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May 11, 2014 | Persian

Memrise for Persian: A Wee Bit Frustrating

A Persian progress report.

I have previously been addicted to Memrise for Arabic. It was serious: I loved Memrise for Arabic. So far I do not love it for Persian.

Hiking in Central Park: It's Pimsleur Walking Season!

Hiking in Central Park: It’s Pimsleur Walking Season!

In case you are unfamiliar with Memrise: it is a marvelous and free resource for language learners in need of more vocabulary.

The thing is, content is user-contributed, as is the case with many language-learning websites these days. User-contributed content is not always good.

Arabic, for whatever reason, has a wealth of great courses complete with audio, but the Persian resources are less impressive. Many of the courses are without audio and have romanization rather than actual Persian writing. If they do have Persian writing, they often lack a built-in keyboard so I can actually type the words!

My ideal would be a Persian course (even better, multiple courses) with audio and a built-in Persian keyboard so that I don’t have to run back and forth to another window, as I am having to do now. I have been using the Persian keyboard on the Lexilogos site, but it is a nuisance to leave Memrise, go to Lexilogos, peck out the Persian word, copy it, run back to Memrise, and paste the word over there. 

Persisch für Anfänger, by Asya Asbaghi

Persisch für Anfänger, by Asya Asbaghi

You may wonder why I don’t create my own course on Memrise. I could. The thing is, it sounds like a lot of work.

And I like other people to make my courses. That is one tradition in language-learning instruction to which I remain attached.

Speaking of other people’s courses, I have been using my Basic Persian grammar book from Routledge, which is going pretty well, and am also now on lesson 15 of Pimsleur.

Yesterday I was just on lesson 8. Which means this weekend was a pretty big Pimsleur binge. I spent a lot of time walking around Central Park and looked at birds and flowers while learning how to say, “Would you like to have lunch with me?” and “Two teas, please.”

I was excited by the recent arrival of my Persisch book—a Persian language book based in German. The publisher is Buske, the title is Persisch für Anfänger (Persian for Beginners), and the author is Asya Asbaghi.

At first glance, I think it looks pretty good! It will be my first experience studying another language via German.

Comments (6)

Benjamin • Posted on Mon, May 12, 2014 - 4:34 am EST

Why don’t you just install the Persian keyboard layout? You can just use your English keyboard with that. If you have troubles remembering the position of the keys, you can print out the layout, or just open the image file.

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Tue, May 13, 2014 - 12:25 am EST

There is a logic in what you suggest, Benjamin. Thank you!  :) For some reason I find that weirdly onerous. But I am trying to take some action tonight. I am actually thinking of ordering trilingual keyboard stickers (Persian, Russian, and Hebrew, I think) to make my life a little easier.

Paul P. • Posted on Thu, May 15, 2014 - 4:12 pm EST

While I can’t say I’ll be using it for Persian in particular, Memrise looks great. Thanks for the post!

Daniela • Posted on Tue, April 26, 2016 - 9:21 am EST

I’ve been studying Persian for four weeks now and Memrise has been very useful. I identified the limitations you are exposing during my first contact with the website, but if you download the app (in my case I have it on my iPad), you are going to be able to write using the Persian alphabet.

There are two courses with audio that I’m following at this moment and I find them very effective. Both of them have audio and the words are written using the Persian alphabet:

1. Basic Farsi: I’m more dedicated to this one because of the structures and the use of contextual forms (I’ve just started with this language ;) ).
2. Jester’s Persian Farsi Semester 1: It’s great for vocabulary.

And about books, the John Mace’s grammar book it’s being amazing. :)

Ario • Posted on Mon, July 17, 2017 - 7:36 am EST

Hi Ellen (and Daniela), I’m having a frustrating experience with Memrise as well as it seems the alphabet classes register correct answers as incorrect (I’m using the app on iOS). Have you run into this and if so, found any good workarounds?

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Sun, September 24, 2017 - 7:31 pm EST

Ario, did you ever resolve this? I’m so sorry for my slow reply. Something like this happened to me on occasion in the browser version, but I think mostly it was because I was typing some characters with an Arabic keyboard, and I am guessing that the identical Arabic characters are on occasion coded differently? (I am hazy on the details now, and I’m not sure I am remembering right.) Anyway, are you typing your answers using a Persian keyboard provided from within the app or are you actually changing your language setting on your phone to Persian?

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