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Speak / Lesson 62

Colors (Vocabulary Sprint)

In this lesson, we go over the most common colors as well as some incidental vocabulary associated with the colors. This is a vocabulary sprint, meaning you can listen to it no matter what level you are in the Persian language. These lessons are meant to provide you with a group of common vocabulary quickly.

The most common colors in the Persian language include:

brownghahveyeeقَهوِه ای







yellowzard زَرد
purplebanafsh بَنَفش
whitesefeed سِفید





orangenāranjee نارَنجی
graykhākestaree خاکِستَری
pinksooratee صورَتی
silvernoghreyee نُقرِه ای


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 lesson 78 of Chai and Conversation!

Chris: We’re so glad you’ve joined us!

Leyla: As we said last week, we are doing a special ‘vocabulary sprint series’ for the next few lessons of Chai and Conversation.

Chris: In these lessons, we’ll be covering a range of vocabulary in a short amount of time. You can find out more about these lessons on our website at with Chai spelled CHAI.

Leyla: And for now are you ready to begin learning Chris?

Chris: Ready!

Leyla: Great, then let’s begin to learn Persian with Chai and Conversation!


Leyla: So in the last lesson we went over animals, and as a starting off point used the story of Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See by first learning the animals in that story. We’ve put a translation of that story on our website, so you can check it out to enhance your understanding of animals.

Chris: And as we said in the last lesson, since we went over the animals using Brown Bear, it only makes sense that in this next lesson we cover colors.

Leyla: That’s right- if you’re somehow not familiar with the book, each of the animals has a color, even if it’s not the actual color of the animal.

Chris: Right, I think there’s a purple cat in there for example

Leyla: There is! It’s really a nice and simple book, so I encourage all of you to check out the translation on the website. We’ll link to it on the notes for this lesson. But, just as we used the book as a framework for the animals episode, we’re going to use the book as a framework for the colors too, and just go down the list used in book to start out. So the first animal in the book was khers

Chris: khers

Leyla: And that means

Chris: bear

Leyla: And I don’t know if I’m supposed to share this on the podcast, but what most of Chris’s friends in real life call him is Bear- so he’s very familiar with this animal. If I were to translate it to Persian I’d call him khers. But anyhow, in the book, Eric Carl, the author, says kherse ghahveyee. There are lots of different colors for bears in the real world, but in the book, it’s a brown bear, and brown is ghahveyee

Chris: Ghahveyee

Leyla: One nice thing about colors in the Persian language is that they’re often linked to something associated with that color, so we learn a lot of incidental vocabulary along with the name of the color. In this case ghahveyee comes from the word for coffee, which is ghahveh

Chris: Ghahve

Leyla: So ghahve, coffee, ghahveyee, brown, the color of coffee. Ghahveyee

Chris: Ghahveyee

Leyla: So the kherse ghahveyee, brown bear, in the book sees  a red bird. Red in Persian is ghermez

Chris: Ghermez

Leyla: And ghermez is not associated with a word in Persian, it’s simply a word. Ghermez

Chris: Ghermez

Leyla: There’s another common word for red also, and it is sorkh

Chris: Sorkh

Leyla: Although the words both have the exact same meaning, unfortunately for English speakers, they both contain a difficult sound- ghermez has that gh sound, and sorkh has the kh sound. So it’s just a matter of personal preference which one you use- they both mean the same thing and they both have a difficult sound. So ghermez

Chris: Ghermez

Leyla: And sorkh

Chris: Sorkh

Leyla: Both meaning red. So the red bird sees a yellow duck. Yellow in Persian is zard

Chris: zard

Leyla: This is another color that isn’t associated with something like ghahveyee, it’s simply a word for yellow- zard

Chris: Zard

Leyla: Great! So we are going over the name of the colors in this lesson, but really the best way to review and make sure you have these down in memory is by going over the bonus materials on our website on this lesson page. In the bonus materials, we have a resource called a quizcast in which I go over the words and quiz your memory and comprehension of them. So you can find that at our website at just scroll down on the page and you’ll see all the bonus materials for this lesson, including the quizcast, the lesson guide that goes over all these words with the phonetic English spelling, and the vocabulary list in which you can play me repeating each of these words individually. But, now, let’s go over these again. The word for brown in Persian is ghahveyee

Chris: Ghahveyee

Leyla: Can you think of one of the words for red?

Chris: Ghermez

Leyla: Great! And the other word for red?

Chris: Sorkh

Leyla: Perfect… and this is asking a lot but can you remember the word for yellow?

Chris: Mmmm…

Leyla: It’s zard! So ghahveyee, sorkh or ghermez and zard- three new colors for you. Next, the yellow duck sees an animal that does not reflect the actual color of the animal, and that is a blue horse. So blue in Persian is abee

Chris: Abee

Leyla: And this is a color that does come from a word, and that is the word for water. Ab

Chris: Ab

Leyla: So water is associated with the color blue- water is ab, and blue is abee

Chris: Abee

Leyla: Great! Next, the abee horse sees a green frog. Green in Persian is sabz

Chris: Sabz

Leyla: And in this case, there is a common Iranian thing that comes from this word. Every Iranian meal comes with a side of herbs and greens, and we call those sabzi- you’re familiar with this Chris:

Chris: Yes, the side of parsley, cilantro basil

Leyla: That’s right- it’s common to have a plate of herbs that you eat by the handful with each meal. In addition, there’s a popular dish that contains the word sabz in it, do you know what that is Chris?

Chris: Yes, ghormeh sabzi

Leyla: That’s right- ghormeh sabzi might be one of the most popular Iranian dishes, and it’s basically a stew of sautéed greens that you eat over rice. So ghormeh sabzi

Chris: Ghormeh sabzi

Leyla: A side of herbs is sabzi

Chris: Sabzi

Leyla: And the color is called ‘sabz’

Chris: Sabz

Leyla: Great! So moving on, the sabz frog sees a purple cat. Again, not the correct color of a cat, but he’s taking liberties to teach colors to children in the book. So the word for purple in Persian is banafsh

Chris: Banafsh

Leyla: And again, this doesn’t come from another word, but there is a beautiful flower that comes from this word, and that is a violet flower, which is called banafsheh

Chris: banafsheh

Leyla: And that’s also a popular girls name- banafsheh

Chris: Banafsheh

Leyla: And the color by itself is banafsh

Chris: Banafsh

Leyla: Let’s go over some of these colors again. I’ll pause so you can think of the word before I say it, and then repeat it with Chris. One word for the color red is- sorkh.

Chris: Sorkh

Leyla: Perfect- do you remember another word for red?

Chris: Ghermez

Leyla: Great. And the word for yellow again is zard

Chris: Zard

Leyla: The word for brown in Persian- ghahveyee

Chris: Ghahveyee

Leyla: The word for green in Persian is- sabz

Chris: Sabz

Leyla: And the word for blue- abee

Chris: Abee

Leyla: Great! Moving on, the purple cat sees a white dog. White in Persian is sefeed

Chris: sefeed

Leyla: Great, another word that doesn’t have an association with another word. So the opposite of sefeed is black, which in Persian is seeyah

Chris: Seeyah

Leyla: Great! Again, the word for white in Persian is sefeed

Chris: Sefeed

Leyla: And black is seeyah

Chris: Seeyah

Leyla: In the book, seeyah is associated with a black sheep. Seeyah

Chris: Seeyah

Leyla: Another common word for black in the Persian language is meshki. Meshki

Chris: Meshki

Leyla: So seeyah and meshki, two words for black. So the black sheep in the book sees a gold fish. Gold is a very important part of Persian culture- gold in Persian is talā

Chris: Tala

Leyla: And that refers to the element gold. The color gold in Persian is talayee

Chris: Talayee

Leyla: There are a couple of colors that are not covered in the book, so let’s go over those as well. First, a very common color is orange. Just like in English, orange is a color and a fruit, the word for orange in Persian is also associated with the fruit. The color orange in Persian is naranjee

Chris: Naranjee

Leyla: And the fruit is narangee

Chris: Narangee

Leyla: So naranjee and narangee. Next, let’s learn the word for gray. Gray in Persian is khakestari

Chris: Khakestari

Leyla: And this does come from a word- Khakestar is the Persian word for ashes. Khakestar

Chris: Khakestar

Leyla: Khakestar is ashes, so the color that comes from ashes is khakestari. Khakestari

Chris: Khakestari

Leyla: Another color that comes from the word is the word for pink- sooratee

Chris: Sooratee

Leyla: I think this one is especially nice because the word sooratee comes from the Persian word for face- soorat

Chris: Soorat. So it’s saying faces are pink?

Leyla: Yes, it’s funny, you think of Iranians as having an olive complexion in the west, but I guess Iranians see themselves as being pinkish. So sooratee

Chris: Sooratee

Leyla: All right and the last color we’re going to learn- we learned the word for gold, now let’s learn the word for the color silver. So the element silver in Persian is called ‘noghreh’

Chris: Noghreh

Leyla: So Chris can you guess what the color is called?

Chris: Noghreyee?

Leyla: That’s right! So noghreh is the element, silver, and the color, noghreyee

Chris: Noghreyee

Leyla: Perfect! Now, as we said, the best way to really get the comprehension of these words down is by checking out the bonus materials of the lesson on our page at

Chris: We’re going to end this lesson here because we want these lessons to be short and manageable- to give a good boost to your vocabulary in a short amount of time.

Leyla: We’ll be back with the next lesson going over common household objects.

Chris: That will definitely be a useful one for me.

Leyla: And with that we’ll end the lesson here. Thanks so much for joining us, and see you next time on Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation.

Chris: Khodahafez from Chris

Leyla: And ta dafeyeh baad, from Leyla