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To learn Farsi, you have endless resources at your fingertips. How do you pick?
The answer to that question is not so simple. It depends on your preferred learning method and your goals of studying the Persian language. Are you a visual or auditory learner? Are you planning to start from the Farsi alphabet and move to reading and writing Farsi? Or do you just want to speak Farsi fast in time for your trip to Iran?
To help all Farsi language learners out there, I’ve compiled a list of resources to teach yourself Persian. It comprises books, podcasts and apps to learn Farsi, as well as online courses, YouTube channels, and websites to find Farsi tutors.
Before you get lost in the options below, I’d like to share some of my top recommendations.
First, the Pimsleur course is highly effective in getting you fluent in Farsi. Complement that with Italki, a fantastic platform for finding online Farsi tutors, no matter your budget! Also, check out the Chai & Conversation podcast, the Mondly app, the Persian Language Online website and Reza Nazari’s YouTube channel.
Now, let’s get started.
Best apps to learn Farsi
Let’s get this out of the way: Babbel does not have a Farsi option. Farsi’s not on Duolingo either. But fret not, there are still plenty of apps to learn Farsi. Here are some of them:
Mondly – The Mondly app is a fun way to learn Farsi. You can choose from your difficulty level and get practices for spelling, reading and typing Farsi. The free version gives you access to short exercises daily.
Drops – Learn the Persian language in just five minutes a day! Drops is an app that will have you play your way to learning over 2,500 words and phrases in Persian.
Memrise – Another great app to learn Farsi, Memrise teaches you Farsi using a natural approach. You’ll enjoy lessons featuring video clips of native speakers, and over time you’ll build your listening skills and gain the confidence to speak Farsi.
Mango Languages – Learn Farsi through conversations with the Mango app. Also, get access to notes about grammar and culture, while building your vocabulary and working on your pronunciation.
Learn Persian – Also called WordPower, this app helps you acquire new Farsi vocabulary, one word at a time. It’s a good supplement to other apps to learn Persian.
LuvLingua – This is a simple and interactive app that will have you memorizing Farsi words and phrases as you progress through the lessons. It’s highly recommended for beginners.
Learn Persian Free – Containing over 9,000 common Persian words and phrases, this app is a good tool for building your vocabulary. Audio pronunciations are included.
Best Farsi language courses and programs
Get Farsi lessons in the comforts of your home with these Farsi courses:
Pimsleur – Lots of serious learners are using the Pimsleur Method to get fluent in Farsi, and you can’t go wrong with it. This effective course features real-world context and is designed to help you pick up Farsi in a natural way. Here’s an offer for you: try the full program free for seven days!
Rosetta Stone – Another well-known brand name in the language circle, Rosetta Stone has a comprehensive Farsi course that will teach you to speak and read the Persian language through bite-sized Farsi lessons.
Learn Persian (Farsi) language on Udemy – Get an introduction to the Persian language through this course developed by Amin Dehghan. It comes with two hours of on-demand video and goes in-depth into the Farsi letters and scripts.
Best websites to find Farsi tutors online
If you find your motivation sizzling out with self-study, what you need is a one-on-one Farsi tutor. Apart from keeping you on track for your Farsi learning journey, you’ll get customized and interactive lessons. Plus, you’ll make meaningful connections with native Farsi speakers.
These are the best websites to find a Farsi tutor online:
Italki – A personal favorite of mine, Italki is a platform that connects language learners and tutors. You can find a wide selection of Farsi community tutors for conversation practice and also professional teachers for lessons supported by interesting materials. Farsi lessons start from $4 and they are conducted via video calls, usually Skype. Read my review of Italki here and sign up now.
Preply – Similar to Italki, Preply is a website where you can find Farsi tutors online. Whether you’re just learning the alphabet or already reading Persian poems, there’s a tutor on Preply that’s perfect for you.
NaTakallam – Learn Farsi through a language program delivered by refugees! NaTakallam’s language services help displaced individuals who struggle to earn a living. You can do good while getting your dose of Persian language lessons.
Tutorful – Tutorful has a handful of private Farsi tutors. Lessons take place via an online classroom with features like document sharing and interactive whiteboard. Take note that compared to Italki and Preply, the rates on Tutorful are on the higher end.
Best podcasts to learn Farsi
Podcasts are all the rage these days for many reasons. First of all, it’s super convenient to learn Farsi through a podcast. You can do it during your commute to work or while walking the dog. On top of that, you’ll get familiar with hearing Farsi and the usage of correct pronunciations. Most podcasts give you cultural knowledge as well.
Now, here are the best Farsi podcasts to plug into:
Learn Persian with Chai & Conversation – First on the list is something I’ve personally tried and highly recommend. In this podcast, Leyla Shams gets you from zero to hero in speaking Persian. You’ll be learning alongside Matt, a fellow beginner. The audio lessons are free.
PersianPod101 – Learn how to speak Persian with PersianPod101. This podcast guides you through conversations and breaks it down line-by-line so you can understand every single word. Subscribe to get access to the audio/video lessons and supplementary study tools.
Learn Persian by PodGap – Dive into conversations in Persian with PodGap. They have a selection of lessons for beginners to advanced learners.
Learn Conversational Persian by LinguaBoost – Take 10 to 15 minutes each day for this audio course that will build your conversational Persian skills. You’re encouraged to repeat the everyday phrases to memorize them.
Best books to learn Farsi
There may be apps and podcasts these days, but some of us prefer to stick to our books! With Persian language books, you can pick up the skills to read Persian while learning the alphabet and grammar. Here are the best books to learn Farsi:
Learn Persian – Farsi Step by Step by Fruzan Seifi – This is a fun and interactive eBook with integrated audio, made for absolute beginners. This colorful textbook contains pictures, everyday dialogues, cultural notes and comprehensive exercises. With it, you can master both the written and spoken Farsi in a way that’s enjoyable.
Persian in Use by Anousha Sedighi – This is an elementary textbook of language and culture. While it’s designed for first-year language students at a university level, it can be used by any Farsi learner. It introduces interactive dialogues and gives you a glimpse into the Persian culture and literature.
Complete Modern Persian (Farsi) by Narguess Farzad – Published by Teach Yourself, this book takes you from beginner to intermediate. It introduces Farsi vocabulary and grammatical concepts in a gradual manner. The accompanying CD includes audio exercises.
How to Write in Persian by Nazanin Mirsadeghi – Need help to learn the Persian alphabet and script? Designed for non-native speakers, this workbook for learning the Persian alphabet will give you plenty of writing exercises.
Best websites to learn Farsi
Yes, you can self-study Farsi online too. Here are some of the best websites for your online Farsi course:
Persian Language Online – This website has Farsi lessons for beginners, intermediates and advanced learners. Lessons utilize a variety of media formats and come with translations, transliteration, glossary and activities. It’s highly recommended as it covers both the spoken and written form of Farsi.
Easy Persian – Language learners get hundreds of free lessons in Persian on this website, starting from the alphabet before moving on to numbers, colors, and of course, the Persian grammar.
Quizlet – Quiz yourself through Farsi and build up your vocabulary. Quizlet teaches you Farsi through flashcards.
Best YouTube channels to learn Farsi
YouTube has a treasure trove of videos to learn Farsi online. It’s worth mentioning that Chai & Conversation and PersianPod101 have excellent content on learning Farsi on YouTube. Apart from those, here are the best YouTube channels to learn Farsi:
Reza Nazari – An accomplished author and an expert Farsi teacher and tutor, Reza Nazari teaches you how to speak Farsi fast on his YouTube channel. With hundreds of videos available, you can pick up Persian words, phrases, grammar and conversational skills. Also, check out his book titled Learn to Speak Farsi in 30 Days.
Persian Learning – Go to Majid’s YouTube channel for videos and lessons on the many perspectives of the Persian language. He has a playlist on Persian words and phrases, as well as Persian idioms and slang. Beginners can get in-depth grammar lessons with examples and also learn Persian through songs, movies, and poetry with translations included.
Talk Like a Persian – Get the low-down on the Persian alphabet, numbers and basic phrases, as well as Persian idioms, slangs and daily expressions on this YouTube channel.
Farsi Wizard – Become a Farsi wizard by learning with Tina Rahimi. Apart from teaching rules of the Persian grammar on YouTube, she gives lessons based on themes such as food, colors and animals.
Tips on how to learn Farsi
Learning Farsi can be a challenge, but it’ll be rewarding once you find yourself conversing with native speakers and decoding Farsi texts fluidly. For all you beginners wondering how to learn Farsi, here are some tips:
Choose multiple methods: There isn’t one best way to learn Farsi. And sticking to just one method might not work the best either. I recommend choosing two or three resources – for example, an app, a podcast and a book – for a more wholesome approach that tackles the multiple skills needed to master the Persian language.
Don’t sweat the grammar: Don’t drive yourself crazy dwelling on minute details of the Persian grammar. It’s boring, plus you’ll get frustrated. Instead, spend your time listening, reading, writing and speaking Persian to accelerate your progress.
Find ways to keep yourself motivated: You need to invest weeks, months or even years to learn Farsi. To ensure that your motivation does not sizzle out, embed yourself in the Persian language learning community by joining Facebook groups such as Let’s Learn Farsi and Learn Persian. Even better, take regular classes with an Iranian tutor from sites such as Italki or Preply to have someone tracking your progress.
I hope this guide has been useful for you. Feel free to share this list of resources with other Persian language learners out there. And if you can think of potential additions to this list, just let me know in the comment box below!