Speak / Lesson 5

How to Talk About Your Family, and Introduce Their Names

In this Persian (Farsi) lesson, we learn the words for members of your immediate family, and learn how to introduce your family members to other people. We finish off the lesson by learning how to introduce the names of your family members to others.

We begin by learning the vocabulary words for several key members of the family in Persian. As you know, family is very important in the Persian culture, so these vocabulary words wll be more useful to you than you could imagine. The words learned in this part of the lesson include:

  • brother
  • sister
  • mother
  • father
  • daughter
  • son
  • husband
  • wife


In the Persian culture, family is extremely important, and there are many many more words for specific family members than there are in English. For this reason, we'll leave the vocabulary words (yes, there are multiple multiple words) for cousin, aunt and uncle to a different lesson.

We also learn how to talk about a direct relative of yours by saying phrases such as:

  • my mother
  • my son
  • my daughter
  • This is my ____________

We finish off the lesson by learning how to introduce the names of family members.


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 Chai and Conversation. Esme man Leyla hast, and I am the teacher for the course.

Matt: Esme man Matt hast, and I am the student in this course.

Leyla: We hope you've been enjoying the past few lessons of Chai and Conversation. If you're new to the program, be sure to listen to the previous lessons before diving into this one.

Matt: Chai and Conversation is for those who are beginners and completely new to the Persian language. As you listen to the programs, we will be with you every step of the way of learning the Persian language.

Leyla: When you are getting to know someone you're not familiar with, one of the best ways of getting to know each other is by speaking about yourself and asking them questions. Over the past few weeks, we have been learning just that- how to greet people, to introduce yourself, ask others how they are doing, say where you are from and where you are living, etc. This week, we will be learning how to talk a bit about your family. In the next few weeks, we will cover how to talk about your job, and how to introduce different facts about yourself.

Matt: Over the past few weeks, we've been receiving so many encouraging emails and feedback from you our listeners. In addition, we've been receiving many ideas on how to spread the word of the podcast and to spread the word of Chai and Conversation to more people. Please help us by doing what you can to spread the word, either by posting a link to our website to your facebook or twitter or even just old-fashioned emailing your friends about the program.

Leyla: Also, please keep the feedback coming. It's so helpful to know what you our listeners think. For now, let's get right on with it and learn about how to introduce different members of your family. Are you ready for the lesson Matt?

Matt: Ready!

Leyla: Great! Farsi yaad begeeram ba chai and conversation.


Leyla: So, today we are going to talk about families. Sometimes, this is the best way to get to know people- to talk about your family. We're going to begin by introducing various members of your family. Let's begin with the word 'baradar'

Matt: Baradar

Leyla: This should sound very familiar to you, and it is a good example of the fact that Persian comes from the same Indo-European roots as English. As you can probably tell baradar is very similar to the English word 'brother'. Baradar

Matt: Baradar

Leyla: Exactly, so baradar means brother. Next we learn the word for sister, and unfortunately this has nothing to do with the English word sister. The Persian word for sister is 'khahar'

Matt: Khahar

Leyla: That's right, khahar

Matt: Khahar.

Leyla: Baradar

Matt: Baradar

Leyla: Khahar

Matt: Khahar

Leyla: Baradar

Matt: Baradar

Leyla: And khahar

Matt: Khahar

Leyla: So brother, baradar, and sister khahar. Now, let's think about the word for mother. This is another word very similar to the English mother or even the Spanish madre. The word for mother in Persian is 'maadar'

Matt: Maadar

Leyla: The word for father is 'pedar'

Matt: Pedar

Leyla: Again, these words are all from the same roots. Father in English, Padre in Spanish, and in Persian, Pedar

Matt: Pedar

Leyla: Great so we have baradar

Matt: Baradar

Leyla: Khahar

Matt: Khahar

Leyla: Madar

Matt: Madar

Leyla: And Pedar

Matt: Pedar

Leyla: Let's add four more words in this vocabulary set. First, shohar

Matt: Shohar

Leyla: And shohar is the word for husband. And zan

Matt: Zan

Leyla: Zan is the word for woman, but it also means wife. Zan

Matt: Zan

Leyla: And the word for son is pesar

Matt: Pesar

Leyla: This simply means boy. And the word for girl, or daughter is dokhtar

Matt: Dokhtar

Leyla: I do hope , listeners, that you took heed of our advice in the very first lesson and practiced the 'kh' sound as much as you could. Hopefully, if you've been practicing it every day, now by lesson 5 you should have gotten it. So again son is pesar

Matt: Pesar

Leyla: And daughter is dokhtar

Matt: Dokhtar

Leyla: Pesar and dokhtar. Now, we're going to learn how to say 'my mother' or my brother or my sister or my father. To say this in Persian is very simply. Listen carefully. To say my mother, you say 'madare man'

Matt: Madareh man

Leyla: Man, as you remember at this point, is the word for me. In English, when you want to link two words together or identify something as being yours as we are doing with the example of 'mother' you simply say 'my mother'. In Persian however, the two must be linked together in speech as well. This is why we add the 'e' sound to the end of mother. Madare. So, to link mother with me we say 'madareh man'.

Matt: Madareh man

Leyla: Madareh man

Matt: Great

Leyla: Great, and listeners, can you work out what my father would be? ____ Matt?

Matt: Pedareh man

Leyla: GreatÉ and now my brother and my sister? My brother would be baradareh man and my sister would be

Matt: Khahareh man

Leyla; Khahareh man, perfect. Baradareh man

Matt: Baradareh man

Leyla: And khahareh man

Matt: Khahareh man

Leyla: Great. And now, how would you say my son? Son is pesar

Matt: Pesareh man

Leyla: Pesareh man. Exactly. And dokhtar is daughter, so my daughter would be

Matt: Dokhtareh man.

Leyla: Great. And do you remember from the previous lessons the word for 'and' in Persian?

Matt: Va

Leyla: Great, so to say my brother and my sister you would simply say 'baradareh man va khahareh man.

Matt: Bardareh man va khahareh man

Leyla: Exactly, baradareh man va khahareh man. Pedareh man va madareh man. Pesareh man va dokhtareh man. Great, and now let's learn how to introduce someone to a family member of yours. Say you are in a room and your sister is standing next to you, and you would like to point out that she is your sister. In order to do this, I need to explain something. The Persian language is slightly tricky in that spoken Persian is quite a bit different than written Persian. Bear with me here- to say 'this is my sister' in written Persian, you would write 'Een khahareh man hast'. Een means 'this' and 'hast' as you've learned before means 'is'. When you're speaking in casual conversation 'een khahareh man hast' gets shortened to 'een khahareh mane'. Because we're focusing on casual conversation, let's forget the written form, and concentrate on the spoken form. So repeat after me- 'een khahareh mane'

Matt: Een khahareh mane.

Leyla: So this is a very informal, casual way of saying 'this is my sister'. Een khahareh mane

Matt: Een khahareh maneh.

Eeshoon is a gender neutral term for 'this person'. And 'ast' is the conversational way to say 'hast', which is the word for is. This happens often in the Persian language. In written Persian, you will always see the word 'hast', but when it is spoken, the 'h' is dropped and hast becomes 'ast'. Eeshoon khahareh man ast simply means 'this person is my sister.' Eeshoon khahareh man hastand.

Matt: Eeshoon khahareh man ast.

Leyla: Or to introduce your brother, you would say 'een baradare mane'

Matt: Een baradareh mane'

Leyla: Meaning 'this is my brother'. Ok, listeners, how would you say 'this is my wife' )______

Matt: Een zane mane.

Leyla: Great, een zane mane. And this is my husband.

Matt: Een shohareh mane.

Leyla: Exactly. Now, when you are introducing someone older than you, this changes slightly to reflect the formal speech. To introduce your father for example, you would say 'eeshoon pedareh man hastand'. Eeshoon is a gender neutral term for 'this person'. Technically, it is the plural form 'they', but it is used in formal speech to imply respect. Hastand means 'are'. So literally you are saying 'they are my father'. Repeat after me Matt, 'Eeshoon pedareh man hastand'.

Matt: Eeshoon pedareh man hastand'.

Leyla: Eeshoon pedareh man hastand

Matt: Eeshoon pedareh man hastand.

Leyla: And by the same token 'Eeshoon madareh man hastand

Matt: Eeshoon madareh man hastand.

Leyla: Eeshoon pedareh man hastand

Matt: Eeshoon pedareh man hastand

Leyla: And eeshoon madareh man hastand

Matt: Eeshoon madareh man hastand.

Leyla: Now listeners, we are going to test your knowledge of everything we have learned so far. Remember that you can re-listen to the podcast several times, and you can look at all the bonus materials we have on the website to help you to come to learn all these materials. If you can remember and repeat all the following phrases, you are doing well with the materials we've learned today. So let's try it. Listeners, first, how do you say 'this is my brother'

Matt: Een baradare mane.

Leyla: Een baradareh mane. Aaali. Second, how do you say, this is my father

Matt: Eeshoon pedareh man hastand

Leyla: Eeshoon pedareh man hastan. Exactly. Number three, this is my daughter.

Matt: Een dokhtare mane

Leyla: Een dokhtareh mane. Ahsant. Number four, this is my sister.

Matt: Een khahareh mane.

Leyla: Exactly. And number five, this is my husband.

Matt: Een shohahreh mane.

Leyla: Een shohareh mane, exactly. Now, when you've introduced somebody, one thing you might want to do right away is to introduce their name. If, for example, Matt you have introduced your wife, and you want to say her name is Ladan, you say 'esmesh Ladane'

Matt: Esmesh Ladane.

Leyla: Great, this is actually true for Matt. Now, I want to note that again, we are learning casual speech here. The proper way to say 'her name is Ladan' would be 'Esmesh Ladan hast', but no one speaks that way in real life. If you spoke the way things are written, you would stand out as a foreigner trying to learn the language, or you'd be made fun of. In fact, there are comic characters in Persian television that were funny for exactly that reason. So, we don't want to be comic characters, we want to communicate effectively in spoken Persian, so again, her name is Ladan gets condensed to 'Esmesh Ladane.'

Matt: Esmesh Ladane

Leyla: And combined, you would say 'Een zaneh mane. Esmesh Ladane'

Matt: Een zaneh mane. Esmesh Ladane'

Leyla: Great, hopefully that's super simple stuff. Now, let's say you have a brother named Daniel. You would say 'Een baradareh mane. Esmesh Daniele

Matt: Een baradareh mane. Esmesh Daniele

Leyla: Although as far as I know, Matt doesn't really have a brother named Daniel. Now, to introduce someone in a formal way, so someone who is older than you, you would say 'Esmeshooon' instead of 'esmesh'. So, for example, you would say 'eeshoon madareh man hastand. esmeshoon Maryame' What does this mean Matt

Matt: This is my mother. Her name is Maryam.

Leyla: Exactly, so try repeating that. Eeshoon madareh man hastand. Esmeshoon Maryame.

Matt: Eeshoon madareh man hastand. Esmeshoon Maryame.

Leyla: So, so far in this lesson we've learned how to say the word for different members of the family, madar, pedar, khahar, baradar, dokhtar, pesar, zan and shohar. We also learned how to introduce different members of your family, by saying 'this is my , and then filling in with the member of the family you are introducing, and how to introduce their name.

Matt: We hope you enjoyed the program.

Leyla: Learning a new language is never easy, but we hope that we have made it as painless and fun as possible. As we have mentioned before, in addition to the free podcasts, we have bonus materials on the website which hopefully make learning the language even more enjoyable.

Matt: One of the most helpful of these bonus materials is the pdf guide which explains everything we have learned in detail, and helps you to visualize the words we are learning spelled out phonetically in English.

Leyla: We are focusing on spoken Persian, so while we include the words written in Persian script on the pdf guides for your information, we focus mainly on spelling them out in English script so that you understand the words and learn them as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Matt: You can also listen to the podcast several times throughout the week to get a better grip on the material. The enhanced podcasts included in the bonus materials on the website also feature the words we have learned written phoenetically in English using flashcards. These are also very helpful when learning the language.

Leyla: We have mentioned that there is a small fee to accessing the bonus materials on the website. There is quite a bit of cost and time that goes into preparing these podcasts, and we hope that you will consider supporting us by purchasing the bonus materials for the nominal fee. We would like to mention however that the podcasts will always be free.

Matt: We hope that you enjoyed the lesson and that you will be back next week for another lesson in conversational Persian

Leyla: And until then, khodahafez from Leyla

Matt: And taa ba'ad, from Matt!