SOAS University of London

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

Persian for Readers of Arabic Script (PG)

Module Code:
Taught in:
Full Year

This course is aimed at students who have an existing, comprehensive knowledge of the Arabic script and wish to study Persian as an language option. At the end of the course 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 on this course.  Student cannot take this course and the course Elementary Written Persian.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this course 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 course will be taught over 22 weeks with a 2 hour lecture per week, 3 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 course will have its own bespoke study pack.

Term 1
  • Weeks 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
  • Week 2-3 Reading practice, plurals, basic numbers, Persian calendar, subject pronouns
  • Week-4-5; Verb morphology, verb 'to be' as the basis of Persian verb formation and subject endings
  • Reading Week; Week 6
  • Week 7-8: noun and its attributes, descriptive and possessive constructions
  • Week 9: New verbs, sentence structure, preterite, present indicative,
  • Week 10: comparative, superlative constructions
  • Week 11: Review
  • Week 12: Direct Object maker, transitive verbs
Term 2
  • Week 1: Reading Texts, use of grammar learnt in term 1
  • Week 2: Present subjunctive
  • Week 3: Present Subjunctive continued through texts
  • Week 4: Mid-Term Assessment counting towards final exam
  • Week 5: Other past tense formations
  • Week 6: Reading Week
  • Week 7 to end of Term 2- using grammar through reading a variety of fictional and non-fictional, modern and classical Persian as literary and other texts. Receptive skills will be further honed by using contemporary Persian audio-visual material.
Term 3
  • Review, Revision

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (50%); one essay OR translation and commentary of 3,000 words to be submitted on Friday, week 1, term 3 (30%); one oral examination of 15 minutes duration taken in May/June (10%); a mid term test in term 2 before reading week of 1.5 hours duration (10%).

Suggested reading

All teaching material will be either provided through study pack or Moodle provisions.  You may be requested to purchase the book "Complete Persian" (N. Farzad, Hodder) along with a dictionary and similar relevant material if and when needed.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules