Persian, known locally as Farsi, is the official language of modern day Iran and parts of Afghanistan and the central Asian republic of Tajikstan, but historically it was a more widely understood language in an area ranging from the Middle East to India. Significant populations in other Persian Gulf countries also speak Persian. The difference between Dari Persian, mainly spoken in Afghanistan, and Farsi has been compared to the difference between European and Canadian French. Persian is written in the Arabic script but it belongs to the Indo-European family of languages so speakers of European languages should find learning Persian relatively easy to begin with. It is remarkably simple in terms of formal grammar - no gender, no noun inflection and no irregularities in verbal conjugation. 'Teach Yourself Modern Persian (Farsi)' is designed for the true beginner and self-access learner, starting from the basics of learning the Persian alphabet. By the end of the course you'll be able to build complex sentences and communicate in a wide range of everyday situations. There's plenty of practice of each point as it is introduced and the accompanying CDs will help you to improve your speaking and listening skills. The accompanying CDs are available separately (0340 80267 7) or in a pack with the book (0340 80266 9).
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Narguess Farzad is a lecturer in Persian at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.
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