Good Handwriting in Persian—an Introduction

In this video, Keramat Fathinia, a practising Persian calligrapher, talks about some of the things to keep in mind when writing the Persian script by hand. This is part of a series of videos he has produced with Persian Language Online, introducing the idea of khat tahriri, (خط تحریری), a style of writing drawing on the principles of traditional Persian calligraphy, but using everyday materials, in this case, just a biro.

Below are two tables. The first is a table of the Persian vowel sounds and the second is a table of all the letters in the Persian alphabet. Click on a row within one of the tables to visit a page with animations showing how to draw that letter in its varying forms.

If you are totally unfamiliar with this script then you are encouraged to first click here and visit a lesson containing exercises familiarise you with the movements your hand will need to make in order to form the Persian letters.

Vowel Sound End of word Middle of word Start of word
Detached Attached Detached Attached
Long ‘a’ like ‘arctic’ هوا (havā – ‘air’) ما (mā – ‘us’) دَندان (dandān – ‘tooth’) تاب (tāb – a ‘swing’) آب (āb – ‘water’)
Short ‘a’ like ‘apple’ نَه ( na – no – the only final ‘a’ in modern Persian) شَب (shab – ‘night’) اَسب (asb – ‘horse’)
Long ‘ee’ like ‘sheep’ بازی (bāzi – ‘play’) شیرینی (shirini – ‘pastry’) سیب (sib – ‘apple’) ایران (irān – ‘Iran’)
Short ‘e’ like ‘egg’ or ‘bed’ خانِه (khāneh – ‘house’) مِداد (medād – ‘حثدزهم’) اِستخر (estakhr – ‘swimming pool’)
Long ‘oo’ like ‘do’ or ‘moon’ دارو (dāru – ‘medicine’) مو (mu – ‘hair’) روز (ruz – ‘day’) موش (mush – ‘mouse’) او (u – ‘he’ or ‘she’)
Short ‘o’ like ‘open’ or ‘photo’ دُو (do – ‘two’) پالتوُ (pālto – ‘overcoat’) گُل (gol – ‘flower’) اُتاق (otāq – ‘room’)
Sound in English Name of letter End of word or attached to previous letter Middle, or inbetween two letters Initial or followed by another letter Unconnected, standing alone
‘ā’ and initial vowels ‘a’, ‘e’ and ‘o’ alef* ــا ــا ا آ or ا
b be ــب ــبــ بــ ب
p pe ــپ ــپــ پــ پ
t te ــت ــتــ تــ ت
s se ــث ـثــ ثــ ث
j jim ــج ـجــ جــ ج
ch che ــچ ــچــ چــ چ
h he ــح ــحــ حــ ح
kh khe ــخ ــخــ خــ خ
d dāl* ــد ــد د د
z zāl* ــذ ــذ ذ ذ
r re* ــر ــر ر ر
z ze* ــز ــز ز ز
zh zhe* ــژ ــژ ژ ژ
s sin ــس ــســ ســ س
sh shin ــش ــشــ شــ ش
s sād ــص ــصــ صــ ص
z zād ــض ــضــ ضــ ض
t ــط ــطــ طــ ط
z ــظ ــظــ ظــ ظ
‘ (a) ‘ain ــع ــعــ عــ ع
gh ghain ــغ ــغــ غــ غ
f fe ــف ــفــ فــ ف
q qāf ــق ــقــ قــ ق
k kāf ــک ــکــ کــ ک
g gāf ــگ ــگــ گــ گ
l lām ــل ــلــ لــ ل
m mim ــم ــمــ مــ م
n nun ــن ــنــ نــ ن
v, w, u & o vāv* ــو ــو و و
h he ــه ــهــ هــ ه
y ye ــی ــیــ یــ ی

Drawing Persian Letters

Watch this little video before you start to learn the letters of the Persian alphabet. To write the Persian script your hand will have to get used to a new set of movements, which may not come naturally at first, but which you will find very simple after a little bit of practice.

You can print out this PDF worksheet and trace over the lines to practice the hand movements you will need to get used to for writing the Persian script.