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Persian/Farsi materials

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Senior Member
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 Message 17 of 20
23 April 2012 at 12:08am | IP Logged 
The problem is in my opinion: To read written Persian, you have to recognize whole words, because of the lack of vowels you cannot read letter by letter.
So you have to train your eye to see, what is "the good shape" of a Persian word from the beginning. But if you see for example always خونه instead of خانه for the word "house", the pattern recognition will be slowed down, when you are reading the proper spelling.
This is the point I do not like in my "Spoken World Farsi" course by Nick Pendar.
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 5776 days ago

750 posts - 1657 votes 
Studies: Uzbek

 Message 18 of 20
23 April 2012 at 8:33pm | IP Logged 
I think Cabaire has it exactly right; it's not really a "dialect" issue per se, but rather a difference between the standard written form and the spoken form, which has changed a bit.

In a way, it's like writing "I want to" versus "I wanna" in English. Almost everyone shortens the form to something like "I wanna" in speaking, but the written form is still "I want to", and learning to read or write forms like "I wanna" instead would be inadvisable. This is my objection to the "Colloquial Persian" course and evidently to the "Living Language" course as well if it does the same thing.

As for Persian dialects, there are various different spoken dialects in Iran, but to the best of my knowledge there are no materials for foreigners to learn them; the only variation in such materials is between those that teach the standard language and those that teach the spoken variant, as discussed above.

But thinking a bit more broadly in terms of "dialect", though, there is the possibility of learning Dari, the variety of Persian spoken in Afghanistan, instead of the Iranian variety. Dari is reputedly a bit closer to classical Persian in some respects, in that it retains vowel distinctions that are no longer evident in Iran. Another advantage of Dari might be that you could use the DLI Dari course, which is available for free and contains truly massive amounts of written and audio material. es/Dari/

The subject matter doesn't have much to do with classical poetry, and deals to a fair degree with military-type situations, but I recall one forum member who used it saying that he thought it was the best language course he'd ever seen. (The books are divided among student (S) and teacher (T) versions, which is why there seems to be duplication.)

So especially if you have an interest in Afghanistan, this might be another option to consider. (And much of classical Persian literature came out of Afghanistan and Central Asia rather than from today's Iran. By the way, the other main Persian "dialect", Tajik, is written in Cyrillic script and has taken on some grammatical forms from Turkic and vocabulary from Russian, and so probably wouldn't be such a good path for someone with an interest in classical poetry.)

Edited by daristani on 23 April 2012 at 10:51pm

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Joined 3560 days ago

15 posts - 32 votes
Speaks: Italian*, English, French
Studies: Persian, Pashto, Dari

 Message 19 of 20
23 April 2012 at 8:54pm | IP Logged 
I heartly second Daristani's suggestions for Dari: the DLI course is very rich and very
recent. If all the courses, free or not, would be like it...
If you know French, there is also Mohammad Ali Raonaq "Manuel de Persan Parlé en
Afghanistan" (L'Asiathèque), which comes with a couple of CDs. The audio quality is not
that good and all the course is in latin script, but is one of the few other resources
for Dari.
Also in French, "Le Persane Sans Peine" is good, though I think it's out of print as they
are preparing a new edition. The old one is 670 pages and very, very, VERY gradual.

Lastly, Daristani, you are my hero, I took so many useful info from your posts I can't
count them :D
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 5776 days ago

750 posts - 1657 votes 
Studies: Uzbek

 Message 20 of 20
23 April 2012 at 10:26pm | IP Logged 
Kanishka, you're making me blush! But I'm indeed happy if anything I've written has been helpful to you, and I wish you the best of luck in Persian/Dari/Pashto et al.

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