an exact equivalent for the Persian's plural indefinite article. It's often translated as "some" or "a few" or is simply omitted. The indefinite enclitic is added to the end of the noun phrase: ''mâšinì'' (a car, some car), ''mâšinhâyì'' (some cars)
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====Superlative====
 
====Superlative====
The superlative form of an adjective is always made by adding the superlative suffix ''-in'' to the comparative: bad (bad), badtar (worse), badtarin (the worse). The superlative comes before the noun e.g. ''behtarin hotel'' (the best hotel), ''behtarin hotelè in šahr'' (the best hotel of this city)
+
The superlative form of an adjective is always made by adding the superlative suffix ''-in'' to the comparative: bad (bad), badtar (worse), badtarin (the worst). The superlative comes before the noun e.g. ''behtarin hotel'' (the best hotel), ''behtarin hotelè in šahr'' (the best hotel of this city)
  
 
===Demonstratives===
 
===Demonstratives===
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!2nd
 
!2nd
 
|to
 
|to
|you (informal)
+
|thou, you (informal)
 
|tu
 
|tu
 
|šomâ
 
|šomâ
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*raftan /rav/ (to go): beravam, beravi, beravad; beravim, beravid, beravand
 
*raftan /rav/ (to go): beravam, beravi, beravad; beravim, beravid, beravand
  
In English we say "I want to go" but in Persian "to go" does not appear in "infinitive" but in present subjunctive: mixâham beravam. We can assume that there is a relative pronoun ''ke'' (that) after "I want" that causes the second verb to appear in the subjunctive (similar to French ''que'') i.e. mixâham [ke] beravam (French: je vuex qu'aille). In any case, this construction is used very much and you should learn it well. Another example: mitavânam bebinam (I can see).
+
In English we say "I want to go" but in Persian "to go" does not appear in "infinitive" but in present subjunctive: mixâham beravam. We can assume that there is a relative pronoun ''ke'' (that) after "I want" that causes the second verb to appear in the subjunctive (similar to French ''que'') i.e. mixâham [ke] beravam (French: je veux qu'aille). In any case, this construction is used very much and you should learn it well. Another example: mitavânam bebinam (I can see).
  
 
====Wrapping up====
 
====Wrapping up====
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===Basics===
 
===Basics===
 
; Hello, Hi
 
; Hello, Hi
: Salâm (سلام)  
+
: Salâm (سَلام)  
 
; How are you?  
 
; How are you?  
 
: Hâlè šomâ chetor ast? (حالِ شما چطور است), less formal: chetorid? (چطورید), xubid? (خوبید)  
 
: Hâlè šomâ chetor ast? (حالِ شما چطور است), less formal: chetorid? (چطورید), xubid? (خوبید)  
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: xâheš mikonam (خواهش می‌کنم)
 
: xâheš mikonam (خواهش می‌کنم)
 
; Yes.
 
; Yes.
: bale (بله)
+
: bale (بله), areh (آره)
 
; No.
 
; No.
: na (نه)
+
: na (نَه)
 
; Excuse me (getting attention or begging pardon)
 
; Excuse me (getting attention or begging pardon)
 
: bebaxšid (ببخشید), maøzerat mixâham (معذرت می‌خواهم)
 
: bebaxšid (ببخشید), maøzerat mixâham (معذرت می‌خواهم)
 
; I'm sorry.
 
; I'm sorry.
: bebaxšid (ببخشید), maøzerat mixâham (معذرت می‌خواهم)
+
: bebaxšid (بِبَخشید), maøzerat mixâham (معذرت می‌خواهم)
 
; Goodbye
 
; Goodbye
 
: xodâhâfez (خداحافظ)  
 
: xodâhâfez (خداحافظ)  
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: formal: mibinametân (می‌بینمتان), informal: mibinamet (می‌بینمت)
 
: formal: mibinametân (می‌بینمتان), informal: mibinamet (می‌بینمت)
 
; I can't speak Persian [well].  
 
; I can't speak Persian [well].  
: Nemitavânam [xub] Fârsi harf bezanam (نمی‌توانم خوب انگلیسی حرف بزنم)
+
: Nemitavânam [xub] Fârsi harf bezanam (نمی‌توانم خوب فارسی حرف بزنم)
 
; Do you speak English?  
 
; Do you speak English?  
: Mitavânid Engelisi harf bezanid? (می‌توانید انگلیسی حرف بزنید)
+
: Mitavânid Engelisi harf bezanid? (می‌توانید انگلیسی حرف بزنید؟)
 
; Is there someone here who speaks English?  
 
; Is there someone here who speaks English?  
 
: Injâ kasi Engelisi midânad? (اینجا کسی انگلیسی می‌داند)
 
: Injâ kasi Engelisi midânad? (اینجا کسی انگلیسی می‌داند)
 
; Help!  
 
; Help!  
: komak! (کمک)
+
: komak! (کُمَک)
 
; Look out
 
; Look out
 
: formal: Movâzeb bâšid (مواظب باشید), informal: Movâzeb bâš (مواظب باش)
 
: formal: Movâzeb bâšid (مواظب باشید), informal: Movâzeb bâš (مواظب باش)
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===Numbers===
 
===Numbers===
 +
The Persian number system is very similar to that used in Arabic, exceptions being the symbols for four and five. Confusingly, the numerals used in Latin derived languages are called Arabic numerals and those used by in Arabic and Persian languages are called Indian numerals. Persian numerals are written from left to right unlike their alphabetic script.
 +
 
'''Note''' - There are two ways to express "and" in Persian. One is with the enclitic '''ò''' (or '''yò''' after vowels) and the other is with the word '''va'''. The enclitic '''ò''' is the common way (and the sole way in spoken Persian).
 
'''Note''' - There are two ways to express "and" in Persian. One is with the enclitic '''ò''' (or '''yò''' after vowels) and the other is with the word '''va'''. The enclitic '''ò''' is the common way (and the sole way in spoken Persian).
 +
 +
{|class="wikitable" border="2" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="4"
 +
! scope="row" | Persian
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
|-
 +
! scope="row" | Latin
 +
|0
 +
|1
 +
|2
 +
|3
 +
|4
 +
|5
 +
|6
 +
|7
 +
|8
 +
|9
 +
|}
 +
  
 
{| class="wikitable" border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="4"
 
{| class="wikitable" border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="4"
! #
+
|
 
! Persian
 
! Persian
! #
+
!  
 
! Persian
 
! Persian
! #
+
!  
 
! Persian
 
! Persian
! #
+
!  
 
! Persian
 
! Persian
 
|-  
 
|-  
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|-  
 
|-  
 
| 3
 
| 3
| se ()
+
| se (سه)
 
| 18
 
| 18
 
| hejdah (هجده)
 
| hejdah (هجده)
Line 931: Line 964:
  
 
===Lodging===
 
===Lodging===
; Do you have any rooms available? : otâqè xâli dârid? (اتاق خالی دارید)
+
; Do you have any rooms available? : otâqè xâli dârid? (اُتاقِ خالی دارید)
; How much is a room for one person/two people? : otâq barâye yek/do nafar chand ast? (اتاق برای یک/دو نفر چند است)
+
; How much is a room for one person/two people? : otâq barâye yek/do nafar chand ast? (اُتاق برایِ یِک/دو نَفَر چَند است)
 
; Does the room come with ~ : otâq ~ dârad? (اتاق ~ دارد)
 
; Does the room come with ~ : otâq ~ dârad? (اتاق ~ دارد)
; ~ bedsheets? : malâfe (ملافه)
+
; ~ bedsheets? : malâfe (مَلافه)
; ~ a bathroom? : hammâm (حمام)
+
; ~ a bathroom? : hammâm (حَمام)
; ~ a telephone? : telefon (تلفن)
+
; ~ a telephone? : telefon (تِلِفُن)
; ~ a TV? : televizyun (تلویزیون)
+
; ~ a TV? : televizyun (تِلِویزیون)
; May I see the room first? : mišavad avval otâq râ bebinam? (می‌شود اول اتاق را ببینم)
+
; May I see the room first? : mišavad avval otâq râ bebinam? (می‌شَوَد اول اتاق را ببینم)
 
; Do you have anything quieter? : jâyè ârâmtarì dârid? (جای آرامتری دارید)
 
; Do you have anything quieter? : jâyè ârâmtarì dârid? (جای آرامتری دارید)
 
; ~ bigger? : bozorgtar (بزرگتر)
 
; ~ bigger? : bozorgtar (بزرگتر)
; ~ cleaner? : tamiztar (تمیزتر)
+
; ~ cleaner? : tamiztar (تمیزتَر)
; ~ cheaper? : arzântar (ارزانتر)
+
; ~ cheaper? : arzântar (ارزانتَر)
; OK, I'll take it. : bâše, hamin râ migiram. (باشه، همین را می‌گیرم)
+
; OK, I'll take it. : bâše, hamin râ migiram. (باشه، همین را می‌گیرَم)
 
; I will stay for ~ night(s). : ~ šab mimânam (~ شب می‌مانم)
 
; I will stay for ~ night(s). : ~ šab mimânam (~ شب می‌مانم)
 
; Can you suggest another hotel? : mišavad hotelè digarì râ pišnahâd konid? (می‌شود هتل دیگری را پیشنهاد کنید)
 
; Can you suggest another hotel? : mišavad hotelè digarì râ pišnahâd konid? (می‌شود هتل دیگری را پیشنهاد کنید)
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; ~ lockers? : komodè qofldâr? (کمد قفلدار)
 
; ~ lockers? : komodè qofldâr? (کمد قفلدار)
 
; Is breakfast/supper included? : hazine šâmelè sobhâne/šâm ham mišavad? (هزینه شامل صبحانه/شام هم می‌شود)
 
; Is breakfast/supper included? : hazine šâmelè sobhâne/šâm ham mišavad? (هزینه شامل صبحانه/شام هم می‌شود)
; What time is breakfast/supper? sobhâne/šâm che sâatì ast? (صبحانه/شام چه ساعتی است)
+
; What time is breakfast/supper? : sobhâne/šâm che sâatì ast? (صبحانه/شام چه ساعتی است)
 
; Please clean my room. : lotfan otâqam râ tamiz konid (لطفا اتاقم را تمیز کنید)
 
; Please clean my room. : lotfan otâqam râ tamiz konid (لطفا اتاقم را تمیز کنید)
 
; Can you wake me at ~? : mišavad marâ sâatè ~ bidâr konid? (می‌شود مرا ساعت ~ بیدار کنید)
 
; Can you wake me at ~? : mišavad marâ sâatè ~ bidâr konid? (می‌شود مرا ساعت ~ بیدار کنید)
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; Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard) : mišavad kamcharbaš konid? (می‌شود کم‌چربش کنید)
 
; Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard) : mišavad kamcharbaš konid? (می‌شود کم‌چربش کنید)
 
; fixed-price meal : qazâ bâ qeymatè sâbet (غذا با قیمت ثابت)
 
; fixed-price meal : qazâ bâ qeymatè sâbet (غذا با قیمت ثابت)
; à la carte : qazâ bâ qeymatè jodâ jodâ (غذا با قیمت جدا جدا)
+
; à la carte : qazâ bâ qeymatè jodâ jodâ (غذا با قیمت جُدا جُدا)
; breakfast : sobhâne (صبحانه)
+
; breakfast : sobhâne (صُبحانه)
 
; lunch : nâhâr (ناهار)
 
; lunch : nâhâr (ناهار)
 
; tea (meal) : asrâne (عصرانه)
 
; tea (meal) : asrâne (عصرانه)
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; I'm finished. : xordanam tamâm šod. (خوردنم تمام شد)
 
; I'm finished. : xordanam tamâm šod. (خوردنم تمام شد)
 
; It was delicious. : xošmazze bud. (خوشمزه بود)
 
; It was delicious. : xošmazze bud. (خوشمزه بود)
; Please clear the plates. : lotfan, bošqâbhâ râ tamiz konid. (لطفا بشقابها را تمیز کنید)
+
; Please clear the plates. : lotfan, bošqâbhâ râ tamiz konid. (لُطفاً بُشقابها را تمیز کُنید)
; The check, please. : surat-hesâb, lotfan. (صورت‌حساب لطفا)
+
; The check, please. : surat-hesâb, lotfan. (ًصورَت‌َحِساب لُطفا)
  
 
===Bars===
 
===Bars===
'''Remember that the possession, sale and service in Iran is illegal.'''
+
'''Remember that the possession, sale and service of alcohol in Iran is illegal.'''
 
; Do you serve alcohol? : mašrub serv mikonid? (مشروب سرو می‌کنید)
 
; Do you serve alcohol? : mašrub serv mikonid? (مشروب سرو می‌کنید)
 
; Is there table service? : lavâzemè miz (kârd, qâšoq, changâl, etc.) ham vojud dârad? (لوازم میز هم وجود دارد)
 
; Is there table service? : lavâzemè miz (kârd, qâšoq, changâl, etc.) ham vojud dârad? (لوازم میز هم وجود دارد)
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: šahrvandè Âmrikâ/Ostorâliyâ/Engelis/Kânâdâ hastam. (شهروند آمریکا/استرالیا/انگلیس/کانادا هستم)
 
: šahrvandè Âmrikâ/Ostorâliyâ/Engelis/Kânâdâ hastam. (شهروند آمریکا/استرالیا/انگلیس/کانادا هستم)
 
; I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate.   
 
; I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate.   
: mixâham bâ sefâratè/konsulgariyè Âmrikâ/Ostorâliyâ/Engelis/Kânâdâ tamâs begiram. (می‌خواهم با سفارت/کنسولگری  آمریکا/استرالیا/انگلیس/کانادا تماس بگیرم)
+
: mikhâham bâ sefâratè/konsulgariyè Âmrikâ/Ostorâliyâ/Engelis/Kânâdâ tamâs begiram. (می‌خواهم با سفارت/کنسولگری  آمریکا/استرالیا/انگلیس/کانادا تماس بگیرم)
 
; I want to talk to a lawyer.  : mixâham bâ yek vakil harf bezanam. (می‌خواهم با یک وکیل حرف بزنم)
 
; I want to talk to a lawyer.  : mixâham bâ yek vakil harf bezanam. (می‌خواهم با یک وکیل حرف بزنم)
 
; Can I just pay a fine now?  : mišavad jarime râ naqdan pardâxt konam? (می‌شود جریمه را نقدا پرداخت کنم)
 
; Can I just pay a fine now?  : mišavad jarime râ naqdan pardâxt konam? (می‌شود جریمه را نقدا پرداخت کنم)
 +
 +
 +
[[fr:Guide linguistique persan]]
 +
[[ja:ペルシア語会話集]]
 +
 +
{{guidephrasebook}}
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{{phrasebookguide}}
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== Learning more ==
 +
* [http://wikiotics.org/en/Persian_lessons Persian lessons at Wikiotics]

Revision as of 04:02, 19 February 2013

Persian is an ancient language of Indo-European family. You can find many grammatical similarities between Persian and the other languages of this family. However, Persian is similar more to its coeval languages like Latin than to relatively newer languages. For instance, both Latin and Persian have a SOV word order (they both have free word order, though), which is uncommon among most modern European languages (even the descendants of Latin).

Today, Persian is mainly spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Bahrain. It has official status in the first three countries but was once the official, court, or literary language of many more places ranging from Turkey through India. At this time, many Persian poets emerged from Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and the regions under the control of Ottoman Empire. It is still appreciated as a literary and prestigious language among the educated elite. Many people in Iran and neighboring countries know Persian fluently even though it's not their mother tongue. It's because Iran (formerly "Persia" until 1935) was historically much bigger before losing many territories, especially to its neighbor Russia (for more information, see Wikipedia: Greater Iran). After the 1979 revolution, many Iranians migrated to the West and as a result, there are numerous Persian-speaking communities throughout the world, particularly in USA. Persian is the second language of Islam so in many Islamic countries you can find someone knowing Persian.

The local name of the language is Farsi (officially, Fârsiyè Dari (Dari Persian), which means "Official/Court Persian"). The word Farsi has also entered English mainly because West-migrated Iranians didn't know about the native English name of their language (i.e. Persian) and began to use Farsi, which still prevails although somewhat decreased. Persian has three main dialects: Iranian Persian (Farsi), Afghan Persian (Dari) and Tajik Persian (Tajik). They are all mutually intelligible. The written form is the same for Farsi and Dari, both using the Arabic alphabet; Tajik is generally written with the Cyrillc alphabet.

Note - The contents of this page are written in bookish Persian so that you can use them not only in Iran but also in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and other countries. See Dari phrasebook for Afghan Persian and Tajik phrasebook for that dialect.

Contents

Pronunciation guide

The Persian writing system derives from that of Arabic, extended with four letters to denote the sounds not found in Arabic. Persian writing system is not an alphabet but an abjad. An abjad has only characters for denoting consonant sounds. Vowels have no specific character; they are indicated either by certain diacritics or by certain consonant characters. Additionally, most letters change shape when they are followed by another letter.

Vowels and diphthongs

Transcription IPA Sound
a æ as a in ant
â ɒː as aw in law
e e as e in egg
i as ea in eagle
o o as o in hot
u as u in flute
ow as ow in American English
ey as ey in they

Regarding their indication in the Persian script:

  • The sounds a, e, o can be indicated with certain diacritics but they are practically only used in elementary-school books. The vowel o is sometimes denoted with the consonant و (v).
  • The sounds â is always indicated: with آ at word initial and with ا elsewhere.
  • The sounds i and ey are indicated with ای at word initial and with the consonant ی (y) elsewhere.
  • The sounds u and ow are indicated with او at word initial and with the consonant و (v) elsewhere.

Consonants

Character Transcription IPA Sound
ا  
  • at word initial can denote: a, e, o; elsewhere: â
  • at word initial when followed by ی can denote: i (mostly) and ey
  • at word initial when followed by و can denote: u (mostly), ow and ave
آ â ɒː as o in hot
ب b b as in bob
پ p p as in put
ت t t as in tea
ث s s as in sad
ج j as in job
چ ch as in cheese
ح h h as in head
خ x x as ch in Scottish loch, German Buch
د d d as in dad
ذ z z as in zoo
ر r r similar to r in Spanish reloj
ز z z as in zoo
ژ ž ʒ as s in vision, pleasure, French j in jardin
س s s as in sad
ش š ʃ as in sheet
ص s s as in sad
ض z z as in zoo
ط t t as in tea
ظ z z as in zoo
ع ø ʔ glottal stop
غ q ɣ similar to r in French écrire, German schreiben
ف f f as in feet
ق q ɣ similar to r in French écrire, German schreiben
ک k k as in keep
گ g g as in go
ل l l as in leave
م m m as in moon
ن n n as in noon
و v v as in van; also used to denote some vowel sounds
ی y j as in yet; also used to denote some vowel sounds
ه h h as in head

As you may note, there are characters that denote identical sounds e.g. ظ ,ذ,ض, ز are all pronounced z. It's because Persian has preserved the spelling of Arabic loanwords. Each of these characters has distinguished sounds in Arabic but they are all pronounced the same in Persian.

Syllable

Persian has the following syllable patterns (C = Consonant, V = Vowel):

Pattern Examples
CV na, to, ke, mâ, xu, si, u
CVC kar, pol, del, kâr, mur, sir, az, in, âb
CVCC kard, goft, zešt, kârd, xošk, rixt, farš, ârd, abr

These patterns can be encapsulated in CV(C)(C). According to the patterns:

  • A syllable always begins with a consonant sound. Please note that syllables which visually begin with a vowel sound, have a preceding glottal stop merged with their sound. For instance, u (he, she) is actually said øu and ârd (flour) is actually said øârd.
  • The second component of any syllable is a vowel sound.
  • Each syllable can only have one vowel sound. Therefore, each vowel indicates a syllable.

As opposed to English and many other languages, Persian does not allow two or more consonants to begin a syllable. Therefore, loanwords with such a characteristic are always Persianized:

Word Persian Pattern
English: stadium estâdiyom (øes.tâ.di.yom) CVC.CV.CV.CVC
English: traffic terâfik (te.râ.fik) CV.CV.CVC
French: class kelâs (ke.lâs) CV.CVC

To help you understand it better, here are some basic words along with their syllabification:

Word Syllabification Meaning
bimârestân bi.mâ.res.tân hospital
ketâbxâne ke.tâb.xâ.ne library
dâruxâne dâ.ru.xâ.ne drug store
širiniforuši ši.ri.ni.fo.ru.ši confectionery
xiyâbân xi.yâ.bân street
autobus øo.to.bus bus
metro met.ro subway

Stress

The stress is on the last syllable. However, a few adverbs do not follow this regularity. In addition, Persian has a number of enclitics, which simply put, are unstressed endings (English example: 's in Peter's book). Enclitics do not change the stress position of the word to which they attach. Therefore, the stress position does not shift to the last syllable e.g. pedaram (my father): pe.dar + enclitic -am = pe.da.ram (rather than expected pe.da.ram)

Note - As an aid to beginners, the grave accent can be placed on the first vowel of enclitics to make them distinguishable from suffixes and final letters of words. This method is used here for the genitive enclitic (è / yè), indefinite enclitic (ì / yì) and enclitic form of "and" (ò).

Basic grammar

Persian has a relatively easy and mostly regular grammar. Therefore, reading this grammar primer would help you learn much about Persian grammar and understand phrases better. You should also be able to memorize phrases easier.

Gender

Persian is a gender-neutral language. Such languages don't differentiate different grammatical genders (masculine, feminine and neuter) and have identical pronouns, adjectives, etc. for all of them. For example, Persian has one word for both English "he" and "she", "him" and "her", "his" and "her".

Articles

There is no definite article in Persian. A bare noun indicates a definite noun (which includes common and generic nouns) e.g. mâšin dar pârking ast: the car is on the parking(literally: car, on parking, is); az mâr mitarsam: I'm afraid of snakes (literally: from snake fear-I)

Indefiniteness is expressed with the enclitic (or -yì after vowels). It is for both singular and plural nouns. English does not have an exact equivalent for the Persian's plural indefinite article. It's often translated as "some" or "a few" or is simply omitted. The indefinite enclitic is added to the end of the noun phrase: mâšinì (a car, some car), mâšinhâyì (some cars)

Plural

Nouns are pluralized with the suffix -hâ. It's the only plural suffix used in spoken Persian. In written Persian, there's another plural suffix -ân (-gân after the vowel e and -yân after other vowels) which can only be used for animates and human beings in particular. It is especially useful to restrict the meaning to human beings. For example:

  • sar means "head", sarhâ means "heads" and sarân means "chiefs, heads, leaders"
  • gozašte means "past", gozaštehâ means "the past (events, etc.)" and gozaštegân means "the people of the past"

Arabic loanwords have usually brought their irregular plural forms (technically referred to as "broken plurals") into Persian but they can be avoided and you can use -hâ to pluralize them. In spoken Persian, broken plurals are never used except for very few cases where the broken plural has found an extended meaning. Regarding written Persian of today, the use of broken plurals has greatly decreased and it's prevalent to pluralize words with -hâ.

Note - In Persian, nouns are not pluralized when preceded by numbers because the number itself indicates quantity e.g. yek ketâb (one/a book), do/se/panjâh ketâb (two/three/fifty books).

Genitive case

In Persian, the genitive case relates two or more words to each other. The genitive case is marked with the enclitic (or -yè after vowels). The genitive enclitic is added to all the words that are connected to the head word and complement it. Look at the following examples:

To designate Persian English Template
possession pedarè Ali the father of Ali, Ali's father father-è Ali
mâdarè man my mother mother-è I
payâmbarè Eslâm the prophet of Islam prophet-è Islam
nâmè ketâb the name of the book, book's name name-è book
attribute dustè xub good friend friend-è good
Âmrikâyè jonubi South America America-yè south(ern)
other relations kešvarè Irân the country of Iran country-yè Iran
sâlè 2008 year 2008 year-è 2008
bâlâyè miz above table top-è table
šomâlè Tehrân north of Tehran north-è Tehran

Accusative case

The accusative case is indicated with the enclitic , added to the end of the noun phrase. Despite being an enclitic, it is written apart from the host word in the Persian script. Examples: dar râ bastam (I closed the door), in filmè Hendi râ qablan dide budam (I had already seen this Indian film).

Adjective

Adjectives have only one form. They agree neither in gender nor in number with the noun they modify. They come after the noun and are related to it with the genitive enclitic: pesarè xub: good boy (template: boy-è good), doxtarhâyè xub: good girls (template: girl-hâ-yè good). As stated before, the indefinite article is added to the end of the noun phrase, so: pesarè xubì (a/some good boy), doxtarhâyè xubì ((some) good girls).

Comparative

The comparative form of an adjective is always made by adding the comparative suffix -tar to the end of the adjective: bad (bad), badtar (worse); kam (little), kamtar (less); zibâ (beautiful), zibâtar (more beautiful).

The common pattern to compare A with B is: A + comparative + az (from) + B + verb

  • [došmanè dânâ] [behtar] [az] [dustè nâdân] [ast]: a wise foe is better than a foolish friend (template: foe-yè wise, good-tar, from, friend-è foolish, is). It's a Persian proverb.

Superlative

The superlative form of an adjective is always made by adding the superlative suffix -in to the comparative: bad (bad), badtar (worse), badtarin (the worst). The superlative comes before the noun e.g. behtarin hotel (the best hotel), behtarin hotelè in šahr (the best hotel of this city)

Demonstratives

Demonstrative adjectives come before nouns and like other adjectives, they have only one form. In Persian, we don't say "these books" but "this books". The plural form itself indicates that we are pointing to a plural noun. Basic demonstrative adjectives are ân (distal: that, those) and in (proximal: this, these):

  • When combined with jâ (place), they make adverbs: injâ (here) and ânjâ (there)
  • When combined with chon (like), they make demonstratives: chonin (such, like this) and chonân (such, like that)
  • When combined with ham (also; even), they make demonstratives: hamin (this/the same/one/very) and hamân (that/the same/one/very)

A pronoun (pro-noun) substitutes a noun phrase therefore the quantity (singular or plural) must be indicated. Therefore, demonstrative pronouns agree in number with the noun phrase whose place they take: ân (that), ânhâ (those), in (this), inhâ (these).

Demonstrative pronouns are also used as subjective pronouns. For example, the Persian word for "they" is ânhâ. Distal pronouns (ân, ânhâ, hamân, hamânhâ) are either used neutrally (i.e. not denoting distance from the speaker) or natively (i.e. indicating remoteness); but proximal pronouns (in, inhâ, hamin, haminhâ) are always used natively and indicate proximity to the speaker. English doesn't have such a feature.

Personal pronouns

Personal pronouns have two forms. One is their normal form called free personal pronouns (free in the sense of "not bound, separate") and the other is their enclitic form called bound personal pronouns. Subjective pronouns of English: "I, you, he, she, etc." are analogous to free personal pronouns but English does not have any equivalent for Persian's bound personal pronouns.

Persian has formal and informal 2nd and 3rd person. In addition, people of higher ranks like kings usually use 1st person plural (we) rather than 1st person singular (I). So, plural forms can be considered as polite and formal forms of singulars.

Free

Singular Plural
Persian English French Persian English French
1st man I je we nous
2nd to thou, you (informal) tu šomâ you (formal, singular and plural)

you (informal, plural)

vous
3rd u he, she il, elle išân he, she (formal) il, elle
ân he, she, it il, elle, ça ânhâ they ils, elles, on

In spoken Persian, there is also šomâhâ used as the plural form of both informal and formal "you" (to and šomâ).

Bound

Bound personal pronouns have various functions depending on the word class to which they attach. For example, when they are added to the end of a noun (phrase), they express possession e.g. pedaram (my father). We'll learn more about their functions.

Person Singular Plural
1st -am -emân
2nd -at -etân
3rd -aš -ešân

Direct object pronouns

Direct object pronouns are simply made by adding the accusative enclitic to subjective pronouns e.g. man râ (me), u râ (him, her). man râ has developed a truncated form marâ (omission of n from manrâ), which is usually preferred in bookish Persian.

Indirect object pronouns

Although Persian has lost the declination system of Old Persian but it does mark different cases with technically called ad-positions (post/pre-positions). That's why Persian has been able to preserve the free word order feature:

  • As we learned, the accusative case is marked with the enclitic (a post-position).
  • The dative case is marked with the pre-position be (to).
  • The ablative case is marked with the pre-position az (from).

English marks none of these cases. For example, if you change the word order of "the father kissed the daughter" (accusative) to e.g. "the daughter kissed the father", the meaning completely changes. The same applies to "the father helped the daughter" (dative) and "the father asked the daughter" (ablative). As with Latin, by changing the word order, just the emphasis changes and the basic meaning is preserved:

  • accusative: pedar doxtar râ busid, doxtar râ pedar busid
  • dative: pedar be doxtar komak kard, be doxtar pedar komak kard
  • ablative: pedar az doxtar porsid, az doxtar pedar porsid

Hence, Persian has three different sets of "object pronouns" as per the case. They are made from the adposition of the case and subjective pronouns e.g. mâ râ busid (s/he kised us, accusative), be mâ komak kard (s/he helped us, dative), az mâ porsid (s/he asked us, ablative).

Possessives

Persian does not have possessive adjectives as is found in English. In Persian, possession is expressed by adding "bound personal pronouns" to the end of the noun phrase (NP):

  • dustam: my friend (template: friend-am)
  • dustè xubam: my good friend (template: friend-è good-am). Please note that English's possessive adjectives also function on the whole NP. The difference is that in English, the possessive precedes NP. Compare [dustè xub]am with my [good friend].

Possession can also be expressed using the genitive case and subjective pronouns. This form is usually used for emphasis and doesn't have an equivalent in English:

  • dustè man: my friend (template: dust-è I)
  • dustè xubè man: my good friend (template: friend-è good-è I).

As for possessive pronouns, they are formed by relating mâl (property) to subjective pronouns with the genitive enclitic e.g. mâlè man (mine), in ketâb mâlè man ast, na mâlè to (this book is mine, not yours)

Verb

Learning verb conjugation of Persian is quite easy. The infinitive always ends in -an e.g. budan (to be), dâštan (to have). Each verb has two stems: past and present. The past stem always obtains regularly by removing -an from the infinitive e.g. raftan (to go) = raft. There isn't such a rule for obtaining the present stem of verbs but they can be classified into subgroups whose present stem is obtained according to a regular pattern with no or few exceptions. However, a verb whether regular or irregular has one and only one present stem for all persons. Therefore, as opposed to languages like French, Italian and Spanish, Persian does not have irregular verb conjugations. The past participle forms by replacing the infinitive suffix (-an) with -e. In other words, by adding -e to the past stem e.g. raftan = rafte.

Conjugative enclitics

To conjugate verbs in different tenses, conjugative enclitics attach to stems and participles. They only differ in 3rd person singular:

  Singular Plural
  Past Present Past Present
1st -am -am -im -im
2nd -i -i -id -id
3rd - -ad -and -and

Note - Subjective pronouns (I, you, etc.) are not normally used in Persian because each person has a unique conjugative enclitic, which suffices to indicate the person of the verb. For example, in raftim it is evident that the person of the verb is 1st person plural and therefore, we do not normally say mâ raftim. So, Persian is a "pro-drop" language.

Past simple

Formula: past stem + past enclitic. Examples:

  • didan (to see): didam (I saw), didi (you /informal/ saw) , did (s/he saw); didim, didid, didand
  • raftan (to go): raftam, rafti, raft; raftim (we went), raftid (you went), raftand (they went; s/he /formal/ went)
  • budan (to be): budam, budi, bud, budim, budid, budand
  • dâštan (to have): dâštam, dâšti, dâšt, dâštim, dâštid, dâštand

To negate verbs just add the negation prefix na to the stem: naraftam (I didn't go), nadid (s/he didn't see), nadâštand (they didn't have). The negation prefix take the primary stress.

Past imperfective

English does not have a grammatical form that corresponds exactly to this aspect. As an example, in languages having imperfective aspect, "I ran five miles yesterday" would use past simple form, whereas "I ran five miles every morning" would use past imperfective form. Romance languages like French, Spanish and Italian have only one imperfective tense, which from the viewpoint of Persian, is the counterpart of "past simple". In contrast, each "past simple", "present perfect", "past perfect", "present simple", etc. have an imperfective tense that are simply made by prefixing "mi" to the stem or participle (depending on the formation of the tense). None of these imperfective tenses has an equivalent in English, though and Romance languages have only an equivalent for the Persian's past imperfective.

Formula: mi + past simple (i.e. past stem + past enclitic).

  • raftan (to go): miraftam, mirafti, miraft; miraftim, miraftid, miraftand
  • xâstan (to want): mixâstam, mixâsti, mixâst; mixâstim, mixâstid, mixâstand

The past imperfective is also used in conditional tenses and as with "conditionnel" of French, it is used to make polite expressions (that's why this tense has been mentioned in the primer): yek livân âb mixâstam (French: je voudrais un verre d'eau, English: I'd like a glass of water).

Note - Because of a vowel harmony, the negation prefix "na" becomes "ne" before "mi". Therefore, we say nemiraftam rather than expected namiraftam. However, in Afghanistani and Tajikistani Persian, this change hasn't occurred and they still say namiraftam.

Present simple

Formula: present stem + present enclitic. Regarding usage, the present imperfective has taken the place of this tense. The only exception is dâštan (to have), which is not normally conjugated in the imperfective aspect due to its meaning ("having" something cannot be "imperfective"; you either "have" or "don't have" something). The present stem of dâštan is dâr. Now, its conjugation: dâram (I have), dâri (you /informal/ have), dârad (s/he has), dârim (we have), dârid (you have), dârand (they have; s/he /formal/ has).

The verb budan (to be) has two forms in present simple:

  • The full form (or free form) is: hastam (I am), hasti (you /informal/ are), (h)ast (he, she, it is); hastim (we are), hastid (you are), hastand (they are; s/he /formal/ is).
  • The enclitic form (or bound form) is: -am, -i, -ast; -im, -id, -and.

The free form is usually for emphasis and it is the bound form, which is normally used e.g. xubam (I am fine), xubi? (Are you fine?; used in greetings).

Present imperfective

Formula: imperfective prefix mi + present simple (present stem + present enclitic). Present stems are placed within slashes / /.

  • neveštan /nevis/ (to write): minevisam (I write), minevisi (you /informal/ write), minevisad (s/he writes); minevisim, minevisid, minevisand
  • didan /bin/ (to see): mibinam, mibini, mibinad; mibinim (we see), mibinid (you see), mibinand (they see; s/he /formal/ sees)
  • raftan /rav/ (to go): miravam, miravi, miravad; miravim, miravid, miravand

As you see, although the stem is irregular but the conjugation is still regular.

Persian has a "future simple" tense but it is not used in spoken Persian. In spoken Persian, "future simple" is expressed with present imperfective accompanied by a "future" adverb like fardâ (tomorrow), baødan (later). Example: fardâ sobh be muze miravim (We'll go to the museum tomorrow morning).

Present progressive

An imperfective tense can also express a progressive (continuous) action because a progressive action is incomplete (imperfect). Therefore, for example "minevisam", which is in "present imperfective", besides "I write", can also mean, "I am writing" depending on the context. On this very basis, there is no progressive tense in written Persian but spoken Persian has developed a full set of progressive tenses built upon the imperfetive tenses with the help of the auxiliary dâštan (to have).

Formula: auxiliary dâštan in present simple + verb in present imperfective. Examples: dâram minevisam (I am writing), dârad minevisad (s/he is writing).

Progressive tenses only appear in affirmative sentences and they have no negative form. For negation, the imperfective form of the verb is used. Example: "I'm writing" (dâram minevisam), "I'm not writing" (neminevisam, not: dâram neminevisam).

Present perfect

Formula: past participle + auxiliary budan (to be) in present simple and in its bound form. Examples:

  • didan (to see): dideam (I have seen), didei (you /informal/ have seen) , dideast (s/he has seen); dideim, dideid, dideand
  • raftan (to go): rafteam, raftei, rafteast; rafteim (we have gone), rafteid (you have gone), rafteand (they have gone; s/he /formal/ has gone)

It'd be interesting to speakers of French (and other Romance languages) to know that rafteam is exactly equivalent to "je suis allé" (literally: I'm gone). The difference is that in Persian the auxiliary verb is always "être" (budan) and never "avoir" (dâštan).

As stated before, the negative conjugation is formed with the prefix na: narafteam (I haven't gone).

Past perfect

Formula: past participle + auxiliary budan (to be) in past simple. Examples:

  • didan (to see): dide budam (I had seen), dide budi (you /informal/ had seen), dide bud (s/he had seen); dide budim, dide budid, dide budand
  • raftan (to go): rafte budam, rafte budi, rafte bud; rafte budim (we had gone), rafte budid (you had gone), rafte budand (they have gone; s/he /formal/ had gone)

The negative conjugation is formed with the prefix na: narafte budam (I hadn't gone).

As with "present perfect", rafte budam literally means "I was gone". If you consider "gone" as an "adjective" rather than a "past participle", you should be able to understand this construction and its meaning.

Present subjunctive

Formula: subjunctive prefix be + present simple (present stem + present enclitic). English doesn't practically have any subjunctive tenses and therefore, Persian's subjunctive tenses cannot be exactly translated into English. Therefore, translations are given in French. Examples:

  • neveštan /nevis/ (to write): benevisam (que j'écrive), benevisi (que tu écrives), benevisad (qu'il/elle écrive); benevisim, benevisid, benevisand
  • didan /bin/ (to see): bebinam, bebini, bebinad; bebinim (que nous voyions), bebinid (que vous voyiez), bebinand (qu'ils/elles voient)
  • raftan /rav/ (to go): beravam, beravi, beravad; beravim, beravid, beravand

In English we say "I want to go" but in Persian "to go" does not appear in "infinitive" but in present subjunctive: mixâham beravam. We can assume that there is a relative pronoun ke (that) after "I want" that causes the second verb to appear in the subjunctive (similar to French que) i.e. mixâham [ke] beravam (French: je veux qu'aille). In any case, this construction is used very much and you should learn it well. Another example: mitavânam bebinam (I can see).

Wrapping up

  • Persian has a limited number of simple (single-word, light) verbs (about 100, in common use). The majority of Persian verbs are non-simple verbs made with these simple verbs. For example, kardan /kon/, which is equivalent to French "faire" both in usage (making new verbs: faire attention, faire un voyage, etc.) and in basic meaning (to do, to make), has been used to make thousands of verbs from nouns, adjectives and loanwords. Examples: rang kardan (to dye; rang: color), bâz kardan (to open; bâz: open), sefid kardan (to whiten; sefid: white), dânlod kardan (to download; dânlod: download). Therefore, by just knowing the present stem of kardan (/kon/) you can conjugate a countless ever-growing number of verbs. Some useful verbs: telefon kardan (to phone), kopi kardan (to copy), safar kardan (to travel), negâh kardan (to look, to watch), guš kardan (to listen), pârk kardan (to park), komak kardan (to help), tamiz kardan (to clean).
    Important note: Although kardan basically means "to do, to make" and is so useful, but be careful not to use it alone because when used alone, it has a very bad meaning (vulgar: to have sexual intercourse) in the common language. For "to do", we say "anjâm dâdan" and for "to make" we say "sâxtan". The present stem of dâdan is /deh/, and that of sâxtan is /sâz/.
  • The non-verbal part of a non-simple verb is called preverb (e.g. "telefon" in "telefon kardan"). When conjugating non-simple verbs, the preverb sits aside and the conjugational elements are added to the verbal part (you should find it quite logical). Example: telefon mikonam (I phone), telefon nemikonam (I don't phone), telefon kardam (I phoned), telefon nakardam (I didn't phone).
  • Bound personal pronouns can substitute direct object pronouns. They attach to the end of the verb e.g. "I saw you": to râ didam versus didamat. In fact, it's the normal way and full (free) forms like to râ didam are used for emphasis.
  • To make a question, just change the tone of your voice e.g. didi (you saw), didi? (did you see?), raftei (you have gone), raftei? (have you gone?).

Phrase list

Basics

Hello, Hi
Salâm (سَلام)
How are you?
Hâlè šomâ chetor ast? (حالِ شما چطور است), less formal: chetorid? (چطورید), xubid? (خوبید)
Fine, thank you.
xubam, xeyli mamnun (خوبم، خیلی ممنون)
What is your name?
esmetân chi'st? (اسمتان چيست)
My name is ~ .
esmam ~ ast (اسمم ~ است)
Nice to meet you.
xošbaxtam (خوشبختم)
Please.
lotfan (لطفا)
Thank you.
xeyli mamnun (خیلی ممنون), mersi (مرسی)
Note - xeyli mamnun literally means "many thanks" but it's the common way of saying "thank you"
You're welcome.
xâheš mikonam (خواهش می‌کنم)
Yes.
bale (بله), areh (آره)
No.
na (نَه)
Excuse me (getting attention or begging pardon)
bebaxšid (ببخشید), maøzerat mixâham (معذرت می‌خواهم)
I'm sorry.
bebaxšid (بِبَخشید), maøzerat mixâham (معذرت می‌خواهم)
Goodbye
xodâhâfez (خداحافظ)
See you
formal: mibinametân (می‌بینمتان), informal: mibinamet (می‌بینمت)
I can't speak Persian [well].
Nemitavânam [xub] Fârsi harf bezanam (نمی‌توانم خوب فارسی حرف بزنم)
Do you speak English?
Mitavânid Engelisi harf bezanid? (می‌توانید انگلیسی حرف بزنید؟)
Is there someone here who speaks English?
Injâ kasi Engelisi midânad? (اینجا کسی انگلیسی می‌داند)
Help!
komak! (کُمَک)
Look out
formal: Movâzeb bâšid (مواظب باشید), informal: Movâzeb bâš (مواظب باش)
Good morning.
sobh bexeyr (صبح بخیر)
Good evening.
asr bexeyr (عصر بخیر)
Good night.
šab bexeyr (شب بخیر)
I don't understand.
nemifahmam (نمی‌فهمم), motevajjeh nemišavam (متوجه نمی‌شوم)
Where is the toilet?
dastšuyi kojâ'st? (دستشویی کجاست)

Problems

Leave me alone. 
Mixâham tanhâ bâšam (می‌خواهم تنها باشم)
Don't touch me! 
Be man dast nazanid (به من دست نزنید)
I'll call the police. 
Polis râ xabar mikonam (پلیس را خبر می‌کنم)
Police! 
Polis (پلیس)
Stop! Thief! 
Âhây dozd! (آهای دزد)
I need your help. 
Be komaketân niyâz dâram (به کمکتان نیاز دارم)
It's an emergency. 
zaruri'st (ضروریست)
I'm lost. 
gom šodeam (گم شده‌ام)
Go away! 
Boro kenâr! (برو کنار)
I lost my bag. 
sâkam râ gom kardeam (ساکم را گم کرده‌ام)
I lost my wallet. 
kifam râ gom kardeam (کیفم را گم کرده‌ام)
I'm sick. 
Hâlam bad ast (حالم بد است)
I've been injured. 
Zaxmi šodeam (زخمی شده‌ام)
I need a doctor. 
Doktor mixâham (دکتر می‌خواهم)
Can I use your phone? 
Mišavad az telefonetân estefâde konam (می‌شود از تلفنتان استفاده کنم)

Numbers

The Persian number system is very similar to that used in Arabic, exceptions being the symbols for four and five. Confusingly, the numerals used in Latin derived languages are called Arabic numerals and those used by in Arabic and Persian languages are called Indian numerals. Persian numerals are written from left to right unlike their alphabetic script.

Note - There are two ways to express "and" in Persian. One is with the enclitic ò (or after vowels) and the other is with the word va. The enclitic ò is the common way (and the sole way in spoken Persian).

Persian ۰ ۱ ۲ ۳ ۴ ۵ ۶ ۷ ۸ ۹
Latin 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


Persian Persian Persian Persian
0 sefr (صفر) 15 pânzdah (پانزده) 66 šastò šeš (شصت و شش) 600 šešsad (ششصد)
1 yek (یک) 16 šânzdah (شانزده) 70 haftâd (هفتاد) 700 haftsad (هفتصد)
2 do (دو) 17 hefdah (هفده) 77 haftâdò haft (هفتاد و هفت) 800 haštsad (هشتصد)
3 se (سه) 18 hejdah (هجده) 80 haštâd (هشتاد) 900 nohsad (نهصد)
4 chahâr (چهار) 19 nuzdah (نوزده) 88 haštâdò hašt (هشتاد و هشت) 1,000 hezâr (هزار)
5 panj (پنج) 20 bist (بیست) 90 navad (نود) 1,001 hezârò yek (هزار و یک)
6 šeš (شش) 21 bistò yek (بیست و یک) 99 navadò noh (نود و نه) 1,100 hezârò sad (هزار و صد)
7 haft (هفت) 22 bistò do (بیست و دو) 100 sad (صد) 2,000 do hezâr (دو هزار)
8 hašt (هشت) 30 si (سی) 110 sadò dah (صد و ده) 2,008 do hezârò hašt (دو هزار و هشت)
9 noh (نه) 33 siyò se (سی و سه) 200 devist (دویست) 10,000 dah hezâr (ده هزار)
10 dah (ده) 40 chehel (چهل) 222 devistò bistò do (دویست و بیست و دو) 20,000 bist hezâr (بیست هزار)
11 yâzdah (یازده) 44 chehelò chahâr (چهل و چهار) 300 sisad (سیصد) 100,000 sad hezâr (صد هزار)
12 davâzdah (دوازده) 50 panjâh (پنجاه) 333 sisadò siyò se (سیصد و سی و سه) 1,000,000 yek milyun (یک میلیون)
13 sizdah (سیزده) 55 panjâhò panj (پنجاه و پنج) 400 chahârsad (چهارصد) 2,000,000 do milyun (دو میلیون)
14 chahârdah (چهارده) 60 šast (شصت) 500 pânsad (پانصد) 1,000,000,000 yek milyârd (یک میلیارد)
number ~ (train, bus, etc.
šomâreye ~ (شماره‌ی ~)
half 
nesf (نصف)
less 
kamtar (کمتر)
more 
bištar (بیشتر)

Time

now 
aløân (الآن)
later 
baødan (بعدا)
before 
qablan (قبلا)
morning 
sobh (صبح)
afternoon 
baød-az-zohr (بعدازظهر)
evening 
qorub (غروب)
night 
šab (شب)

Clock time

one o'clock AM 
yekè sobh (یک صبح)
two o'clock AM 
doè sobh (دو صبح)
noon 
zohr (ظهر)
one o'clock PM 
yekè baød-az-zohr (یک بعدازظهر)
two o'clock PM 
doè baød-az-zohr (دو بعدازظهر)
midnight 
nimešab (نیمه‌شب)

Duration

~ minute(s) 
daqiqe(hâ) (دقیقه‌ها))
~ hour(s) 
sâat(hâ) (ساعت‌ها)
~ day(s) 
ruz(hâ) (روزها)
~ week(s) 
hafte(hâ) (هفته‌ها)
~ month(s) 
mâh(hâ) (ماه‌ها)
~ season(s) 
fasl(hâ) (فصل‌ها)
~ year(s) 
sâl(hâ) (سال‌ها)

Tip - In Persian, nouns are not pluralized when a number precedes them. The plurality is clear from the "number". Therefore, we say, for example:

  • one/three/fifty day: yek/se/panjâh ruz (یک/سه/پنجاه روز)
  • three to five week: se tâ panj hafte (سه تا پنج هفته)

Days

today 
emruz (امروز)
yesterday 
diruz (دیروز)
tomorrow 
fardâ (فردا)
this week 
in hafte (این هفته)
last week 
hafteyè gozašte (هفته‌ی گذشته)
next week 
hafteyè âyande (هفته‌ی آینده)
Sunday 
yekšanbe (یکشنبه)
Monday 
došanbe (دوشنبه)
Tuesday 
sešanbe (سه‌شنبه)
Wednesday 
chahâršanbe (چهارشنبه)
Thursday 
panjšanbe (پنجشنبه)
Friday 
jomøe (جمعه)
Saturday 
šanbe (شنبه)

Tip - In Iran, weeks begin with "Saturday" and end with "Friday". So, the holiday is "Friday" and the weekend starts from "Thursday".

Months

Iran uses a solar calendar with the New Year on the vernal equinox (March 21 on the Gregorian calendar). Years begin with "spring" and end with "winter". The first six months have 31 days, and the last five have 30 days each. The final month has 29 or 30 depending on whether or not it is a leap year. Leap years are not as simply calculated as in the Gregorian calendar, but typically there is a five year leap period after every 7 four-year cycles. Year 0 of the calendar corresponds to 621 in Gregorian.

Persian Transcription English
بهار bahâr spring
فروردین Farvardin (31 days) 21 Mar. – 20 Apr.
اردیبهشت Ordibehešt (31 days) 21 Apr. – 21 May
خرداد Xordâd (31 days) 22 May – 21 June
تابستان tâbestân summer
تیر Tir (31 days) 22 June – 22 July
مرداد Mordâd (31 days) 23 July – 22 Aug.
شهریور Šahrivar (31 days) 23 Aug. – 22 Sep.
پاییز pâyiz autumn
مهر Mehr (30 days) 23 Sep.– 22 Oct.
آبان Âbân (30 days) 23 Oct.– 21 Nov.
آذر Âzar (30 days) 22 Nov.– 21 Dec.
زمستان zemestân winter
دی Dey (30 days) 22 Dec.– 19 Jan.
بهمن Bahman (30 days) 20 Jan. – 18 Feb.
اسفند Esfand (29/30 days) 19 Feb. – 20 Mar.

Gregorian month names are borrowed from French.

January 
Žânviye (ژانویه)
February 
Fevriye (فوریه)
March 
Mârs (مارس)
April 
Âvril (آوریل)
May 
Me (مه), also Mey (می)
June 
Žuan (ژوئن)
July 
Žuiye (ژوئیه), also Julây (جولای)
August 
Ut (اوت), also Âgust (آگوست)
September 
Septâm(b)r (سپتامبر)
October 
Oktobr (اکتبر)
November 
Novâm(b)r (نوامبر)
December 
Desâm(b)r (دسامبر)

Writing time and date

The staring point of the Iranian solar calendar is Muhammad's flight from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD. Short date format is yyyy/mm/dd (or yy/mm/dd) and the long date format is dddd, dd MMMM yyyy. For example, today (Monday, August 11, 2008) is:

  • short date format: 1387/05/21 (or 87/05/21)
  • long date format: došanbe, 21 Mordâd 1387

Time is written like English e.g. 8:34 (۸:۳۴).

Colors

black 
siyâh (سیاه), also meški (مشکی)
white 
sefid (سفید)
gray 
xâkestari (خاکستری)
red 
qermez (قرمز), also sorx (سرخ)
blue 
âbi (آبی)
yellow 
zard (زرد)
green 
sabz (سبز)
orange 
nârenji (نارنجی)
purple 
arqavâni (ارغوانی)
brown 
qahvei (قهوه‌ای)

Transportation

Bus and train

How much is a ticket to ~? 
belitè ~ cheqadr ast? (بلیط ~ چقدر است)
One ticket to ~, please. 
lotfan yek belit barâye ~ (لطفا یک بلیط برای ~ )
Where does this train/bus go? 
in qatâr/otobus kojâ miravad? (این قطار/اتوبوس کجا می‌رود)
Where is the train/bus to ~? 
qatârè/otobusè ~ kodâm ast? (قطار/اتوبوس ~ کدام است)
Does this train/bus stop in ~? 
in qatâr/otobus dar ~ miistad? (این قطار/اتوبوس در ~ می‌ایستد)
When does the train/bus for ~ leave? 
qatârè/otobusè ~ key harkat mikonad? (قطار/اتوبوس ~ کی حرکت می‌کند)
When will this train/bus arrive in ~? 
in qatâr/otobus key be ~ miresad? (این قطار/اتوبوس کی به ~ می‌رسد)

Directions

How do I get to ~ ?  
chetor beravam be ~ (چطور بروم به)
...the train station?  
istgâhè qatâr (ایستگاه قطار)
...the bus station?  
istgâhè otobus (ایستگاه اتوبوس)
...the airport?  
forudgâh (فرودگاه)
...downtown?  
markazè šahr (مرکز شهر)
...the youth hostel?  
mehmânxâne (مهمان‌خانه)
...the ~ hotel?  
hotel (هتل)
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate?  
sefâratè Âmrikâ/Kânâdâ/Ostorâliyâ/Engelestân (سفارت آمریکا/کانادا/استرالیا/انگلستان)
Where are there a lot of...  
kojâ ~ ziyâd peydâ mišavad? (کجا ~ زیاد پیدا می‌شود)
...hotels?  
hotel (هتل)
...restaurants?  
resturân (رستوران)
...bars?  
NOT FOUND IN IRAN
...sites to see?  
jâyè didani (جای دیدنی)
Can you show me on the map?  
mišavad ruyè naqše nešân bedahid? (می‌شود روی نقشه نشان بدهید)
street  
xiyâbân (خیابان)
Turn left.  
bepichid dastè chap (بپیچید دست چپ)
Turn right.  
bepichid dastè râst (بپیچید دست راست)
left  
chap (چپ)
right  
râst (راست)
straight ahead  
mostaqim (مستقیم)
towards the ~  
be tarafè (به طرف)
past the ~  
baød az (بعد از)
before the ~  
qabl az (قبل از)
Watch for the ~.  
donbâlè ~ begardid (دنبال ~ بگردید)
intersection  
chahârrâh (چهارراه)
north  
šomâl (شمال)
south  
jonub (جنوب)
east  
šarq (شرق)
west  
qarb (غرب)
uphill  
sarbâlâyi (سربالایی)
downhill  
sarpâyini (سرپایینی)

Taxi

Taxi! 
tâksi (تاکسی)
Take me to ~, please. 
lotfan marâ bebar ~ (لطفا مرا ببر ~)
How much does it cost to get to ~? 
tâ ~ cheqadr mišavad? (تا ~ چقدر می‌شود)
Take me there, please. 
lotfan marâ bebar ânjâ (لطفا مرا ببر آنجا)

Lodging

Do you have any rooms available? 
otâqè xâli dârid? (اُتاقِ خالی دارید)
How much is a room for one person/two people? 
otâq barâye yek/do nafar chand ast? (اُتاق برایِ یِک/دو نَفَر چَند است)
Does the room come with ~ 
otâq ~ dârad? (اتاق ~ دارد)
~ bedsheets? 
malâfe (مَلافه)
~ a bathroom? 
hammâm (حَمام)
~ a telephone? 
telefon (تِلِفُن)
~ a TV? 
televizyun (تِلِویزیون)
May I see the room first? 
mišavad avval otâq râ bebinam? (می‌شَوَد اول اتاق را ببینم)
Do you have anything quieter? 
jâyè ârâmtarì dârid? (جای آرامتری دارید)
~ bigger? 
bozorgtar (بزرگتر)
~ cleaner? 
tamiztar (تمیزتَر)
~ cheaper? 
arzântar (ارزانتَر)
OK, I'll take it. 
bâše, hamin râ migiram. (باشه، همین را می‌گیرَم)
I will stay for ~ night(s). 
~ šab mimânam (~ شب می‌مانم)
Can you suggest another hotel? 
mišavad hotelè digarì râ pišnahâd konid? (می‌شود هتل دیگری را پیشنهاد کنید)
Do you have a safe? 
sandoqè amânât dârid? (صندوق امانات دارید)
~ lockers? 
komodè qofldâr? (کمد قفلدار)
Is breakfast/supper included? 
hazine šâmelè sobhâne/šâm ham mišavad? (هزینه شامل صبحانه/شام هم می‌شود)
What time is breakfast/supper? 
sobhâne/šâm che sâatì ast? (صبحانه/شام چه ساعتی است)
Please clean my room. 
lotfan otâqam râ tamiz konid (لطفا اتاقم را تمیز کنید)
Can you wake me at ~? 
mišavad marâ sâatè ~ bidâr konid? (می‌شود مرا ساعت ~ بیدار کنید)
I want to check out. 
mixâham tasviye konam (می‌خواهم تسویه کنم)

Money

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
Dolârè Âmrikâ/Ostorâliyâ/Kânâdâ qabul mikonid? (دلار آمریکا/استرالیا/کانادا قبول می‌کنید)
Do you accept British pounds? 
Pondè Engelis qabul mikonid? (پوند انگلیس قبول می‌کنید)
Do you accept credit cards? 
kârtè eøtebâri qabul mikonid? (کارت اعتباری قبول می‌کنید)
Can you change money for me? 
mitavânid pulam râ cheynj konid? (می‌توانید پولم را چینج کنید)
Where can I get money changed? 
Kojâ mitavânam pulam râ cheynj konam? (کجا می‌توانم پولم را چینج کنم)
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
mitavânid terâvel râ barâyam naqd konid? (می‌توانید تراول را برایم نقد کنید)
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
Kojâ mitavân terâvel naqd kard? (کجا می‌توان تراول نقد کرد)
What is the exchange rate? 
nerxè arz cheqadr ast? (نرخ ارز چقدر است)
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? 
âberbânk kojâ'st? (عابربانک کجاست)

Eating

A table for one person/two people, please. 
Yek miz barâyè yek/do nafar, lotfan. (یک میز برای یک/دو نفر)
Can I look at the menu, please? 
mitavânam menu râ bebinam? (می‌توانم منو را ببینم)
Can I look in the kitchen? 
mitavânam âšpazxâne râ bebinam? (می‌شود آشپزخانه را ببینم)
Is there a house specialty? 
qazâyè xânegi dârid? (غذای خانگی دارید)
Is there a local specialty? 
qazâyè mahalli dârid? (غذای محلی دارید)
I'm a vegetarian. 
giyâhxâr hastam. (گیاهخوار هستم)
I don't eat pork. 
guštè xuk nemixoram. (گوشت خوک نمی‌خورم)
I don't eat beef. 
guštè gâv nemixoram. (گوشت گاو نمی‌خورم)
I only eat halal food. 
faqat guštè halâl mixoram. (فقط گوشت حلال می‌خورم)
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard) 
mišavad kamcharbaš konid? (می‌شود کم‌چربش کنید)
fixed-price meal 
qazâ bâ qeymatè sâbet (غذا با قیمت ثابت)
à la carte 
qazâ bâ qeymatè jodâ jodâ (غذا با قیمت جُدا جُدا)
breakfast 
sobhâne (صُبحانه)
lunch 
nâhâr (ناهار)
tea (meal) 
asrâne (عصرانه)
supper 
šâm (شام)
I want ~ . 
~ mixâham (می‌خواهم)
I want a dish containing ~ . 
qazâyì mixâham ke ~ dâšte bâšad (غذایی می‌خواهم که ~ داشته باشد)
chicken 
morq (مرغ)
beef 
guštè gâv (گوشت گاو)
fish 
mâhi (ماهی)
ham 
žâmbonè xuk (ژامبون خوک)
sausage 
sosis (سوسیس)
cheese 
panir (پنیر)
eggs 
toxmè morq (تخم مرغ)
salad 
sâlâd (سالاد)
(fresh) vegetables 
sabziyè tâze (سبزی تازه)
(fresh) fruit 
miveyè tâze (میوه‌ی تازه)
bread 
nân (نان)
toast 
nânè tost (نان تست)
noodles 
rešte (رشته)
rice 
berenj (برنج)
beans 
lubiyâ (لوبیا)
May I have a glass of ~ ? 
yek livân ~ mixâstam. (یک لیوان ~ می‌خواستم)
May I have a cup of ~ ? 
yek fenjân ~ mixâstam. (یک فنجان ~ می‌خواستم)
May I have a bottle of ~ ? 
yek šiše ~ mixâstam. (یک شیشه ~ می‌خواستم)
coffee 
qahve (قهوه)
tea (drink) 
chây (چای)
juice 
âbmive (آبمیوه)
(bubbly) water 
âbè maødani(yè gâzdâr) (آب معدنی (گازدار))
water 
âb (آب)
beer 
âbjo (آبجو) (NOTE: There is no alcohol beer in restaurants)
red/white wine 
šarâbè sorx/sefid (شراب سرخ/سفید) (NOTE: There is no alcohol wine in restaurants)
May I have some ~ ? 
kamì ~ mixâstam. (کمی ~ می‌خواستم)
salt 
namak (نمک)
black pepper 
felfelè siyâh (فلفل سیاه)
butter 
kare (کره)
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server) 
bebaxšid (ببخشید)
I'm finished. 
xordanam tamâm šod. (خوردنم تمام شد)
It was delicious. 
xošmazze bud. (خوشمزه بود)
Please clear the plates. 
lotfan, bošqâbhâ râ tamiz konid. (لُطفاً بُشقابها را تمیز کُنید)
The check, please. 
surat-hesâb, lotfan. (ًصورَت‌َحِساب لُطفا)

Bars

Remember that the possession, sale and service of alcohol in Iran is illegal.

Do you serve alcohol? 
mašrub serv mikonid? (مشروب سرو می‌کنید)
Is there table service? 
lavâzemè miz (kârd, qâšoq, changâl, etc.) ham vojud dârad? (لوازم میز هم وجود دارد)
A beer/two beers, please. 
yek/do tâ âbjo, lotfan. (یک/دو تا آبجو، لطفا)
A glass of red/white wine, please. 
yek gilâs šarâbè sorx/sefid, lotfan. (یک گیلاس شراب سرخ/سفید، لطفا)
A pint, please. 
yek livân, lotfan. (یک لیوان، لطفا)
A bottle, please. 
yek šiše, lotafn. (یک شیشه، لطفا)
~ (hard liquor) and ~ (mixer), please. 
likorè ~ bâ ~, lotfan. (لیکور ~ با ~، لطفا)
whiskey 
viski (ویسکی)
vodka 
vodkâ (ودکا)
rum 
râm (رام)
water 
âb (آب)
club soda 
limunâdè gâzdâr (لیموناد گازدار)
tonic water 
sevenâp (سون‌آپ)
orange juice 
âbporteqâl (آب‌پرتقال)
Coke (soda
nušâbe (نوشابه)
Do you have any bar snacks? 
mazze dârid? (مزه دارید)
One more, please. 
yekì digar, lotfan. (یکی دیگر، لطفا)
Another round, please. 
yek dorè digar, lofan. (یک دور دیگر، لطفا)
When is closing time? 
sâatè chand mibandid? (ساعت چند می‌بندید)

Shopping

Do you have this in my size? 
az in andâzeyè man dârid? (از این اندازه‌ی من دارید)
How much is this? 
chand ast? (چند است)
That's too expensive. 
xeyli gerân ast. (خیلی گران است)
Would you take ~? 
~ mipasandid? ()
expensive 
gerân (گران)
cheap 
arzân (ارزان)
I can't afford it. 
pulaš râ nadâram. (پولش را ندارم)
I don't want it. 
nemixâhamaš. (نمی‌خواهمش)
You're cheating me. 
dârid be man kalak mizanid. (دارید به من کلک می‌زنید)
I'm not interested. 
xošam nemiâyad. (خوشم نمی‌آید)
OK, I'll take it. 
bâše, in râ barmidâram. (باشه، این را برمی‌دارم)
Can I have a bag? 
kise dârid? (کیسه دارید)
Do you ship (overseas)? 
be xârej post mikonid? (به خارج پست می‌کنید)
I need ~ 
~ mixâstam (~ می‌خواستم)
~ toothpaste. 
xamirdandân ~. (خمیردندان)
~ a toothbrush. 
mesvâk ~. (مسواک)
~ tampons. 
tâmpon ~. (تامپون)
~ soap. 
sâbun ~. (صابون)
~ shampoo. 
šâmpu ~. (شامپو)
~ pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
mosakken ~. (مسکن)
~ cold medicine. 
~ dâruyè sarmâxordegi. (داروی سرماخوردگی)
~ stomach medicine. 
~ dâruyè deldard. (داروی دل‌درد)
~ a razor. 
tiq ~. (تیغ)
~ an umbrella. 
chatr ~. (چتر)
~ sunblock lotion. 
zeddè âftâb ~. (ضدآفتاب)
~ a postcard. 
kârt-postâl ~. (کارت‌پستال)
~ postage stamps. 
tamr ~. (تمبر)
~ batteries. 
bâtri ~. (باتری)
~ writing paper. 
kâqaz ~. (کاغذ)
~ a pen. 
xodkâr ~. (خودکار)
~ English-language books. 
ketâbè Engelisi-zabân ~ (کتاب انگلیسی‌زبان)
~ English-language magazines. 
majalleyè Engelisi-zabân ~ (مجله‌ی انگلیسی‌زبان)
~ an English-language newspaper. 
ruznâmeyè Engelisi-zabân ~. (روزنامه‌ی انگلیسی‌زبان)
~ an English-English dictionary. 
Farhangè Engelisi be Engelisi ~. (فرهنگ انگلیسی به انگلیسی)

Driving

Notice - In Iran, there are no car rental agencies. Most of the time, you would need to rent a car with a driver from an "âžâns" (taxi agency) who will drive you around. The agencies often have set daily/weekly rental prices which you should make sure to ask for!

I want to rent a car.  
mixâstam yek mâšin kerâye konam (می‌خواستم یک ماشین کرایه کنم)
Can I get insurance?  
mitavânam bime begiram? (می‌توانم بیمه بگیرم)
stop (on a street sign)  
ist (ایست)
one way  
yektarafe (يک طرفه)
yield  
râh bedahid (راه بدهید), ejâzeyè obur bedahid (اجازه‌ی عبور بدهید)
no parking  
pârk mamnuø (پارک ممنوع)
speed limit  
sorøatè mojâz (سرعت مجاز)
gas (petrol) station  
pompè benzin (پمپ بنزين)
petrol  
benzin (بنزين)
diesel  
gâzoil (گازوئیل)

Authority

I haven't done anything wrong.  
kârì nakardeam. (کاری نکرده‌ام)
It was a misunderstanding.  
suè tafâhom bud. (سوء تفاهم بود)
Where are you taking me?  
marâ kojâ mibarid? (مرا کجا می‌برید)
Am I under arrest?  
bâzdâšt hastam? (بازداشت هستم)
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen.
šahrvandè Âmrikâ/Ostorâliyâ/Engelis/Kânâdâ hastam. (شهروند آمریکا/استرالیا/انگلیس/کانادا هستم)
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate.
mikhâham bâ sefâratè/konsulgariyè Âmrikâ/Ostorâliyâ/Engelis/Kânâdâ tamâs begiram. (می‌خواهم با سفارت/کنسولگری آمریکا/استرالیا/انگلیس/کانادا تماس بگیرم)
I want to talk to a lawyer.  
mixâham bâ yek vakil harf bezanam. (می‌خواهم با یک وکیل حرف بزنم)
Can I just pay a fine now?  
mišavad jarime râ naqdan pardâxt konam? (می‌شود جریمه را نقدا پرداخت کنم)
This is a guide phrasebook. It covers all the major topics for traveling without resorting to English. But please Plunge forward and help us make it a star!


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