Persian for Persian Speakers

LIHL 117: Culture & Communication session
LIHL 117X: Language Analysis session

Course Description

This course is designed for heritage speakers of Persian. The term "heritage speaker" is used within the foreign-language teaching field to refer to a person who is raised in a home where a language other than English is spoken, who speaks or understands that language, and who is to some degree bilingual in English and the home language. [Read more]

LIHL 117 is taught at the beginner/intermediate level and is designed to improve students' command of the modern Persian language in the areas of reading, writing and conversation. The focus of the class is to develop vocabulary and language skills needed for reading straightforward fictional, cultural, and political texts and for understanding these general topics in informal social conversation. The topics discussed in the class range from cultural, historical and social issues to literature, poetry, and current events.

The course is taught in two complementary sessions: LIHL 117 meets on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and focuses on culture and society, with emphasis on communication skills and vocabulary. LIHL 117X meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays and covers grammar and language analysis. The class is taught in the Iranian dialect of Persian.

The methodology used is based on the communicative approach and the material is presented in the context of cultural, social and literary topics. While the culture and communication session (LIHL 117) focuses on speaking and communicative skills, the language analysis course (LIHL 117x) consists of a combination of lectures and guided discovery procedures where students will be given the tools to discover the linguistic patterns in the Persian language. The students are taught the alphabet if necessary; the more advanced group will be taught the Nast'aliq handwriting.


You should be able to understand Persian. Knowledge of reading and writing, however, are not required in order to sign up for this class.

Culture and Society

Since one of the goals of the Heritage Language Program is to strengthen the cultural literacy of the students, the course has a strong focus on the cultural, social and historical aspects of the Iranian people as well as other Persian-speaking nations. Topics in this course include discussions of the history and traditions of Iran, the current social and political situation, as well as the important contributions in art, cinema, poetry and literature. Topics may also cover issues and history of Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The students are expected to carry out readings on these topics and to participate in class discussions in Persian. Through these readings and discussions, the students are taught new vocabulary.

An important part of the course is dedicated to learning about the political system in Iran, and analyzing the social issues in the country both before and after the 1979 Revolution. Emphasis is placed on discussions about diversity, racism, the situation of religious minorities, the youth, and women in the society, as well as how these are represented through art and literature. The students are encouraged to compare and contrast the questions of diversity and culture in Iran and in the United States - in particular as it pertains to the Iranian community or to the other Persian-speaking immigrants - in oral and written assignments. More advanced students are required to make oral presentations on various aspects of Iranian history, while intermediate students are asked to make a cultural presentation.

Language and Linguistics

The language analysis course focuses on the linguistic issues of Persian. The grammar points covered in this course are designed specifically for heritage speakers and are used to enhance the students' language skills. The students will become familiar with various issues in the phonology, morphology and syntax of modern Persian.

The study of the history of Persian language is also used as a tool to demonstrate the effect cultural situations and social events (such as language contact with neighboring nations or immigrant communities) may have on the development of a language. In addition, the students are introduced to the Iranian and non-Iranian dialects spoken within Iran as well as dialects of other Persian-speaking nations such as Afghanistan and Tajikistan. This provides a better understanding of certain linguistic patterns in Persian but also promotes respect for diversity of dialects.

Spring 2005 Class Websites

Culture and Communication Session
LIHL 117

Language Analysis Sessions
LIHL 117x

To Heritage Language Program