Persian alphabet
For other scripts that have been used to write the Persian language, see Persian language § Orthography.
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This article contains Persian text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols.
The Persian alphabet (Persian: الفبای فارسی‎‎, romanizedAlefbā-ye Fārsi) or Perso-Arabic script, is a writing system used for the Persian language spoken in Iran (Western Persian) and Afghanistan (Dari Persian). The Persian language spoken in Tajikistan (Tajiki Persian) is written in the Tajik alphabet, a modified version of Cyrillic alphabet since the Soviet era.
The Modern Persian script is directly derived and developed from Arabic script. After the Muslim conquest of Persia and the fall of Sasanian Empire in the 7th century, Arabic became the language of government and especially religion in Persia for two centuries.
The replacement of the Pahlavi scripts with the Persian alphabet to write the Persian language was done by the Saffarid dynasty and Samanid dynasty in 9th-century Greater Khorasan.[1][2][3] It is mostly but not exclusively right-to-left; mathematical expressions, numeric dates and numbers bearing units are embedded from left to right. The script is cursive, meaning most letters in a word connect to each other; when they are typed, contemporary word processors automatically join adjacent letter forms.
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.[4]
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.
Overview table
(in Persian)
DIN 31635IPAUnicodeContextual forms
0همزهhamze[5]ʾGlottal stop[ʔ]U+0621N/AN/AN/Aء
8حهḥe (ḥâ-ye ḥotti, ḥâ-ye jimi)[h]U+062Dـحـحـحـح
21عینʿaynʿ[ʔ], [æ]U+0639ـعـعـعـع
22غینġaynġ[ɢ], [ɣ]U+063Aـغـغـغـغ
30واوvâvv / ū / ow / (w / aw / ō in Dari)[v], [uː], [o] (only word-finally), [ow] ([w], [aw], [oː] in Dari)U+0648ـوو
31ههhe (hā-ye havvaz, hā-ye do-češm)h[h], [e] (word-finally)U+0647ـهـهـهـه
32یهyey / ī / á / (ay / ē in Dari)[j], [i], [ɒː] ([aj] / [eː] in Dari)U+06CCـیـیـیـی
Historically, 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 /zæbɒn/ 'language'[6]
SoundIsolated formFinal formMedial formInitial formName
ی ه و ن م ل گ ک ق ف غ ع ظ ط ض ص ش س ژ ز ر ذ د خ ح چ ج ث ت پ ب ا ء
Noto Nastaliq Urdu
Noto Naskh Arabic
Markazi Text
Noto Sans Arabic
Baloo Bhaijaan
El Messiri SemiBold
Lemonada Medium
Changa Medium
Noto Kufi Arabic
Reem Kufi
The alphabet in 16 fonts: Noto Nastaliq Urdu, Scheherazade, Lateef, Noto Naskh Arabic, Markazi Text, Noto Sans Arabic, Baloo Bhaijaan, El Messiri SemiBold, Lemonada Medium, Changa Medium, Mada, Noto Kufi Arabic, Reem Kufi, Lalezar, Jomhuria, and Rakkas.
Letter construction
forms (i)isolatedء اىںٮحسصطعڡٯکلمدروه
midءـاـںـ ـحــســصــطــعــڡــکــلــمــدـرـوـهـ
i'jam (i)
Unicode0621 ..0627 ..0649 ..06BA ..066E ..062D ..0633 ..0635 ..0637 ..0639 ..06A1 ..066F ..066F ..0644 ..0645 ..062F ..0631 ..0648. ..0647 ..
1 dot belowبج
UnicodeFBB3.0628 ..062C ..
1 dot aboveنخضظغفذز
UnicodeFBB2.0646 ..062E .. 0636 ..0638 ..063A ..0641 .. 0630 ..0632 .. 
2 dots below (ii)ی
UnicodeFBB5.06CC ..
2 dots aboveتقة
UnicodeFBB4.062A ..0642 ..0629 ..
3 dots belowپچ‎  
UnicodeFBB9.FBB7.067E ..0686 .. 
3 dots aboveثش ژ
UnicodeFBB6.062B ..0634 .. 0698 ..
line above گ   
Unicode203E.  06AF ..   
noneءایںحسصطعکلمد‎  روه
Unicode0621 ..0627 ..0649 ..06BA ..062D ..0633 ..0635 ..0637 ..0639 ..066F ..0644 ..0645 ..062F ..0631 ..0648. ..0647 ..
madda aboveآ     
Unicode06E4.0653.0622 ..     
Hamza belowــٕـإ      
Unicode0655.0625 ..     
Hamza aboveــٔـأئؤۀ
Unicode0674.  0654. 0623 .. 0626 ..0624 ..06C0 ..
^i. The i'jam diacritic characters are illustrative only, in most typesetting the combined characters in the middle of the table are used.
^ii. 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 اalef is at the beginning of a word such as اینجاinjâ ("here"), the same form is used as in an isolated alef. In the case of امروزemruz ("today"), the letter رre takes the final form and the letter وvâv 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.
Persian script has adopted a subset of Arabic diacritics: zebar /æ/ (fatḥah in Arabic), zir /e/ (kasrah in Arabic), and piš /o/ or /o/ (ḍammah in Arabic, pronounced zamme in Western Persian), tanwīne nasb /æn/ and šaddah (gemination). Other Arabic diacritics may be seen in Arabic loanwords in Persian.
Short vowels
Of the four Arabic short vowels, the Persian language has adopted the following three. The last one, sukūn, has not been adopted.
Short vowels
(fully vocalized text)
(in Persian)
zebar/zibaraIr. /æ/; D. /a/
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 (omid, meaning "hope"). In a word that ends with a vowel, letters ع‎‎, ه‎‎ and و‎ respectively become the proxy letters for zebar, zir and piš, e.g. نو (now, meaning "new") or بسته (‎bast-e, meaning "package").
Tanvin (nunation)
Main article: Nunation
Nunation (Persian: تنوین‎‎, tanvin) 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.
(fully vocalized text)
(in Persian)
َاً، ـاً، ءً
تنوین نَصْبْTanvine nasb
تنوین جَرّTanvine jarrNever used in the Persian language.
Taught in Islamic nations to
complement Quran education.
تنوین رَفْعْTanvine rafʔ
Main article: Shadda
(in Persian)
Other characters
The following are not actual letters but different orthographical shapes for letters, a ligature in the case of the lâm alef. As to ‎ (hamza), 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.
alef maddeâ[ɒ]U+0622ـآآآThe final form is very rare and is freely replaced with ordinary alef.
he ye-eye or -eyeh[eje]U+06C0ـۀۀValidity of this form depends on region and dialect. Some may use the three-letter ـه‌ای‎ combination instead.
lām alef[lɒ]U+0644 (lām) and U+0627 (alef)ـلالا
kašidaU+0640ـThis is the medial character which connects other characters
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.
Novel letters
The Persian alphabet has four extra letters that are not in the Arabic alphabet: /p/, /t͡ʃ/ (ch in chair), /ʒ/ (s in measure), /ɡ/.
SoundShapeUnicode nameUnicode code point
/t͡ʃ/ (ch)چčeU+0686
/ʒ/ (zh)ژžeU+0698
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:[7]
yeیU+06CCي *U+064A
* 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.
Word boundaries
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
As part of the "russification" of Central Asia, the Cyrillic script was introduced in the late 1930s.[8][9][10][11][12] The alphabet remained Cyrillic until the end of the 1980s with the disintegration of the Soviet Union. In 1989, with the growth in Tajik nationalism, a law was enacted declaring Tajik the state language. In addition, the law officially equated Tajik with Persian, placing the word Farsi (the endonym for the Persian language) after Tajik. The law also called for a gradual reintroduction of the Perso-Arabic alphabet.​[13]​[14]​[15]​[16]​[17]​[18]​[19]​[20]​[21]​[22]​[23]​[24]
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.[1] As of 2004 the de facto standard in use is the Tajik Cyrillic alphabet,[2] and as of 1996 only a very small part of the population can read the Persian alphabet.[3]
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.[25]
LatinAaĀāBbDdEeƐ̇ɛ̇FfGgHhIiÎ îJjJ̈̇ j̈̇KkLlMmNnOoPpQq
Arabicَ زبرا، آبدیغفگح ، هِ زېريجژکلمنوپق
LatinRrSsS̈̇s̈̇TtkhchUuŪūWwYyZzAi ai
Arabicرسشتخچُ پیشوُویذ، ز، ظئ
Example of Persian text in Rumi Persian script.
Persian in Rūmi ScriptPersian in Arabic Script
S̈̇uārimā barādarî o bāhamî
Saādato nawāye sulhi dāyemî
شعار ما برادری و باهمی
سعادت و نوای صلح دایمی
Salāmo amno ittihādo yak dilî
Barāye kāfai milal barābari
سلام و امن و اتحاد و یک دلی
برای کافه ملل برابری
Khamūs̈̇ bād zanghāye janghā
Mabād zinda imtiyāzi rangha
خموش باد زنگهای جنگ ها
مباد زنده امتیاز رنگ ها
See also
  1. ^ Ira M. Lapidus (2012). Islamic Societies to the Nineteenth Century: A Global History. Cambridge University Press. pp. 256–. ISBN 978-0-521-51441-5.
  2. ^ Ira M. Lapidus (2002). A History of Islamic Societies. Cambridge University Press. pp. 127–. ISBN 978-0-521-77933-3.
  3. ^ Persian (Fārsī / فارسی)‎, omniglot
  4. ^ "ویژگى‌هاى خطّ فارسى". Academy of Persian Language and Literature. Archived from the original on 2017-09-07. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  5. ^ "??" (PDF). Persianacademy.ir. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  6. ^ "PERSIAN LANGUAGE i. Early New Persian". Iranica Online. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Unicode Characters in the 'Number, Decimal Digit' Category".
  8. ^ ed. Hämmerle 2008, p. 76.
  9. ^ Cavendish 2006, p. 656.
  10. ^ Landau & Kellner-Heinkele 2001, p. 125.
  11. ^ ed. Buyers 2003, p. 132.
  12. ^ Borjian 2005.
  13. ^ ed. Ehteshami 2002, p. 219.
  14. ^ ed. Malik 1996, p. 274.
  15. ^ Banuazizi & Weiner 1994, p. 33.
  16. ^ Westerlund & Svanberg 1999, p. 186.
  17. ^ ed. Gillespie & Henry 1995, p. 172.
  18. ^ Badan 2001, p. 137.
  19. ^ Winrow 1995, p. 47.
  20. ^ Parsons 1993, p. 8.
  21. ^ RFE/RL, inc, RFE/RL Research Institute 1990, p. 22.
  22. ^ Middle East Institute (Washington, D.C.) 1990, p. 10.
  23. ^ Ochsenwald & Fisher 2010, p. 416.
  24. ^ Gall 2009, p. 785.
  25. ^ Hayat, Anwar (2019). "The Impact of Arabic Orthography on Literacy and Economic Development in Afghanistan".
External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Persian alphabet.
Dastoore khat - The Official document in Persian by Academy of Persian Language and Literature
Last edited on 19 June 2021, at 22:17
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