Persian 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 Persian has three main dialects: Iranian Persian, Afghan Persian and Tajik Persian. These pages are about Persian of Iran. However, Persian dialects are widely intelligible and knowing one of them, you can communicate well with Persian speakers of other countries.

Vowels

The vowel sounds that are found in Iranian Persian:

letter phonetic value sound example
â ɒ: hot âb
آب
water
a æ cat abr
ابر
cloud
e e egg pedar
پدر
father
i i: eagle fil
فیل
elephant
o o forty gol
گل
flower
u u: rule ruz
روز
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:

letter phonetic value sound example
ây ɒ:ɪ ice chây
چای
tea
ey case seyl
سیل
flood
oy boy hoy
هوی
an exclamation
uy u:ɪ ruy
روی
zinc
ow American English show mowz
موز
banana

Consonants

The consonant sounds of Persian:

letter phonetic value sound example
b b book barâdar
برادر
brother
ch t͡ʃ chain chehel
چهل
forty
d d door dar
در
door
f f fall fil
فیل
elephant
g g game gol
گل
flower
gh ɣ similar to French «r» e.g. rire Afghânestân
افغانستان
Afghanistan
h h hat haft
هفت
seven
j d͡ʒ job jens
جنس
type
k k key kafsh
کفش
shoe
kh x German Buch, Spanish ojo khub
خوب
good
l l leg lab
لب
lip
m m meal mâdar
مادر
mother
n n no nân
نان
bread
p p pen pedar
پدر
father
r r rug (thrilled as in Spanish and Italian) ruz
روز
day
s s sad sâl
سال
year
sh ʃ shoe shab
شب
night
t t tea tup
توپ
ball
v v van varzesh
ورزش
sport
y j yes yek
یک
one
z z zoo zânu
زانو
knee
zh ʒ s in measure zhele
ژله
jelly
ø ʔ glottal stop (hamze) maøni
معنی
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.