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Speak / Lesson 61

Animals (Vocabulary Sprint)

This is a vocabulary sprint, which means you can listen to the lesson no matter where you are in the learning process. It's just a way to get a number of vocabulary words in your tool belt.

In this lesson, we learn the words for different animals. We'll first go over animals covered in the book 'Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See, which you can see translated into Persian in this blog post. We then go over a series of other animals, and other words and phrases associated with animals. Enjoy!


how are you?

Note: In Persian, as in many other languages, there is a formal and an informal way of speaking. We will be covering this in more detail in later lessons. For now, however, chetor-ee is the informal way of asking someone how they are, so it should only be used with people that you are familiar with. hālé shomā chetor-é is the formal expression for ‘how are you.’

Spelling note: In written Persian, words are not capitalized. For this reason, we do not capitalize Persian words written in phonetic English in the guides.


I’m well

Pronunciation tip: kh is one of two unique sounds in the Persian language that is not used in the English language. It should be repeated daily until mastered, as it is essential to successfully speak Persian. Listen to the podcast for more information on how to make the sound.

Persian English
salām hello
chetor-ee how are you?
khoobam I’m well
merci thank you
khayli very
khayli khoobam I’m very well
khoob neestam I’m not well
man me/I
bad neestam I’m not bad
ālee great
chetor-een? how are you? (formal)
hālé shomā chetor-é? how are you? (formal)
hālet chetor-é? how are you? (informal)
khoob-ee? are you well? (informal)
mamnoonam thank you
chetor peesh meeré? how’s it going?
ché khabar? what’s the news? (what’s up?)

Leyla: Hello everyone and welcome to the 77th episode of Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation! I’m so glad you’ve joined us. And by us I mean myself, Leyla, the host of this podcast, and I’m joined today by a very special cohost, my husband Chris. Salam Chris

Chris: Salam!

Leyla: So, we just wrapped up a unit on Persian poetry on Chai and Conversation, which may be my favorite unit we’ve done so far. We covered poems by a wide range of poets. We’ll be coming back to poetry again in a later unit, but for now, we thought we’d do something a little different. These next few lessons are going to be what we’re calling vocabulary sprints. They’re going to be short and sweet episodes made with the sole purpose of increasing your vocabulary quickly. And the beauty of these lessons is that you don’t have to have heard the previous lessons in order to go through them. So, the slightly embarrassing truth is that Chris hasn’t actually been through all the Chai and Conversation lessons yet

Chris: It’s true- but we have been pretty busy the past few years

Leyla: That’s true. But, by going through these lessons, he’ll hopefully have a broad range of vocabulary he can pull from and use to supplement when he does begin going through the Chai and Conversation curriculum.  Each lesson is going to have a theme, and the lessons will be a little shorter than our typical lessons. We’ll cover about 15-20 words per lesson to keep them manageable.

Chris: In the podcast, we’ll go over all the vocabulary we’ll cover in the lesson. The audio lessons, as always, will remain free. If you log on to our webpage at with chai spelled CHAI, you can become a subscriber on our website, and get the bonus materials for these lessons. As with all our previous lessons, you’ll get the pdf guide to the lesson which include all the words we’ll be learning with phonetic English script and Persian script. You’ll be able to listen to each word individually in the vocabulary list. You’ll also have access to the video lesson where you’ll be able to watch each of the words appear on the screen as Leyla is teaching them.

Leyla: Also, I’m excited to announce that for these vocabulary lessons, we’ve also brought back something we did for the first few lessons, and that is the quizcast. The quizcast is a special audio lesson where you’ll be able to actually test the words you’ve been learning throughout the week. So after you listen to this initial lesson once, you can use all those other resources to really commit these words to memory. And the more vocabulary you have under your toolbelt, the better you’ll be able to have conversations in the Persian language.

Chris: And again, for the vocabulary sprint lessons, you don’t need to have listened to any previous lessons of Chai and Conversation. And you can listen to these lessons in any order you want. So if a particular category of vocabulary seems interesting to you, go for it!

Leyla: In this first vocabulary sprint lesson, we’re going to be going over animals. An impetus for this is the book Brown Bear Brown Bear What do you See, which is a very popular children's book that my son absolutely loves. I’ve actually created a translation of this book on the Chai and Conversation blog, and I’ll link to that as well on this lesson page. Reading that would be an excellent way to reinforce these vocabulary words.

Leyla: So first, let’s go over the animals in that book. The word for bear, the title character of the book, is khers

Chris: khers

Leyla: And as we always say in Chai and Conversation, the best way to learn anything is to repeat the words out loud. So no matter where you are, when I say a word, you should repeat it out loud after me. It’s the only way to learn. So as you know, kh is one of the sounds in the Persian language not in the English language so it might be a little tricky to say. But again, the word for bear in Persian is khers

Chris: khers

Leyla: Next in that book is a bird. Now, there are several words in Persian for bird, so let’s go over a few of them. The most basic word for a bird is parandeh

Chris: parandeh

Leyla: And this is probably the most formal version of the word. So again, bird is parandeh


Leyla: And pareedan in Persian is to jump. So parandeh is something that jumps- in this case, it’s something that jumps in order to fly. Parandeh

Chris: parandeh

Leyla: A more cute word for bird, similar to, say birdie, is joojoo

Chris: joojoo

Leyla: And it’s also sometimes said as joojeh

Chris: joojeh

Leyla: You might know that chicken kabob in Persian is called joojeh kabob, so bird kabob. Joojeh

Chris: joojeh

Leyla: So we had bear, khers

Chris: khers

Leyla: The more formal word for bird, parandeh

Chris: parandeh

Leyla: And next is duck. The Persian word for duck is actually very similar to the English word- it’s ordack. Ordcak

Chris: ordack

Leyla: Next animal, horse. Horse in Persian is asb

Chris: asb

Leyla: Short and simple- asb

Chris: asb

Leyla: Ok, so that’s four animals we’ve learned so far. Let’s test how well you’ve learned them up to the point. What’s the word for duck in Persian. Remember, it’s pretty similar to the English word duck.

Ordack- so the Persian word for duck, ordack

Chris: ordack

Leyla: Next, what’s the word for bear.

Chris: Khers

Leyla: And what’s a cute word for bird, something along the lines of birdie

Chris: Either joojoo or joojeh

Leyla: Next, the word for horse, which we just learned.

Chris: Asb

Leyla: And finally, the more formal word for bird.

Chris: Parandeh

Leyla: Ok great, so khers, parandeh, joojoo, ordack and asb, four animals to add to your vocabulary list.

Next is a much longer word, and that is the word for frog. The word for frog in Persian is ghoorbagheh

Chris: ghoorbagheh

Leyla: And again, this is tricky to say because it uses the second sound in Persian that isn’t in the English language, and that is the sound ‘gh’. It has two of those sounds in there- ghoorbagheh. To me, this sounds a bit like the sound that a frog makes. Ghoorbagheh

Chris: ghoorbagheh

Leyla: Next, an animal that many of you actually have, and that is a cat. So just as in English, there’s different versions of the word cat, like kitty, in Persian there’s a more formal and a cuter version. The more formal version is gorbeh

Chris: gorbeh

Leyla: And the cuter version is peeshee

Chris: peeshee

Leyla: There’s a phrase in the Persian language that goes peeshee, doosteh man meeshee, which means kitty, will you be my friend? So let’s try that together- peeshee, doosteh man meeshee?

Chris: peeshee doosteh man meeshee?

Leyla: So again, kitty in Persian is peeshee

Chris: peeshee

Leyla: And the more formal version of cat is gorbeh

Chris: gorbeh

Leyla: And gorbeh almost sounds a bit like the word for frog, so let’s go over that again. The Persian word for frog is ghoorbagheh

Chris: ghoorbagheh

Leyla: If we learn the word for cat, of course we need to learn the word for dog. And this word also has a couple different versions. The more formal word for dog is sag

Chris: sag

Leyla: And the more informal word for dog is hapoo

Chris: hapoo

Leyla: And that’s equivalent to something like doggie. Ok let’s go back over some of the words we’ve learned again. First let’s repeat the words, and you try to think of what they mean in English. First it’s ghoorbagheh

Chris: ghoorbagheh

Leyla: And that means frog. Next, ordack

Chris: ordack

Leyla: And that means duck

Chris: Next, khers

Leyla: And that’s bear

Chris: Next, gorbeh

Leyla: And hopefully you remember, that means cat. Ok, moving on to the next animal, a sheep in Persian is bareh. Barreh

Chris: barreh

Leyla: And the final animal we’ll be learning in this vocabulary sprint is fish. This one is very simple- you may have heard of the fish mahi mahi in English- the word for fish in Persian is simply mahi

Chris: mahi

Leyla: And that’s all the animals in the book! Before we go on to a few other animals, Chris, are there any animals you’d really like to learn that we haven’t covered?

Chris: Well, I’m partial to lizards

Leyla: Ha, that’s true, ok the word for lizard in Persian is marmoolak

Chris: marmoolak

Leyla: Ha, yes perfect- that’s a pretty fun word to learn. Marmoolak

Chris: marmoolak

Leyla: And it’s actually contained in another word that can be a second bonus word we’re learning, and that’s the word for snake. Mar

Chris: mar

Leyla: So marmoolak, lizard, means something along the lines of a little snake. Marmoolak

Chris: marmoolak

Leyla: So snake mar,

Chris: mar

Leyla: and lizard marmoolak

Chris: marmoolak

Leyla: Another animal along those same lines is a soosmar, which is the word for alligator. Soosmar

Chris: soosmar

Leyla: Great, so mar, snake, marmoolak, lizard, and soosmar, alligator- they all have that same root word for snake, mar

Chris: mar

Leyla: All right, next let’s cover a word you say often, and that is the word for mouse, moosh

Chris: Moosh

Leyla: And can you tell us where this comes up Chris?

Chris: Well, it can be used as a term of endearment, especially for kids. So sometimes I’ll call our son Rooz moosh

Leyla: That’s right! So again, mouse is moosh

Chris: Moosh

Leyla: And an animal that rhymes with that is khargoosh. And that means rabbit. Khargoosh

Chris: Khargoosh

Leyla: And that’s a useful word because it’s actually made up of two different words like many words in the Persian language. Goosh is the word for ear. Goosh

Chris: Goosh

Leyla: And khar is the word for donkey. Khar

Chris: Khar

Leyla: So khargoosh put together is donkey ears. So a rabbit is an animal that has the ears of a donkey. Khargoosh

Chris: Khargoosh

Leyla: And khar is a bonus animal then, donkey- donkeys are very important in Persian culture. The word khar is also used as an insult. If you want to say someone is very stupid, you call them a khar. Khar

Chris: Khar

Leyla: All right, so that’s a lot of animals right there! So remember, now set a goal for when you’d like to memorize all these, and really stick to your plan. You can use all of the resources on our website to help you.

Chris: And that website is

Leyla: If you’re not already a member, you can sign up for a free 30 day trial and have access to everything we’ve ever created, including the new quizcast which will quiz you on all this vocabulary.

Chris: And thanks for letting me be a part of this podcast, I’m excited to have joined!

Leyla: Yes, thank you so much for joining us- I’m excited for you to learn all these vocabulary! And that wraps up Lesson 77, see you next time on Lesson 78 where we’ll be learning about different rooms in a house! Ta dafeyeh baad, from Leyla

Chris: Khodahafez from Chris!