SOAS University of London

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

Elementary Persian Texts (PG)

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Full Year


Successful completion of Elementary Written Persian (Postgraduate) or equivalent.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  1. knowledge and understanding of lower-intermediate Persian grammar
  2. knowledge and understanding of a varied range of Persian vocabulary
  3. knowledge and use of a wide range of Persian idiomatic structures and expressions in a given context
  4. the ability to understand passages in modern 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, as well as a diary in Persian
  6. knowledge and understanding of the role of language in general, and Persian in particular, in language-based scholarship and research (specific learning outcome for PG students)


A total of 22 weeks teaching with 4 hours classroom contact per week.  In addition Masters students will receive an additional 6 hours of lectures and an additional 6 hours seminars/tutorials in total over the course.

Scope and syllabus

The emphasis of this lower-intermediate course is on reading, comprehension and translation of modern texts. After successful completion of this course students should be able to follow simple, modern Persian texts unaided and to comprehend basic narrative, adapted 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.
Spoken language is not taught as part of the course, however, students can expect to improve their oral and aural competence through classroom activities, access to films, media related audio/visual material on the net or the BLE, and conversational exchanges.
A series of special PG lectures with associated seminars structured around the six themes Structure, Texts, Identity, Society, Translation and Transformation (provided for PG students studying different languages) introduces students to general questions of the role of language in language-based scholarship and research and provides them with the critical and methodological skills to relate their language acquisition to the thematic aspects of the studies.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination in May-June (70%) and an in-class test of 1.5 hours duration taken in class in Week 3 Term 2 (30%).

Suggested reading

Narguess Farzad Teach Yourself Modern Persian published by Hodders & Stoughton, 2004.
L.P. Elwell-Sutton Elementary Persian Grammar Cambridge University Press, 1977
W.M. Thackston, An Introduction to Persian, Iranbooks Inc. Bethesda Md 1993
A.K.S. Lambton, Persian Grammar, Cambridge University Press, reprints 1990
- Modern Persian - Elementary Level, Windfuhr & Tehranisa, University of  Michigan, 1981
- Persian Lesson for Foreigners: Elementary Course, T. Pournamdarian, published by Institute for Cultural Studies & Research, Tehran 1993
- Spoken Persian, Spoken Language Services, New York, Ithaca 1973
- Colloquial Persian, Abdi Rafiee, Routledge, 2001with cassettes or CDs

On line dictionary:,  Downloadable dictionary

Persian literature in translation
Encyclopaedia Iranica

Jan Rypka, History of Iranian Literature, Dordrecht 1968.
Ehsan Yarshater ed., Persian Literature, Columbia University, 1988
Shahrokh Meskoob. Iranian nationality and the Persian language , foreword and interview with the author by Ali Banuazizi ; translated by Michael C. Hillmann ; edited by John R. Perry Imprint Washington, DC : Mage, 1992
Azar Nafisi Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir, Fourth Estate 2004
Minoo S. Southgate. Modern Persian short stories / translations. Washington, D.C. Three Continents Press, 1980
Gholam-Hossein Saedi Fear and trembling translated, and with an introduction and a bibliography, by Minoo Southgate Washington, D.C : Three Continents Press, c1984
Shirin Ebadi and Azadeh Moaveni, Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope, Random House 2006
Azadeh Moaveni, Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in Iran, paperback PublicAffairs, 2006
Kaveh Basemnji, Tehran Blues: Youth Culture in Iran, Saqi Books, 2005
Christopher de Bellaigue, In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs, HarperPerennial, 2005
Jason Elliot, Mirrors of the Unseen: Journeys in Iran, Picador, 2006
Alan Williams, Spiritual Verses (poems of Jelaluddin Rumi, Molavi), Penguin Classics, 2006
Farhang Moase do-suyeh (Persian-English-Persian)
- Frahang Moaser Kimia Persian English Dictionary by Karim Emami
- The New Unabridged English-Persian Dictionary, 5 volumes
- Concise Persian-English, English-Persian Dictionaries  by A. Aryanpour-Kashani
- English-Persian, Persian-English Dictionaries, Haim
- A Dictionary of Common Persian and English Verbs (with Persian synonyms & examples), Hooshang Amuzegar, Payam Publishers 1988
- An English-Persian Dictionary, Dariush Gilani
Behrangi, Samad The little Black fish and Other Modern Persian Short Stories, Washington 1976
Chuback, Sadeq. Sadeq Chuback, An Anthology, New York 1982
Daneshvar Simin. Daneshvar’s playhouse; A Collection of Stories, Washington 1989
______________  Sutra. Washington 1994
Moayyad Heshmat (ed.) Stories From Iran, A Chicago Anthology 1921-1991, Washington 1991
Stories by Iranian Women since the Revolution, Austin, TX, 1991
A Walnut Sapling on Masih’s grave and Other Stories by Iranian Women, Portsmouth, NH: 1993


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules