ACTING WITH AN ACCENT–Farsi (Persian / Iranian)


Learn Placement, Rhythm & Pronunciations of
the FARSI ACCENT (several styles & intensities)

in David Alan Stern’s Acting with an Accent series.


Learning a Farsi (Persian / Iranian) Accent


The download contains sixty-four (64) minutes of systematic instruction in MP3 sound files. You’ll also get a printable PDF of the instruction manual. It contains summaries of the audio lessons and full transcripts of the drill words, phrases, and passages.


You will first learn the resonance (placement), inflection/rhythm, and pronunciation of a general Farsi (Iranian, Persian) accent. You’ll go on to learn different degrees of intensity for this pattern. Here’s the sequence of instruction you’ll follow.

  • Lesson 1 deals with this accent’s stress, pitch, and rhythm characteristics—particularly the lack of unstressed syllables.
  • The 2nd Lesson teaches you how to position and move your mouth to create the resonance or voice placement of the Farsi accent.
  • Lesson 3 shows you how to embed target vowel pronunciations into the placement and rhythms you learned earlier.
  • The 4th Lesson takes you through drills for proper pronunciation of the accent’s R sounds, both before and after vowels.
  • Lesson 5 shows the target pronunciations of several consonants and the occurrence of an intrusive vowel between some consonants.
  • The Final Lesson puts it all together with several drill passages. Firstly, it reminds you about the voice placement. Further, it walks you through the pronunciation phrase by phrase before leading you into a normal speaking pace.


Farsi (sometimes called Iranian or Persian) is the second most spoken Middle Eastern language behind Arabic. Its accent on English has a similar stress pattern to that of Arabic. As such, this program does begin by teaching you that trait. However, the Farsi accent differs noticeably from that of Arabic in its inflection and voice placement.


  • When should you use a Farsi accent? Many might think that every character whose native language is Farsi should have its accent when speaking English. But consider scripts in which the characters would speak Farsi in their real world. That could happen both in scripts translated from Farsi or some originally written in English. In their non-stage reality, those characters would be conversing in their native language, typically without the accent of a different first language. As such, directors must make artistic choices about what “brand” of English best represents “Farsi with no foreign accent.”
  • In these situations, directors often prefer using “no accent,” i.e., the standard English of the performance country. Some might still request light accents to maintain both a flavor of characters’ real-world Farsi and the impression of fluency. The same artistic choice applies to using French accents for Molière, Spanish for Lorca, Norwegian for Ibsen, etc.
  • The accent is more often wanted/needed when, in the script, first-language Farsi speakers are conversing in English. A classic example would be the character of Ali Hakim (the Persian peddler) in Oklahoma! I’m not saying that actors in this role have used accurate Farsi accents in most productions over the years. They clearly have not. But a light Farsi accent could in such cases create the desired impression of authentic origin along with second-language fluency.