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Persian paintings

MENA Languages: Persian

Historically Persian was the language of poetry, literature, science, religion, law, and more for people in many regions, from the Balkans in Southeast Europe through the Caucasus, the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, and even extended to parts of Siberia and China. Today Persian is spoken by over 100 million people in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and elsewhere. The United States is also home to hundreds of thousands of Iranian- and Afghan-Americans, many of whom speak Persian. Oklahoma in particular has significant Iranian and Afghan communities.

The Persian language is sometimes also called “Farsi.” The proper name of the language in English is “Persian”; Farsi is what Persian is called in Persian, just as German is called Deutsch in German, or French is called Français in French.

$1000 annual scholarship for all Persian language students

The Farzaneh Family Persian Language Scholarship supports full-time OU students enrolled in Persian language with a GPA of 2.5 or above. 

Learn more about the scholarship

Why Study Persian at OU?

  • Small class sizes
  • All Persian students are eligible for the Farzaneh Family Persian Language Scholarship
  • Free tutoring is available for all students
  • Classes promote a stressless and fun environment, providing students with individual attention
  • Language lab has excellent contemporary Iranian films
  • Persian students gain important skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening
  • Students also gain an understanding of Iranian culture
  • Provides preparation for careers in interpreting, translation, international affairs, diplomacy, Middle Eastern Studies, defense, and more
  • It’s easy and fun!

Career Opportunities for Persian Speakers

  • Academia
  • Courts
  • Defense
  • Diplomacy
  • Journalism
  • Healthcare
  • Human Rights Organizations
  • International Corporations
  • International Relations
  • Oil Industry
  • Tech
  • Think Tanks
  • Translation
  • United Nations

Courses Offered

This course is for students who have no background in the Persian language and wish to learn the language at an academic level. Students learn the Persian alphabet, phonology, and syntax. 

A continuation of PERS 1115. An elementary-level course, which stresses oral communication, vocabulary building, simple sentence structure, reading comprehension and writing elementary-level texts, and gaining familiarity with Persian culture. 

Continuation of PERS 1225. An intermediate level course, which will stress listening, speaking, reading and writing at the intermediate level with more emphasis on reading and writing. Students are expected to gain proficiency of Intermediate Mid on the American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages Scale. 

Continuation of PERS 2113. Intermediate-level course, which will continue developing language skills: speaking, writing, listening and reading at the intermediate high-level. Students are expected to gain proficiency of Intermediate High on the American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages Scale.