Language learners are blessed to have so many audio and video aid available online to learn Persian (Farsi). Nowadays, there is no need to travel to the country to listen to native speakers, you can just open YouTube or Instagram or any other social media and find tons of content in your target language. I have to confess, I envy you! When I was learning Persian there was just IranProud website where you could download Iranian TV series, movies, music, but without any subtitles. Now, there are websites that offer Iranian movies and TV series with subtitles, and it`s pretty easy to find translation of almost any Iranian song on multiple lyrics websites.
Why Use YouTube Videos to Learn Persian?
- Natural speech. In movies, actors follow scripts, in educational audios and videos there is also a script that is read out slowly and clearly. But in YouTube videos (and especially vlogs) you see real life and hear real and, in most cases, unprepared speech. And that`s the best exercise to prepare yourself for communicating with native speakers.
- Daily life. Many Iranian vloggers show their daily life. You can find tons of videos like ‘a day with me’ or ‘doing groceries in …’ or ‘moving to a new home’ etc. And in these videos, they use a lot of words for things that surround us in real life. So that`s an amazing way to brush up this kind of vocabulary.
- Variety of topics. Although Iranian YouTube is still quite limited, you still can find videos that would cover different topics – from pranks to personal growth, from vlogs made by Iranians from all around the world to cooking or travelling.
- YouTube videos let you in Iranian homes, in people`s family lives, in their working spaces (and sometimes even in their bedrooms!). Even a trip to Iran may not give you that!
- Watching a video can be a great addition to a textbook. No matter how great your textbook is, it is still more of doing guided exercises. But watching a video can let you just sit back, relax for a moment, but still learn something.
Of course, the abundance of content (and especially quality content) may have its own drawbacks. Sometimes Persian learners just don`t know where to start, who to follow and how to find Iranian bloggers or YouTubers. So, I decided to make a series of posts where I would share sources that I usually use in my online Persian classes and recommend to my students and find useful for practicing listening skills and of course, learning some informal words and even slang. I have already shared my favorite Iranian Instagram accounts you can use for daily practice.
In today`s post, I`m sharing my favorite YouTube channels that not only will teach you something new, but will also immerse you into the daily life of Iranians, Iranian culture and are just fun to watch! Let`s get started!
Street Interviews with Iranians
Let`s start with a channel that offers videos in Persian but has English subtitles too. That would be a good start, especially if you are afraid that you may not understand something. (However, I would still recommend to start watching without English subtitles (even if you need to watch it a few times to understand it, subtitles can be very addictive!) What I love about Life Goes On In Iran is that each video is a series of street interviews. So it gives you an opportunity to listen to different voices, different pronunciation and sometimes different accents. Moreover, street noises add up which is different from a usual educational video and is closer to real life.
Also, these videos are fun to watch! Here are just a few topics they cover:
Vlogging Daily Life
Metanat (what a rare name she has!) is (or, at least, used to be) a Master student at Tehran University. Although she is from Rasht (Gilan province in northern Iran), she now lives in a dorm in Tehran. Metanat makes both vlogs (some of them even take place at university or her dorm!) and videos where she talks about various things. You can find all kinds of videos on her channel – from unboxing to books and podcast recommendations and personal growth videos. Here are some of her videos I would recommend to start with:
But before you start watching her videos, I need to warn you that her speaking pace is quite fast, so I would recommend her videos to those who feel more confident about their listening skills.
By the way, if you like what you hear and see on her YouTube channel, she is also very active on Instagram which can be very useful too. Instagram Stories offer small portions of the language which is much easier to digest and find time for.
What`s on the mind of a 20-year old?
Another vlogger I would recommend is Kimia Mavaddat. She is very young and is still exploring the world trying to find her place in it. She left Iran a few months ago and is currently in Dubai. You can find vlogs from her Tehran life as well as some new ones from her travels around Thailand. But mainly she just talks on camera. What I love about her channel is that she talks about things not many would be ready to talk about and shares experiences women of older generations would rather keep to themselves. I love her for being so honest. You can find videos about relationships with boys, working at a café, thoughts on marriage and such. Here is where you can start:
Unfortunately, her speech is not very clear at times, but it`s a great opportunity to find out what is on the mind of a 20-year-old Iranian girl.
Sneak Into an Iranian Home
Storio Ati channel belongs to Atieh Hooshmand who is currently living in Turkey. She has recently changed the type of videos on her YouTube channel and posted a series of interviews with Iranians about their homes. Some of them were filmed in Iran, some – in Turkey. But all of them are just brilliant! First of all, they allow us to see the homes of Iranians, see a part of their daily life and memories they have about their homes. These interviews are very honest and natural. Also, the sound is recorded perfectly well, so you can hear clear, quite slow speech which is still natural and informal.
Here are some of my favorite episodes. Can`t wait for more!
Curious Facts About Iran & Tehran
Panshtaa (which literally means ‘five items’) is another channel that has subtitles available for some videos, however, only Persian subtitles. I watch this channel myself sometimes because it shares information on topics that even some Iranians are not familiar with! Here are some of them:
Although the videos have Persian subtitles, the speech is not adapted for Persian learners, it is at a natural pace and you may hear many new words. But that`s not why we watch videos, right? We watch them to try to understand the whole idea and practice listening skills, no need to understand every single word!
TV Show & Film Reviews
Ehsan Mansoori`s channel is the must for movie lovers! You can find all kinds of reviews here – foreign movies, Iranian movies, TV series, lists of movies to watch and much more. Videos are around 10 minutes long, Ehsan`s speech quite slow and clear, so it`s a pleasure to listen to him (he has an amazing voice, by the way). Here are a few videos you might want to start with:
Naturally, Ehsan uses cinema-related words but he really tries to make his reviews easy to understand for everyone. Also, sometimes he goes into real depths of the movie and sometimes his videos become even philosophical, so it may not be that easy to understand what he is talking about. But I would still recommend to watch his videos, especially for movies you have already seen.
Iranian History & More
Is it impossible to talk about Iranian Youtubers and not mention Ali Bandari and his channel BPlus. He became well-known with his podcast also called BPlus which he then developed it into a very successful YouTube channel. Ali Bandari creates videos on many different topics, the only thing they have in common is his interest in the topic. As he says himself, this is how it all started – he started making a podcast where he would talk about articles and non-fiction books that he enjoyed reading, and the range of his interests is broad! They cover everything from personal growth to world history, so there is no way you fail find something interesting for you on his channel.
In the past few months, he has been making more videos on the history of Iran and here are my favorites:
Most of his videos (at least the recent ones with videos on Iranian history) have both Persian and English subtitles. It means that you can still watch and fully understand these videos even if you have just started learning Persian. And I strongly recommend this channel as a reliable source for Iranian history because all his videos are based on solid researches both in English and Persian, and beside telling the history of a certain period, he always zooms out to show what the situation was in the whole world.
And of course, don`t forget to check out my YouTube channel for more materials for learning Persian (including 1-minute vlogs in Persian). Moreover, I am showing daily life in Tehran and travel around Iran on my YouTube channel.
I hope these tips will help you take your Persian lessons to a new level and enjoy the process of learning Persian much more! Let me know what helps YOU to make learning a language more fun in comments!
Who are your favorite Iranian YouTubers? Who would you recommend to watch? All your recommendations will be appreciated!