Learning words and sentences in a new language during a trip is part of the experience. Language delivers many insights into a culture, particularly Persian. Knowing some Farsi will help you in various situation, and for sure, Iranians will love to hear you say a few words in their mother tongue!
So here's a simple guide to teach you some basic knowledge of Farsi.
Beforehand, learn some specific pronunciations. The “â” is close to the “a” in the word “far”. “Kh” is close to a French “r”, pronounced at the back of the mouth. The “e” is like the “e” in bed. The “r” is trilled. Finally, “gh” is a guttural sound, like a heavy French “r”.
There are several ways to thanks to people. The most common is to say "mersi (مرسی)" or "mamnoon (ممنون)". You can emphasize with "kheyli mamnoon (خیلی ممنون)", which means "thanks a lot".
You might also heard "motashakeram (متشکرم)", "mamnoonam (ممنونم)", "sepas (سپاس)", and "sepas gozâram (سپاسگزارم)". A common and very polite way of saying thank you is: "daste shoma dard nakone (دست شما درد نکنه)" (literally, "may your hand not be hurt").
Now, you're ready to go a little further! You will probably meet a lot of Iranians eager to chat with you during your trip. So, learn how to say a few words about yourself.
The numbers in Farsi are quite easy to learn. They are written from the left to the right. It will helpful for reading prices in bazaars or time schedule. Here are their pronunciations up to 10, along with their writing.
In touristic cities, you will easily find people speaking English. Even when it's not the case, you can count on the kindness of Iranians to give you a hand. Yet, here are some useful phrases for travellers.
Because you will probably share a delicious traditional meal with Iranians, saying those simple sentences will make everybody happy.
"Taarof" is a sophisticated system of courtesy, which turns language into real art! Read our article about "taarof" to get familiar with it. Meanwhile, but sure to know those three sayings:
With those words and sentences, you're all set to explore Iran and meet Iranians! If you want to learn more Farsi though, we recommend you the podcast Chai and Conversation, as well as the Youtube Channel PersianPod101 and the website of the Persian Language Foundation.