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Alphabet - Lesson 5
Vowels at the end of words
How should vowels be written when coming at the end of words? For the three long vowels which are written as separate letters, the rule is simple; use their ending form. For the three short vowels, follow this table:
normal form
ـــَــ
ـــِــ
ـــُــ
ending form
ﻪ/ه
ﻪ/ه
و
sound
a
e
o
So, short vowels are written as separate characters when they are the last sound of a word. Things are definitely getting complicated. For all these letters we already know one or more sounds. The good news is that there is actually only one word in Persian that ends with the “a” short vowel sound (the first example below). There are more facts to make things easier, mentioned after the examples.
نه
میوه
بِرمه
نُه
ماه
کوه
کُره
رادیو
دیو
دو
مو
آهو
na
mive
berme
noh
māh
kuh
kore
rādio
div
do
mu
āhu
no
fruit
Burma
nine
moon
mountain
Korea
radio
demon, monster
two
hair
doe
For the letter “ه” coming at the end of words, if it is preceded by a vowel, it is definitely going to sound like “h”, since the two vowels cannot be pronounced right after each other (fifth and sixth examples). If the previous letter is a consonant, it is pronounced as “e” in ninety percent of the cases. (the fourth example is among the remaining ten percent!)
The letter “و” can potentially be pronounced as “v”, “u” and “o” when coming at the end of a word. However, one can be ninety percent sure that it will not sound like “v”. For the rest, only experience can help.
If you find all this totally confusing, there is no need to worry. These cases form a very little percentage of what one encounters while reading a Persian text. Continuing with what you know well, you will gradually master these rules as well. By the help of what is explained so far and the alphabat cheat sheet, it is possible to start reading Persian without too much trouble. It is strongly recommended, however, to continue with this tutorial to master the Persian writing system and learn the not-so-infrequent exceptions and tricks as well.