How does Farsi sound

Is there a difference between Persian and Farsi?

This question is often asked when learning to speak Persian. You may often hear that your professors, fellow students, or friends use Persian and Farsi alternately.

So, is there a difference between Persian and Farsi?

In most cases, that's fine; however, there is a difference between these two terms, so let's take a closer look at the intricacies of the Persian language.

What is Persian?

Persian is an Indo-European language mainly spoken in Iran, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. It started thousands of years ago during the Achaemenid Empire. Since then, Persian has become a modern language spoken by 110 million people. The language uses a variant of the Arabic alphabet, but, as you will soon learn, a different form of Persian uses an entirely different writing system.

There are three main dialects of Persian

Persian Farsi, or West Persian

This is the most common form of Persian. It is commonly known as Farsi, which is the main language in Iran. Some groups in neighboring countries, such as Iraq, also speak Farsi. We will explain this variant in more detail in the following section.

Persian Dari, or East Persian

Dari is one of the official languages ​​of Afghanistan. The majority of Afghans speak Dari, but some also speak Pashto as their mother tongue. Although Dari and Farsi are the same languages, there are some differences that are easy to spot. Dari speakers have a different accent and also use different words than Farsi speakers.

You will also see that Dari speakers use a slightly different type of verbal verb conjugation.

All in all, Farsi and Dari speakers understand each other easily. Most people compare these subtle differences to British and American English.


This variant of Persian is a mixture of Dari, Uzbek and Russian. It is the official language of Tajikistan. Tajik uses the Cyrillic alphabet but sounds pretty similar to Dari. The language emerged after the Soviet Union founded the Soviet Republic of Tajikistan.

Since the history of Tajikistan is full of foreign influences, the language has some dialects. Some, such as the Kulob dialect, sound formal and are the first choice for broadcasters and politicians. The Bukhoric dialect created by the Bukharan Jews is a mixture of Tajik and Hebrew.

Tajik is technically a form of Persian, but it doesn't look like Farsi at all. This is a case where understanding the difference between Persian and Farsi is crucial. You could offend a Tajik if you label the language as the wrong one.

What is farsi

As you now know, there is a little difference between Persian and Farsi. Farsi is the official language of Iran. The language was under the name until the middle of the 19th century Parsi well-known, so it may be that some still refer to it that way. This is not a typo.

It has different dialects, but your favorite language is to learn formal Persian in your school or online class. Your teacher may refer to this as Ketaabi Farsi. Ketaab means "book", like the official dialect in which it is written. This dialect will serve as a basis for learning future subtleties of the language.

Most of the courses also teach the most common way of speaking, the Tehran dialect. Although Farsi can be pronounced the same way as it is spelled, there is a cultural trend towards pronouncing words slightly differently. The long A sound will turn into a long U sound. For example, Tehran is spelled as Teh-RAAN but pronounced as Teh-ROON.

Why learn Farsi?

Iran receives a lot of media coverage of its alleged nuclear program, poor relations with the United States and hostilities against Israel. However, because of Iran's rich cultural history, many people want to learn to speak Farsi.

Poets like Ferdowsi and Hafez wrote in an older form of Persian. Both academics and culture enthusiasts learn Farsi to study and enjoy these great works. Also, some people learn Farsi as a precursor before going to Iran.

Whatever your reason, there is a program that suits your needs and your learning style. Check out our How to Learn Farsi guide to get started. If you want to learn Persian at home, we recommend reading our list of the best books to learn Farsi or taking a look at our article on the best Persian audiobooks.

Is there a difference between Persian and Farsi?