How to speak Persian better in 10 easy steps

Learning how to speak Persian confidently is incredibly important for anyone studying the language. There is simply no substitute for using your language skills to communicate in real life and in real-time, and also there is nothing more fun. Regardless of your level, here’s how to speak Persian better in 10 easy steps:

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1. Imitate away

When most learners think about learning Persian, they think about piles of books, memorizing lists, and studying with cards. Actually, all of these are helpful in their own way and shouldn’t be ignored. However, many language learners forget or shy away from the active side of language learning such as exploring, listening, playing, and repeating.

researches and studies show that imitation is one of the best ways to improve your language skills. Listening to others, especially native speakers, and repeating what they say and how they say it (even intonation, emotion, and choice of words) is one of the most powerful and fun ways to make progress in learning Persian.

2. Avoid learning word by word

Are you tired of memorizing lists of words or verbs and feeling like you still can’t speak confidently? It’s time to change your strategy and method. This time, learn full Persian expressions – this is called chunk-based learning.

Think of new Persian expressions as a unit that you can’t separate. Listen and repeat. For a moment, allow yourself to forget about grammar or the meaning of each Persian word until the expression starts to feel natural.

Please be practical and “copy-paste” what you hear without creating unnecessary obstacles. This would mean learning an expression like من آب می خواهم “I want water” as a whole, rather than translating word by word.

3. Use what you’ve learned immediately

If there is one thing your brain enjoys, it is feeling useful and efficient. Actually, our brains dislike wasting time with information we don’t use. (Maybe that’s why you keep forgetting the Persian words you tried learning yesterday!)

Here’s a tip: even if you are alone in the room, the first thing you should do when you see a new expression or Persian phrase in front of you is reading it out loud immediately. You should repeat it several times until you’re able to say it without looking at the paper. If you write down three sentences using that new Persian word, even better. This is the moment when you stop memorizing and start using Persian!

4. Be an actor

Actors have one mission: to study and memorize a text and then make people believe that text is real. They do that by using emotion, repetition, exaggeration, and practice. We have a suggestion, why not be inspired by your favorite actors and do the same?

Here’s a game. When you are alone, take a piece of paper and write down a Persian expression (any expression you want to learn). Now, please try to read it until you can say it without looking at the paper. The next step is trying to say that Persian expression, with different emotions. Don’t be afraid to exaggerate! After a while, you will get used to the sound of that expression without even having to think about it.

5. Listen to others as much as you speak

Many Persian learners struggle with speaking for three reasons: they are embarrassed by their accent, they don’t remember keywords when they need them, and actually, they can’t really understand when other people reply back to them, which leads to awkward situations.

Solution: expose yourself to as many songs, movies, series, documentaries, accents, and conversations as possible. This will help you understand how Persian sounds in different countries and how it is spoken by different people.

Bonus: by doing this, you will realize and understand that many, many foreigners around the world have accents but they are still easily understood by natives and can communicate effectively. So why not you? A foreign accent isn’t the end of the world, it is just proof that you were brave enough to learn a new language!

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6. Listen to yourself and get feedback from native Persian speakers

Some Persian students are so shy and nervous that they postpone speaking indefinitely. After months of study, they realize they have never actually heard themselves speak Persian! It is essential and important that you start practicing basic sentences from day one – out loud. Hear yourself. Listen to how Persian sounds when you speak it.

A good and useful way to start is by recording yourself reading simple texts. This helps you in two ways. First, you start getting comfortable with the sound of Persian coming out of your mouth. Secondly, you can save your recording to keep track of your progress in the future and see how great and fantastic your progress has been!

It’s essential that you find somebody to give you feedback on your speaking – ideally a native Persian speaker. One of the most powerful ways to do this is to study Persian in a Persian-speaking country where you get continuous feedback – while you’re shopping, in class, out on the town. Learning Persian through immersion is so powerful because it makes your whole life a learning opportunity, and the more you use your Persian in a natural setting with native speakers of all walks of life, the faster and better your progress will be.

If this isn’t an option, get continuous feedback from your Persian teacher, or any kind of native Persian speaker you know.

7. Become visual

Visual learning is so good and powerful – and increasingly popular. Researches and studies show that images associated with words help us recall much more efficiently, and that means less difficulty speaking.

Next time you want to remember a new Persian expression, use one of your own pictures or an image you find on Google Images to represent this vocabulary. Choosing your own images for a flashcard or a notebook is key to remembering these Persian words next time!

8. Narrate your life

Your brain is more likely to remember new Persian vocabulary if you apply it to your own life and make it as personal as possible. For that reason, it’s smart to take a Persian expression you have recently learned and ask yourself “How would I use this in my personal situation? In which contexts should I use this?”.

This has two benefits: first, you will feel like your learning is useful, efficient and avoid frustration. Secondly, you will make your life easier because next time you have to talk about your experiences, yourself and your memories, you will be ready because you have already practiced!

9. Start singing

Science has proven that the part of our brains that engages with the song is also active when we process language. Persian students who often listen to music in Persian tend to have better pronunciation skills and understand other speakers more easily – Persian just comes more naturally to them.

Singing is a fantastic way to get in a good mood and improve your Persian at the same time. Next time you find a Persian song you like, search for the lyrics (text) of the song on the Internet and read at the same time as you listen. Next, sing the song at the same time. Pay attention to the way Persian words are pronounced and imitate what you hear to be as similar as possible. You’ll soon find yourself accidentally singing the song without needing the lyrics.

10. Know your priorities

Ask anybody: “Why are you learning Persian?”. Answers will be different, but most people will say: “because I want to move to Tehran”, “because my friend speaks Persian”, or “because I love Persian”.

However, do you believe you would hear somebody say “I want to speak Persian because I want to be perfect”? Probably not! Always please remember that your priority should be efficient communication, not perfection. You should focus on getting your message across, and that means speaking as soon as you can and as much as you can.

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