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Does Duolingo Have Farsi?

Farsi, sometimes called Persian, is one of the widely spoken languages in the Middle East, used in parts of Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Urdu. Being so broadly used across the Middle East and Central Asia, you’d think there would be a need for Farsi to be included on language learning apps.

With Duolingo being one of the most popular apps for language learning, does Duolingo have Farsi on its platform? Let’s find out.

Is There a Farsi Course on Duolingo?

Sadly there isn’t a Farsi or Persian course on Duolingo. If you’re thinking of trying Babbel instead, I’ll save you the trouble – Babbel doesn’t have any Farsi courses either.

With the Persian language being so broadly used, there is a clear need for it to be included on popular language learning apps like Duolingo and Babbel to help bridge the popular and less popular languages.

I seriously would not be able to learn languages without italki (I’m taking 3 classes per week right now) try out a class and you’ll thank me later. They’re usually $9 or less! 

Are They Planning on Releasing Farsi on Duolingo?

As Duolingo tends to announce when they’re working on new language courses and content, we already know what’s likely to be released in the upcoming year or two. Currently, Farsi is not on their slate and there are no plans to release a Farsi language course on Duolingo. This is despite over 110 million people speaking Farsi worldwide.

Why isn’t Farsi on Duolingo?

So, here’s the big question. With so many native speakers worldwide, and Farsi being such a historic language, why is there no Farsi on Duolingo? Well, this might be the case for a number of reasons. 

Firstly, Duolingo used to create and develop new language courses by utilizing volunteer native speakers and language teachers to assist their existing employees. This was done not only to help speed up the development process but to ensure any nuances of the language weren’t lost in translation – literally.

Duolingo has since stopped using volunteers and instead are developing solely using their actual employees. As a result, development is slower and they’re picking languages based on popularity.

This brings us to the next reason: Farsi isn’t that popular among English speakers. Realistically, Duolingo’s consumer base is predominantly English speakers, so unless there’s a giant uptick in demand for Farsi language courses, it’s unlikely that Duolingo will put the resources behind its development.

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If you look at the most popular languages on Duolingo they’re either popular on the grounds of tourism, expat communities, or for business, and currently, Persian-speaking countries aren’t leading the charge in any of those categories.

Finally, with Farsi using a script that’s based on Arabi, it can be a hurdle for developers who aren’t used to this particular script. You need a whole other set of fundamental lessons to understand the alphabet before you even get into the basic vocabulary.

This isn’t really a compelling argument though, as Duolingo already has Mandarin, Japanese and Arabic courses that have been successful with different alphabets.

3 App Alternatives to Duolingo with Farsi courses

So. Duolingo and Babbel have let us down, but don’t worry, there are plenty of other apps with Farsi language courses already loaded up. Let’s find out what they are!

1. Pimsleur

Want to improve your conversational skills in Farsi? Pimsleur uses a tried and tested method with 30-minute audio lessons to help build your speaking and listening skills.

Together with their flashcard features for vocabulary practice, you’ve got a pretty comprehensive language learning app.

2. Mondly

Looking for a language learning app that’s a bit more entertaining? Mondly will help you build up your Farsi vocabulary, grammar, and those all-important pronunciation skills in a fun and reliable way.

With chatbots to interact with as well as short daily lessons, you can learn in an intuitive way. It’s worth noting that you can only access one lesson a day on the free version of Mondly.

For unlimited access, you’re going to need a Mondly premium subscription.

3. Ling

Do you have a bit of a competitive side? Well, the gamification used by Ling to help you learn Farsi is sure to keep you battling against the computer to get better and better.

Choose from quizzes, flashcards, puzzles, and more to build up your vocab and grammar. Put your Farsi conversational skills to the test against Ling’s chatbot feature and really challenge yourself!

5 More Ways to Learn Farsi (Without an App)

As we all know, when we’re trying to learn something new, what works for one person might not work for someone else. So, it’s best to have options – and learning Farsi is no different! With that in mind, here are some other methods and resources for learning Farsi that you might find helpful.

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1. iTalki

Looking to brush up on your conversational skills? Well, there’s no better place to do so than iTalki. Simply choose from the list of native Farsi language teachers based on their reviews, level, and hourly rate, and practice your conversational skills and pronunciation.

Farsi teachers on italki

You can do all this from the comfort of your own home, which feels a lot more comfortable than landing in Iran with a phrasebook and a rough idea of how to pronounce Farsi words.

In fact, I don’t recommend heading to a country to learn the language until you are at least an A2 level, since most native speakers of any country will struggle to communicate with you and you won’t end up learning anything.

If everything is too far above your level, then you won’t be able to use the language you need to learn. I always take a ton of iTalki classes and get comfortable with having conversations so that I can feel more comfortable having conversations with native speakers once I land in the country.

2. YouTube

How do we learn how to do anything nowadays – we head straight for YouTube! One of the great channels for learning Farsi is run by Farsi teacher and author, Reza Nazari.

He’s built a whole bank of Farsi language learning videos that are engaging and easy to follow!

3. Podcasts

A great way to learn Farsi while you’re on the go is through podcasts, specifically language learning podcasts that are hosted by native speakers. This way you can go hands-free and be learning when you’re out for a walk, on your morning commute, or even while you’re cleaning the house!

One Farsi-specific podcast is Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation. You also get a good feel for the culture and pronunciation while you listen.

4. Language Learning Guide Books and Phrasebooks on Amazon

Of course, we have the traditional way to learn a language pre-internet – books. You can still get Persian language phrase books (like this one from Lonely Planet!) and grammar guides on Amazon that can help you improve your reading and writing. 

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However, as you’re only really hitting two out of the four language learning skills, it’s a good idea to combine your book studies with another method that focuses on the speaking and listening side of Farsi.

It’ll help you have a much more well-rounded approach to language learning and give you those practical conversational skills!

This Farsi Beginner Conversational Course got great reviews, plus this one that teaches you to read and write in the Persian Language in just 7 days!

5. FarsiDic

Regardless of the language learning resources, you’re using, a translation dictionary is always a good tool to have at hand. FarsiDic is the first and most popular Farsi to English dictionary. The best part? You can access it online and use a Farsi keyboard!

Have Fun Diving into These Farsi Language Learning Resources, Even Without Duolingo!

So, the major takeaway is that neither Duolingo nor Babbel have Farsi on their roster, which is a massive oversight. With over 110 million speakers worldwide and a history that stretches back centuries, it’s a great opportunity to learn a language that’s been neglected, especially by Western language learners. 

As it looks like Duolingo isn’t going to develop a Farsi course anytime soon, why not check out some of the alternative language learning apps and resources in this article – especially those created and updated by native Farsi speakers, for an authentic language learning experience!

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Sunday 11th of February 2024

Well, if you are looking for speaking and reading practice I may recommend Lingolette. They have recently added Farsi in test mode. Speech recognition for Farsi is not yet perfect but is probably worth trying anyway.