I'm going to learn the Persian alphabet. I found it very difficult because the letters look different depending on whether they are at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of a word. Is there any concept, resource or method that makes it easier? Should I first learn letters separately or it is better to learn letters from whole words?
I'm answering your question based on the Arabic alphabet!
You should try to learn the letters based on their position in a word! Learning a couple of words might help for the start, but isn't a good solution. As usually when we learn this alphabet we learn all the styles of writing any of the letters according all possible cases:
- For the letter baa'حرف الباء or ب
If separated (at the end of a word) ب
In the middle ـبـ
At the end (but not separated from the rest) ـب
At the beginning بـ
- More tricky is the letter taa' حرف التاء or ت
As it might be written (for feminin noun) as follows at the end of the word: ة if separated or if not separated ـة.
Some letters might be even written differently in the beginning or if they were written separately!
But maybe a helpful rule if in an Arabic word you have the letters: و, ر, ز or ا in the middle of a word the following letter would of course be written separately (as if they were at the beginning of a word).
كِلَابٌ (kilaabun/dogs) you must scroll down the link as it covers dogs only as an extra example as it is the words plural,
مَوْقِفٌ (mawqifun/circumsance, situation but also stop if related to cars for example)
Feel free to ask, further questions, I hope I can answer them or help!
A visual approach will be handy. Some letters are just the same wherever they comes and for some others the core form of each letter is the same whether it is at the beginning, middle, or end of the word. For example: Letter (ژ) assumes the same form everywhere, it just might be connected with other letters. But letter (چ) is (چوب) at the begging, (بچرخ) and at the end (پوچ). So actually just 2 forms of which one is just part of the other.
There is a freemium app called Memrise which specializes in teaching mostly language but also other topics such as geography etc. Some courses are official which are available on the app, but for Persian I found a perfect community-made course which I'll link below. The course starts off with simple letters and moves on to more complex words. I found some problems in level 7 which features initial, but I contacted the maker to fix them so they'll hopefully do. https://www.memrise.com/course/264992/read-and-write-persian-alphabet/
You can try to use Iran's first grade school textbooks.
the second book is the practice book, try to print it and practice each letter/shape. (or you can just look at the book and practice in a notebook, like we used to do when we were kids ... the teacher would make us write page-fulls of each letter/word)
Download both books, and take a look at them (especially the first one). even if you don't understand Persian, it should still prove useful for what you want.