11 Best And Worst Online Farsi (Persian) Courses For 2021

  • Johann Brennan
    Written byJohann Brennan
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11 Best And Worst Online Farsi (Persian) Courses For 2021

Looking for the best online Farsi course to learn the language?

Farsi (Persian) is rising in popularity, as more and more course options are being released.

In addition to tourism and foreign language careers, the benefits of speaking Farsi cannot be overstated.

Today I’m going to give you my rundown of the best (and worst) online Farsi courses.

Below you’ll find pros and cons for each Farsi course, pricing and a summary. Where applicable, I’ll link to a review of the course.

IMPORTANT: Some of the items listed below are probably only loosely defined as “courses” for Farsi. The reason I’ve included them is that they’re popular enough Farsi tools and therefore should be included.

DISCLAIMER: The comments below are personal opinions and some affiliate links are used.

The best Farsi courses online (most popular Farsi resources)

1. PersianPod101

PersianPod101

Cost: Starts as low as $4 a month.

Summary: PersianPod101 is a brilliant online resource for learning Farsi (especially listening comprehension). If you’re into podcast learning especially, this might be the course for you.

PersianPod101 uses audio lessons similar to podcasts. Lessons are suitable for beginners through more advanced levels. The instruction not only includes listening skills but also incorporates essential vocabulary and grammar with loads of other useful features.

What I like:

  • Large and always expanding variety of Farsi lesson material
  • Clean lesson interface and downloadable content

What I don’t like:

  • Content choices are sparse beyond the beginner level
  • Too much English banter
  • While the lesson interface is nice, the rest of the site is overwhelming and confusing to navigate

UNIQUE OFFER: Use the code MEZZOGUILD to save 25% on any of their Farsi course options.


2. Mondly Farsi

Mondly Farsi

Cost: Starts at $9.99/month.

Summary: Mondly offers courses for loads of different languages including Farsi and is similar in style to Duolingo and Babbel. There are even hints of Rosetta Stone in its delivery.

It’s a beautifully-designed web app and a pleasure to navigate the Farsi course content.

Some of the language courses aren’t that great (e.g. Arabic) but Farsi and others are done fairly well.

What I like:

  • Beautifully designed app and web interface makes it a pleasure to use
  • Clear and easy progression through the Farsi lessons
  • Inexpensive

What I don’t like:

  • Linear learning path
  • Fairly repetitive and monotonous

See this Mondly review to learn more.


3. Memrise

Memrise Farsi

Cost: Free

Summary: Memrise moved its free “community” courses to a site called Memrise a while back, while it continues to run a premium subscription on the original Memrise site.

From what I see, Memrise is identical to what Memrise use to offer.

Memrise are 100% free community-added courses (Farsi and others) in the form of a gamified flashcard deck. You select a language or dialect, then go through a flashcard game of “watering plants”. It’s highly addictive and actually quite effective.

Some courses are excellent but not all courses are good. Look for ones that include audio and ones that teach phrases rather than single words.

See my video on downloading Memrise to Anki.

What I like:

  • It’s an effective memorization tool for phrases and words.
  • The addictive nature of the game gets you coming back often to continue learning.
  • It’s all free.
  • There are loads of community-driven courses to choose from.

What I don’t like:

  • As it’s community-driven, you can’t always guarantee quality.

4. Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone Farsi

Cost: Starts at $6.49 a month.

Summary: My biggest complaint about Rosetta Stone used to be for its astronomical price tag but it recently switched over to a subscription model (to compete) and now is comparatively cheap.

RS was actually one of the first paid products I used to learn Farsi (and I used it A LOT).

Rosetta Stone is a household name that everyone’s heard about. It tends to get sharp criticism for its method but as I’ve pointed out in the past, people criticize Rosetta Stone because they’re either: a) impatient or b) not willing to allow the method to work for them. Rosetta Stone is all about intuition – it doesn’t give you quick answers or translations.

You infer meaning gradually.

No Farsi grammar rules are given. Just intuitive inference.

See my massively popular review of Rosetta Stone.

What I like:

  • Rosetta Stone is, to this day, one of the few major Farsi course products that is genuinely innovative and different
  • The RS immersion approach (using pictures and intuitiveness to learn) is a powerful approach that works (if the student’s patient)
  • Very comprehensive overall
  • Inexpensive (used to be outrageously expensive until they changed to a subscription model)

What I don’t like:

  • Inappropriate cultural images
  • Very formal dialogues used in scenarios that are unnatural (see my review where I explain this in detail)
  • Voice recognition is often inaccurate for Farsi

5. Transparent Language

Transparent Language Farsi

Cost: Pricing varies

Summary: Transparent is one of the most surprising online Farsi courses I’ve tried.

The system and interface are antiquated and slow which is a real drawback, but if you can look past it, Transparent Language provides a real depth of Farsi course content.

The voice recognition comparison is non-existent in Transparent Language. It relies on recording on your voice and showing you your sound wave to compare with the native speaker’s sound wave.

No inbuilt system to automatically compare sounds.

The Transparent Language course has a “Produce it. Say it.” section that literally asks you “Were you right?”.

In other words, no way to automatically detect whether you were correct or not – it relies on your own determination. This is incredibly outdated.

Overall, if you can look past the outdated design and deficient voice recording aspect, Transparent Language Farsi is an outstanding course option.

What I like:

  • Farsi dialogue is 100% natural speed
  • Extensive coverage and depth of content

What I don’t like:

  • Outdated and slow interface that’s a pain to navigate
  • Pronunciation section has no inbuilt voice recognition to compare to native dialogue

6. uTalk

uTalk Farsi

Cost: $4.99 monthly per language, $9.99 for all 140 languages, $99.99 for a lifetime subscription

Summary: uTalk is essentially a fancy flashcard app, an alternative to Memrise and a great way to learn words and phrases in hundreds of different languages.

There are thousands of potential language pair combinations and tons of native speaker audio recordings with picture associations.

What I like:

  • Authentic native speaker audio
  • Hundreds of available languages
  • Thousands of potential language combinations
  • Easily affordable

What I don’t like:

  • Sloppy UI
  • Games are mediocre
  • Broad approach that isn’t tailored for specific languages

7. Pimsleur Farsi

Pimsleur Farsi

Cost: $14.95 a month subscription (or $119.95 per level)

Summary: Pimsleur’s a household name for learning Farsi using spaced repetition recall. The lessons focus on practical vocabulary and expressions one might need in various scenarios. This includes greetings, common phrases, and vocabulary you might need when talking to native speakers.

In terms of just how much you get out of it, I’d say Pimsleur is a good entry point for Farsi but it will only familiarize you with the basics. Treat its Farsi course as a foundational course and then move on to something more comprehensive.

Pimsleur does not offer any video or written content. It’s audio only.

Read this Pimsleur review.

What I like:

  • Pimsleur was based on solid research in second language acquisition.
  • Extremely effective method despite its age.
  • Heavy repetition of Farsi language samples.

What I don’t like:

  • Outdated scenario examples.
  • Too much English.

8. italki

italki

Cost: Prices vary widely

Summary: italki connects learners with tutors, teachers and conversation partners. As with similar services, it doesn’t a curriculum or content to instructors - just facilitates.

The good thing about italki is their vetted onboarding process for teachers which ensures quality. italki has earned its amazing reputation.

Teachers succeed on italki through client feedback, meaning subpar teachers simply will not cut it on the platform.

What I like:

  • Facilitates great connections with expert teachers.

What I don’t like:

  • No set curriculum means you could be paired with an inexperienced new teacher not yet weeded out by italki’s review system.

9. Mango Languages

Mango Farsi

Cost: $7.99 a month

Summary: Mango Languages has implemented what I believe to be one of the best ‘chunking’ approaches in its course style I’ve ever seen (very close to my own successful method). It does this by avoiding grammar Farsi explanations and instead highlighting lexical chunks in colors to help you learn language patterns.

One of the best features I’ve seen in a language product. Period.

The only problem with Mango is that it’s quite lightweight on its course depth. If they developed an advanced course for Farsi, I’d be a raging fan.

What I like:

  • Beautifully designed Farsi course
  • Focuses on lexical chunks (color coded) rather than rules which is how I prefer to learn

What I don’t like:

  • Minimal grammar focus
  • Lack of content depth for higher-level learners

10. Glossika Farsi

Glossika Farsi

Cost: $30 a month.

Summary: I’m a huge fan of the Glossika series.

Glossika is one of the most unique language products available and, in my opinion, one of the very few that uses a natural, research-grounded method. In fact, the Glossika method aligns very closely with how I personally learned Farsi and I’ve seen tremendous success doing it.

Glossika focuses on high repetition of lexical chunks – in other words, listening over and over to a sequence of sentences at natural speed and repeating them.

It is hands down the most effective trainer for Farsi listening comprehension and requires little else but frequent, daily listening/repeating to audio.

See this massive Glossika review and interview I put together.

What I like:

  • One of the most truly unique and effective methods available, in my opinion.
  • I personally had tremendous success using Glossika for Farsi (and Russian).
  • Focuses on heavy repetition of natural language chunks.

What I don’t like:

  • Difficult concept to grasp for new learners of Farsi.
  • Natural approach requiring heavy repetition may feel tedious to some people.
  • Slightly higher priced monthly subscription.

11. Assimil (Le persan)

Assimil Farsi

Cost: Prices vary widely

Summary: The Assimil method is old and outdated, and its ‘two wave’ approach has little value in light of current Second Language Acquisition trends (although its focus on patterns rather than grammar drills is ahead of its time). The Assimil dialogues are extremely useful, however.

What I like:

  • High quality dialogues
  • Perfectly arranged audio library
  • Very comprehensive

What I don’t like:

  • Translation-based
  • Doesn’t appear to be backed by research or case studies
  • Unusual and bizarre situational topics

Summary: Best online Farsi courses

This pretty much sums up every online Farsi course option currently available (if I missed one, let me know!).

In addition to a Farsi course, make sure you’re getting regular Farsi practice with native speakers.

For that, italki is the easiest way to find really inexpensive practice partners and tutors.

Just remember that even if you have all the courses on this list, you’ll still fail at Farsi without the right motivation, and even a poor Farsi course can be effective in the hands of someone with the right amount of determination to succeed.

For tips on how to learn Farsi and overcoming various language learning struggles, subscribe below by ‘Joining the Guild’ (select Farsi as your target language).


Know of a Persian course that I didn’t mention?

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Donovan Nagel
Donovan Nagel - B. Th, MA AppLing
I'm an Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator with a passion for language learning (especially Arabic).
Currently learning: Greek
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