Phonology of Persian language


The syllable patterns of Persian are as follows (C = Consonant, V = Vowel):

Pattern Examples

na, to, ke, mâ, khu, si, u

نه، تو، که، ما، خو، سی، او


kar, pol, del, kâr, mur, sir, az, in, âb

کر، پل، دل، کار، مور، سیر، از، این، آب


kard, goft, zesht, kârd, khoshk, rikht, farsh, ârd, abr

کرد، گفت، زشت، کارد، خشک، ریخت، فرش، آرد، ابر

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


The basic rule for breaking a word into its syllables is: each vowel sound indicates a syllable. Therefore, two adjacent vowel sounds belong to separate syllables and are pronounced individually.

Word Syllables
jodânevisi jo-dâ-ne-vi-si
shamødân shamø-dân
maføul maf-øul
jâmee jâ-me-e
soâl so-âl
Nowruz Now-ruz
nowâvari now-â-va-ri
farhangsâzi far-hang-sâ-zi

Double consonants

Gemination or consonant lengthening, is an articulation of a consonant for a longer period of time than that of a single instance of the same type of consonant. In English, gemination does not occur within words but for example in "calm man", you can see that the consonant m is geminated (it is pronounced twice).

In native Persian script, gemination is marked with a diacritic called tashdid ّـــ. Its place is above the consonant that is to be pronounced twice. You have to memorize words having gemination because tashdid is not normally written. When Persian is written in Latin script, gemination can be shown with double consonants (as in Italian). For example, in najjâr the two j's fall into separate syllables and therefore, the word is pronounced "naj-jâr":

Word Syllables
ammâامّا am-mâ
pelleپلّه pel-le
najjârنجّار naj-jâr
jallâdجلّاد jal-lâd
khayyâtخیّاط khay-yât

The only exception is when double consonants occur at word final: since they don't fall into separate syllables, they are pronounced as one sound:

Word Syllables
khatt (line) خطّ khatt
khatti (linear) خطّی khat-ti

Stress position

In Persian, the stress falls on the last syllable. There are only a few exceptions: le (yes), ágar (if), ámmâ (but), râ (because). The acute accent ( ´ ) can be used to mark the vowel of the syllable taking the stress.


Enclitics are unstressed words that phonologically attach to their preceding word. In English, definite and indefinite articles (the, a, an) are examples for an enclitic. For educational purposes, the following enclitics are separated from their preceding word with a hyphen. You can write them separately or join them to their host word:

Conjugation Endings are also enclitics.