Persian alphabet

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The Persian alphabet (Persian: الفبای فارسی‎, alefbā-ye fârsi), or Perso-Arabic alphabet, is a writing system used for the Persian language.

The Persian script is a type of the Arabic Script as the Arabic script took an influence from Avestan and the Pahlavi scripts. It is an abjad, meaning vowels are underrepresented in writing. The writing direction is exclusively right-to-left. The script is cursive, meaning most letters in a word connect to each other; when they are typed, the computer automatically joins adjacent letterforms. However, some Persian compounds do not join, and Persian adds four letters to the basic set for a total of 32 characters.

The replacement of the Pahlavi scripts with the Persian alphabet to write the Persian language was done by the Tahirid dynasty in 9th-century Greater Khorasan.[1][2]

Letters[edit]

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.[3]

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 ḥâ-ye ḥotti or ḥä-ye jimi (literally "jim-like ḥe" after jim, the name for the letter ج that uses the same base form) and hâ-ye havvaz or hâ-ye do-češm (literally "two-eyed he", after the contextual middle letterform ـهـ), respectively.

Overview table[edit]

# Name Name in Persian script DIN 31635 IPA Contextual forms
Final Medial Initial Isolated
0 hamzeh[4] همزه ʾ [ʔ] ـا / ـئ / ـؤ ـا / ـئـ / ـؤ ا / ئـ ء / ا / ئ / ؤ
1 ʾalef الف â [ɒ] ـا ا
2 be بِ b [b] ـب ـبـ بـ ب
3 pe پِ p [p] ـپ ـپـ پـ پ
4 te تِ t [t] ـت ـتـ تـ ت
5 s̱e ثِ [s] ـث ـثـ ثـ ث
6 jim جیم j [d͡ʒ] ـج ـجـ جـ ج
7 che چِ č [t͡ʃ] ـچ ـچـ چـ چ
8 ḥe (ḥā-ye ḥotti, ḥā-ye jimi) حِ [h] ـح ـحـ حـ ح
9 khe خِ kh [x] ـخ ـخـ خـ خ
10 dâl دال d [d] ـد د
11 ẕâl ذال [z] ـذ ذ
12 re رِ r [ɾ] ـر ر
13 ze زِ z [z] ـز ز
14 že ژِ ž [ʒ] ـژ ژ
15 sin سین s [s] ـس ـسـ سـ س
16 šin شین š [ʃ] ـش ـشـ شـ ش
17 ṣäd صاد [ɬ] ـص ـصـ صـ ص
18 dzâd ضاد dz [d͡z] ـض ـضـ ضـ ض
19 tsâ, tsoy (in Dari) طی، طا ts [t͡s] ـط ـطـ طـ ط
20 ẓâ, ẓoy (in Dari) ظی، ظا [ɮ] ـظ ـظـ ظـ ظ
21 ʿayn عین ʿ [ʔ] ـع ـعـ عـ ع
22 ġayn غین ġ [ɣ] ـغ ـغـ غـ غ
23 fe فِ f [f] ـف ـفـ فـ ف
24 q̈âf قاف [ɣ] ـق ـقـ قـ ق
25 kâf کاف k [k] ـک ـکـ کـ ک
26 gâf گاف g [ɡ] ـگ ـگـ گـ گ
27 lâm لام l [l] ـل ـلـ لـ ل
28 mim میم m [m] ـم ـمـ مـ م
29 nun نون n [n] ـن ـنـ نـ ن
30 vâv واو v / ū / ow / (w / aw / ō in Dari) [v] / [uː] / [o] / [ow] / ([w] / [aw] / [oː] in Dari) ـو و
31 he (hā-ye havvaz, hā-ye do-češm) هِ h [h] ـه ـهـ هـ ه
32 ye یِ y / ī / á / (ay / ē in Dari) [j] / [i] / [ɒː] / ([aj] / [eː] in Dari) ـی ـیـ یـ ی

Letters that do not link to a following letter[edit]

Seven letters (و, ژ, ز, ر, ذ, د, ا) do not connect to a 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 ا alef is at the beginning of a word such as اینجا injâ ("here"), the same form is used as in an isolated alef. In the case of امروز emruz ("today"), the letter ر re takes the final form and the letter و vâv 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.

Diacritics[edit]

Persian script has adopted a subset of Arabic diacritics: zebar /æ/ (fatḥah in Arabic), zir /e/ (kasrah in Arabic), and pish /o/ or /o/ (ḍammah in Arabic, pronounced zamme in Western Persian), sukūn, tanwīn nasb /æn/ and shadda (gemination). Other Arabic diacritics may be seen in Arabic loanwords.

Short vowels[edit]

Short vowels
(fully vocalized text)
Name Name in Persian script Trans. Value
064E
◌‍َ
zebar/zibar زبر
(فتحه)
a Ir. /æ/; D. /a/
0650
◌‍ِ
zer/zir زیر
(کسره)
Ir. e; D. i Ir. /e/; D. /ɪ/
064F
◌‍ُ
pesh/pish پیش
(ضمّه)
Ir. o; D. u Ir. /o/; D. /ʊ/
0652
◌‍ْ
sokun/sukūn جزم
(سکون)
no vowel

Tanvin (nunation)[edit]

Nunation
(fully vocalized text)
Name Name in Persian script
064B
َاً، ـاً، ءً
Tanvin e nasb تنوین نصب
064D
ٍِ
Tanvin e jarr تنوین جرّ
064C
ٌ
Tanvin e rafe تنوین رفع

Tashdid[edit]

Nunation
(fully vocalized text)
Name Name in Persian script
0651
ّ
tashdid تشدید

Other characters[edit]

The following are not actual letters but different orthographical shapes for letters, a ligature in the case of the lâm alef. As to hamze, 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, hamze is not a letter but a diacritic.

Name Transliteration IPA Final Medial Initial Stand-alone
alef madde â [ɒ] ـآ آ آ
he ye -eye or -eyeh [eje] ـۀ ۀ
lām alef [lɒ] ـلا لا

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[edit]

The Persian alphabet adds four letters to the Arabic alphabet: /p/, /ɡ/, /t͡ʃ/ (ch in chair), /ʒ/ (s in measure).

Sound Shape Unicode name
/p/ پ peh
/t͡ʃ/ (ch) چ tcheh
/ʒ/ (zh) ژ jeh
/ɡ/ گ gaf

Digits[edit]

The shapes of the Persian digits four (۴), five (۵), and six (۶) are different from the shapes used in Arabic and the other numbers have different codepoints.[5]

Name Persian Unicode Arabic Unicode
0 ۰ U+06F0 ٠ U+0660
1 ۱ U+06F1 ١ U+0661
2 ۲ U+06F2 ٢ U+0662
3 ۳ U+06F3 ٣ U+0663
4 ۴ U+06F4 ٤ U+0664
5 ۵ U+06F5 ٥ U+0665
6 ۶ U+06F6 ٦ U+0666
7 ۷ U+06F7 ٧ U+0667
8 ۸ U+06F8 ٨ U+0668
9 ۹ U+06F9 ٩ U+0669
ye ی U+06CC ي U+064A
kāf ک U+06A9 ك U+0643

Word boundaries[edit]

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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  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. ^ "ویژگى‌هاى خطّ فارسى". Academy of Persian Language and Literature. 
  4. ^ "??" (PDF). Persianacademy.ir. Retrieved 2015-09-05. 
  5. ^ "Unicode Characters in the 'Number, Decimal Digit' Category". 

External links[edit]