What is Chai and Conversation?

Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation began in 2011 with the simple goal of teaching conversational Persian to those that want to learn in the most enjoyable and simple way possible.

We noticed that there was, and continues to be, an unfortunate lack of resources that teach purely conversational Persian. Persian is a unique language in that the written version of the language greatly differs from the spoken version. Many language resources try to teach a strange hybrid of the two, or touch upon the spoken version, but none thoroughly immerse the student in pure conversation as Chai and Conversation does. Also, Chai and Conversation provides learning materials that focus on phonetic English transliterations of the words rather than on teaching the Persian script. This way, the student can focus on speaking and understanding, rather than getting distracted by learning a new alphabet.

Ready to get started? Click here to listen to Lesson 1.

Your Teacher

Leyla Shams moved from Iran to the Texas when she was four years old. Her first language was Persian, and she continued studying the language, including reading and writing, after her mother (Farzaneh Nouri) became the first Persian language instructor in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Leyla graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in architecture, and when she’s not designing building at North Arrow Studio, she develops this podcast and works on various other projects.

Your Classmate

Matt Bourneuf was raised in Arlington, Texas, and currently lives in Austin with his wife, Ladan, and new baby girl, Kimiya. Matt is interested in learning Persian because it is the language that Ladan and her family are most comfortable speaking.

Matt attended Texas A&M University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Economics. Following a career in finance, he has recently climbed on a different path, and is now attending UT Southwestern Medical Center in the pursuit of a degree in medicine.

Our Teammate

Chadwick Wood grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and now lives in Austin.  He is helping with the technical side of Chai and Conversation, and slowly learning some Persian as well, using the podcast.

Chadwick graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in computer science, and when he's not helping out with Chai and Conversation, he makes websites and apps through his company, Coffeeshopped.