The Persian alphabet (Persian: الفبای فارسی alefbā-ye fārsi) or Perso-Arabic script is a writing system based on the Arabic script and used for the Persian language. It has four letters more than Arabic: پ [p], چ [t͡ʃ], ژ [ʒ], and گ [ɡ].
The Perso-Arabic script is an abjad and is exclusively written cursively. That is, the majority of the letters in a word connect to each other. This is also implemented on computers. Whenever the Perso-Arabic script is typed, the computer auto-connects the letters to each other. Unconnected letters are not widely accepted. In Perso-Arabic, as with Arabic, words are written from right to left.
A characteristic feature of this script, possibly tracing back to Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, is that vowels are underrepresented. For example, in Classical Arabic, of the six vowels, the three short ones are normally entirely omitted (although certain diacritics are added to indicate them in special circumstances, notably in the Qur'an), while the three long ones are represented ambiguously by certain consonants.
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.
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, these are often called ḥe-ye jimi (literally "jim-like ḥe" after jim, the name for the letter ج that uses the same base form) and he-ye do-češm (literally "two-eyed he", after the contextual middle letterform ﻬ), respectively.
|#||Name||DIN 31635||IPA||Contextual forms|
|0||hamza||ʾ||[ʔ]||ـئ ـأ ـؤ||ـئـ||ئـ||ء أ|
|1||ʾalef||ā||[ɒ]||ـا||آ / ا|
|22||ġeyn||ġ||[ɣ] / [ɢ]||ـغ||ـغـ||ﻏ||ﻍ|
|24||qāf||q||[ɢ] / [ɣ] / [q] (in some dialects)||ـق||ـق||ق||ﻕ|
|31||vāv||v / ū / ow||[v] / [uː] / [o] / [ow] / [oː] (in Dari)||ـو||و|
|32||ye||y / ī / á||[j] / [i] / [ɒː] / [eː] (in Dari)||ـی||ـيـ||يـ||ی|
- Letters which do not link to a following letter
Seven letters – و, ژ, ﺯ, ﺭ, ﺫ, ﺩ, ﺍ – do not connect to a following letter as the rest of the letters of the alphabet do. These 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 "injā" (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 "vāv" takes the isolated form, though they are in the middle of the word, and ﺯ also has its isolated form, though it occurs at the end of the word.
Persian script has adopted a subset of Arabic diacritics which consists of zabar /æ/ (fatḥah in Arabic), zir /e/ (kasrah in Arabic), and pesh /ou̯/ or /o/ (ḍammah in Arabic, pronounced as zamme in Persian), sukūn, tanwīn nasb /æn/ and tashdid (gemination). Other Arabic diacritics may be seen in Arabic loan-words.
The following are not actual letters but different orthographical shapes for letters, and in the case of the lām alef, a ligature. As to ﺀ hamze, it has only a single graphic, since it is never tied to a preceding or following letter. However, it is sometimes 'seated' on a vāv, ye or alef, and in that case the seat behaves like an ordinary vāv, ye or alef respectively. Technically, hamze is not a letter but a diacritic.
|he ye||-eye or -eyeh||[eje]||ﮥ||—||—||ۀ|
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.
The main Persian letters are ا, ب, پ, ت, ج, چ, خ, د, ر, ز, ژ, س, ش, ف, ک, گ, ل, م, ن, و, ه, ی and other letters that came into it from Arabic literature. The Persian alphabet adds four letters to the Arabic alphabet, /p/, /ɡ/, /t͡ʃ/ (ch in chair), /ʒ/ (s in measure):
Differences from the Arabic writing system
The following is a list of differences between the Arabic writing system and the Persian writing system:
- A hamze (ء) is written neither above an alef (ا) to denote a zabar or piš nor below to denote a zir.
- The Arabic letter tāʾ marbūṭa (ة), unless used in a direct Arabic quotation, is usually changed to a te (ت) or he ه,in accordance with its actual pronunciation. (Tāʾ marbūṭa, used only in feminine nouns, is basically a combined form of "he" and the dots of "te", standing for "t" that, in certain regular contexts, lenites to "h". Since Persian does not maintain the distinction, and does not even have any gender differences, tāʾ marbūṭa is not necessary and is kept only to maintain fidelity to the original Arabic spelling).
- Two dots are removed in the final ye (ی). Arabic differentiates the final yāʾ with the two dots and the alif maqsura (except in Egyptian, Sudanese and Maghrebi), which is written like a final yāʾ without two dots. Because Persian drops the two dots in the final ye, the alif maqsura cannot be differentiated from the normal final ye. For example, the name Mûsâ (Moses) is written موسی. In the final letter in Musâ, Persian does not differentiate between ye or an alif maqsura.
- The letters pe (پ), che (چ), že (ژ), and gâf (گ) are added because Arabic, lacking the phonemes represented by these letters, has no letters for them.
- Arabic letter waw (و) is used as vâv for [v], because Arabic has no [v], and standard Iranian Persian has [w] only within the diphthong [ow].
- In the Arabic alphabet hāʾ (ﻩ) comes before wāw (و), however in the Persian alphabet, he (ﻩ) comes after vâv (و).
Typically words are separated from each other by a space. Certain morphemes (such as the plural ending '-hâ') are written without a space. When writing on a computer, they are separated from the word using the zero-width non-joiner.
Arguments and discussions on use of Perso-Arabic
There have been discussions between parties about replacing it, often raising the concept of romanization.
- Ira M. Lapidus (29 October 2012). Islamic Societies to the Nineteenth Century: A Global History. Cambridge University Press. pp. 256–. ISBN 978-0-521-51441-5.
- Ira M. Lapidus (22 August 2002). A History of Islamic Societies. Cambridge University Press. pp. 127–. ISBN 978-0-521-77933-3.
- "??" (PDF). Persianacademy.ir. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Persian alphabet.|
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- Daoulagad - mobile Persian OCR dictionary
- Dastoor e khat - The Official document in Persian by Academy of Persian Language and Literature