5 tips to improve your conversation skills in Persian

Language is the window to know the culture and history of a country. You can know more about Persian and Iranian culture and history by learning Persian.

Here are a few tips to help you pick up some new conversation skills, whether you’re looking to learn a few words in Persian or become an expert in this language.

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1. Have a conversation in Persian, even if it’s with yourself

Talking is an essential part of learning Persian. Actually, people have multiple types of vocabulary: oral and written, receptive and productive. The Persian words you understand when you hear them (receptive) may not be the same as the words you can use in speech yourself, and the Persian words you say aloud (productive) are not always the same as words you might use in your writing. Unless you want to learn Persian just for the purpose of translating written documents, you’re probably going to want to have a conversation at some point. In order to develop your oral, productive vocabulary (the Persian words you can produce, rather than just understand if you happen to hear them), you should practice generating those words.

2. Listen to the radio

Listening to a radio or even music in the Persian language is a great way of tuning your ears into the language’s phonetics. Many radio apps can be downloaded from app stores or the internet on your mobile and many are free of charge, which means you have access to several channels to suit your interests. If you’re after developing a richer vocabulary and more creative use of language, maybe you are interested in old radio theatre programs and also Persian audiobooks, which focus on listening as an art form and means of entertainment.
Whether you’re walking, or doing some gardening, hearing conversations in Persian is one of the best things you can do to familiarize yourself with the subtleties, colloquialisms, and rhythms.

Persian courses:

3. Don’t be afraid to sound ridiculous

Having a conversation in a foreign language you’re not entirely comfortable with inevitably leads to a few mistakes. You may mispronounce words, invert sentence structures, or say something completely unintelligible to a native Persian speaker. But in fact, no one expects you to be perfectly eloquent from the get-go. On the bright side, the more embarrassing your mistake, actually, the more likely you are to have the correct grammatical construct etched into your memory when someone points it out.

4. Learn to greet, apologize and thank people in Persian

A simple ‘Hello’ «سلام» in Persian will find people willing to look in your direction. Actually, you can further your conversations while at the same time enacting your most important need. Apologizing to someone is another great technique that will help in the long run when you are in Iran. Learn a few Persian words that may help you. And finally, learn to bid a cheerful goodbye in Persian.

5. Take a deep breath

Recent researches and studies have shown that some students experience “foreign language anxiety,” much like anxiety over taking tests. Speaking in a foreign language can feel like a performance, but the conversation is an integral part of learning a foreign language.

Tips that can help more:

Start speaking Persian as soon as possible

If you are serious about learning to speak Persian quickly, the evidence is clear: having regular conversations with a fluent Persian speaker is pretty much the only way.

Actually, the faster you can break the mental barrier of testing out your language skills out loud, the faster you will be able to speak Persianconfidently.

A 2016 study published by the University of Michigan demonstrated that learners learning a language by having conversations over a webcam tend to see results much faster than those using traditional methods. Scientists followed two groups of learners as they began learning a new language:

  • Learners of group A were studying using grammar and vocabulary exercises
  • Learners of group B were learning by speaking, using video technology

After twelve weeks, it was found that Group A had made no significant improvement and progress, but Group B had developed their language skills significantly. The results showed that they had gained more varied vocabularies, performed better in listening comprehension tests, were better able to use the language grammar, and were able to speak more confidently.

Put simply, even if you study Persian vocabulary exercises, grammar lessons, and theory regularly for weeks, unless you learn Persian by speaking, you risk not learning how to draw these skills together. This is an easy mistake to make. How often have you heard someone say, «I can understand most of what I hear in Persian, but I am not very good at speaking it»?

Listen to native Persian speakers (try to!) speak your language

Whether your mother tongue is English, Czech, Arabic, Spanish, or Turkish, the chances are, you have spoken to a native Persian speaker who has learned to speak it and you’ve thought «hmm… that doesn’t sound quite right».

One easy tip is to pay attention to the common mistakes Persian native speakers make in your mother tongue, especially in sentence structure and grammar. These are probably clues as to how Persian grammar is different from that of the language you know best.

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