SOAS University of London

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

Persian for Readers of Arabic Script

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 2, Year 3 or Year 4
Taught in:
Full Year

This module is aimed at students who have an existing knowledge of the Arabic script and wish to study Persian as a language option or an open option.  At the end of the module such a student should achieve full fluency in the written Persian language and should have an advanced-beginner level proficiency in oral and aural comprehension.


Students must have a complete knowledge of the Arabic script prior to enrolment at the level of a pass in 155906050: Arabic 100A and 155906051: Arabic 100B

You cannot take this module with the module 155901053: Elementary Written Persian.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will have acquired the . . . 

  • knowledge and understanding of basic Persian grammar
  • knowledge and understanding and use of a wide range of Persian vocabulary
  • ability to read and understand fully, a wide range of simple modern Persian texts
  • ability to read and comprehensively understand written material up to lower intermediate level with the aid of dictionaries
  • ability to produce written short passages in Persian  on selected abstract and concrete topics
  • ability to aurally comprehend and orally engage in basic everyday Persian spoken discourse
  • ability to translate from and into Persian of short, basic material related to everyday situations  


This module will be taught over 22 weeks with a 2 hour lecture per week and 2 hours of language classes per week.  

Scope and syllabus

This course is designed for those students who have no prior knowledge of Persian grammar or syntax but are familiar with the Arabic script and have a limited depository of Persian or Arabic words used commonly in South Asia or the Middle East, either due to their heritage or exposure through Arabic or Urdu language acquisition.

The teaching of Persian grammar will focus on the following features:

Term 1

  • Transition from Arabic script to Perso-Arabic script, Persian vowels, Indo-European heritage of Persian, Influence of Persian in South and Central Asia, Asia Minor
  • Reading practice, plurals, basic numbers, Persian calendar, subject pronouns, noun and its attributes, descriptive and possessive constructions
  • Verb morphology, verb 'to be' as the basis of Persian verb formation and subject endings, sentence structure, adverbs, question words and interrogatives, preterite, present indicative.

Term 2

  • Direct Object maker, transitive verbs, Reading Texts, use of grammar learnt in term 1, Present subjunctive
  • Mid-Term Assessment counting towards final exam
  • Reading variety of texts, both modern and classical, and using contemporary audio-visual material in Persian
  • Oral and Aural practice, pair-work conversation and group activities will take place throughout the academic year.

Term 3

  • Review, Revision

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (70%); one oral examination of 15 minutes duration taken in May/June (10%); a midterm test of one and a half hours duration in term 2, before reading week, (20%).

Suggested reading

You are requested to purchase the book "Complete Persian" (N. Farzad, Hodder). Online and digital dictionaries are widely available, so you do not need to purchase a dictionary unless you’d like to.

Audio-Visual material and web links to complement the course will be uploaded on Moodle and texts and exercises will be made available to the students as course packs throughout the year.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules