Alphabet and Pronunciation

Here, Persian will be written in a variant of Latin alphabet so that anybody can learn about Persian language without learning its native alphabet. Persian speakers are completely familiar with Latin alphabet and use it in forums, chats, e-mails and text messages. So, you can easily communicate with Persian speakers by writing Persian in Latin alphabet.

NOTE These pages are about Iranian Persian (Persian of Iran). However, Persian dialects are widely intelligible and knowing one of them, you can communicate well with Persian speakers of different countries.

Vowels

The vowel sounds that are found in Iranian Persian:

letterphonetic valuesoundexample
âɒ:hotâb (water)
aæcatabr (cloud)
eeeggpedar (father)
ii:eaglefil (elephant)
oofortygol (flower)
uu:ruleruz (day)

Diphthongs

Certain vowels can combine with the consonants y and v to form diphthongs. The diphthongs formed with v are written with w. For example: ow. The diphthong sounds that are found in Iranian Persian:

letterphonetic valuesoundexample
âyɒ:ɪicechây (tea)
eycaseseyl (flood)
oyboyoy (an exclamation)
uyu:ɪruy (zinc)
owAmerican English showmowz (banana)

Consonants

The consonant sounds of Persian:

letterphonetic valuesoundexample
bbbookbarâdar (brother)
cht͡ʃchainchehel (forty)
dddoordar (door)
fffallfil (elephant)
gggamegol (flower)
ghɣsimilar to French «r» e.g. rireAfghânestân (Afghanistan)
hhhathaft (seven)
jd͡ʒjobjens (type)
kkkeykafsh (shoe)
khxScottish loch, German Buch, Spanish ojokhub (good)
llleglab (lip)
mmmealmâdar (mother)
nnnonân (bread)
pppenpedar (father)
rrrug (thrilled as in Spanish and Italian)ruz (day)
sssadsâl (year)
shʃshoeshab (night)
ttteatup (ball)
vvvanvarzesh (sport)
yjyesyek (one)
zzzoozânu (knee)
zhʒs in measurezhele (jelly)
øʔglottal stop (hamze)maøni (meaning)

Glottal stop

The glottal stop is the sound made when the vocal cords are pressed together to stop the flow of air and then released; for example, the break separating the syllables of the interjection uh-oh. It is present in nearly all dialects of English as a phonetic variant of /t/ (e.g. button). The glottal stop is found in many languages. For example, most English speakers make this consonant easily and daily. However, there's no character for it in Latin alphabet because in most Indo-European languages, the glottal stop only occurs at the beginning of a syllable. But, because of Arabic loanwords in Persian, the glottal stop can occur anywhere in a word. Therefore, the glottal stop must be indicated with a letter. For more information about the glottal stop and examples from other languages, view Wikipedia article about glottal stop.

The glottal stop is usually written with apostrophe but it's inappropriate. The apostrophe isn't a letter but a mark that is typically used to indicate contractions. The glottal stop is a sound and like other sounds of Persian, it should be denoted with a letter. I'll use ø to denote glottal stop and keep apostrophe for its typical usage. When writing to Persian speakers, you can use apostrophe or ø. In either case, you'll be understood.