- Which vowels are represented with consonants?
- Which vowels are marked with diacritics?
- Which vowels are partially indicated in writing?
In Persian writing system, only consonants have a dedicated letter. Short vowels are marked with diacritics and long vowels are represented with certain consonants.
Long Vowel “â”
The vowel â is always marked. It is denoted with آ at word initial and with a bare ا in all other positions.
Long Vowel “i”
The vowel i is always marked. It is denoted with ای at word initial and with the consonant ی in all other positions.
Long Vowel “u”
The vowel u is always marked. It is denoted with او at word initial and with the consonant و in all other positions.
Short Vowel “a”
The vowel a is denoted with the consonant ه at word final. In other positions, it can be denoted by placing the diacritic ــَـ over the preceding consonant. This diacritic is called زبر (“zebar”) or فتحه (“fathe”).
In Iranian Persian, final a has transformed into e. The word نَه is an exception. In Afghan and Tajik Persian as well as many regional dialects of Iran, final a of classic Persian has been preserved:
|Word||Modern Pronunciation||Classic Pronunciation|
Short Vowel “e”
The vowel e is partially denoted with ا at word initial and with the consonant ه at word final. It can be clearly denoted by placing the diacritic ــِـ below the preceding consonant. This diacritic is called زیر (“zir”) or کسره (“kasre”).
Short Vowel “o”
The vowel o is partially denoted with ا at word initial and with the consonant و at word final and sometimes, in medial positions as well. It can be clearly denoted by placing the diacritic ــُـ over the preceding consonant. This diacritic is called پیش (“pish”) or ضمه (“zamme”).
The following table summarizes vowel marking in different word positions. In addition to the diacritics zir (/e/), zebar (/a/) and pish (/o/), the letters ا and ی and و can be used to represent vowel sounds.
|Vowel||Word Initial||Word Medial||Word Final|