Persian vs Arabic: The Similarities and Differences

persian vs arabic

Persian vs Arabic: The Similarities and Differences

(Last Updated On: June 24, 2022)

Persian Vs Arabic

If you’re planning on traveling to the Middle East shortly, you might be wondering about the differences between Arabic and Persian (also called Farsi). After all, both languages are essential in that region, so it makes sense to get to know them as much as possible. While these two languages are similar in specific ways, they have plenty of differences that make them unique, too! Here’s a look at some similarities and differences between Arabic and Persian.

The Persian Language

There are two things most people know about Persian. First, it’s one of two languages that use a variant of Arabic script, along with Urdu and others. Second, it’s spoken in Iran—as well as in parts of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan. But what is Persian exactly?

Does it even matter to differentiate between Persian and Arabic? Let’s find out. Persian (also known as Farsi) is an Indo-European language closely tied to Latin, Greek and Germanic languages like English. Its name comes from Fars, which was an ancient name for Persia. It’s a Semitic language, though, which means it has more in common with Arabic than any other major language group.

While Persian shares much of its vocabulary with Arabic—and many Persians also speak Arabic as their second or third language—there are differences between them. For example, while both have been influenced by French and English over time, they still have distinct sounds when spoken aloud.

Some words will sound similar but be spelled differently depending on whether they come from Persian or Arabic roots; other words may be completely different altogether.

arabic vs farsi

How different are they?

Persian (or Farsi) and Arabic have unique traits – Neither Persian nor Arabic is spoken exclusively in one country or region. Both languages are widely used throughout Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Western Asia. They also differ in how they sound.

Persian vowels can be short or long (like English), but Arabic vowels aren’t usually prolonged. Also, Persian has a lot of words borrowed from other cultures over its history, including French and English. Plus, it has many letters representing a single sound; for example, s is often written as ص. And that’s not all! There are some significant differences between these two languages.

For instance, Arabic uses an alphabet called abjad, which only uses consonants to write down words. On top of that, each letter represents only one sound—so you never need to worry about confusing similar-looking letters as you do with Roman alphabets like English.

However, because there are no vowels in an abjad script, native speakers sometimes use diacritics to indicate when a vowel should be pronounced. This makes reading more difficult than if there were actual vowel sounds included in the script. Persian has no diacritics, so it’s easier to read than Arabic scripts without them. But unlike Arabic scripts, Persian isn’t limited to just consonants; it includes four basic vowel sounds that appear at different points within words.

Similar Words in Both Languages

Persian is mostly mutually intelligible with dialects of Farsi (i.e., Dari) in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, as well as other Iranian languages like Kurdish, Balochi, etc. It’s also related to languages spoken in Iraq (e.g., Mandaean), Turkey (e.g., Luri), Caucasus countries like Armenia or Azerbaijan, etc.

It’s pretty safe to say that if you know one of these languages, you can pick up Persian reasonably quickly; however, it’s also true that if you know a different Indo-European language (like Spanish or French), Persian will seem familiar, but very strange at first.

In terms of vocabulary, some words are similar in both languages (e.g., shah for king). However, there are many more words that are similar only because they have been borrowed from each other over time; for example, dastur means the rule of law in both languages but comes from an entirely different root word in each case (dast means hand and dar mean holding/supporting). In short, while there are some similarities between Persian and Arabic due to historical contact between them (and their mutual Semitic roots), they’re not all that similar. They’re pretty distinct from each other.

are persians arabs

Arabic – Afroasiatic Lanuguage

Arabic is an Afroasiatic language that originated in Mesopotamia and has spread throughout North Africa, Southwest Asia, and parts of Europe. There are two main varieties: Literary Arabic (the language used by writers and poets) and Colloquial Arabic (the everyday form used by speakers). There are also several regional variations, such as Moroccan or Egyptian Arabic.

While Literary Arabic has official status in most Arab countries, Colloquial is considered standard across most Arab regions; thus, while people might speak a different colloquial variety than you do when speaking among themselves, they’ll usually switch to traditional Literary when talking to someone who doesn’t speak their local dialect.

For instance, Moroccans typically use colloquial Moroccan Arabic with friends and family but shift to Literary Standard Arabic when speaking on TV or radio.

This said, there are still differences between Literary and Colloquial forms of Arabic even within a single country; for example, Egyptians tend to speak faster than Moroccans do (though still slower than most Westerners!). As far as writing goes, both Persian and Arabic use right-to-left scripts, making them easy to read once you get used to them. When we talk about Persian and Arabic, we mean Farsi (or Dari) and Arabic.

These are two closely related languages whose historical connection can be traced back thousands of years to ancient Persia (modern-day Iran). Modern-day Persians refer to their language as Farsi, whereas modern-day Arabs call their Arabic.

Although these two languages share a common ancestor, they have evolved separately. Although they’re both written using right-to-left alphabets and contain roughly 60% cognates, they’ve developed into separate languages with distinct vocabularies, grammar, and phonologies.

What are the differences between Arabic and Persian?

It is common for people to confuse Arabic and Persian because they are both Middle Eastern languages. However, there are some critical differences between the two languages. The Arabic language is written from right to left, while Persian is written from left to right. Arabic has 28 letters in its alphabet, while Persian has 32 letters. Persian has more loan words from other languages than Arabic does. And finally, Persian speakers use more Persian words in daily conversation than Arabic speakers do.

How similar are Persian and Arabic?

Persian and Arabic are two of the world’s most widely spoken languages. They are both members of the Semitic family of languages, including Hebrew and Amharic, and share many similarities. Both languages use the Arabic alphabet and have many common words. However, there are also some significant differences between the two languages. Persian is spoken by around 110 million people, mainly in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, while Arabic is spoken by approximately 422 million people in 22 countries.

How much is Persian different from Arabic?

Persian and Arabic are two of the most widely spoken languages in the world. Though they share some similarities, they also have many differences. Persian is the primary language spoken in Iran, while Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia. Persian is a member of the Indo-Iranian languages branch of the Indo-European language family, while Arabic language is a member of the Afro-Asiatic language family.

Persian vs. Arabic: The Alphabet/Script

There are many similarities between Persian and Arabic, including their shared use of the Arabic alphabet. However, there are also some crucial differences between the two languages, particularly regarding the alphabet/script. One fundamental similarity between Persian and Arabic alphabets is that they both use the Arabic alphabet. This alphabet consists of 28 letters, all of which are consonants. The Arabic alphabet is also used for writing other languages, such as Urdu, Pashto, and Persian.

However, there are some essential differences between how the Arabic alphabet is used in Persian and Arabic. In Persian, most of the words are written right-to-left, whereas, in Arabic, they are written left-to-right. Additionally, Persian uses a different set of characters to represent some of the sounds in the language. For example, the character ژ is used to describe the “zh” sound, which does not exist in Arabic.

Another critical similarity between Persian and Arabic is that they are both written in cursive scripts. This means that the letters are connected, making it easier to write quickly. However, there are some differences in the way the letters are connected. In Arabic, the letters are always connected, regardless of whether they are next to each other in a word. In Persian, on the other hand, the letters are only combined if they are next to each other in a word.

There are also some differences in the way the letters are written. In Arabic, all of the letters are written in the same way, regardless of where they appear in a word. In Persian, however, some letters change their shape depending on their position in a word. For example, the letter ا changes its shape when it appears at the beginning, middle, or end of a word.

One final fundamental similarity between Persian and Arabic is that they use diacritics to represent certain sounds. Diacritics are minor marks that are added to letters to change how they are pronounced. For example, the diacritic ـٔ is added to the letter ا to represent the sound “aa” in Arabic. In Persian, a similar diacritic, ـَ, is added to the letter ا to describe the sound “a.”

However, there are some essential differences in how diacritics are used in Persian and Arabic. In Arabic, diacritics are always written above or below the letter they modify. In Persian, however, diacritics can be written above, below, or to the right of the letter; they change. Additionally, Arabic has more diacritics than Persian, as more sounds in Arabic need to be represented.

Different words in both languages

The Persian language is spoken in Iran, parts of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan Republic, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. It’s also known as Farsi.

There are four different Persian dialects: Western Farsi or Farsi-ye Taruni (the language of Tehran), Eastern Farsi or Parsi (spoken by people in Mashhad), Central Farsi or Parsi-ye Markazi (spoken by people in Esfahan) and Southern Farsi or Dari-e Gharbi (spoken in northern Iran). Arabic is a Semitic language with over 300 million native speakers in Africa and Asia.

It’s an official language in 29 countries, including Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Sudan, and Syria. Also known as Fus’ha or Modern Standard Arabic, it has two primary forms: Classical Arabic (used for writing poetry) and Modern Standard Arabic (used for speaking on TV shows).

Modern Standard Arabic has six main regional varieties: Egyptian, Levantine; Maghrebi; Mesopotamian; South Arabian; and North African/Gulf. In addition to these regional varieties, dozens of local colloquial types differ from region to region, even within a country like Egypt. So although both languages have similarities, they’re not considered similar at all!

farsi vs arabic
is persian the same as farsi

Persian vs. Arabic Pronunciation

There are many differences between Persian and Arabic pronunciation, but the most notable ones are in how the letters “h” and “kh” is pronounced. In Persian, both of these letters are pronounced as a throaty “h” sound, while in Arabic, “h” is pronounced as a glottal stop, and “kh” is pronounced as a guttural “kh” sound.

One of the most significant differences between Persian and Arabic pronunciation is how the letters “h” and “kh” are pronounced. In Persian, both of these letters are pronounced as a throaty “h” sound, while in Arabic, “h” is pronounced as a glottal stop, and “kh” is pronounced as a guttural “kh” sound. This can make it difficult for Persian speakers to understand Arabic speakers and vice versa.

Another difference between Persian and Arabic pronunciation is how the letter “q” is pronounced. In Persian, “q” is pronounced as a “k” sound, while in Arabic, it is pronounced as a glottal stop. This can again make it difficult for Persian speakers to understand Arabic speakers. You must read this blog post why is it difficult to translate Arabic names?

Finally, there is a difference in how the letters “j” and “ch” is pronounced in Persian and Arabic. In Persian, “j” is pronounced as a “j” sound, while in Arabic, it is pronounced as a “ch” sound. Similarly, “ch” is pronounced as a “ch” sound in Persian but as a “j” sound in Arabic. This can make it difficult for Persian speakers to understand Arabic speakers and vice versa.

Conclusion

There are a lot of similarities between Persian and Arabic. Both languages belong to the same family (Northwest Semitic), have many similar words, are written from right to left, have identical Arabic scripts, etc. That being said, there is a stark difference in how they sound. In Iran, most people speak Farsi (also called Persian), which you’ll see on signs when you visit.

When traveling to other Arab countries such as Egypt or Jordan, you might find that most people speak Arabic, which is quite different from Farsi. Although Persian and Arabic share many similarities in terms of their structure, pronunciation can be difficult for native speakers of one language to learn if they were not raised with it growing up because sounds change across regions within these languages.

FAQ’s

Do Persian and Arabic use the same alphabet?

The Arabic and Persian languages both use the Arabic alphabet. However, there are some differences between the two alphabets. For example, Persian has four additional letters that are not used in Arabic. Additionally, the way the letters are written can differ between the two languages. For example, in Arabic, certain letters can only be written in one way, whereas in Persian, there may be multiple ways to write a letter.

Which came first, Arabic or Persian?

There is no clear answer to the question of which language came first, Arabic or Persian. Both languages have a long and complex history, and there is evidence to suggest that both languages may have influenced each other over the centuries. While some scholars believe that Arabic is the older language, others believe that Persian may have influenced the development of Arabic.

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