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Persian (), also known by its
endonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 milli ...
Farsi (, ', ), is a
Western Iranian language The Western Iranian languages are a branch of the Iranian languages, attested from the time of Old Persian (6th century BC) and Median language, Median. Languages The traditional Northwestern branch is a convention for non-Southwestern languages ...
belonging to the Iranian branch of the
Indo-Iranian subdivision
Indo-Iranian subdivision
of the
Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), Signed language, sign, or o ...
. Persian is a
pluricentric language A pluricentric language or polycentric language is a language with several interacting codified standard forms, often corresponding to different countries. Many examples of such languages can be found worldwide among the most-spoken languages, incl ...
predominantly spoken and used officially within
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
,
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; /: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a at the crossroads of and . Afghanistan is bordered by to the east and south; to the west; , , and to the north; and to the northeast. Occupyin ...

Afghanistan
and
Tajikistan ) , image_map = Tajikistan (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , capital = , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , official_languages = (state) (interethn ...

Tajikistan
in three
mutually intelligible In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include p ...
standard varieties A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety In sociolinguistics, a variety, also called an isolect or lect, is a specific form of a language or language cluster. This may include language ...
, namely
Iranian Persian Iranian Persian, Western Persian or Western Farsi, natively simply known as Persian (, ), refers to the Variety (linguistics), varieties of the modern Persian language spoken in Iran and by minorities in neighboring countries, as well as by Irani ...
(officially known as ''Farsi''),
Afghan Persian (, , ) or Dari Persian (, ) is the political term used for the dialect of Persian language spoken in Afghanistan. Dari is the term officially recognized and promoted since 1964 by the Politics of Afghanistan, Afghan government for the Persian ...

Afghan Persian
(officially known as ''Dari'' since 1964) and Tajiki Persian (officially known as ''Tajik'' since 1999). It is also spoken natively in the Tajik variety by a significant population within
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan (, ; uz, Ozbekiston, ), officially the Republic of Uzbekistan ( uz, Ozbekiston Respublikasi), is a landlocked country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land ...

Uzbekistan
, as well as within other regions with a
Persianate A Persianate society is a society that is based on or strongly influenced by the Persian language Persian (), also known by its endonym Farsi (, ', ), is a Western Iranian language belonging to the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian subd ...
history in the cultural sphere of
Greater Iran ( BC) at its greatest extent () File:Achaemenid_(greatest_extent).svg, Achaemenid Empire (550 BC–330 BC) at its greatest extent () Greater Iran ( fa, ایران بزرگ, translit=Irān-e Bozorg) refers to the regions of Western Asia, ...
. It is written officially within Iran and Afghanistan in the
Persian alphabet The Persian alphabet ( fa, الفبای فارسی, Alefbā-ye Fārsi) or Perso-Arabic script, is a writing system used for the Persian language spoken in Iran (Western Persian) and Afghanistan (Dari, Dari Persian). The Persian language spoken in ...

Persian alphabet
, a derivation of the
Arabic script
Arabic script
, and within Tajikistan in the
Tajik alphabet 250 px, Another version of the 1929 coat of arms without Tajik Latin. The Tajik Arabic reads The Tajik language has been written in three alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols or graphemes (called letter ( ...
, a derivation of the
Cyrillic script The Cyrillic script ( ) is a used for various languages across and is used as the national script in various , , , , and -speaking countries in , , the , , , and . , around 250 million people in Eurasia use Cyrillic as the official scrip ...
. Modern Persian is a continuation of
Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empire. For some time after the Sasan ...
, an official language of the
Sasanian Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ''Iran (word), Ērānshahr''), and also called the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, was the last Persian Empire, Persian imperial dynasty before the spread of I ...

Sasanian Empire
(224–651 CE), itself a continuation of
Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Iranian may refer to: * Indo-Iranian languages * Indo-Iranians, the various peoples speaking ...
, which was used in the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, , translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient based in founded by . Ranging at its greatest extent from the and proper in the west to the in the east, it ...

Achaemenid Empire
(550–330 BCE). It originated in the region of Fars (
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in . It is bordered to the northwest by and , to the north by the , to the northeast by , to the east by , to the southeast by , t ...
) in southwestern Iran. Its grammar is similar to that of many European languages. Throughout history, Persian was used as a prestigious language by various empires centered in
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact character ...

Western Asia
,
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in which stretches from the in the west to and in the east, and from and in the south to in the north, including the former of , , , , and . It is also colloquially referred to as "the stans" as the countries all ...

Central Asia
, and
South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the ...

South Asia
. Old Persian is attested in
Old Persian cuneiform Old Persian cuneiform is a semi-alphabetic cuneiform script Cuneiform is a logo- syllabic script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age The Bronze Age ...

Old Persian cuneiform
on inscriptions from between the 6th and 4th century BC. Middle Persian is attested in
Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long history, Aramaic went thr ...

Aramaic
-derived scripts ( Pahlavi and
Manichaean Manichaeism (; in New Persian New Persian ( fa, فارسی نو), also known as Modern Persian () and Dari (), is the final stage of the Persian language Persian (), also known by its endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name' ...
) on inscriptions and in
Zoroastrian Zoroastrianism or Mazdayasna is an Iranian religion and one of the world's oldest continuously-practiced organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster Zoroaster (, ; el, Ζωροάστρης, ''Zōro ...
and
Manichaean Manichaeism (; in New Persian New Persian ( fa, فارسی نو), also known as Modern Persian () and Dari (), is the final stage of the Persian language Persian (), also known by its endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name' ...
scriptures from between the third to the tenth centuries (''See
Middle Persian literature Middle Persian literature is the corpus of written works composed in Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language whic ...
''). New Persian literature was first recorded in the ninth century, after the
Muslim conquest of Persia The Muslim conquest of Persia, also known as the Arab conquest of Iran, was carried out by the Rashidun Caliphate The Rashidun Caliphate ( ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلرَّاشِدَةُ, ') was the first of the four major caliphat ...
, since then adopting the . Persian was the first language to break through the monopoly of Arabic on writing in the
Muslim world The terms Muslim world and Islamic world commonly refer to the Islamic Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether ...

Muslim world
, with Persian poetry becoming a tradition in many eastern courts. It was used officially as a language of bureaucracy even by non-native speakers, such as the
Ottomans The Ottoman Turks or Osmanlı Turks ( tr, Osmanlı Türkleri), were the Turkic people The Turkic peoples are a collection of ethnic groups of Central Asia, Central, East Asia, East, North Asia, North and West Asia as well as parts of Europe and ...
in
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
, the
Mughals The Mughal Empire, Mogul or Moghul Empire, was an early modern empire in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The region consists of th ...
in South Asia, and the
Pashtuns Pashtuns (, or ; ps, پښتانه, ; Pakhtuns or Pathans), historically known as Afghans Afghan (Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a s ...

Pashtuns
in
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; /: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a at the crossroads of and . Afghanistan is bordered by to the east and south; to the west; , , and to the north; and to the northeast. Occupyin ...

Afghanistan
. It influenced languages spoken in neighboring regions and beyond, including other Iranian languages, the
Turkic languages The Turkic languages are a language family of at least 35 documented languages, spoken by the Turkic peoples of Eurasia from Eastern Europe and Southern Europe to Central Asia, East Asia, North Asia (Siberia), and Western Asia. The Turkic langu ...

Turkic languages
,
Armenian Armenian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Armenia, a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia * Armenians, the national people of Armenia, or people of Armenian descent ** Armenian language, the Indo-European language spoken ...
,
Georgian Georgian may refer to: Common meanings * Anything related to, or originating from Georgia (country) **Georgians, an indigenous Caucasian ethnic group **Georgian language, a Kartvelian language spoken by Georgians **Georgian scripts, three scripts ...
, and the
Indo-Aryan languages The Indo-Aryan or Indic languages form a major language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages h ...
. It also exerted some influence on
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
, while borrowing a lot of vocabulary from it in the Middle Ages.: "The language known as New Persian, which usually is called at this period (early Islamic times) by the name of Dari or Farsi-Dari, can be classified linguistically as a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of Sassanian Iran, itself a continuation of Old Persian, the language of the Achaemenids. Unlike the other languages and dialects, ancient and modern, of the Iranian group such as Avestan, Parthian, Soghdian, Kurdish, Balochi, Pashto, etc., Old Persian, Middle and New Persian represent one and the same language at three states of its history. It had its origin in Fars (the true Persian country from the historical point of view) and is differentiated by dialectical features, still easily recognizable from the dialect prevailing in north-western and eastern Iran." Some of the famous works of Persian literature from the Middle Ages are the ''
Shahnameh The ''Shahnameh'' or ''Shahnama'' ( fa, شاهنامه, Šāhnāme ; ) is a long epic poem An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem Narrative poetry is a form of poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek language, Greek ''poiesis'', "m ...
'' of
Ferdowsi , image = File:Statue of Ferdowsi in Tus, Iran 3 (cropped2).jpg , image_size = , caption = Statue of Ferdowsi in Tus, Iran, Tus by Abolhassan Sadighi , birth_date = 940 , birth_place = Tus, Iran, Tus, Samanid Empire , death_date = 1019/10 ...

Ferdowsi
, the works of
Rumi Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī ( fa, جلال‌الدین محمد رومی), (also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Balkhī (), Mevlânâ/Mowlānā (, "our master"), Mevlevî/Mawlawī (, "my master")) more popularly known simply as Rumi ( ...

Rumi
, the '''' of
Omar Khayyam Omar Khayyam (; fa, عمر خیّام ; 18 May 1048 – 4 December 1131) was a Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic ...
, the '' Panj Ganj'' of
Nizami Ganjavi Nizami Ganjavi ( fa, نظامی گنجوی, lit=Niẓāmī of Ganja, Azerbaijan, Ganja, translit=Niẓāmī Ganjavī) (c. 1141–1209), Nizami Ganje'i, Nizami, or Nezāmi, whose formal name was ''Jamal ad-Dīn Abū Muḥammad Ilyās ibn-Yūsuf ...
, The ''Divān ''of Hafez, ''
The Conference of the Birds ''The Conference of the Birds'' or ''Speech of the Birds'' ( fa, منطق الطیر, ''Manṭiq-uṭ-Ṭayr'', also known as ''Maqāmāt-uṭ-Ṭuyūr''; 1177) is a Persian poem by Sufi poet Farid ud-Din Attar, commonly known as Attar of Nis ...
'' by
Attar of Nishapur Attar or Attoor ( ar, عطار, ) may refer to: People *Attar (name) *Fariduddin Attar, 12th-century Persian poet Places *Attar (Madhya Pradesh), the location of Attar railway station, Madhya Pradesh, India *Attar, Iran, a village in Razavi Khor ...
, and the miscellanea of '' Gulistan'' and '' Bustan'' by
Saadi Shirazi Abū-Muhammad Muslih al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī ( fa, ابومحمّد مصلح‌الدین بن عبدالله شیرازی), better known by his pen name Saadi (; fa, سعدی, , ), also known as Sadi of Shiraz (, ''Saʿdī Shīrāzī'' ...
. Some of the prominent modern Persian poets were
Nima Yooshij Nimā Yushij ( fa, نیما یوشیج) (11 November 1897 – 4 January 1960), also called Nimā (), born Ali Esfandiāri (), was a Persians, Persian Persian Literature, poet. He is famous for his style of poetry which he popularized, called '' ...
,
Ahmad Shamlou Ahmad Shamlou ( fa, احمد شاملو, ''Ahmad Šāmlū'' , also known under his pen name A. Bamdad ( fa, ا. بامداد)) (December 12, 1925 – July 23, 2000) was an Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), ...

Ahmad Shamlou
,
Simin Behbahani Simin Behbahani, her surname also appears as Bihbahani ( fa, سیمین بهبهانی; 20 July 1927 – 19 August 2014) was a prominent Iranian contemporary poet, lyricist and activist. She is known for her poems in a ghazal The ''ghazal'' ...

Simin Behbahani
,
Sohrab Sepehri Sohrab Sepehri ( Persian: سهراب سپهری; October 7, 1928 – April 21, 1980) was a notable Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جم ...
,
Rahi Mo'ayyeri Shemiran, Tehran. Image:Rahi moayeri tomb2.jpg, Rahi Mo'ayeri's tomb is adorned with his poetry. Rahi Mo'ayeri ( رهی معیری in Persian language, Persian) (April 30, 1909 – November 15, 1968), real name: Mohammad Hasan Mo'ayyeri (مح ...
,
Mehdi Akhavan-Sales Mehdi Akhavān-Sāles, or Akhavān-Sāless ( fa, مهدی اخوان ثالث) (March 1, 1929 in Mashhad Mashhad ( fa, مشهد, Mašhad ), also spelled Mashad or Meshad, is the second-most-populous city in Iran and the capital of Razavi Kho ...
, and Forugh Farrokhzad. There are approximately 110 million Persian speakers worldwide, including
Persians The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestr ...
,
Lurs Lurs () are an Iranian people The Iranian peoples or the Iranic peoples, are a diverse Indo-European languages, Indo-European ethnolinguistic group, ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Iranian languages and other cultural si ...
,
Tajiks Tajiks ( fa, تاجيک، تاجک, ''Tājīk, Tājek''; tg, Тоҷик) are a Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethni ...

Tajiks
,
Hazaras The Hazaras ( fa, هزاره, Hazāra; haz, آزره, Āzra) are a Persian-speaking ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes ...

Hazaras
,
Iranian Azeris Iranian Azerbaijanis (, az, ایران آذربایجانلیلاری, ), also known as Iranian Azeris, Iranian Turks, Persian Turks or Persian Azerbaijanis, are Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Isl ...
,
Iranian Kurds Kurds Kurds ( ku, کورد ,Kurd, italic=yes, rtl=yes) or Kurdish people are an Iranic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish t ...
, Caucasian Tats and
Aimaqs The Aimaq ( fa, ایماق) or Chahar Aimaq (), also transliterated as Aimagh, Aimak and Aymaq, are a collection of Sunni Islam, Sunni and mostly Persian language, Persian and Pashto-speaking nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes. They live mostly in th ...
. The term ''Persophone'' might also be used to refer to a speaker of Persian.


Classification

Persian is a member of the Western Iranian group of the
Iranian languages The Iranian languages or Iranic languages are a branch of the in the that are spoken natively by the . The Iranian languages are grouped in three stages: Old Iranian (until 400 BCE), Middle Iranian (400 BCE–900 CE) and New Iranian (since 9 ...
, which make up a branch of the
Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), Signed language, sign, or o ...
in their . The Western Iranian languages themselves are divided into two subgroups: Southwestern Iranian languages, of which Persian is the most widely spoken, and Northwestern Iranian languages, of which Kurdish and Balochi are the most widely spoken.


Name

The term ''Persian'' is an English derivation of
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
, the adjectival form of , itself deriving from
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
(), a Hellenized form of
Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Iranian may refer to: * Indo-Iranian languages * Indo-Iranians, the various peoples speaking ...
(), which means "
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in . It is bordered to the northwest by and , to the north by the , to the northeast by , to the east by , to the southeast by , t ...
" (a region in southwestern Iran, corresponding to modern-day Fars). According to the ''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical dictionary A historical dictionary or dictionary on historical principles is a dictionary which deals not only with the latterday meanings of words but also the historica ...
'', the term ''Persian'' as a language name is first attested in English in the mid-16th century. ''Farsi'', which is the Persian word for the Persian language, has also been used widely in English in recent decades, more often to refer to Iran's standard Persian. However, the name ''Persian'' is still more widely used. The
Academy of Persian Language and Literature The Academy of Persian Language and Literature (APLL) ( fa, فرهنگستان زبان و ادب فارسی) is the regulatory body for the Persian language Persian (), also known by its endonym Farsi (, ', ), is a Western Iranian languag ...
has maintained that the
endonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 milli ...
''Farsi'' is to be avoided in foreign languages, and that ''Persian'' is the appropriate designation of the language in English, as it has the longer tradition in western languages and better expresses the role of the language as a mark of cultural and national continuity. Iranian historian and linguist
Ehsan Yarshater Ehsan Yarshater ( fa, احسان يارشاطر, April 3, 1920 – September 1, 2018) was an Iranian historian and linguist who specialized in Iranology. He was the founder and director of The Center for Iranian Studies, and Hagop Kevorkian Profess ...

Ehsan Yarshater
, founder of the ''
Encyclopædia Iranica ''Encyclopædia Iranica'' is a project whose goal is to create a comprehensive and authoritative English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval En ...
'' and
Columbia University Columbia University (also known as Columbia, and officially as Columbia University in the City of New York) is a in . Established in 1754 as King's College on the grounds of in , Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in and ...

Columbia University
's Center for Iranian Studies, mentions the same concern in an academic journal on
Iranology Iranian studies ( fa, ايران‌شناسی '), also referred to as Iranology and Iranistics, is an interdisciplinary field dealing with the study of the history, literature, art and culture of Iranian peoples. It is a part of the wider field ...
, rejecting the use of ''Farsi'' in foreign languages. Etymologically, the Persian term derives from its earlier form ( in
Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empire. For some time after the Sasan ...
), which in turn comes from the same root as the English term ''Persian''. In the same process, the Middle Persian toponym ("Persia") evolved into the modern name Fars. The phonemic shift from to is due to the influence of
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
in the Middle Ages, and is because of the lack of the phoneme in Standard Arabic.


Standard varieties' names

The standard Persian of Iran has been called, apart from ''Persian'' and ''Farsi'', by names such as ''Iranian Persian'' and ''Western Persian'', exclusively. Officially, the official language of Iran is designated simply as ''Persian'' (, ). The standard Persian of Afghanistan has been officially named ''Dari'' (, ) since 1958. Also referred to as ''Afghan Persian'' in English, it is one of Afghanistan's two official languages, together with
Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in ...
. The term ''Dari'', meaning "of the court", originally referred to the variety of Persian used in the court of the Sasanian Empire in capital
Ctesiphon Ctesiphon ( ; Middle Persian: 𐭲𐭩𐭮𐭯𐭥𐭭 ''tyspwn'' or ''tysfwn''; fa, تیسفون; grc-gre, Κτησιφῶν, ; syr, ܩܛܝܣܦܘܢThomas A. Carlson et al., “Ctesiphon — ܩܛܝܣܦܘܢ ” in The Syriac Gazetteer last modi ...

Ctesiphon
, which was spread to the northeast of the empire and gradually replaced the former Iranian dialects of
Parthia Parthia ( peo, 𐎱𐎼𐎰𐎺 ''Parθava''; xpr, 𐭐𐭓𐭕𐭅 ''Parθaw''; pal, 𐭯𐭫𐭮𐭥𐭡𐭥 ''Pahlaw'') is a historical region located in north-eastern . It was conquered and subjugated by the empire of the during the 7th ...

Parthia
( Parthian). Tajik Persian (, ), the standard Persian of Tajikistan, has been officially designated as ''Tajik'' (, ) since the time of the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
. It is the name given to the varieties of Persian spoken in Central Asia in general.


ISO codes

The international language-encoding standard
ISO 639-1 ISO 639-1:2002, ''Codes for the representation of names of languages—Part 1: Alpha-2 code'', is the first part of the ISO 639 ISO 639 is a set of standards by the International Organization for Standardization that is concerned with represent ...
uses the code fa for the Persian language, as its coding system is mostly based on the native-language designations. The more detailed standard
ISO 639-3 ISO 639-3:2007, ''Codes for the representation of names of languages – Part 3: Alpha-3 code for comprehensive coverage of languages'', is an international standard for language code A language is a structured system of communication use ...
uses the code fas for the dialects spoken across Iran and Afghanistan. This consists of the individual languages Dari (prs) and Iranian Persian (pes). It uses tgk for Tajik, separately.


History

In general, the Iranian languages are known from three periods: namely Old, Middle, and New (Modern). These correspond to three historical eras of
Iranian history The history of Iran, which was commonly known until the mid-20th century as Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ایران ), is a country in W ...

Iranian history
; Old era being sometime around the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, , translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient based in founded by . Ranging at its greatest extent from the and proper in the west to the in the east, it ...

Achaemenid Empire
(i.e., 400–300 BC), Middle era being the next period most officially around the
Sasanian Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ''Iran (word), Ērānshahr''), and also called the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, was the last Persian Empire, Persian imperial dynasty before the spread of I ...

Sasanian Empire
, and New era being the period afterwards down to present day. vi(2). Documentation. According to available documents, the Persian language is "the only Iranian language" for which close philological relationships between all of its three stages are established and so that Old, Middle, and New Persian represent one and the same language of Persian; that is, New Persian is a direct descendant of Middle and Old Persian.cf. vi(2). Documentation. Excerpt 1: "Only the official languages Old, Middle, and New Persian represent three stages of one and the same language, whereas close genetic relationships are difficult to establish between other Middle and Modern Iranian languages. Modern Yaḡnōbi belongs to the same dialect group as Sogdian, but is not a direct descendant; Bactrian may be closely related to modern Yidḡa and Munji (Munjāni); and Wakhi (Wāḵi) belongs with Khotanese.'' Excerpt 2: ''New Persian, the descendant of Middle Persian and official language of Iranian states for centuries." The known history of the Persian language can be divided into the following three distinct periods:


Old Persian

As a
written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most la ...
, Old Persian is attested in royal
Achaemenid The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian empire An empire is a sovereign state consisting of several territories and peoples subj ...

Achaemenid
inscriptions. The oldest known text written in Old Persian is from the
Behistun Inscription The Behistun Inscription (also Bisotun, Bistun or Bisutun; fa, بیستون, Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and it is the ancestor of Middle Persian ...
, dating to the time of King
Darius I Darius I ( peo, wiktionary:𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁, 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁 ; New Persian: ''Dāryuš''; grc, wiktionary:Δαρεῖος, Δαρεῖος ; ; c. 550 – 486 BCE), commonly known as Darius the Great, was the third List ...
(reigned 522–486 BC). Examples of Old Persian have been found in what is now
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
, Romania (
Gherla Gherla (; hu, Szamosújvár; german: Neuschloss) is a municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national ...
), Armenia, Bahrain, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.Kent, R. G.: "Old Persian: Grammar Texts Lexicon", page 6. American Oriental Society, 1950. Old Persian is one of the oldest Indo-European languages which is attested in original texts. According to certain historical assumptions about the early history and origin of ancient Persians in Fars Province, Southwestern Iran (where Achaemenids hailed from), Old Persian was originally spoken by a tribe called ''Parsuwash'', who arrived in the Iranian Plateau early in the 1st millennium BCE and finally migrated down into the area of present-day Fārs province. Their language, Old Persian, became the official language of the Achaemenid kings. Assyrian records, which in fact appear to provide the earliest evidence for ancient Iranian (Persian and Median) presence on the Iranian Plateau, give a good chronology but only an approximate geographical indication of what seem to be ancient Persians. In these records of the 9th century BCE, ''Parsuwash'' (along with ''Matai'', presumably Medians) are first mentioned in the area of Lake Urmia in the records of Shalmaneser III. The exact identity of the Parsuwash is not known for certain, but from a linguistic viewpoint the word matches Old Persian ''pārsa'' itself coming directly from the older word ''*pārćwa''. Also, as Old Persian contains many words from another extinct Iranian language, Median language, Median, according to Prods Oktor Skjaervo, P. O. Skjærvø it is probable that Old Persian had already been spoken before the formation of the Achaemenid Empire and was spoken during most of the first half of the first millennium BCE. Xenophon, a Greek general serving in some of the Persian expeditions, describes many aspects of Armenian village life and hospitality in around 401 BCE, which is when Old Persian was still spoken and extensively used. He relates that the Armenian people spoke a Armenian language, language that to his ear sounded like the language of the Persians. Related to Old Persian, but from a different branch of the Iranian language family, was Avestan, the language of the
Zoroastrian Zoroastrianism or Mazdayasna is an Iranian religion and one of the world's oldest continuously-practiced organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster Zoroaster (, ; el, Ζωροάστρης, ''Zōro ...
liturgical texts.


Middle Persian

The complex grammatical conjugation and declension of Old Persian yielded to the structure of Middle Persian in which the dual number disappeared, leaving only singular and plural, as did gender. Middle Persian developed the ezāfe construction, expressed through ''ī'' (modern ''ye''), to indicate some of the relations between words that have been lost with the simplification of the earlier grammatical system. Although the "middle period" of the Iranian languages formally begins with the fall of the Achaemenid Empire, the transition from Old to Middle Persian had probably already begun before the 4th century BC. However, Middle Persian is not actually attested until 600 years later when it appears in the Sassanid era (224–651 AD) inscriptions, so any form of the language before this date cannot be described with any degree of certainty. Moreover, as a literary language, Middle Persian is not attested until much later, in the 6th or 7th century. From the 8th century onward, Middle Persian gradually began yielding to New Persian, with the middle-period form only continuing in the texts of Zoroastrianism. Middle Persian is considered to be a later form of the same dialect as Old Persian. The native name of Middle Persian was ''Parsig'' or ''Parsik'', after the name of the ethnic group of the southwest, that is, "of ''Pars''", Old Persian ''Parsa'', New Persian '' Fars''. This is the origin of the name ''Farsi'' as it is today used to signify New Persian. Following the collapse of the Sassanid state, ''Parsik'' came to be applied exclusively to (either Middle or New) Persian that was written in the . From about the 9th century onward, as Middle Persian was on the threshold of becoming New Persian, the older form of the language came to be erroneously called ''Middle Persian, Pahlavi'', which was actually but one of the ''writing systems'' used to render both Middle Persian as well as various other Middle Iranian languages. That writing system had previously been adopted by the Sassanids (who were Persians, i.e. from the southwest) from the preceding Arsacids (who were Parthians, i.e. from the northeast). While Ibn al-Muqaffa' (eighth century) still distinguished between ''Pahlavi'' (i.e. Parthian) and ''Persian'' (in Arabic text: al-Farisiyah) (i.e. Middle Persian), this distinction is not evident in Arab commentaries written after that date. Gernot Windfuhr considers new Persian as an evolution of the Old Persian language and the Middle Persian language but also states that none of the known Middle Persian dialects is the direct predecessor of Modern Persian. Ludwig Paul states: "The language of the Shahnameh should be seen as one instance of continuous historical development from Middle to New Persian."


New Persian

"New Persian" (also referred to as Modern Persian) is conventionally divided into three stages: *Early New Persian (8th/9th centuries) *Classical Persian (10th–18th centuries) *Contemporary Persian (19th century to present) Early New Persian remains largely intelligible to speakers of Contemporary Persian, as the morphology and, to a lesser extent, the lexicon of the language have remained relatively stable.


Early New Persian

New Persian texts written in the first appear in the 9th-century. The language is a direct descendant of Middle Persian, the official, religious and literary language of the Sasanian Empire (224–651). However, it is not descended from the literary form of Middle Persian (known as ''pārsīk'', commonly called Pahlavi), which was spoken by the people of Fars and used in Zoroastrian religious writings. Instead, it is descended from the dialect spoken by the court of the Sasanian capital
Ctesiphon Ctesiphon ( ; Middle Persian: 𐭲𐭩𐭮𐭯𐭥𐭭 ''tyspwn'' or ''tysfwn''; fa, تیسفون; grc-gre, Κτησιφῶν, ; syr, ܩܛܝܣܦܘܢThomas A. Carlson et al., “Ctesiphon — ܩܛܝܣܦܘܢ ” in The Syriac Gazetteer last modi ...

Ctesiphon
and the northeastern Iranian region of Greater Khorasan, Khorasan, known as Dari. The region, which comprised the present territories of northwestern Afghanistan as well as parts of Central Asia, played a leading role in the rise of New Persian. Khorasan, which was the homeland of the Parthians, was Persianized under the Sasanians. Dari Persian thus supplanted Parthian language, which by the end of the Sasanian era had fallen out of use. New Persian has incorporated many foreign words, including from Eastern Iranian languages, eastern northern and northern Iranian languages such as Sogdian language, Sogdian and especially Parthian. The transition to New Persian was already complete by the era of the three princely dynasties of Iranian origin, the Tahirid dynasty (820–872), Saffarid dynasty (860–903) and Samanid Empire (874–999).Jackson, A. V. Williams. 1920. Early Persian poetry, from the beginnings down to the time of Firdausi. New York: The Macmillan Company. pp.17–19. (i
Public Domain
Abbas of Merv is mentioned as being the earliest minstrel to chant verse in the New Persian tongue and after him the poems of Hanzala Badghisi were among the most famous between the Persian-speakers of the time. The first poems of the Persian language, a language historically called Dari, emerged in present-day Afghanistan. The first significant Persian poet was Rudaki. He flourished in the 10th century, when the Samanids were at the height of their power. His reputation as a court poet and as an accomplished musician and singer has survived, although little of his poetry has been preserved. Among his lost works are versified fables collected in the ''Panchatantra, Kalila wa Dimna''. The language spread geographically from the 11th century on and was the medium through which, among others, Central Asian Turks became familiar with Islam and urban culture. New Persian was widely used as a trans-regional lingua franca, a task aided due to its relatively simple morphology, and this situation persisted until at least the 19th century.Johanson, Lars, and Christiane Bulut. 2006
Turkic-Iranian contact areas: historical and linguistic aspects
Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
In the late Middle Ages, new Islamic literary languages were created on the Persian model: Ottoman Turkish language, Ottoman Turkish, Chagatai language, Chagatai, Dobhashi and Urdu, which are regarded as "structural daughter languages" of Persian.


Classical Persian

"Classical Persian" loosely refers to the standardized language of medieval Persia used in Persian literature, literature and Persian poetry, poetry. This is the language of the 10th to 12th centuries, which continued to be used as literary language and lingua franca under the "Persianized" Turko-Mongol dynasties during the 12th to 15th centuries, and under restored Persian rule during the 16th to 19th centuries. Persian during this time served as lingua franca of Greater Persia and of much of the Indian subcontinent. It was also the official and cultural language of many Islamic dynasties, including the Samanids, Buyid dynasty, Buyids, Tahirid dynasty, Tahirids, Ziyarid dynasty, Ziyarids, the Mughal Empire, Timurid Empire, Timurids, Ghaznavids, Kara-Khanid Khanate, Karakhanids, Seljuq dynasty, Seljuqs, Khwarazmian dynasty, Khwarazmians, the Sultanate of Rum, Anatolian beyliks, Turkmen beyliks of Anatolia, Delhi Sultanate, the Shirvanshahs, Safavid dynasty, Safavids, Afsharid dynasty, Afsharids, Zand dynasty, Zands, Qajar dynasty, Qajars, Khanate of Bukhara, Khanate of Kokand, Emirate of Bukhara, Khanate of Khiva, Ottomans and also many Mughal successors such as the Nizam of Hyderabad. Persian was the only non-European language known and used by Marco Polo at the Court of Kublai Khan and in his journeys through China. ; Use in Asia Minor A branch of the Seljuks, the Sultanate of Rum, took Persian language, art and letters to Anatolia., p 734 They adopted the Persian language as the official language of the empire. The
Ottomans The Ottoman Turks or Osmanlı Turks ( tr, Osmanlı Türkleri), were the Turkic people The Turkic peoples are a collection of ethnic groups of Central Asia, Central, East Asia, East, North Asia, North and West Asia as well as parts of Europe and ...
, who can roughly be seen as their eventual successors, took this tradition over. Persian was the official court language of the empire, and for some time, the official language of the empire. The educated and noble class of the Ottoman Empire all spoke Persian, such as Sultan Selim I, despite being Safavid Iran's archrival and a staunch opposer of Shia Islam. It was a major literary language in the empire. Some of the noted earlier Persian works during the Ottoman rule are Idris Bitlisi, Idris Bidlisi's ''Hasht Bihisht'', which began in 1502 and covered the reign of the first eight Ottoman rulers, and the ''Salim-Namah'', a glorification of Selim I. After a period of several centuries, Ottoman Turkish language, Ottoman Turkish (which was highly Persianised itself) had developed towards a fully accepted language of literature, which was even able to satisfy the demands of a scientific presentation. However, the number of Persian and Arabic loanwords contained in those works increased at times up to 88%. In the Ottoman Empire, Persian was used for diplomacy, poetry, historiographical works, literary works, and was taught in state schools. ; Use in South Asia The Persian language influenced the formation of many modern languages in West Asia, Europe,
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in which stretches from the in the west to and in the east, and from and in the south to in the north, including the former of , , , , and . It is also colloquially referred to as "the stans" as the countries all ...

Central Asia
, and
South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the ...

South Asia
. Following the Turko-Persian Mahmud of Ghazni, Ghaznavid conquest of
South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the ...

South Asia
, Persian was firstly introduced in the region by Turkic Central Asians. The basis in general for the introduction of Persian language into the subcontinent was set, from its earliest days, by various Persianized Central Asian Turkic and Afghan dynasties. For five centuries prior to the British Empire, British colonization, Persian was widely used as a second language in the Indian subcontinent. It took prominence as the language of culture and education in several Muslim courts on the subcontinent and became the sole "official language" under the Mughal Empire, Mughal emperors. The Bengal Sultanate witnessed an influx of Persian scholars, lawyers, teachers and clerics. Thousands of Persian books and manuscripts were published in Bengal. The period of the reign of Sultan Ghiyathuddin Azam Shah, is described as the "golden age of Persian literature in Bengal". Its stature was illustrated by the Sultan's own correspondence and collaboration with the Persian poet Hafez; a poem which can be found in the ''Divan of Hafez'' today. A Bengali language, Bengali dialect emerged amongst the common Bengali Muslim folk, based on a Persian model and known as Dobhashi; meaning ''mixed language''. Dobhashi Bengali was patronised and given official status under the Sultans of Bengal, and was a popular literary form used by Bengalis during the pre-colonial period, irrespective of their religion. Following the defeat of the Hindu Shahi dynasty, classical Persian was established as a courtly language in the region during the late 10th century under Ghaznavids, Ghaznavid rule over the northwestern frontier of the subcontinent. Employed by Punjabis in literature, Persian achieved prominence in the region during the following centuries. Persian continued to act as a courtly language for various empires in Punjab region, Punjab through the early 19th century serving finally as the official state language of the Sikh Empire, preceding Punjab Province (British India), British conquest and the decline of Persian in South Asia. Beginning in 1843, though, English and Hindustani language, Hindustani gradually replaced Persian in importance on the subcontinent. Evidence of Persian's historical influence there can be seen in the extent of its influence on certain languages of the Indian subcontinent. Words borrowed from Persian are still quite commonly used in certain Indo-Aryan languages, especially Hindi-Urdu (also historically known as Hindustani language, Hindustani), Punjabi language, Punjabi, Kashmiri language, Kashmiri and Sindhi language, Sindhi. There is also a small population of Zoroastrian Irani (India), Iranis in India, who migrated in the 19th century to escape religious execution in Qajar dynasty, Qajar Iran and speak a Dari dialect.


Contemporary Persian

; Qajar dynasty In the 19th century, under the Qajar dynasty, the dialect that is spoken in Tehran rose to prominence. There was still substantial Arabic vocabulary, but many of these words have been integrated into Persian phonology and grammar. In addition, under the Qajar rule numerous Russian language, Russian, French language, French, and English terms entered the Persian language, especially vocabulary related to technology. The first official attentions to the necessity of protecting the Persian language against foreign words, and to the standardization of Persian alphabet, Persian orthography, were under the reign of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar, Naser ed Din Shah of the Qajar dynasty in 1871. After Naser ed Din Shah, Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar, Mozaffar ed Din Shah ordered the establishment of the first Persian association in 1903. This association officially declared that it used Persian and
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
as acceptable sources for coining words. The ultimate goal was to prevent books from being printed with wrong use of words. According to the executive guarantee of this association, the government was responsible for wrongfully printed books. Words coined by this association, such as ''rāh-āhan'' () for "railway", were printed in ''Soltani Newspaper''; but the association was eventually closed due to inattention. A scientific association was founded in 1911, resulting in a dictionary called ''Words of Scientific Association'' (), which was completed in the future and renamed ''Katouzian Dictionary'' (). ; Pahlavi dynasty The first academy for the Persian language was founded on 20 May 1935, under the name ''Academy of Iran''. It was established by the initiative of Reza Shah Pahlavi, and mainly by Hekmat E Shirazi, Hekmat e Shirazi and Mohammad Ali Foroughi, all prominent names in the nationalist movement of the time. The academy was a key institution in the struggle to re-build Iran as a nation-state after the collapse of the Qajar dynasty. During the 1930s and 1940s, the academy led massive campaigns to replace the many
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
, Russian language, Russian, French language, French, and
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
loanwords whose widespread use in Persian during the centuries preceding the foundation of the Pahlavi dynasty had created a literary language considerably different from the spoken Persian of the time. This became the basis of what is now known as "Contemporary Standard Persian".


Varieties

There are three standard varieties of modern Persian: *''Western Persian, Iranian Persian'' (''Persian'', ''Western Persian'', or ''Farsi'') is spoken in
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
, and by minorities in Iraq and the Persian Gulf states. *''Dari language, Eastern Persian'' (''Dari Persian'', ''Afghan Persian'', or ''Dari'') is spoken in
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; /: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a at the crossroads of and . Afghanistan is bordered by to the east and south; to the west; , , and to the north; and to the northeast. Occupyin ...

Afghanistan
. *''Tajik language, Tajiki'' (''Tajik Persian'') is spoken in
Tajikistan ) , image_map = Tajikistan (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , capital = , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , official_languages = (state) (interethn ...

Tajikistan
and
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan (, ; uz, Ozbekiston, ), officially the Republic of Uzbekistan ( uz, Ozbekiston Respublikasi), is a landlocked country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land ...

Uzbekistan
. It is written in the
Cyrillic script The Cyrillic script ( ) is a used for various languages across and is used as the national script in various , , , , and -speaking countries in , , the , , , and . , around 250 million people in Eurasia use Cyrillic as the official scrip ...
. All these three varieties are based on the classic Persian literature and its literary tradition. There are also several local dialects from Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan which slightly differ from the standard Persian. The Hazaragi dialect (in Central Afghanistan and Pakistan), Herati (in Western Afghanistan), Darwazi (in Afghanistan and Tajikistan), Basseri dialect, Basseri (in Southern Iran), and the Tehrani accent (in Iran, the basis of standard Iranian Persian) are examples of these dialects. Persian-speaking peoples of Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan can understand one another with a relatively high degree of mutual intelligibility. Nevertheless, the ''
Encyclopædia Iranica ''Encyclopædia Iranica'' is a project whose goal is to create a comprehensive and authoritative English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval En ...
'' notes that the Iranian, Afghan and Tajiki varieties comprise distinct branches of the Persian language, and within each branch a wide variety of local dialects exist. The following are some languages closely related to Persian, or in some cases are considered dialects: *Luri language, Luri (or ''Lori''), spoken mainly in the southwestern Iranian provinces of Lorestan Province, Lorestan, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari some western parts of Fars Province and some parts of Khuzestan Province. *Achomi language, Achomi (or ''Lari''), spoken mainly in southern Iranian provinces of Fars and Hormozgan Province, Hormozgan. *Tat language (Caucasus), Tat, spoken in parts of Azerbaijan, Russia, and Transcaucasia. It is classified as a variety of Persian.Gernot Windfuhr, "Persian Grammar: history and state of its study", Walter de Gruyter, 1979. pg 4:""Tat- Persian spoken in the East Caucasus"" (This dialect is not to be confused with the Tati language (Iran), Tati language of northwestern Iran, which is a member of a different branch of the Iranian languages.) *Judeo-Tat. Part of the Tat-Persian continuum, spoken in Azerbaijan, Russia, as well as by immigrant communities in Israel and New York. More distantly related branches of the Iranian language family include Kurdish and Balochi.


Phonology

Iranian Persian has six vowels and twenty-three consonants; both Dari and Tajiki have eight vowels.


Vowels

File:Farsi vowel chart.svg, upright=1.3, The vowel phonemes of modern Tehran Persian Historically, Persian distinguished length. Early New Persian had a series of five long vowels (, , , and ) along with three short vowels , and . At some point prior to the 16th century in the general area now modern Iran, and merged into , and and merged into . Thus, older contrasts such as ''shēr'' "lion" vs. ''shīr'' "milk", and ''zūd'' "quick" vs ''zōr'' "strong" were lost. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and in some words, ''ē'' and ''ō'' are merged into the diphthongs and (which are descendants of the diphthongs and in Early New Persian), instead of merging into and . Examples of the exception can be found in words such as (bright). Numerous other instances exist. However, in Dari, the archaic distinction of and (respectively known as ''Yā-ye majhūl'' and ''Yā-ye ma'rūf'') is still preserved as well as the distinction of and (known as ''Wāw-e majhūl'' and ''Wāw-e ma'rūf''). On the other hand, in standard Tajik, the length distinction has disappeared, and merged with and with . Therefore, contemporary Afghan Dari dialects are the closest to the vowel inventory of Early New Persian. According to most studies on the subject (e.g. Samareh 1977, Pisowicz 1985, Najafi 2001), the three vowels traditionally considered long (, , ) are currently distinguished from their short counterparts (, , ) by position of articulation rather than by length. However, there are studies (e.g. Hayes 1979, Windfuhr 1979) that consider vowel length to be the active feature of the system, with , , and phonologically long or bimoraic and , , and phonologically short or monomoraic. There are also some studies that consider quality and quantity to be both active in the Iranian system (such as Toosarvandani 2004). That offers a synthetic analysis including both quality and quantity, which often suggests that Modern Persian vowels are in a transition state between the quantitative system of Classical Persian and a hypothetical future Iranian language, which will eliminate all traces of quantity and retain quality as the only active feature. The length distinction is still strictly observed by careful reciters of classic-style poetry for all varieties (including Tajik).


Consonants

Notes: * in Western Persian, Iranian Persian and have merged into [~Voiced uvular stop, ɢ], as a voiced velar fricative when positioned intervocalically and unstressed, and as a voiced uvular stop otherwise.


Grammar


Morphology

Suffixes predominate Persian morphology (linguistics), morphology, though there are a small number of prefixes. Verbs can express tense and grammatical aspect, aspect, and they agree with the subject in person and number. There is no grammatical gender in modern Persian, and pronouns are not marked for Grammatical gender#Grammatical vs. natural gender, natural gender. In other words, in Persian, pronouns are gender neutral. When referring to a masculine or a feminine subject the same pronoun is used (pronounced "ou", ū).


Syntax

Normal declarative sentences are structured as ''(S) (PP) (O) V'': sentences have optional Subject (grammar), subjects, prepositional phrases, and Object (grammar), objects followed by a compulsory verb. If the object is specific, the object is followed by the word ''rā'' and precedes prepositional phrases: ''(S) (O + ''rā'') (PP) V''.


Vocabulary


Native word formation

Persian makes extensive use of word building and combining affixes, stems, nouns and adjectives. Persian frequently uses derivational agglutination to word formation, form new words from nouns, adjectives, and verbal stems. New words are extensively formed by Compound (linguistics), compounding – two existing words combining into a new one.


Influences

While having a lesser influence on Arabic language, Arabic and other languages of Mesopotamia and its core vocabulary being of
Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empire. For some time after the Sasan ...
origin, New Persian contains a considerable number of Arabic lexical items, which were Persianized and often took a different meaning and usage than the
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
original. Persian loanwords of Arabic origin especially include Islamic terms. The Arabic vocabulary in other Iranian, Turkic and Indic languages is generally understood to have been copied from New Persian, not from Arabic itself. John R. Perry, in his article ''Lexical Areas and Semantic Fields of Arabic'', estimates that about 24 percent of an everyday vocabulary of 20,000 words in current Persian, and more than 25 percent of the vocabulary of classical and modern Persian literature, are of Arabic origin. The text frequency of these loan words is generally lower and varies by style and topic area. It may approach 25 percent of a text in literature.John R. Perry, "Lexical Areas and Semantic Fields of Arabic" in Éva Ágnes Csató, Eva Agnes Csato, Bo Isaksson, Carina Jahani, ''Linguistic convergence and areal diffusion: case studies from Iranian, Semitic and Turkic'', Routledge, 2005. p.97 According to another source, about 40% of everyday Persian literary vocabulary is of Arabic origin. Among the Arabic loan words, relatively few (14 percent) are from the semantic domain of material culture, while a larger number are from domains of intellectual and spiritual life. Most of the Arabic words used in Persian are either synonyms of native terms or could be glossed in Persian. The inclusion of Mongolic languages, Mongolic and Turkic languages, Turkic elements in the Persian language should also be mentioned, not only because of the political role a succession of Turkic dynasties played in Iranian history, but also because of the immense prestige Persian language and literature enjoyed in the wider (non-Arab) Islamic world, which was often ruled by sultans and emirs with a Turkic background. The Turkish and Mongolian vocabulary in Persian is minor in comparison to that of Arabic and these words were mainly confined to military, pastoral terms and political sector (titles, administration, etc.). New military and political titles were coined based partially on Middle Persian (e.g. for "army", instead of the Uzbek ; ; ; etc.) in the 20th century. Persian has likewise influenced the vocabularies of other languages, especially other
Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), Signed language, sign, or o ...
such as
Armenian Armenian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Armenia, a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia * Armenians, the national people of Armenia, or people of Armenian descent ** Armenian language, the Indo-European language spoken ...
, Urdu, Bengali and Hindi; the latter three through conquests of Persianized Central Asian Turkic and Afghan invaders;
Turkic languages The Turkic languages are a language family of at least 35 documented languages, spoken by the Turkic peoples of Eurasia from Eastern Europe and Southern Europe to Central Asia, East Asia, North Asia (Siberia), and Western Asia. The Turkic langu ...

Turkic languages
such as Ottoman Turkish language, Ottoman Turkish, Chagatai language, Chagatai, Tatar language, Tatar, Turkish language, Turkish, Turkmen language, Turkmen, Azeri language, Azeri, Uzbek language, Uzbek, and Karachay-Balkar language, Karachay-Balkar; Caucasian languages such as
Georgian Georgian may refer to: Common meanings * Anything related to, or originating from Georgia (country) **Georgians, an indigenous Caucasian ethnic group **Georgian language, a Kartvelian language spoken by Georgians **Georgian scripts, three scripts ...
, and to a lesser extent, Avar language, Avar and Lezgin language, Lezgin; Afro-Asiatic languages like Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Assyrian (List of loanwords in Assyrian Neo-Aramaic) and Arabic language, Arabic, particularly Bahrani Arabic; and even Dravidian languages indirectly especially Malayalam, Tamil language, Tamil, Telugu language, Telugu and Brahui language, Brahui; as well as Austronesian languages such as Indonesian language, Indonesian and Malaysian language, Malaysian Malay language, Malay. Persian has also had a significant lexical influence, via Turkish, on Albanian language, Albanian and Serbo-Croatian, particularly as spoken in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Use of occasional foreign synonyms instead of Persian words can be a common practice in everyday communications as an alternative expression. In some instances in addition to the Persian vocabulary, the equivalent synonyms from multiple foreign languages can be used. For example, in Iranian colloquial Persian (not in Afghanistan or Tajikistan), the phrase "thank you" may be expressed using the French word (stressed, however, on the first syllable), the hybrid Persian-Arabic phrase ( being "thankful" in Arabic, commonly pronounced in Persian, and the verb ''am'' meaning "I am" in Persian), or by the pure Persian phrase .


Orthography

The vast majority of modern Iranian Persian and Dari text is written with the . Tajiki, which is considered by some linguists to be a Persian dialect influenced by Russian language, Russian and the
Turkic languages The Turkic languages are a language family of at least 35 documented languages, spoken by the Turkic peoples of Eurasia from Eastern Europe and Southern Europe to Central Asia, East Asia, North Asia (Siberia), and Western Asia. The Turkic langu ...

Turkic languages
of
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in which stretches from the in the west to and in the east, and from and in the south to in the north, including the former of , , , , and . It is also colloquially referred to as "the stans" as the countries all ...

Central Asia
, is written with the
Cyrillic script The Cyrillic script ( ) is a used for various languages across and is used as the national script in various , , , , and -speaking countries in , , the , , , and . , around 250 million people in Eurasia use Cyrillic as the official scrip ...
in
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Tajikistan
(see
Tajik alphabet 250 px, Another version of the 1929 coat of arms without Tajik Latin. The Tajik Arabic reads The Tajik language has been written in three alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols or graphemes (called letter ( ...
). There also exist several Romanization of Persian, romanization systems for Persian.


Persian alphabet

Modern Iranian Persian and Afghan Persian are written using the
Persian alphabet The Persian alphabet ( fa, الفبای فارسی, Alefbā-ye Fārsi) or Perso-Arabic script, is a writing system used for the Persian language spoken in Iran (Western Persian) and Afghanistan (Dari, Dari Persian). The Persian language spoken in ...

Persian alphabet
which is a modified variant of the Arabic alphabet, which uses different pronunciation and additional letters not found in Arabic language. After the Muslim conquest of Persia, Arab conquest of Persia, it took approximately 200 years, which is referred to as Two Centuries of Silence in Iran, before Persians adopted the Arabic script in place of the older alphabet. Previously, two different scripts were used, Pahlavi, used for Middle Persian, and the Avestan alphabet (in Persian, Dīndapirak or Din Dabire—literally: religion script), used for religious purposes, primarily for the Avestan but sometimes for Middle Persian. In the modern Persian script, Vowel length, historically short vowels are usually not written, only the historically long ones are represented in the text, so words distinguished from each other only by short vowels are ambiguous in writing: Iranian Persian ' "worm", ' "generosity", ' "cream", and ' "chrome" are all spelled ' () in Persian. The reader must determine the word from context. The Arabic system of vocalization marks known as ''harakat'' is also used in Persian, although some of the symbols have different pronunciations. For example, a ''ḍammah'' is pronounced , while in Iranian Persian it is pronounced . This system is not used in mainstream Persian literature; it is primarily used for teaching and in some (but not all) dictionaries. There are several letters generally only used in Arabic loanwords. These letters are pronounced the same as similar Persian letters. For example, there are four functionally identical letters for (), three letters for (), two letters for (), two letters for (). On the other hand, there are four letters that don't exist in Arabic .


Additions

The
Persian alphabet The Persian alphabet ( fa, الفبای فارسی, Alefbā-ye Fārsi) or Perso-Arabic script, is a writing system used for the Persian language spoken in Iran (Western Persian) and Afghanistan (Dari, Dari Persian). The Persian language spoken in ...

Persian alphabet
adds four letters to the Arabic alphabet: Historically, there was also a special letter for the sound . This letter is no longer used, as the /β/-sound changed to /b/, e.g. archaic /zaβān/ > /zæbɒn/ 'language'


Variations

The Persian alphabet also modifies some letters of the Arabic alphabet. For example, ''alef with hamza below'' ( ) changes to ''aleph, alef'' ( ); words using various hamzas get spelled with yet another kind of hamza (so that becomes ) even though the latter has been accepted in Arabic since the 80s; and ''teh marbuta'' ( ) changes to ''he (letter), heh'' ( ) or ''taw (letter), teh'' ( ). The letters different in shape are: However, in shape and form is the traditional Arabic style that continues in the Nile Valley, namely, Egypt, Sudan, and South Sudan.


Latin alphabet

The International Organization for Standardization has published a standard for simplified transliteration of Persian into Latin, ISO 233-3, titled "Information and documentation – Transliteration of Arabic characters into Latin characters – Part 3: Persian language – Simplified transliteration" but the transliteration scheme is not in widespread use. Another Latin alphabet, based on the Common Turkic Alphabet#In the USSR, Common Turkic Alphabet, was used in
Tajikistan ) , image_map = Tajikistan (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , capital = , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , official_languages = (state) (interethn ...

Tajikistan
in the 1920s and 1930s. The alphabet was phased out in favor of Tajik Cyrillic alphabet, Cyrillic in the late 1930s. Fingilish is Persian using ISO basic Latin alphabet. It is most commonly used in online chat, chat, emails and Short Message Service, SMS applications. The orthography is not standardized, and varies among writers and even media (for example, typing 'aa' for the phoneme is easier on computer keyboards than on cellphone keyboards, resulting in smaller usage of the combination on cellphones).


Tajik alphabet

The Cyrillic script was introduced for writing the Tajik language under the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic in the late 1930s, replacing the Tajik alphabet#Transliteration standards, Latin alphabet that had been used since the October Revolution and the Persian script that had been used earlier. After 1939, materials published in Persian in the Persian script were banned in the country.


Examples

The following text is from Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


See also

* Western Persian * Indo-European copula *
Academy of Persian Language and Literature The Academy of Persian Language and Literature (APLL) ( fa, فرهنگستان زبان و ادب فارسی) is the regulatory body for the Persian language Persian (), also known by its endonym Farsi (, ', ), is a Western Iranian languag ...
* Pahlavi (disambiguation) * List of English words of Persian origin * List of French loanwords in Persian * Persian Braille * Persian name * Persian metres * Romanization of Persian * List of territorial entities where Persian is an official language


References


Sources

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Further reading

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External links


Academy of Persian Language and Literature official website

Assembly for the Expansion of the Persian Language official website

Persian language Resources

Persian Language Resources
parstimes.com
Persian language tutorial books for beginners
* Soleiman Haim, Haim, Soleiman
New Persian–English dictionary
Teheran: Librairie-imprimerie Beroukhim, 1934–1936. uchicago.edu * Steingass, Francis Joseph
A Comprehensive Persian–English dictionary
London: Routledge & K. Paul, 1892. uchicago.edu
Persian
ucla.edu
How Persian Alphabet Transits into Graffiti
Persian Graffiti
Basic Persian language course (book + audio files)
USA Foreign Service Institute (FSI) {{Authority control Persian language, Languages attested from the 6th century BC Iranian culture Languages of Iran Languages of Iraq Languages of Azerbaijan Languages of Russia Languages of Bahrain Southwestern Iranian languages Subject–object–verb languages Languages of Afghanistan Languages of Kuwait Languages of Tajikistan Languages of Uzbekistan Languages of the Caucasus Stress-timed languages Articles containing video clips