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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Middle Eastern Studies
University Associate Professor in Persian Language, Linguistics and Culture
Email address: 
+44 (0)1223 335142
Fellow of: 
Fitzwilliam College (Bye-Fellow)
Director of Studies at: 
Fitzwilliam College

Mahbod Ghaffari studied Translation for his BA and got his Master in Teaching Persian and PhD in Linguistics in Iran. He got a certificate in “Leadership in Higher Education” from the University of Oxford and passed a 6 month intensive course on Iranian Culture and Civilization, Iranian and Islamic Architecture, Anthropology, Archaeology, and History of Iran.

When he was 26, Mahbod started teaching at university as a lecturer in Iran, teaching linguistics, methodology, translation, Persian language and culture, etc. This continued for several years in the University of Allameh Tabatabaei and Shahid Beheshti University before leaving Iran. After moving to the UK, he continued working and researching on Persian Language and has been Persian Examiner for the University of Westminster before joining the department of Middle Eastern Studies in the University of Cambridge.

After finishing his project on teaching Persian online (to make it easier for anybody interested in learning this language and accessing the website from anywhere in the world), Mahbod is now working on Cambridge-Belgrade Persian Learner Corpus (CAMBEL) and a book about Persian Grammar.

Teaching responsibilities: 

Dr Ghaffari teaches undergraduate Persian language and Linguistics, Introduction to the Contemporary Middle East: Languages and Literatures of the Modern Middle East, and Iranian Cinema

Research interests: 

Persian Language and Culture, Applied Linguistics, Persian Learner Corpus, Corpus Linguistics, Persian Linguistics, General Linguistics, Multimedia and Interactive Online Teaching, Classical and Modern Persian Literature, Iranian Studies.

Our new joint project is Cambridge-Belgrade Persian Learner Corpus (CAMBEL) that my colleague Dr Saeed Safari from University of Belgrade and I have been working on for a long time and we launched its first phase in December 2023 at the 4th International Conference on Teaching Persian Language and Literature in Cambridge. This corpus is the first of its kind and we work hard on this project to get it to its second phase.

Any L2 learner corpus plays an essential role in second language research and pedagogy, and can be used by researchers to study how learners of a second language acquire the new language and it is a useful source of data for language teachers and authors to design teaching and learning tools (including coursebooks, apps, videos, online resources, etc.). I hope the development of CAMBEL helps Persian teachers and researchers in their professional career.

Research Projects


Persian beyond Borders Ketab Bahar Publications (2021)
Fārsi bīyāmuzīm! 2 (Let's Learn Persian!) Intermediate, 2nd Edition Madreseh Publications (2021)
Persian for Dummies John Willey – Avand Danesh Publication (2019)
Fārsi bīyāmuzīm! 1 (Let's Learn Persian!) Beginner, 2nd Edition Madreseh Publications (2017)

Articles, Book Chapters etc

Persian Language Teaching in the UK: Challenges, Potentials and Initiatives (2021)
University of Cambridge, Asian, Middle Eastern and Persian Studies during the pandemic The World Universities Response to Covid-19: Remote Online Language Teaching (2021)
Persian as an interlanguage The Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition and Pedagogy in Persian (2020)
The Position of Persian Focus ‘Ke’ in Tree Diagram Based on Minimalist Programme Jashnname-ye Dr Dabirmoghaddam: Collection of Linguistic Papers (in Persian) (2017)

Further publications