Distinguishing Farsi & Arabic: A Comparison

Farsi vs Arabic

Arabic is a language spoken in the Arab world, including the written language known as Modern Standard Arabic. People in other parts of the world often confuse Arabic and Farsi languages because of their similarities. In fact, many mistakenly believe that Arabic and Farsi are the same languages. This article aims to highlight the differences between these two languages to help students who want to learn either of them.


Farsi refers to the dialect of the Persian language spoken by the people of Iran. It is also called Western Persian, as there are Eastern Persian (Dari) and Tajik Persian (Tajik). The Farsi language uses the same Arabic alphabet as Arabic does, although the Persian language had its own alphabet centuries ago. Farsi or Parsi was the language of the Persian Empire that ruled a vast geographical area, including the borders of India in the east, Russian borders in the north, and from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean, including Egypt. The language was the court language of ancient Emperors in India until the British arrived and banned its use.

In fact, the actual name of Farsi is Persian, and Farsi is only its Arabic form. The Arabic alphabet does not have P, which is why it is referred to as Farsi and not Parsi or Persian.


Arabic is a Semitic language that belongs to the Afro-Asian family, of which the only surviving members are Hebrew and Arabic at present. This language uses the Arabic alphabet, written in various styles known as Arabic Calligraphy. Modern Arabic is spoken in more than 25 countries worldwide, mainly in the Middle East and the Arab world. Arabic is written from right to left in a script called Abjad. Arabic has lent its words to many languages worldwide, especially in the Islamic world and many Indian languages.

What is the difference between Farsi and Arabic?

Key Takeaways

  • The word Farsi itself is the Arabic form of Parsi, the language of Persia or modern Iran, because Arabic does not have P in its alphabet.
  • Although Persian had its script in ancient times, it adopted the Arabic alphabet a few centuries ago, making the two languages have the same alphabet and similar scripts.
  • It is possible for someone who knows Arabic to read Farsi easily without understanding what they are reading. However, there are words unique to Arabic, just as there are words unique to Farsi.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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