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Modern Persian: A Course-Book Paperback – May 18, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0700713271 ISBN-10: 0700713271 Edition: Bilingual

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Simin Abrahams taught Persian at Edinburgh University from 1995-8 before embarking on a career at the Home Office. She currently works at the Office of Scottish Information Commissioner. Her research interests include Safavid history and historiography and the history of immigration in 16th and 17th centuries Iran.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; Bilingual edition (May 18, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700713271
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700713271
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #754,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Blair on August 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
If you're using this book for an in-person course on Farsi, it might be of use to you. But the grammar lessons are opaque and hard to follow. The author also professes a distaste for transliteration into latin characters - which might be a great approach to take in later courses in Farsi, but if you're a complete beginner, it just makes all the words hard to follow and creates a lot of confusion about pronunciation. There's also no English-Farsi word reference in the back, although there is a Farsi-English one. Bottom line: there are better lesson books out there on Farsi. Get one of them.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Richard T. Cummings on April 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I regard this textbook as an excellent introduction to Persian. The treatment of the language is easy to understand and I have observed that this book holds my interest even more so than the classic John Mace's Teach Yourself Modern Persian, which I also admire. A previous reviewer castigates the text as being "impenetrable;" however, to my mind, that label better applies to Wheeler Thackston's An Introduction to Persian; for instance, chapter 3 of the third edition with indefinite "ezafe" constructions. It's true that Simin Abrahams is not using transliteration although, except for sukun which indicates the absence of a vowel, there is ample use of short vowel sound markers: zabar ("a"), zir ("i") and pesh ("u"). For non-colloquial courses, the absence of transliteration I find to be non-objectionable and it offers the advantage of denying a crutch that otherwise would interfere with the internalization of alternate alphabets with proper spelling (a fortiori with Persian which boasts several letters with the same pronunciation). The only problem is that Persian also has some letters (notably "vav") with two sounds for a single letter and also has instances of silent letters ("vav" again is the prominent culprit) so that, for certain words, it would have been useful to have some transliterations e.g. roshtan, khanavade, miravam. Accordingly, I have annotated the text to suit my needs adding sukuns and transliterations where helpful. Another reviewer complains that the Persian font is too small to be legible; I don't find that to be the case either.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Simin Abrahams derived MODERN PERSIAN: A Course Book from several years of teaching Persian to students in the UK. Since the book is meant for classroom use, it is probably not the best introduction for a complete beginner who wishes to study Persian on his own. For example, the entire volume is in Arabic script, but the basics of the script are sparsely presented in a handful of pages and then rigorous introduction in written Persian begins -- presumably in a classroom one would be able to dwell on the alphabet for some time, with exercises given on handouts, before moving on to the language itself. The textbook only teaches basic vocabulary and grammar, without any cultural asides that may interest learners, but again students in a classroom would get those from the teacher as well. An appendix does teach the characteristic sound changes of colloquial Persian, which may frustrate readers of other, literary textbooks.

Now, if you already have experience in Persian through a transliteration-heavy textbook, Simin Abrahams' book can be very helpful in becoming accustomed to Persian in the Arabic script. I myself used this textbook to get a taste of Iranian Persian after studying Tajik Persian, and with that background behind me the book was entirely accessible and useful. It was fun to go through the exercises here, which often involve a great deal of writing in Arabic script, and the subjunctive is taught with sufficient examples. There is supposedly a CD for this textbook as well, but I've never come across it.

So, if you already have some Persian behind you, you might give Abrahams' book a try. For total beginners in Persian who intend on learning autodidactically, however, there is probably some better start. (I learnt Tajik from a couple of Russian-language textbooks and Baizoyev & Hayward's BEGINNER'S TAJIKI.)
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