Persian-English Word Magnet REBOOT

Posted by Rezwan Razani on Oct 22, 2013 at 02:22 AM

UPDATE:  Thank you to everyone for participating in the Indiegogo Campaign last December.  We got up to $3,005!!!  Alas, not enough to green light the reboot.  Sign up on the form in the sidebar to get on the list for the next campaign.  This time we’ll do it right!  When we get 300 people signed up who we know want the fabulous magnets - we’ll re-launch.  Spread the word!  More info on the campaign below.  Your feedback welcome!

The amazing Persian-English word magnets are out of print.  We’d like to reboot them in time for Nowruz on Indiegogo.  Sign Up for Notification.  Unleash Persian & English.  Words rule!

What is this Project For?

This project raises funds to reprint and deliver 500 fabulous Persian-English Word Magnet kits by Nowruz.  The kits come in three flavors:

  • Standard (motedAvel - متداول ) Something for everyone.
  • Pleasantries (t’Arof - تعارف ) I don’t t’Arof.  Really.  extiAr dArid.
  • Courtship (xAstegAri - خواستگاری ) When you need to woo, only the right words will do.

What are Persian-English Word Magnets?

They are tiles with Persian words printed on one side and the English translation and transliteration on the other.  They are magnetic, so both sides stick to steel surfaces. 

Each kit includes 1) a cover, 2) 8 sheets of magnetic word tiles which break apart into into more than 600 words and word particles, including suffixes & prefixes for grammatical accuracy, 3) an alphabet card, and 4) a grammar guide.  Shown below is the breakdown of the “Standard” Kit. 

Here are the other kit covers.  As well as a few of the millions of word and sentence combinations that are possible. 

pleasantries  Courtship Kit


But…Um…I don’t read Persian

The English is on the back!  Did I mention that?  Translation and transliteration right there.  You’ll know what it means, and what it sounds like.  Fun in its own right, and handy training wheels if you want to read the Persian.

Relax!  It’s easier than you think.  You can read Persian today.  It’s just 32 letters.  Read it right to left.  And there’s that wacky, but ultimately simple semi-cursive script.  Check it out!

The kit comes with a handy pocket sized alphabet card to give you enough theory to be able to jump into the magnets.  Then when you look at the magnets - it’s like a flip kit that will quickly fix all that alphabet gazing into your brain.  Subconscious word recognition happens!

And then, BWAHAHAHA!  You will be able to read Persian.  The Persians around you will feel flattered. Then paranoid. Then flattered again.  Bonus:  you’ll be able to sound out Arabic words as well.  And historical texts.  And make incantations that blow Latin away.  Seriously. Harry Potter was so limited with Latin spells.

Stretch Goal Alert!

This is where your extra support beyond a magnet purchase makes a huge difference.  We have a backlog of great ideas about posts to write and videos and vines to make that would help people connect with the Persian alphabet.  But we need the resources to develop them.  Your extra support is crucial to making that happen.

What do I do with word magnets?

extiAr dArid. Do what you will.  Some suggestions:

Where Can I Use Them?

They’re magnets, so they stick to steel surfaces (refrigerators, your car, a cookie sheet).  But don’t be limited by that.  You can use them on a rug. You can put them in your mug. You can have them with a hug. And then you can post it on the internet, using vine, twitter, instagram, etc. So many places to publish your creations. It boggles the mind.  Seriously.  Now, more than ever before, we have the tools to unleash Persian aka Farsi, on a sleepy world.

Unleash Persian!  Memes Waiting to Happen!  Incredibly Embeddable!

Behold the magnets, captured in this Vine, embedded in a Tweet, embedded in this website.  qAbel nadAreh.

qurbAqe?  Your Transliteration Looks Funny

BWAHAHAHAHA!  YES!  At first.  This, my friends, is the real coup here.  To design the magnets, we had to transliterate thousands of Persian words.  And we had to make sure the transliteration fit in a tiny little space.  The fewer letters, the better.  Our transliteration had to be consistent, simple, accessible.  Forget library of Congress phonetics, forget the texting inconsistencies that come from trying to spell a word using English spelling conventions.  You realize English spelling is insane, right?

After a lot of trial and error, we came up with a brilliantly simple #textingfArsi system.  It reduces texting to its bare essentials.  About 70% of it revolves around using the capital A exclusively for the long “a” sound in fAther, and the lower case “a” for the short a sound in “cat.”  Here, let bAbak show you.  Also, we don’t capitalize the first letter of a name.  That’s so Latin. 

It totally works once you get into the mode that this is a Persian word you’re reading, it just happens to be spelled with English letters.  Confused?  Play with it a bit.  In retrospect, it will all seem so logical, accessible, streamlined. 

Stretch Goal Alert: There are applications of this #textingfArsi system that go beyond these magnets.  It’s one of those simple things that has potential to revolutionize Persian text parsing and communication.  It can make poetry and dialects quickly and easily accessible.  Try it with Burujerdi. You won’t even know what it means, but if you sound it out with our #textingfArsi system - it will sound right. 

What do people think about the magnets?

Here are some thoughts from people who have played with the magnets.  If you are a previous magnet player - please share your creations and thoughts with us! 

Magnet Origins

I’m Rezwan Razani.  I’m Iranian+American.  How did the magnets come about?  That’s on a “need to know” basis.  If you need to know, read the origin myth here (No seriously - so cool!  Aslan Media did an interview. Thanks so much Safa & Roxanne!).  But is it really important HOW they came about?  Isn’t it more important that they are here now, poised to wash humanity in a flood of Persian language memes?  Stay focused.

What We Need & What You Get

Our funding goal covers the costs of a minimum printing run of 500 magnet kits by Nowruz.

This includes the cost of printing the double sided magnets, the grammar guide and the alphabet card; ordering the boxes to put them in; shipping; receiving; assembly; and mailing out to you!  Yes, we need to rent a space to process the magnets.  They come in sheets, stacked on a pallet.  The delivery is surprisingly heavy.  The pallet requires a small forklift to move and can’t be delivered to a residence.

Yes.  The words have weight.  They are substantial. 

If we exceed the goal, we will be able to print more magnet kits for those who want, and we can also work on our stretch goals of creating even more cool language memes and developing the website to support Persian language explorers.  Indeed, coolzabAn is ad-free and has taken thousands of hours to research and write, and thousands of dollars to sustain. Much more remains to be done. If you find any joy and value in it, please consider becoming a Member and supporting with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good dinner.  Also, support this Indiegogo campaign above and beyond a magnet puchase.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

If we don’t reach the entire goal, we won’t be able to order the magnets and that would be SAD.  So very sad.

Tech Specs

We designed our three kits a few years ago and went through an initial printing.  We’ve been through the process once, so we know how it works, and we can definitely deliver the kits. 

Made in the USA - Because Iran still has sanctions.

Manufactured by Kling Magnetics in Chatham, NY.  The magnets are made from .30 double magnetized materials with TC348 vinyl on the front.  Screen printed in two colors (black on the white surface and white on the black back side of the magnet).  Magnets die cut with existing die from previous template.  Kiss cut on sheets measuring 11” by 14.5”; then broken up and assembled with alphabet cards and grammar guides by myself and family members.

Bonus Solar Boost!  Kling Magnetics uses all solar power in their manufacturing process.  Go green energy!

Other Ways You Can Help:

This is fixed funding project.  If we don’t get all the money we’re asking for, we won’t be able to order the kits.  We know there are people out there who love the Persian language and would be delighted to know about these magnets.  We just have to find each other.  Simple, right?  A few tweets and some facebook posts?

Crowdfunding campaigns require ghoulish amounts of social media stamina.  We absolutely can’t do it without YOU!  You ARE the social part of social media.  YOU make the difference in the success of this campaign.  It is your support of the campaign - signing up for perks, and most importantly, getting the word out!  Tell your friends!  Help these Persian words find their owners.  Connect this campaign with the people who would most enjoy these treasures.  Spread the word…the words!  Persian-English words!  Build community around language.  qAbel nadAreh, of course, and extiAr dArid.  You don’t really need the magnets to get the Persian language to spread - but they are a nifty tool to help ignite the fun.  Some things you can do:

  • Refer other people to our Indiegogo campaign using the Indiegogo share tools
  • Like us and share our campaign page on Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter @Coolzaban and tweet to and about us!  We often tweet back.
  • Follow us on Pinterest... and alert us to images of your creations.
  • Make and share your vines with us too!
  • +1 us on Google+ (uh, is anyone ON Google?)
  • Tell your colleagues about us on LinkedIn
  • Tell everyone you know that Persian-English Word Magnets is up to something really cool!

So even if you can’t contribute financially, there’s still plenty you can do to become part of an awesome community of like-minded individuals trying to make the world a better, more Persianized place. Thank you in advance! 

Say qurbAqe - بگو قورباغه

Disclosure:  If you’ve read this far, you should know my true mission in life is to make sure the entire world can say, غورباقه qurbAqe - aka Frog in Persian.  I made these kits with an additional several hundred Persian words each to mask my true intentions.  Frogs out of the bag now.  BWAHAHAHAHA!

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