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Speak / Lesson 19

How to Talk About Love and Friendship

In this lesson, we learn how to talk about love and friendship. We learn common terms of endearment, how to compliment a loved one, and how to talk about your marital status.

We also learn how to say 'I love you' in Farsi, which might be a bit more complicated than you would think. There's not a direct translation of 'I love you.' Rather, you could say 'I am in love with you' (man āsheghetam), or 'I like you' (doostet dāram) which often gets used in the place of 'I love you'.

The most common term of endearment in the Persian language is jān or joon (either one works). This is often said after a loved one's name. For instance, if you are talking to your friend named Sarah, you could call them 'Sarah joon' to show them that you really care for them. You could also use it to call a family member. For instance, the word for maternal uncle in Persian is dāyee. Uncles are often called 'dāyee joon' meaning dear uncle.


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 back to Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation!

Matt: You have made it to lesson 19, the last lesson of Unit 2 of Chai and Conversation. Lesson 20 will be a review of all the material we learned in this unit.

Leyla: Please do remember that all of our previous lesson and bonus materials can be found on our website at, with chai spelled CHAI. In the very first lesson of Chai and Conversation, we listed several reasons you might have for learning the Persian language. Since then, we have received many personal emails from you our listeners on specific reasons that you are learning.

Matt: The reason vary widely, but many of you have some sort of personal connection with a Persian speaker. Either you are in a relationship with a Persian speaking person, or you have close friends or acquaintances who are Persian speakers, and you would like to be able to communicate with them in Persian.

Leyla: The ultimiate goal of Chai and conversation is to teach you conversational skills so that you can communicate more effectively with others. So in this lesson, we would like to learn how to express feelings of love and friendship. The Persian language has so much vocabulary tied to these concepts, and you will hear these expressions used in many day to day conversations. So let’s get right on with it. So Matt, , are you ready to begin lesson 19?

Matt: Ready!

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

Leyla: Let’s begin with an incredibly important word, although it is a bit difficult to say, and that is the word for love, esgh.

Matt: eshgh

Leyla: So obviously this is difficult because it combines the sound sh with the less familiar sound gh. Eshgh

Matt: Eshgh

Leyla: And the word for friendship is ‘doostee’

Matt: Doostee

Leyla: Eshgh va doostee, love and friendship, the two central concepts of this lesson.

Leyla: You can say ‘you are my love by saying ‘to eshghe manee’

Matt: To eshgheh manee

Leyla: Manee is a combination of man which means me and hastee, which is the second person conjugation of the word to be. We’ll go over conjugations in more detail in the unit 3 of chai and conversation. So again, to say ‘you are my love,’ you say ‘esgheh manee’

Matt: Esgheh manee

Leyla: Now, there’s not really a way to say ‘I love you’ exactly, but instead, you say ‘I’m in love with you’ which in Persian is ‘asheghetam’

Matt: Asheghetam

Leyla: So this is informal, and it’s most often used with someone with whom you’re in a romantic relationship. So Matt, you would say this with Ladan. Asheghetam

Matt: Asheghetam

Leyla: You might also hear a mother say this to her child, or with two very close friends, but again, the closest translation is ‘I’m in love with you’, so you shouldn’t use it too lightly. To say ‘I like you’ you say ‘Dooset daram’

Matt: Dooset daram

Leyla: We’ve heard the root of that expression before, when we learned how to talk about thing we like. For example, man chookoolat doost daram. So again doostee is the word for friendship and doost is the word for friend. Doost

Matt: Doost

Leyla: And can be used for a male or female friend. But back to the expression ‘dooset daram’. So, in English, the concept of ‘I like you’ doesn’t come up too often unless it’s between school children. It’s a much more common phrase in Persian though, and two people who are in love can use it, for example, in lieu of the much more serious sounding ‘I’m in love with you’. But depending on who you are talking to, dooset daram can be substituted for ‘I love you’. It can also easily be said to friends and between family members. So one more time, dooset daram

Matt: Dooset daram.

Leyla: To ask someone if they love or like you, you can ask ‘doosam daree?”

Matt: Doosam daree?

Leyla: This literally means ‘do you like me,’ but in context would mean ‘do you love me.’ Doosam daree?

Matt: Doosam daree?

Leyla: With both phrases, to say them properly in the manner in which they’re written, you would pronounce the ‘t’ in the word ‘doost’. So doostet daram and doostam daree. But in conversation, the second t gets dropped so it sounds like dooset daram and doosam daree. After you have asked ‘doosam daree?’ and someone has answered ‘baleh dooset daram.’ You can answer by saying that you also like or love them by say ‘man ham dooset daram.’

Matt: Man ham dooset daram

Leyla: Now let’s learn a few important terms of endearment. Iranians love to use terms of endearment, even in casual conversation. One extremely common word you will hear is the word ‘jan’. The word jan literally means soul or spirit, but in this context essentially means the same thing as ‘dear’. Jan

Matt: jan

Leyla: So, Matt, I could refer to you as Matt jan. And you could call me

Matt: Leyla jan

Leyla: And this is just a respectful way of talking to people. It can be said to friends, relatives, significant others. Another way of saying it is joon instead of jan. Joon

Matt: Joon

Leyla: And this is just as common. So Matt joon and

Matt: Leyla joon.

Leyla: So let’s use this in a short conversation. I’ll start.

Leyla: Matt jan, chetori?

Matt: Khayli khoobam Leyla jan, to khoobee?

Leyla: Man ham khoobam. Ladan jan chetore?

Matt: Ladan jan ham khoobeh.

Leyla: So in this conversation, we each referred to each other as our names followed by ‘jan’ and we did the same when we referred to Matt’s wife. This is very common in Persian conversations. Let’s learn another important term of endearment, and that is ‘azizam’

Matt: Azizam

Leyla; This can be translated as ‘my dear.’ So you can use this word to replace someone’s name. For example, you could say ‘Salam azizam!’ or ‘Azizam, chookoolat doost daree?” and so on. Azeezam

Matt: Azeezam

Leyla: Just as azizam means ‘my dear,’ the word jan can be transformed to ‘janam’ to mean the same thing. Janam

Matt: Janam

Leyla: Often times in conversation, when you call out someone’s name, they will answer with ‘baleh janam?’ Meaning ‘yes, my dear?’ So again, janam

Matt: Janam

Leyla: We can also transform these words in a different way. By saying azeezamee you are saying ‘you are my dear’. Azeezamee is a combination of azeezam and hastee. So you are my dear, azeezamee

Matt: Azeezamee

Leyla: You can also say janamee

Matt: Janamee

Leyla: As we said before, jan literally means soul, so this phrase means you are my soul. Janamee, a combination of janam and hastee. Janamee

Matt: Janamee

Leyla: One term of endearment that might seem strange is to call someone ‘jeegar’

Matt: Jeegar

Leyla: Jeegar literally means ‘liver’ but for some reason, it is a sweet word to call another person. So you can refer to someone as ‘jeegar’, and this would be seen as a very sweet thing to do, similar to calling someone ‘honey’ in English. Jeegar

Matt: Jeegar

Leyla: So let’s review all these words one more time. To say I’m in love with you, you say ‘asheghetam’

Matt: Asheghetam

Leyla: To say I like you, you say ‘dooset daram’

Matt: Dooset daram

to follow someone’s name with ‘dear’ you use the word jan

Matt: jan

Leyla: or joon

Matt: joon

Leyla: My dear is azizam

Matt: Azizam

Leyla: You are my dear is azeezamee

Matt: Azeezamee

Leyla: You are my soul is janamee

Matt: janamee

Leyla: And finally, a sweet term, literally translated as liver is ‘jeegar

Matt: Jeegar

Leyla: Now, we learned in a previous lesson that the word ‘ghorbanat’ could be used as a form of saying goodbye. Ghorbanat literally means ‘I am your sacrifice,’ but is a very common phrase in the Persian language. Another form of this expression is ‘ghorboonet beram’

Matt: Ghorboonet beram

Leyla: This means ‘I hope I become a sacrifice for you’, and is just a phrase used to mean that you really like someone. So again, Matt, this is a phrase you could say to Ladan, and in that context, it would mean that you really really like her. Ghorboonet beram

Matt: Ghorboonet beram

Leyla: Again, because Iranians exaggerate so much, this phrase can be said to anyone- to a close friend, to a niece or nephew, to a child or parent, to a boyfriend or girlfriend, etc. And now, because we’re on a bit of a romantic path, let’s learn a few phrases that pertain to romance. We’ve already learned how to say I love you. Now let’s learn how to compliment someone. Zeeba is the word for beautiful. Zeeba

Matt: Zeeba

Leyla: So to say you are very beautiful, you simply say khayli zeebayee

Matt: Khayli zeebayee.

Leyla: Zeebayee is a combination of zeeba and hastee. The word for pretty is ‘khoshgel’

Matt: Khoshgel

Leyla: So you could say ‘khayli khoshgelee’

Matt: Khayli khoshgelee.

Leyla: In both these phrases you could replace khayli with che. Che khoshgelee

Matt: Che khoshgelee.

Leyla: This just means ‘how pretty you are!’ Both pretty and beautiful are more likely to be said to a woman. A word that you could use when talking to a man is ‘khosh teep’

Matt: Khosh teep

Leyla: And this means something along the lines of handsome. So khosh teepee means you are handsome. Khayli khoshteepee

Matt: Khayli khoshteepee

Leyla: In all these phrases we have been using informal language because I’m assuming that if you feel comfortable using romantic language with someone, you are comfortable talking to them on an informal basis. Now let’s learn a very cheesy phrase that many people have been asking about, and we’ll leave the romance for a bit. To say ‘give me a kiss’ you could say boos bede

Matt: Boos bede

Leyla: Boos is the word for kiss and bede is the second person conjugation for to give. So give me a kiss, boos bede

Matt: Boos bede

Leyla: Ok, enough of the mushy stuff. Now, let’s learn to talk about our marital status. To say I’m single, you say ‘man mojaradam’

Matt: Man mojaradam

Leyla: To say ‘I have a wife,’ you say ‘man zan daram’

Matt: Man zan daram

Leyla: To say I have a husband, you say ‘man shohar daram’

Matt: Man shohar daram.

Leyla: I have a girlfriend is ‘man doost dokhtar daram

Matt; Man doost dokhtar daram

Leyla: So doost dokhtar is a direct translation of ‘girl friend’ and means the same thing in Persian as it does in English. And knowing that the word for boy is pesar, what is the word for ‘boyfriend’ Matt?

Matt: Doost pesar

Leyla: Exactly, so you could say ‘man doost pesar daram’

Matt: Man doost pesar daram

Leyla: Meaning I have a boyfriend. You could also say namzad daram, meaning I have a fiancé. Namzad daram

Matt: Namzad daram

Leyla: Ok, so we’ve learned a lot of words in this lesson so far. And we thought, what better way for Matt to try out his new vocabulary than to have a conversation with his wife Ladan. So we sent him out with a tape recorder to do just that. Let’s listen in

Matt: Salam Ladan jan

Ladan: Salam azizam

Matt: Khayli dooset daram

Ladan: Man ham dooset daram

Matt: Khayli asheghetam.

Ladan: Man ham asheghetam

Matt: Khayli khoshgelee

Ladan: Haha, ghorboonet beram Matt jan.

Leyla: Ok, so this was a super romantic conversation between Matt and Ladan, all using vocabulary we learned in this lesson. Thanks Matt for doing that, and thank you to Ladan for participating in the cheesy conversation! And that brings us to the end of lesson 19.

Leyla: So as we said, this was the last lesson in Unit 2. The next lesson will be a review of all the words and phrases we learned in this unit.

Matt: Unit 3 will be starting soon, and it will be a bit different than all the lessons we’ve had before.

Leyla: Hopefully you feel you have a bit of a grasp on conversational Persian, and you’ve been able to practice your conversational skills a bit, either by yourself in front of a mirror, or preferably with other Persian speakers. In the next unit, we’re going to try to understand the grammar behind many of the words and phrases we’ve learned so far so that you can feel even more confident with everthing we’ve been learning

Matt: As always, you can find bonus materials for this lesson and all of our previous lessons on our website at with chai spelled CHAI

Leyla: And please like our facebook page for updates on lessons and bonus materails, and to discuss topics about the Persian language

Matt: As always, thank you for listening and we look forward to you joining us next time on Chai and Conversation

Leyla: Until then, ghorbaneh shoma from Leyla

Matt: And beh omeedeh deedar from Matt!