Center for Language Studies


Persian is a thriving modern language spoken by over 110 million people across the Middle East and Central Asia. Once a language of high cultural prestige and the language of choice for many empires, it was a dominant lingua franca from Turkey in the West to India in the East until at least the 18th century.

Why Learn Persian?

Today, three dialects of Persian are used as official languages: Persian in Iran (sometimes called ‘Farsi’ although the term Persian is preferred), Dari in Afghanistan, and Tajiki in Tajikistan. Mastery of any one of these contemporary dialects will allow students access to the great literary heritage in Persian as far back as 950 CE with minimal adjustments from the modern language. Additionally, much of the Persian-speaking diaspora has chosen to make North America its home. Large communities of Iranians, Afghans, and Tajiks can be found in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New York/New Jersey and Toronto.

The Persian program at Brown uses cutting-edge pedagogical methods to propel students to proficiency in Persian, whether their goal is to make connections with Persian speakers, explore Persian-language news and media, experience Persian literature in the original, or be able to conduct research in Persian. Special emphasis is laid on using authentic textual and audio-visual materials from Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and the Persian-speaking diaspora. We coordinate closely with research faculty in the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and other relevant departments to make sure our language courses complement content courses offered on the Middle East and Central Asia across the university. 

Students with prior exposure to Persian language should consider taking the placement exam prior to the start of the semester.


Persian Events