To teach

Following on from yesterday’s entry, let’s look at the word “teach.”

There are a few ways to say “teach” in Persian. Recall from yesterday’s entry that the verb آموختَن (āmūkhtan, present stem آموز amūz) can mean either “to learn” or “to teach.” Two other ways use Arabic-derived nouns in combination with the Persian verb دادَن (dādan, “to give,” present stem دَه dah) to make compound verbs that mean “to give instruction”: دَرس دادَن (dars dādan, the Arabic dars means “study” or “lesson”) and تَعلیم دادَن (taʿlīm dādan, the Arabic taʿlīm means “teaching”). Still another way combines یاد (yād, “memory”) with دادَن to make یاد دادَن (yād dādan, “to give memory”). Since دادَن conjugates the same way no matter what noun you pair it with, I’ll stick to آموختَن and دَرس دادَن for our examples.


“She/he teaches us Persian” = به ما فارسی را می آموزَد (bih mā fārsī rā mī āmuzad, “to us he/she Persian is teaching”)

“Last week I taught them the alphabet” = هَفتهٔ گُذَشته به آنها الِفبا دَرس دادَم (haftah-i goẕashtah bih ānhā alifbā dars dādam, “last week to them the alphabet I taught”)

Related vocabulary:

“Teacher”: the Arabic مُدَرِّس and مُعَلِّم are most often used in Persian, with, as in Arabic, مُدَرِّس suggesting a secondary school teacher or college/university lecturer (though not a professor, who is استاد ustād). You may also see the “purer” Persian term آموزگار (āmūzgār), variant spelling آموختار (āmūkhtār).

“School”: so many ways to say this in Persian; most often the Arabic مَدرَسه (madrasah), which covers higher grades, and also مَکتَب (maktab), which refers mostly to primary school but may cover secondary also in some localities. Again there are “purer” Persian terms, like دِبِستان (dibistān, “elementary school”), دَبیرِستان (dabiristān, “middle school”), and آموزِشگاه (āmūzishgāh, “school, place of آموختَن”).


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