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Does Farsi Have Gender?

Thinking of learning Farsi? 

A common question that new language learners have is ‘does Farsi have gender?’

Let’s take a look…

Does Farsi Have Gender?

No, Farsi does not have gender.

Many languages like Spanish and French have gender.

This means that nouns, like cat, table, hat etc, are either masculine or feminine (some languages like Polish even have a 3rd gender!)

This can be daunting for English speakers as English doesn’t have gender.

Luckily, you don’t have to worry about this when it comes to Farsi because, similar to English, Farsi doesn’t have gender.

Nouns are not categorized as either feminine or masculine in Farsi.

Does Farsi Use Gender Pronouns?

No, Farsi does not use gender pronouns.

That’s right, Farsi actually uses the same word to refer to either ‘he’ or ‘she’. It is completely genderless.

For example:

  • u (او) is used for both ‘he’ and ‘she’
  • ishan (ایشان) is used for both ‘he’ and ‘she’ in formal contexts and writing
  • an (آن) is used for ‘it’ and is gender neutral

As you can see, there are no equivalents to she/her or he/him in Farsi. All pronouns are gender neutral.

Why Is Farsi Genderless?

Farsi hasn’t always been genderless. In fact, Old Persian had 3 genders.

Fact: Old Persian evolved into Middle Persian which evolved into Modern Persian (also known as Farsi).

The transition occurred around 300 BCE so it’s unclear why or how gender was removed from the language.

It was likely due to the influence of other languages used in the area at the time.

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