Ḥekāyāt-e Laṭīf: The First Reading Comprehension Texts of Persian and their Literary Sources


Behrooz Mahmoodi Bakhtiari


February 17, 2024


The orientalist production of “course books” for the teaching of Persian was not simultaneous with the beginning of European interest in Persian language and literature. These books attempted to provide readers not only with grammar but also with vocabulary, several dialogues, and reading texts. What was initiated with Francis Gladwin and his Persian Moonshee ( 1795), under the title of Ḥekāyāt-e Laṭīf, was the inclusion of the very first reading comprehension texts, which were sorted from short texts to almost long anecdotes, all selected from different literary sources. Gladwin’s approach was adopted by later authors, and “Pleasant Stories, in an Easy Style” were added to many of the preliminary Persian textbooks. This presentation provides historical background to such texts by introducing their major examples and presenting their sources.


Behrooz Mahmoodi- Bakhtiari (PhD, Linguistics, Allameh Tabatabaee University, 2004) is an Associate Professor of Linguistics and Persian at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Tehran. His major fields of work are Persian linguistics and Iranian dialectology, as well as discourse analysis of drama and fiction. He is the author of several books, including Tense in Persian (2002), Fārsī Biyāmuzim/Let’s Learn Persian (2003), Persian for Dummies (2015), Pand-e Pārsi/Listening Comprehension of Persian (2016), and Salām Doktor/Dialogue Activities of Persian (2018) and Evidentiality in Sa’di’s Poetry and Prose (2023), in addition to several articles in journals and reference books, such as World’s Major Languages (2006), Oxford Handbook of Persian Linguistics (2018), The Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition and Pedagogy of Persian (2020), The Routledge Handbook of Persian Literary Translation (2022), Encyclopaedia Iranica (2003), and The Encyclopedia of lslam, 3rd ed. (2015).