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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. It is an abjad, meaning vowels are underrepresented in writing. The writing direction is mostly but not exclusively right-to-left; mathematical expressions, numeric dates and numbers bearing units are embedded from left to right. The script is cursive, meaning most letters in a word connect to each other; when they are typed, contemporary word processors 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]

Contents

LettersEdit

 
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 tableEdit

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

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.

DiacriticsEdit

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), tanwīn e nasb /æn/ and shadda (gemination). Other Arabic diacritics may be seen in Arabic loanwords.

Short vowelsEdit

Of the four Arabic short vowels, the Persian language has adopted the following three. The last one, sukūn, is not adopted.

Short vowels
(fully vocalized text)
Name
(in Persian)
Name
(transliterated)
Trans. Value
064E
◌‍َ
زبر
(فتحه)
zebar/zibar a Ir. /æ/; D. /a/
0650
◌‍ِ
زیر
(کسره)
zer/zir Ir. e; D. i Ir. /e/; D. /ɪ/
064F
◌‍ُ
پیش
(ضمّه)
pesh/pish Ir. o; D. u Ir. /o/; D. /ʊ/

In Iranian Persian, none of these short vowels may be the initial or final grapheme in an isolated word, although they may appear in the final position as an inflection, when the word is part of a noun group. In a word that starts with a vowel, the first grapheme is a silent alef which carries the short vowel, e.g. اُمید (omid, meaning "hope"). In a word that ends with a vowel, letters ع‎, ه‎ and و respectively become the proxy letters for zebar, zir and pish, e.g. نو (no, meaning "new") or بسته (bas-teh, meaning "package").

Tanvin (nunation)Edit

Nunation
(fully vocalized text)
Name
(in Persian)
Name
(transliterated)
Notes
064B
َاً، ـاً، ءً
تنوین نصب Tanvin e nasb
064D
ٍِ
تنوین جرّ Tanvin e jarr Never used in the Persian language.

Taught in Islamic nations to

complement Quran education.

064C
ٌ
تنوین رفع Tanvin e rafe

TashdidEdit

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

Other charactersEdit

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

Name Pronunciation IPA Final Medial Initial Stand-alone Notes
alef madde â [ɒ] ـآ آ آ The final form is very rare and is freely replaced with ordinary alef.
he ye -eye or -eyeh [eje] ـۀ ۀ Validity of this form depends on region and dialect. Some may use the three-letter ـه‌ی combination instead.
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 lettersEdit

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 gāf

Deviations from the Arabic scriptEdit

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 boundariesEdit

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 alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  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 linksEdit