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Persian alphabet
الفبای فارسی
Alefbâ-ye Fârsi
"Fârsi" written in the Persian alphabet in Nastaliq style
Script type
DirectionRight-to-left script Edit this on Wikidata
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
Urdu alphabet
Ottoman Turkish alphabet
Kurdo-Arabic alphabet
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / /, ⫽ ⫽, and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.
Part of a series on
Writing systems used in India
Brahmic scripts
Arabic derived scripts
Alphabetical scripts

The Persian alphabet (Persian: الفبای فارسی, romanizedAlefbâ-ye Fârsi), also known as the Perso-Arabic script, is the right-to-left alphabet used for the Persian language. It is a variation of the Arabic script with five additional letters: پ چ ژ گ (the sounds 'g', 'zh', 'ch', and 'p', respectively), in addition to the obsolete ڤ.[1]

It was the basis of many Arabic-based scripts used in Central and South Asia. It is used for the Iranian and Dari standard varieties of Persian; and is one of two official writing systems for the Persian language, alongside the Cyrillic-based Tajik alphabet.

The script 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 join adjacent letter forms.


The Persian alphabet is directly derived and developed from the Arabic alphabet. The Arabic alphabet was introduced to the Persian-speaking world after the Muslim conquest of Persia and the fall of the Sasanian Empire in the 7th century. Following which, the Arabic language became the principal language of government and religious institutions in Persia, which led to the widespread usage of the Arabic script. Classical Persian literature and poetry were affected by this simultaneous usage of Arabic and Persian. A new influx of Arabic vocabulary soon entered the Persian language.[2] In the 8th century, the Tahirid dynasty and Samanid dynasty officially adopted the Arabic script for writing Persian, followed by the Saffarid dynasty in the 9th century, gradually displacing the various Pahlavi scripts used for the Persian language prior. By the 9th-century, the Perso-Arabic alphabet became the dominant form of writing in Greater Khorasan.[2][3][4]

Under the influence of various Persian Empires, many languages in Central and South Asia that adopted the Arabic script use the Persian Alphabet as the basis of their writing systems. Today, extended versions of the Persian alphabet are used to write a wide variety of Indo-Iranian languages, including Kurdish, Balochi, Pashto, Urdu (from Classical Hindostani), Saraiki, Panjabi, Sindhi and Kashmiri. In the past the use of the Persian alphabet was common amongst Turkic languages, but today is relegated to those spoken within Iran, such as Azerbaijani, Turkmen, Qashqai, Chaharmahali and Khalaj. The Uyghur language in western China is the most notable exception to this.

During the colonization of Central Asia, many languages in the Soviet Union, including Persian, were reformed by the government. This ultimately resulted in the Cyrillic-based alphabet used in Tajikistan today. See: Tajik alphabet § History.


Example showing the Nastaʿlīq calligraphic style's proportion rules[citation needed]

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.[5]

The names of the letters 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 ḥä-ye jimi (literally "jim-like ḥe" after jim, the name for the letter ج that uses the same base form) and hâ-ye do-češm (literally "two-eyed he", after the contextual middle letterform ـهـ), respectively.

Overview table

# Name
(in Persian)
Transliteration IPA Unicode Contextual forms
Final Medial Initial Isolated
0 همزه hamze[6] ʾ Glottal stop [ʔ] U+0621 ء
U+0623 ـأ أ
U+0626 ـئ ـئـ ئـ ئ
U+0624 ـؤ ؤ
1 الف ʾalef â [ɒ] U+0627 ـا ا
2 ب be b [b] U+0628 ـب ـبـ بـ ب
3 پ pe p [p] U+067E ـپ ـپـ پـ پ
4 ت te t [t] U+062A ـت ـتـ تـ ت
5 ث s̱e [s] U+062B ـث ـثـ ثـ ث
6 جیم jim j [d͡ʒ] U+062C ـج ـجـ جـ ج
7 چ če č [t͡ʃ] U+0686 ـچ ـچـ چـ چ
8 ح ḥe (ḥâ-ye ḥotti, ḥâ-ye jimi) [h] U+062D ـح ـحـ حـ ح
9 خ xe x [x] U+062E ـخ ـخـ خـ خ
10 دال dâl d [d] U+062F ـد د
11 ذال ẕâl [z] U+0630 ـذ ذ
12 ر re r [r] U+0631 ـر ر
13 ز ze z [z] U+0632 ـز ز
14 ژ že ž [ʒ] U+0698 ـژ ژ
15 سین sin s [s] U+0633 ـس ـسـ سـ س
16 شین šin š [ʃ] U+0634 ـش ـشـ شـ ش
17 صاد ṣâd [s] U+0635 ـص ـصـ صـ ص
18 ضاد zâd ż [z] U+0636 ـض ـضـ ضـ ض
19 طا t [t] U+0637 ـط ـطـ طـ ط
20 ظا ẓâ [z] U+0638 ـظ ـظـ ظـ ظ
21 عین ʿayn ʿ [ʔ], [æ]/[a] U+0639 ـع ـعـ عـ ع
22 غین ġayn ġ [ɢ], [ɣ] U+063A ـغ ـغـ غـ غ
23 ف fe f [f] U+0641 ـف ـفـ فـ ف
24 قاف qâf q [q] U+0642 ـق ـقـ قـ ق
25 کاف kâf k [k] U+06A9 ـک ـکـ کـ ک
26 گاف gâf g [ɡ] U+06AF ـگ ـگـ گـ گ
27 لام lâm l [l] U+0644 ـل ـلـ لـ ل
28 میم mim m [m] U+0645 ـم ـمـ مـ م
29 نون nun n [n] U+0646 ـن ـنـ نـ ن
30 واو vâv (in Farsi) v / ū / ow / o [], [ow], [v], [o] (only word-finally) U+0648 ـو و
wâw (in Dari) w / ū / aw / ō [], [w], [aw], []
31 ه he (hā-ye havvaz, hā-ye do-češm) h [h], or [e] and [a] (word-finally) U+0647 ـه ـهـ هـ ه
32 ی ye y / ī / á / (Also ay / ē in Dari) [j], [i], [ɒː] ([aj] / [] in Dari) U+06CC ـی ـیـ یـ ی

Historically, in Early New Persian, there was a special letter for the sound /β/. This letter is no longer used, as the /β/-sound changed to /b/, e.g. archaic زڤان /zaβān/ > زبان /zæbɒːn/ 'language'.[7]

Sound Isolated form Final form Medial form Initial form Name
/β/ ڤ ـڤ ـڤـ ڤـ βe


ی ه و ن م ل گ ک ق ف غ ع ظ ط ض ص ش س ژ ز ر ذ د خ ح چ ج ث ت پ ب ا ء
Noto Nastaliq Urdu
Noto Naskh Arabic
Markazi Text
Noto Sans Arabic
Baloo Bhaijaan
El Messiri SemiBold
Lemonada Medium
Changa Medium
Noto Kufi Arabic
Reem Kufi
The alphabet in 16 fonts: Noto Nastaliq Urdu, Scheherazade, Lateef, Noto Naskh Arabic, Markazi Text, Noto Sans Arabic, Baloo Bhaijaan, El Messiri SemiBold, Lemonada Medium, Changa Medium, Mada, Noto Kufi Arabic, Reem Kufi, Lalezar, Jomhuria, and Rakkas.

Letter construction

forms (i) isolated ء ا ى ں ٮ ح س ص ط ع ڡ ٯ ک ل م د ر و ه
start ء ا ٮـ حـ سـ صـ طـ عـ ڡـ کـ لـ مـ د ر و هـ
mid ء ـا ـٮـ ـحـ ـسـ ـصـ ـطـ ـعـ ـڡـ ـکـ ـلـ ـمـ ـد ـر ـو ـهـ
end ء ـا ـى ـں ـٮ ـح ـس ـص ـط ـع ـڡ ـٯ ـک ـل ـم ـد ـر ـو ـه
i'jam (i)
Unicode 0621 .. 0627 .. 0649 .. 06BA .. 066E .. 062D .. 0633 .. 0635 .. 0637 .. 0639 .. 06A1 .. 066F .. 066F .. 0644 .. 0645 .. 062F .. 0631 .. 0648. .. 0647 ..
1 dot below ب ج
Unicode FBB3. 0628 .. 062C ..
1 dot above ن خ ض ظ غ ف ذ ز
Unicode FBB2. 0646 .. 062E .. 0636 .. 0638 .. 063A .. 0641 .. 0630 .. 0632 ..
2 dots below (ii) ی
Unicode FBB5. 06CC ..
2 dots above ت ق ة
Unicode FBB4. 062A .. 0642 .. 0629 ..
3 dots below پ چ
Unicode FBB9. FBB7. 067E .. 0686 ..
3 dots above ث ش ژ
Unicode FBB6. 062B .. 0634 .. 0698 ..
line above گ
Unicode 203E. 06AF ..
none ء ا ی ں ح س ص ط ع ک ل م د ر و ه
Unicode 0621 .. 0627 .. 0649 .. 06BA .. 062D .. 0633 .. 0635 .. 0637 .. 0639 .. 066F .. 0644 .. 0645 .. 062F .. 0631 .. 0648. .. 0647 ..
madda above ۤ آ
Unicode 06E4. 0653. 0622 ..
Hamza below ــٕـ إ
Unicode 0655. 0625 ..
Hamza above ــٔـ أ ئ ؤ ۀ
Unicode 0674. 0654. 0623 .. 0626 .. 0624 .. 06C0 ..

^i. The i'jam diacritic characters are illustrative only; in most typesetting the combined characters in the middle of the table are used.

^ii. Persian has 2 dots below in the initial and middle positions only. The standard Arabic version ي يـ ـيـ ـي always has 2 dots below.

Letters that do not link to a following letter

Seven letters (و, ژ, ز, ر, ذ, د, ا) do not connect to the 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.


Persian script has adopted a subset of Arabic diacritics: zabar /æ/ (fatḥah in Arabic), zēr /e/ (kasrah in Arabic), and pēš /ou̯/ or /o/ (ḍammah in Arabic, pronounced zamme in Western Persian), tanwīne nasb /æn/ and šaddah (gemination). Other Arabic diacritics may be seen in Arabic loanwords in Persian.

Short vowels

Of the four Arabic diacritics, the Persian language has adopted the following three for short vowels. The last one, sukūn, which indicates the lack of a vowel, has not been adopted.

Short vowels
(fully vocalized text)
(in Persian)
Trans.(a) Value (b)


zebar/zibar a /æ/ /a/
zer/zir e; i /e/ /ɪ/; /ɛ/
peš/piš o; u /o/ /ʊ/

^a. There is no standard transliteration for Persian. The letters 'i' and 'u' are only ever used as short vowels when transliterating Dari or Tajik Persian. See Persian Phonology

^b. Diacritics differ by dialect, due to Dari having 8 distinct vowels compared to the 6 vowels of Farsi. See Persian Phonology

In Farsi, 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 piš, e.g. نو (now, meaning "new") or بسته (bast-e, meaning "package").

Tanvin (nunation)

Main article: Nunation

Nunation (Persian: تنوین, tanvin) is the addition of one of three vowel diacritics to a noun or adjective to indicate that the word ends in an alveolar nasal sound without the addition of the letter nun.

(fully vocalized text)
(in Persian)
َاً، ـاً، ءً
تنوین نَصْبْ Tanvine nasb
تنوین جَرّ Tanvine jarr Never used in the Persian language.

Taught in Islamic nations to

complement Quran education.

تنوین رَفْعْ Tanvine rafʿ


Main article: Shadda

Symbol Name
(in Persian)
تشدید tašdid

Other characters

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 graphical form 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 Unicode Final Medial Initial Stand-alone Notes
alef madde â [ɒ] U+0622 ـآ آ آ The final form is very rare and is freely replaced with ordinary alef.
he ye -eye or -eyeh [eje] U+06C0 ـۀ ۀ Validity of this form depends on region and dialect. Some may use the two-letter ـه‌ی or ه‌ی combinations instead.
lām alef [lɒ] U+0644 (lām) and U+0627 (alef) ـلا لا
kašida U+0640 ـ This is the medial character which connects other characters

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.

Unicode has accepted U+262B FARSI SYMBOL in the Miscellaneous Symbols range.[8] In Unicode 1.0 this symbol was known as SYMBOL OF IRAN.[9] It is a stylization of الله (Allah) used as the emblem of Iran. It also a part of the flag of Iran, which is the typical rendering of "🇮🇷", the regional indicator symbol for Iran.

The Unicode Standard has a compatibility character defined U+FDFC RIAL SIGN that can represent ریال, the Persian name of the currency of Iran.[10]

Novel letters

The Persian alphabet has four extra letters that are not in the Arabic alphabet: /p/, /t͡ʃ/ (ch in chair), /ʒ/ (s in measure), /ɡ/. An additional fifth letter ڤ was used for /β/ (v in Spanish huevo) but it is no longer used.

Sound Shape Name Unicode code point
/p/ پ pe U+067E
/t͡ʃ/ (ch) چ če U+0686
/ʒ/ (zh) ژ že U+0698
/ɡ/ گ gâf U+06AF

Deviations from the Arabic script

Persian uses the Eastern Arabic numerals, but the shapes of the digits 'four' (۴), 'five' (۵), and 'six' (۶) are different from the shapes used in Arabic. All the digits also have different codepoints in Unicode:[11]

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 [a] U+064A
kāf ک U+06A9 ك U+0643
  1. ^ However, the Arabic variant continues to be used in its traditional style in the Nile Valley, similarly as it is used in Persian and Ottoman Turkish.

Comparison of different numerals

See also: Eastern Arabic numerals § Numerals

Western Arabic 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Eastern Arabic[a] ٠ ١ ٢ ٣ ٤ ٥ ٦ ٧ ٨ ٩ ١٠
Persian[b] ۰ ۱ ۲ ۳ ۴ ۵ ۶ ۷ ۸ ۹ ۱۰
Urdu[c] ۰ ۱ ۲ ۳ ۴ ۵ ۶ ۷ ۸ ۹ ۱۰
Abjad numerals   ا ب ج د ه و ز ح ط ي
  1. ^ U+0660 through U+0669
  2. ^ U+06F0 through U+06F9. The numbers 4, 5, and 6 are different from Eastern Arabic.
  3. ^ Same Unicode characters as the Persian, but language is set to Urdu. The numerals 4, 6 and 7 are different from Persian. On some devices, this row may appear identical to Persian.

Word boundaries

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.

Cyrillic Persian alphabet in Tajikistan

As part of the russification of Central Asia, the Cyrillic script was introduced in the late 1930s.[12][13][14][15] The alphabet remained Cyrillic until the end of the 1980s with the disintegration of the Soviet Union. In 1989, with the growth in Tajik nationalism, a law was enacted declaring Tajik the state language. In addition, the law officially equated Tajik with Persian, placing the word Farsi (the endonym for the Persian language) after Tajik. The law also called for a gradual reintroduction of the Perso-Arabic alphabet.[16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][excessive citations]

The Persian alphabet was introduced into education and public life, although the banning of the Islamic Renaissance Party in 1993 slowed adoption. In 1999, the word Farsi was removed from the state-language law, reverting the name to simply Tajik.[1] As of 2004 the de facto standard in use is the Tajik Cyrillic alphabet,[2] and as of 1996 only a very small part of the population can read the Persian alphabet.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Orsatti, Paola (2019). "Persian Language in Arabic Script: The Formation of the Orthographic Standard and the Different Graphic Traditions of Iran in the First Centuries of the Islamic Era". Creating Standards (Book).
  2. ^ a b Lapidus, Ira M. (2012). Islamic Societies to the Nineteenth Century: A Global History. Cambridge University Press. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-521-51441-5.
  3. ^ Lapidus, Ira M. (2002). A History of Islamic Societies. Cambridge University Press. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-521-77933-3.
  4. ^ Ager, Simon. "Persian (Fārsī / فارسی)". Omniglot.
  5. ^ "ویژگى‌هاى خطّ فارسى". Academy of Persian Language and Literature. Archived from the original on 2017-09-07. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  6. ^ "??" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  7. ^ "PERSIAN LANGUAGE i. Early New Persian". Iranica Online. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Miscellaneous Symbols". p. 4. The Unicode Standard, Version 13.0.
  9. ^ "3.8 Block-by-block Charts" § Miscellaneous Dingbats p. 325 (155 electronically). The Unicode Standard Version 1.0.
  10. ^ For the proposal, see Pournader, Roozbeh (2001-09-20). "Proposal to add Arabic Currency Sign Rial to the UCS" (PDF). It proposes the character under the name of ARABIC CURRENCY SIGN RIAL, which was changed by the standard committees to RIAL SIGN.
  11. ^ "Unicode Characters in the 'Number, Decimal Digit' Category".
  12. ^ Hämmerle, Christa (2008). Gender Politics in Central Asia: Historical Perspectives and Current Living Conditions of Women. Böhlau Verlag Köln Weimar. ISBN 978-3-412-20140-1.
  13. ^ Cavendish, Marshall (September 2006). World and Its Peoples. Marshall Cavendish. ISBN 978-0-7614-7571-2.
  14. ^ Landau, Jacob M.; Landau, Yaʿaqov M.; Kellner-Heinkele, Barbara (2001). Politics of Language in the Ex-Soviet Muslim States: Azerbayjan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-11226-5.
  15. ^ Buyers, Lydia M. (2003). Central Asia in Focus: Political and Economic Issues. Nova Publishers. ISBN 978-1-59033-153-8.
  16. ^ Ehteshami, Anoushiravan (1994). From the Gulf to Central Asia: Players in the New Great Game. University of Exeter Press. ISBN 978-0-85989-451-7.
  17. ^ Malik, Hafeez (1996). Central Asia: Its Strategic Importance and Future Prospects. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-16452-2.
  18. ^ Banuazizi, Ali; Weiner, Myron (1994). The New Geopolitics of Central Asia and Its Borderlands. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-20918-4.
  19. ^ Westerlund, David; Svanberg, Ingvar (1999). Islam Outside the Arab World. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-22691-6.
  20. ^ Gillespie, Kate; Henry, Clement M. (1995). Oil in the New World Order. University Press of Florida. ISBN 978-0-8130-1367-1.
  21. ^ Badan, Phool (2001). Dynamics of Political Development in Central Asia. Lancers' Books.
  22. ^ Winrow, Gareth M. (1995). Turkey in Post-Soviet Central Asia. Royal Institute of International Affairs. ISBN 978-0-905031-99-6.
  23. ^ Parsons, Anthony (1993). Central Asia, the Last Decolonization. David Davies Memorial Institute.
  24. ^ Report on the USSR. RFE/RL, Incorporated. 1990.
  25. ^ Middle East Monitor. Middle East Institute. 1990.
  26. ^ Ochsenwald, William; Fisher, Sydney Nettleton (2010-01-06). The Middle East: A History. McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN 978-0-07-338562-4.
  27. ^ Gall, Timothy L.; Hobby, Jeneen (2009). Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life. Gale. ISBN 978-1-4144-4892-3.