To learn or Not to learn Farsi

by kimia

Hi everyone,

I would like to get your opinions on why should our children who live in U.S. (or outside of Iran learn Farsi and go to farsi classes).

I have been wondering about this issue for a long time and I am skeptical about sending my children to the local farsi class.

Now, don't get me wrong-I have nothing against the Iranian culture or traditions and infact I value this beautiful (for the most part) traditions of Eid-wedding ceremonies-mehregan etc .

But looking at it from a practical point of view; will learning farsi make them better Iranians, or better and productive individuals?

Did Dariush and Kourosh speak the same Farsi as we speak-I don't think so(please feel free to comment about the language of early persians)

Will they speak farsi to one another when they grow up? And to whom?

Will they actually read hafez and ferdowsi and other farsi books?

When I take them to the farsi class, I feel like that lady in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" Are we just another group of people in our cocoon?

Why can't we step out and acknowledge that there is wonderful world out there with people from so many places and different languages and the point is communicating with other people.

So, for our children, why don't we concentrate on art and music and sports and chess and get to know other citizens of the world.

Open Discussion!


Recently by kimiaCommentsDate
Jan 25, 2008
Jan 11, 2008
He is here, there, everywhere
Nov 17, 2007
more from kimia


by Dominique (not verified) on

does anyone know of any persian language classes in northern virginia?


Man english harf mizanam va mikham Persian yad begiram

by Zan Amrikai (not verified) on

Hopefully, my subject line illustrates the Farsi/Persian debate clearly. We all know that zillions of people say, "Farsi" for the language when they are speaking English, but truly, the reciprocal would be to say, "Man english yad gereftam" instead of "ingelisi yad gereftam" and who on earth says that? Just because you are Iranian and use the term, "Farsi" doesn't mean you are right in doing it. But common usage does rule, unfortunately. Still, I will persist in calling it Persian.

I WISH my children could speak/read/understand Persian. Their father stopped speaking Persian to our son when he was about four; before that, our son was entirely bilingual. Then,he never spoke any Persian to our girls--besides things like calling them Babajoon or saying Afarine or Barkela. None of them speaks or understands more than a couple words of Persian. I consider this a great failure and a shame, since their heritage is as much Persian as it is American from me. But I could not be the one to speak Persian to them; man balad naboodam!

Eenja maa madresseh farsi nadareem. If we did, I would have sent them.

So my answer to Kimia is a resounding YES you should teach your children their language. It is their privilege and their right.


kimia yar Thankyou

by kimia on

kimia yar

Thankyou Azarin. That does help.  I don't thinky we have any plans to go tho Iran. We do speak persian at home (as much as we can)

Also Davood--I do agree with you.  The kids are learning spanish day to day basis and my husband and I both speak spanish-He speaks much better since he lived in spain. yes it does open doors to another culture etc...

And  as persian traditions; we celebrate persian new year and all the other ceremonies.  but as far as language; I can see my kids (since they communicate in english)they interact with other people(general public) much better. ( For instance when we go to the park they engage and interact with other kids .  So I don't know whether  this pushing of learning and speaking persian(I have seen some parents are very strict) actually hinders their abilities as individuals and prevents them from focusing on other areas. 



Teach them!

by Davoooooooooooood (not verified) on

I can tell you that learning a second language has been one of the more rewarding things in my life and has opened my world up to so many more opportunities and different types of culture and language than if I could only speak English. Learning a second language opens up pathways in your brain and makes you a smarter and better thinker. If I have children someday I will make certain to teach them a second language when they are young and their minds are like sponges soaking up all the new knowledge. If you fail to teach them farsi when they are young you will be making a huge mistake that is very difficult to reverse (ie learning a new language as an adult is very difficult).

Azarin Sadegh

We stopped trying...

by Azarin Sadegh on

Hi Kimia,

I think if you regularly travel to Iran with your kids for the summer vacation, it might be a good idea to sign them up in a Persian/Farsi class and keep speaking Persian/Farsi at home.

Also, if you have only one child and you don't plan to have more, it is easier to teach him/her Farsi/persian. The parents of an only child act more like his/her playmates.

In our case we haven't been to Iran in the last 12 years and we don't plan to go back anytime soon.

So now my boys (13 and 10) understand Persian/Farsi (%50-%60), and speak really little with a terrible accent. We stopped speaking Persian/Farsi to them, when we realized they had stopped talking to us. Our choice was not really to choose between speaking Persian/Farsi or Not. It was between "do you want your own kids to talk to you or not?" Still we keep speaking Persian/Farsi with each other and with kids only if the subject is not about an important matter.

I hope it helps you in your decision,



What is Farsi?

by John M (not verified) on

Can some one please explain what is Farsi?
Are you referring to the Iranian language? That is Persian. There is no such thing as Farsi in English language. I have never heard that; it has always been Persian.


Merci IranAbroad

by kimia on

kimia yar

To IranAbroad: I see your point and thankyou for your response.

I try very hard to speak to them in persian:), yet sometimes I have to use english words. It is just alot easier to say grey then Khakestary or pot than to say Ghablameh or ocean than to say oghiyanoos!!

As far as culture and heritage--yes they should know about their culture and heritage and they can always say :Yes I am american from Iranian or persian heritage / descent.

Do Italian /Americans or Greek/Americans still speak their language?

Bottom line: I speak as much as I am comfortable. Like you said I dislike mixing english and persian.



Cannot have a simple debate!

by IranAbroad on

I see how easily a debate about "teaching Persian to our kids" has drifted into the war of Persian v. Farsi! Typical :-)

It's not because "Learning another language is a window to another world" that our kids have to learn Persian; it's because it is part of their culture/heritage and identity. Those parents who are reluctant to let their kids learn the language, will reap the result when the kids get older and pass 20 and start wondering about their roots when asked by others: I know you are American/Canadian but ORIGINALLY where are you from? And not being able to speak/write in the language which is major part of their identity will create frustration for many of them.

I don't think the Saturday classes are a necessary part of letting them learn the language. We should take practicing English (for ourselves) somewhere/sometime else, and when speaking to our kids, speak the way we always had used to do. I've seen how some parents mix Persian words with English and produce a ridiculous language which is appalling, to say the least.




by kimia on

kimia yar

Thankyou for all your responses and the informative links.

Some classes acutally refer themselves as "Farsi Classes".

The intent of the blog was to get responses and Not to.........



by Tonya (not verified) on

Without having a real right to make a comment in that I'm not Persian, I would very much hope that any Iranian outside Iran would teach their children to speak and/or write Farsi/Persian.  (I'm still trying to figure out why the difference... my husband and all his family say "Farsi").  Other than the very obvious benefit as kisskat says of learning a second (or third) is a vital part of their heritage.  I myself am learning Persian and find it to be a most beautiful language.  I love being able to talk with my husband in his language...and hopefully it gives him yet another close tie to his homeland.  It is so much fun listening to him talking to his kids who are adults now and have always spoken Farsi at home.  And the boys themselves almost always speak Farsi to each other.  As a by-stander with no horse in this race... I totally support teaching your children their native language!!!


"Farsi", what a meaningless

by smile (not verified) on

"Farsi", what a meaningless termonolgy in English.

Don't teach your children "Farsi", teach them "Persian".

If they learn Persian, They have opened a wide window to a wonderfull world for themselves, geographically expand from China to India, with Persia in thhe middle, and historically deep, deep to Cyrus and Dariush and beyond( Yes they spoke Persian of that time,)and spiritually to the endless ocean of Moulana and Hafez, Enjoy the beauty of Persian language. Hope somebody clean it from many dusts, and organize it.


One of the most important decisions you will make....

by Kouroush Sassanian (not verified) on

is to teach your children Persian. Arabs cannot pronounce the letter "P", hence Farsi has managed to work itself in our language. It is really Parsi. Arabs call Persians, bersian, parking, barking and so on and so forth!

Unfortunately, about 30% of Persian is Arabic. But, this should not dissuade you from teaching your kids Persian.

P.S. Babak is really Papak!

Orang Gholikhani

Learning another language is a window to another world

by Orang Gholikhani on


The title was written in the wall of the english school in Tehran where, I learned English.

Since the life made me to go to France and I learned French. English lessons help me to learning French faster. Today, I can live without English but it is always useful to better undrestand other people.

Today my children learn Farsi and in the school they have also Latin's lessons. I think learning other language will open their mind to other cultures and more you learn other language, it is easier for you to learn more.

And another argument for Farsi, is that when your children will have 15, they may want   learn more about their roots and they will be thankfull to you for that.


Mohammad Ala

Persian is correct term in English

by Mohammad Ala on

Persian is a correct term to use in English language.  Here is the link to find out why:



Dr. Mohammad Ala is Professor of Business and a Board member of,, and



Persian NOT Farsi . . .

by Javad agha (not verified) on

I am changing my view on Iranians who live in the West: Some are NOT Ey-ranians. Thank GOD.


Ey-ranians are so damn lazy that they need to ask this question. When many parents try to teach their heritage which includes language to their children, some are using a wrong term and are hesitant to let their children learn it.


No wonder many Ey-ranians have chosen to live in the U.S. and Canada. Lazy people with FREE Iraqi oil equals to good life for Ey-ranians.


Can I borrow . . .?

by Mustafa (not verified) on


Thanks. Your point is well taken. I never say Farsi. Farsi is a local term used which is used in Iran. I agree about Persian in English.

hehehehe about Farsi Cats. Good one. Never heard of that.


Persian not Farsi

by manesh on

Lesson ONE:  It's Persian not Farsi


Farsi Food , Farsi

by Alijoon (not verified) on

Farsi Food


Farsi Cats


Farsi Carpets


Damn, Damn. Aaman az dasat-e-in Iraniha. Our language translated into damn English is called Persian or Parsi NOT Farsi. Arabs changed it to Farsi because they do NOT have P in their language.


Many people have done research on this topic. These research are available: Try Persian vs Farsi using any search engine.


من و بچه ام

اختر سادات (not verified)

من هم توی انسینو زندگی میکنم و بچه ام را بعد از اینکه از شیر گرفتم گذاشتم مدرسه فارسی.

فارسیش بسرعت پیشرفت کرد، بطوریکه سه کلاس اولیه را در فرصتی کوتاه تمام کرد. اکنون پسرم به آسانی قادر است انواع فحشهای خواهر مادر و لغات رکیک را با صراحت و با لهجه یک چاله میدونی تمام عیار صحبت کنه.

خیلی خوشحالم که اگر پسرم یکروز به ایران مسافرت کنه، از نظر در گیری با مردم لنگ نمیمونه....

آدم موفقیت بچه اش را میخواد، و من دینم را ادا کرده ام. حالا میخوام بزارمش کلاس آشپزی. َشما چی فکر میکنید؟


I am the product of Farsi

by AnonymousKhanum (not verified) on

I am the product of Farsi Saturday classes! I made a lot of great freinds. We had lots of fun playing during ZANGEH TAFREEH. We had gatherings for norooz and other occasions. It was a great place to spend Saturday monings. Obviously, my parents always compensated me for missing some of my Saturday morning cartoons by taking me out to lunch or with other small favors.

I love Iranian culture and pursued it on my own and I can now read and write Farsi.



by IranFr on

Man 10 salam bood amadam ouroupa. Farsi sohbat kardano dar internet yad gerfetam. Khoundanam bad nist ama bastegi dareh kheili adabi neveshteh shodeh basheh ya na.

Ama aslan balad nistam farsi benevisam.

Agar beram iran zendegi konam, analphabète hesab misham bayad beram akaber lol

Agar emkan dareh beh bachehatoun farsi ro yad bedid khoundan, neveshtan va sohbat kardan ra.

Mademoiselle Shany :-))



Yes ...

by kisskat (not verified) on

I think they should learn not so much for everyone else but for themselves. They will beneifit from learning another language. It would be no different if they learned Spanish, French, German or whatever other language. It will open their minds to realize there is more out there than just one way. It won't do any harm to them that is for sure. I wish they had classes here where I live to be able to send my kids to.