SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Elementary Persian Texts

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Full Year

This module is designed as a second year of less intensive study of Persian language, following on from Elementary written Persian. Where necessary, students will be given further grammatical and linguistic instruction. However, this will be done in the context of studying modern selected texts which will expose them to more wide ranging non-technical vocabulary such as biographical material, memoirs, travelogues, non-fiction, descriptive passages such as guide books and manuals, and simple poetry.


Successful completion of Elementary written Persian or evidence of linguistic knowledge of Persian equivalent to the same standard.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module, a student should be able to demonstrate… 

  1. knowledge and understanding of intermediate Persian grammar 
  2. knowledge and understanding of a wide range of Persian vocabulary 
  3. knowledge and understanding of the appropriateness of a wide range of Persian structures and expressions in a given context 
  4. the ability to understand passages in written Persian of medium length on everyday and some specialised topics 
  5. the ability to produce passages in written Persian of medium length on everyday and some specialised topics 
  6. the ability to understand spoken Persian and to engage in spoken discourse of medium complexity on everyday and some specialised topics


The module will consist of three hours of language classes per week taught in twice weekly language sessions.

Scope and syllabus

The emphasis is on reading, comprehension and translation of modern texts. After successful completion of this module students should be able to follow simple, modern Persian texts unaided and to comprehend basic narrative, novel extracts and most news items with the help of a dictionary. They should also be able to produce written material in Persian such as everyday correspondence.

Although the spoken language is not taught as part of the module, students can expect to improve their oral and aural competence through films, audio material and conversational exchanges.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination in May-June (80%) and an in-class test of 1.5 hours duration taken in class in Week 3 Term 2 (20%).

Suggested reading

The students will be expected to purchase Michael Hillmann's Persian Fiction Reader (1995) 

  • L. P. Elwell-Sutton, Elementary Persian Grammar. Cambridge University Press, 1977 
  • W. M. Thackston, An Introduction to Persian. Bethesda Md: Iranbooks Inc., 1993 
  • Windfuhr and Bostanbakhsh, Modern Persian - Intermediate Level. University of Michigan Michael Craig Hillmann with Ramin Sarraf, Persian Newspaper Reader. Kensington, Maryland: Dunwoody Press, 1996 (comes with Persian newspaper reader)
  • [sound recording]) Jalil Banan Sadeghian, Persian for Non-Natives. Council for promotion of Persian Language & Literature, 1997
  • Ehsan Yarshater, ed., Persian Literature. Columbia University, 1988 

Students are also encouraged to look at the many Iran and Persian-related websites on the internet. These cover:

  • media and newspapers,
  • music, 
  • books and films, 
  • broadcasting, 
  • universities and academic institutions, 
  • libraries, 
  • culture and sports, 
  • city guides, 
  • virtual galleries and much more.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules