Each language has its own difficulties when it comes to learning it as a foreign language. It should be mentioned that ‘common difficulties’ are varied for different language speakers. For instance a native Arabic speaker will never have the same difficulties as a native English speaker might have in the process of learning Farsi.
During years of teaching Farsi, mainly to English speakers, I found some common challenges:
- In Farsi we connect letters of each word (unlike Latin where it is not a rule) and put a space between words. Therefore letters in Farsi have more than one form (shape): initial, middle and ending form. It is a little bit similar to upper and lower case in English. Take a look at this example:
That word contains 7 letters which look completely different when they are not connected to each other:
ه م ص ح ب ت ی
So when learning alphabet, you need learn three forms of each letter (initial, middle and ending). However, there are seven letters which connect from one side and do not connect from the other side. This is a challenging part for learning to write and read Farsi script.
- Many Farsi learners have difficult time to learn when should we write ‘a’. In Farsi we have short vowel of /a/ as in English word rap, and long vowel of /a:/ as in English far. We do not write the short one and only write the long. Yes, it is difficult! Add to that, in Farsi none of the other short vowels are written. It makes it a bit difficult to read for beginners and sometimes confusion how to write.
- Writing in Farsi is sometimes like drawing, unless you type. You need to learn how to crescent a word under the line or above the line. Check some simple hand writing in the picture one and more complicated hand writing in picture two:
*But don’t worry if you are not into drawing you can also write as simple as picture number three:
- Reading: In Farsi in compare to English, sentences might go longer. Even as long as a paragraph. This makes it a bit difficult but knowing that the verb is almost always at the end of the sentences you can find your way to understand it.
- Pronunciation: The only sounds I found difficult for English speakers is /Ɣ/ like r in French rue. There is no equivalent for that in English. there are two letters for that but both pronounce the same: ق & غ.