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Essential Farsi (Persian) Phrases and Words for Traveling to Iran

Essential Farsi (Persian) Phrases and Words for Traveling to Iran

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”.

Greetings and basics in Farsi

  • Hello: Salâm (can be said in any circumstances)  - سلام
  • Good morning: Sob Bekheyr – صبح بخیر
  • Good evening: Shab Bekheyr – شب بخیر
  • Good day: Ruz Bekheyr – روز بخیر
  • Goodbye: Khodâ Hâfez- خداحافظ

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").

  • You're welcome: Khâhesh mikonam – خواهش می کنم
  • Please: Lotfan - لطفا
  • Excuse-me: Bebakshid - ببخشید
  • Yes: Bale/Are – بله / آره
  • No: Nah - نه

Introducing yourself in Persian language

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.

  • What's your name?: Esm-e shoma chieh? -  اسم شما چیه؟
  • My name is [name]: Esm-e man [name] hast – اسم من .. است
  • Sir: Aghâ - آقا
  • Miss: Khânom - خانم
  • Where are you from?: Ahleh Kodjâid? – اهل کجایید؟
  • I am [nationality]: Man [nationality] hastam –  من ... هستم
    • Almâni (German)
    • Farancavi (French)
    • Ingilisi (British)
    • Amrikâi (American)
    • ...
  • How are you?: (Hâl-e shoma) Chetori? – چطوری؟
  • I'm fine: Khubam – خوبم

How to use Persian numbers

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.

  • 0: ۰ Sefr -  صفر
  • 1: ١ Yek  -   یک
  • 2: ۲ Do – دو
  • 3: ۳ Se - سه
  • 4: ۴ Châhâr - چهار
  • 5: ۵ Panj - پنج
  • 6: ۶ Shesh - شش
  • 7: ۷ Haft - هفت
  • 8: ۸ Hasht - هشت
  • 9: ۹ Noh - نه
  • 10: ۱۰ Dah - ده

Useful Farsi phrases and sentences for travellers and tourists

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.

  • Do you speak English?: Shomâ Ingilisi baladid? – شما انگلیسی بلدید؟
  • I don't speak Farsi: Fârsi balad nistam – فارسی بلد نیستم
  • I don't understand: Nemifahman – نمی فهمم
  • Please repeat: Lotfan, tekrâr konid – لطفا تکرار کنید
  • Can you write it down, please: Lotfan, mishe benevisid? – لطفا میشه بنویسید؟
  • Where is [place]: [place] kojâst? – کجاست؟
    • Where are the toilets?: Dashui/Toilet kojâst? -  دستشویی کجاست؟
  • Ticket: Belit - بلیط
  • How much?: Chand-e? – چنده؟
  • I want: Mikhâm – می خوام
    • I want tea/water: Chai/Ab mikhâm – آب/چای می خوام

Because you will probably share a delicious traditional meal with Iranians, saying those simple sentences will make everybody happy.

  • Bon appetit: Nooshe jân – نوش جان
  • It's delicious: Khosh mazeh ast – خوشمزه است
  • Cheers: Salamati - سلامتی

Knowing some "taarof"

"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:

  • Befarmaid (بفرمایید): Can be translated by "please". It is said to invite someone to do something, for instance, eating, drinking, seating...
  • Ghorbel nadare (قابل نداره): Sellers, as well as taxi drivers, usually answer this when asked for the price. This taarof means that it cost nothing for you, which of course, is simple politeness! Whenever someone says it to you, simply thank that person before paying.
  • Khaste nabashid (خسته نباشید): It literally means "Don't be tired"! You may hear or even say this sentence when you enter a taxi, a shop or wherever people are working.

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.

No part of this content including texts, photos, and itinerary may be republished or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission and referring to TasteIran.
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