learning Persian

I am waiting to see if the Iranians are going to give me a visa – and, if it comes through, I should be off to Iran in a couple of weeks. I am a tad nervous about the visa because, against the advice of a friend of mine who has been to Iran, I wrote “author” for my occupation. He had expressly told me not to put “writer” because it could lead to the Iranian authorities thinking that I am a journalist and, for obvious reasons, they’re not keen to have such as visitors. Why did I do this? Well, because a ‘writer’ is what I am; what I do – and I don’t feel comfortable passing myself off as something I’m not.

While I wait (I have completed the ‘design’ for my Persian novel), I have been trying to learn Farsi. It seems to be an elegant and logically constructed language. I can now read it reasonably easily – and, suddenly, find that Arabic (Persian has been using essentially the same writing system since the Conquest, with the addition of some unique characters) has stopped being a bunch of squiggles (however beautiful) and actually makes sounds in my head. I noticed this last night watching the news from Libya – I could suddenly recognize letters in the graffiti scrawled on walls, and could begin to spell out words; my meagre skill should be good enough to read street and bus signs. This does beg the question: why don’t more of us spend the tiny effort needed to make at least this much of an approach to the ‘other’?

Posted by Ricardo

writer and blogger

2 Replies to “learning Persian”

  1. I’m sure I don’t think it’s a good idea to go to Iran… But you’re a grown man* and can make your own decisions…

    * well…


    1. grown enough *grin* and, yes, it may be dangerous. Last night saw a girl in Libya being asked if coming out into the street as she was doing was not dangerous and she replied that life was not to be lived always in safety. I have been a tad timorous all my life and am now feeling it’s time to be a little brave…


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