Example showing the Nastaʿlīq
calligraphic style's proportion rules
Below are the 32 letters of the modern Persian alphabet. Since the script is cursive, the appearance of a letter changes depending on its position: isolated, initial (joined on the left), medial (joined on both sides) and final (joined on the right) of a word.
The names of the letter are mostly the ones used in Arabic except for the Persian pronunciation. The only ambiguous name is he, which is used for both ح and ه. For clarification, they are often called ḥä-ye jimi (literally "jim-like ḥe" after jim, the name for the letter ج that uses the same base form) and hâ-ye do-češm (literally "two-eyed he", after the contextual middle letterform ـهـ), respectively.
, there was also a special letter for the sound /β/. This letter is no longer used, as the /β/-sound changed to /b/, e.g. archaic زڤان
/zaβān/ > زبان
diacritic characters are illustrative only, in most typesetting the combined characters in the middle of the table are used.
Persian Yē has 2 dots below in the initial and middle positions only. The standard Arabic
version ي يـ ـيـ ـي
always has 2 dots below.
Letters that do not link to a following letter
Seven letters (و, ژ, ز, ر, ذ, د, ا) do not connect to the following letter, unlike the rest of the letters of the alphabet. The seven letters have the same form in isolated and initial position and a second form in medial and final position. For example, when the letter ا alef is at the beginning of a word such as اینجا injâ ("here"), the same form is used as in an isolated alef. In the case of امروز emruz ("today"), the letter ر re takes the final form and the letter و vâv takes the isolated form, but they are in the middle of the word, and ز also has its isolated form, but it occurs at the end of the word.
Of the four Arabic short vowels, the Persian language has adopted the following three. The last one, sukūn
, has not been adopted.
In Iranian Persian, none of these short vowels may be the initial or final grapheme in an isolated word, although they may appear in the final position as an inflection
, when the word is part of a noun group. In a word that starts with a vowel, the first grapheme is a silent alef
which carries the short vowel, e.g. اُمید
, meaning "hope"). In a word that ends with a vowel, letters ع
respectively become the proxy letters for zebar
and piš, e.g. نو (
, meaning "new") or بسته (bast-e
, meaning "package").
) is the addition of one of three vowel diacritics to a noun or adjective to indicate that the word ends in an alveolar nasal sound without the addition of the letter nun.
The following are not actual letters but different orthographical shapes for letters, a ligature in the case of the lâm alef
. As to ﺀ
), it has only one graphic since it is never tied to a preceding or following letter. However, it is sometimes 'seated' on a vâv, ye or alef, and in that case, the seat behaves like an ordinary vâv, ye or alef respectively. Technically, hamza
is not a letter but a diacritic.
Although at first glance, they may seem similar, there are many differences in the way the different languages use the alphabets. For example, similar words are written differently in Persian and Arabic, as they are used differently.
The Persian alphabet has four extra letters that are not in the Arabic alphabet: /p
Deviations from the Arabic script
Persian uses the Eastern Arabic numerals
, but the shapes of the digits 'four' (۴), 'five' (۵), and 'six' (۶) are different from the shapes used in Arabic. All the digits also have different codepoints in Unicode
* However, the Arabic variant continues to be used in its traditional style in the Nile Valley
, similarly as it is used in Persian and Ottoman Turkish.
Typically, words are separated from each other by a space. Certain morphemes (such as the plural ending '-hâ'), however, are written without a space. On a computer, they are separated from the word using the zero-width non-joiner
Cyrillic Persian alphabet in Tajikistan
The Persian alphabet was introduced into education
and public life, although the banning of the Islamic Renaissance Party
in 1993 slowed adoption. In 1999, the word Farsi
was removed from the state-language law, reverting the name to simply Tajik
As of 2004 the de facto
standard in use is the Tajik Cyrillic alphabet
and as of 1996 only a very small part of the population can read the Persian alphabet.
Proposed Latin alphabet
Anwar Wafi Hayat, Afghan writer and researcher, proposed new Latin alphabet in 2019, called Rumi script for Dari Persian spoken in Afghanistan. His research revealed the various reading and writing problems with the current Perso-Arabic script adding that the script has slowed down literacy acquisition and hiked the poverty rate. Based on his study, the new Rumi Persian alphabet will improve literacy acquisition and help in digitizing the Persian language and will also help the foreigner learners of Persian to learn this language easily and quickly. The Rumi Persian alphabet contains 32 letters.
Example of Persian text in Rumi Persian script.
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Last edited on 19 June 2021, at 22:17
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