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Persian (), also known by its
endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, ''native'' name for a geographical place, group of people, individual person, language or dialect, meaning that it is used inside that particular place, grou ...
Farsi (, ', ), is a
Western Iranian language The Western Iranic languages are a branch of the Iranic 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 native to the languages of Europe, overwhelming majority of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and the northern Indian subcontinent. Some European languages of this family, English language, Englis ...
. Persian is a
pluricentric language A pluricentric language or polycentric language is a language with several interacting codified standard language, standard forms, often corresponding to different countries. Many examples of such languages can be found worldwide among the most-spo ...
predominantly spoken and used officially within
Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...

Iran
,
Afghanistan Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,; prs, امارت اسلامی افغانستان is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. Referred to as the Heart of Asia, it is bordere ...

Afghanistan
, and
Tajikistan Tajikistan (, ; tg, Тоҷикистон, Tojikiston; russian: Таджикистан, Tadzhikistan), officially the Republic of Tajikistan ( tg, Ҷумҳурии Тоҷикистон, Jumhurii Tojikiston), is a landlocked country in Centra ...

Tajikistan
in three
mutually intelligible In linguistics, mutual intelligibility is a relationship between languages or dialects in which speakers of different but related Variety (linguistics), varieties can readily understand each other without prior familiarity or special effort. It ...
standard varieties, 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 Ira ...
(officially known as ''Persian''),
Dari Persian Dari (, , ), also known as Dari Persian (, ), is the Variety (linguistics), variety of the Persian language spoken in Afghanistan. Dari is the term officially recognised and promoted since 1964 by the Politics of Afghanistan, Afghan government ...

Dari Persian
(officially known as ''Dari'' since 1964) and Tajiki Persian (officially known as ''Tajik'' since 1999).Siddikzoda, S. "Tajik Language: Farsi or not Farsi?" in ''Media Insight Central Asia #27'', August 2002. It is also spoken natively in the Tajik variety by a significant population within
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan (, ; uz, Ozbekiston, italic=yes / , ; russian: Узбекистан), officially the Republic of Uzbekistan ( uz, Ozbekiston Respublikasi, italic=yes / ; russian: Республика Узбекистан), is a Doubly landlocked, do ...

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 culture, culture, Persian literature, literature, Persian art, art and/or identity. The term "Persianate" is a neologism credited to Marsh ...
history in the cultural sphere of
Greater Iran Greater Iran ( fa, ایران بزرگ, translit=Irān-e Bozorg) refers to a region covering parts of Western Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, Xinjiang, and the Caucasus, where both Culture of Iran, Iranian culture and Iranian langua ...
. It is written officially within Iran and Afghanistan in the
Persian alphabet The Persian alphabet ( fa, الفبای فارسی, Alefbâye Fârsi) is a writing system that is a version of the Arabic script used for the Persian language spoken in Iran (Iranian Persian, Western Persian) and Afghanistan (Dari, Dari Persi ...

Persian alphabet
, a derivation of the
Arabic script The Arabic script is the writing system used for Arabic and several other languages of Asia and Africa. It is the second-most widely used List of writing systems by adoption, writing system in the world by number of countries using it or a scri ...

Arabic script
, and within Tajikistan in the
Tajik alphabet The Tajik language has been written in three alphabets over the course of its history: an adaptation of the Persian alphabet, Perso-Arabic script, an adaptation of the Latin script and an adaptation of the Cyrillic script. Any script used spec ...
, a derivation of the
Cyrillic script The Cyrillic script ( ), Slavonic script or the Slavic script, is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia. It is the designated national script in various Slavic languages, Slavic, Turkic languages, Turkic, Mongolic languages, ...
. Modern Persian is a continuation of
Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg () in its later form, is a Western Iranian languages#Middle Iranian, Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empire. For some time after ...
, an official language of the
Sasanian Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ) and also referred to by historians as the Neo-Persian Empire, was the History of Iran, last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests of the 7th-8th cen ...

Sasanian Empire
(224–651 CE), itself a continuation of
Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and is the ancestor of Middle Persian (the language of Sasanian Empire). Like other Old Iranian languages, it was known to its native ...
, which was used in the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...

Achaemenid Empire
(550–330 BCE). It originated in the region of
Pars Pars may refer to: * Fars Province of Iran, also known as Pars Province * Pars (Sasanian province), a province roughly corresponding to the present-day Fars, 224–651 * ''Pars'', for ''Persia'' or ''Iran'', in the Persian language * Pars News Age ...
(
Persia Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
) in southwestern Iran. Its grammar is similar to that of many European languages. Throughout history, Persian was considered prestigious by various empires centered in
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...

Western Asia
,
Central Asia Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the c ...

Central Asia
, and
South Asia South Asia is the southern subregion of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the continental land ...

South Asia
. Old Persian is attested in
Old Persian cuneiform Old Persian cuneiform is a semi-alphabetic cuneiform script that was the primary script for Old Persian. Texts written in this cuneiform have been found in Iran (Persepolis, Susa, Hamadan, Kharg Island), Armenia, Romania (Gherla), Turkey (Van Fort ...

Old Persian cuneiform
on inscriptions from between the 6th and 4th century BC. Middle Persian is attested in
Aramaic Aramaic ( syc, ܐܪܡܝܐ, Arāmāyā; oar, 𐤀𐤓𐤌𐤉𐤀; arc, 𐡀𐡓𐡌𐡉𐡀; tmr, אֲרָמִית) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic languages, Semitic language that originated in the ancient Syria (regio ...

Aramaic
-derived scripts ( Pahlavi and
Manichaean Manichaeism (; in New Persian ; ) is a former major religionR. van den Broek, Wouter J. Hanegraaff ''Gnosis and Hermeticism from Antiquity to Modern Times''SUNY Press, 1998 p. 37 founded in the 3rd century AD by the Parthian Empire, Parthian ...
) on inscriptions and in
Zoroastrian Zoroastrianism is an Iranian religions, Iranian religion and one of the world's History of religion, oldest organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian peoples, Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster. It has a Dualism in cosmology, du ...
and
Manichaean Manichaeism (; in New Persian ; ) is a former major religionR. van den Broek, Wouter J. Hanegraaff ''Gnosis and Hermeticism from Antiquity to Modern Times''SUNY Press, 1998 p. 37 founded in the 3rd century AD by the Parthian Empire, Parthian ...
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, that is, the Middle Iranian dialect of Persis, Persia proper, the region in the south-western corner of the Iranian plateau. Middle Persian was the prestige diale ...
). 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 from 633 to 654 AD and led to the fall of the Sasanian Empire as well as the eventual decline of the Zoroastrianism, Zoroastrian ...
, since then adopting the Arabic script. Persian was the first language to break through the monopoly of
Arabic Arabic (, ' ; , ' or ) is a Semitic languages, Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C ...

Arabic
on writing in the
Muslim world The terms Muslim world and Islamic world commonly refer to the Islamic community, which is also known as the Ummah. This consists of all those who adhere to the religious beliefs and laws of Islam or to societies in which Islam is practiced. In ...

Muslim world
, with
Persian poetry Persian literature ( fa, ادبیات فارسی, Adabiyâte fârsi, ) comprises oral compositions and written texts in the Persian language and is one of the world's oldest literatures. It spans over two-and-a-half millennia. Its sources h ...
becoming a tradition in many eastern courts. As British scholar David G. Hogarth stated, "Never has captor more swiftly and subtly been captured by his captive than Arabic by Persia". It was used officially as a language of bureaucracy even by non-native speakers, such as the
Ottomans The Ottoman Turks ( tr, Osmanlı Türkleri), were the Turkic founding and sociopolitically the most dominant ethnic group of the Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire, * ; is an archaic version. The definite article forms and were synony ...

Ottomans
in
Anatolia Anatolia (also Asia Minor), is a large peninsula in Western Asia and is the western-most extension of continental Asia. The land mass of Anatolia constitutes most of the territory of contemporary Turkey. Geographically, the Anatolian region i ...
, the
Mughals The Mughal Empire was an early-modern empire that controlled much of South Asia South Asia is the southern subregion of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a co ...
in South Asia, and the
Pashtuns Pashtuns (, , ; ps, پښتانه, ), also known as Pakhtuns or Pathans, are an Iranian peoples, Iranian ethnic group who are native to the geographic region of Pashtunistan in the present-day countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan. They were ...

Pashtuns
in Afghanistan. It influenced languages spoken in neighboring regions and beyond, including other Iranian languages, the , Armenian, Georgian, and
Indo-Aryan languages The Indo-Aryan languages (or sometimes Indic languages) are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family. As of the early 21st century, they have more than 800 million speakers, primarily ...
. It also exerted some influence on 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 Persian, 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 world's most famous pieces of literature from the Middle Ages, such as the ''
Shahnameh The ''Shahnameh'' or ''Shahnama'' ( fa, شاهنامه, Šāhnāme, lit=The Book of Kings, ) is a long epic poem written by the Persian literature, Persian poet Ferdowsi between c. 977 and 1010 CE and is the national epic of Greater Iran. Consi ...
'' by
Ferdowsi , image = Statue of Ferdowsi in Tus, Iran 3 (cropped).jpg , image_size = , caption = Statue of Ferdowsi in Tus by Abolhassan Sadighi , birth_date = 940 , birth_place = Tus, Samanid Empire The Samanid Empire ( fa, سامانیان, Sā ...

Ferdowsi
, the works of
Rumi Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī ( fa, جلال‌الدین محمد رومی), also known as Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī (), Mevlânâ/Mawlānā ( fa, مولانا, lit= our master) and Mevlevî/Mawlawī ( fa, مولوی, lit= my ma ...

Rumi
, the '''', the ' 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'' by
Attar of Nishapur Abū Ḥamīd bin Abū Bakr Ibrāhīm (c. 1145 – c. 1221; fa, ابو حامد بن ابوبکر ابراهیم), better known by his pen-names Farīd ud-Dīn () and ʿAṭṭār of Nishapur (, Attar means apothecary ''Apothecary'' () is a ...
, and the miscellanea of '' Gulistan'' and '' Bustan'' by
Saadi Shirazi Saadi Shīrāzī ( fa, ابومحمّد مصلح‌الدین بن عبدالله شیرازی), better known by his pen name A pen name, also called a ''nom de plume'' or a literary double, is a pseudonym (or, in some cases, a variant form of ...
, are written in Persian. Some of the prominent modern Persian poets were
Nima Yooshij Nimā Yushij ( fa, نیما یوشیج) (11 November 1895 – 4 January 1960), also called Nimā (), born Ali Esfandiāri (), was an Persian literature, Iranian poet. He is famous for his style of poetry which he popularized, called ''she'r-e n ...
, ,
Simin Behbahani Simin Behbahani, her surname also appears as Bihbahani (née Siminbar Khalili; 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 ghaz ...

Simin Behbahani
, Sohrab Sepehri, Rahi Mo'ayyeri,
Mehdi Akhavan-Sales Mehdi Akhavān-Sāles, or Akhavān-Sāless ( fa, مهدی اخوان ثالث) (March 1, 1929 in Mashhad, Pahlavi dynasty, Iran – August 26, 1990 in Tehran, Iran), pen name Mim. Omid ( fa, م. امید, meaning ''M. Hope'') was a prominent Ira ...
, and Forugh Farrokhzad. There are approximately 110 million Persian speakers worldwide, including
Persians The Persians are an Iranian peoples, Iranian ethnic group who comprise over half of the population of Iran. They share a Culture of Iran, common cultural system and are native speakers of the Persian language as well as of Iranian languages, t ...
,
Lurs Lurs () are an Iranian peoples, Iranian people living in the mountains of western Iran. The four Luri branches are the Bakhtiari people, Bakhtiari, Mamasani (tribe), Mamasani, Kohgiluyeh and Lur proper, who are principally linked by the Luri la ...
,
Tajiks Tajiks ( fa, تاجيک، تاجک, ''Tājīk, Tājek''; tg, Тоҷик) are a Persian language, Persian-speaking Iranian peoples, Iranian ethnic group native to Central Asia, living primarily in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Tajiks ...

Tajiks
,
Hazaras The Hazaras ( fa, , Həzārə; haz, , Āzərə) are an ethnic group and the principal component of the population of Afghanistan, native to, and primarily residing in the Hazaristan (Hazarajat) region in central Afghanistan and generally scatte ...

Hazaras
, Iranian Azeris,
Iranian Kurds Kurds ug:كۇردلار Kurds ( ku, کورد ,Kurd, italic=yes, rtl=yes) or Kurdish people are an Iranian peoples, Iranian ethnic group native to the mountainous region of Kurdistan in Western Asia, which spans southeastern Turkey, nort ...
, , Tats, and Aimaqs. 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 Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European language family that are spoken natively by the Iranian peoples The Iranian peoples or Iranic peoples are a diverse grouping of I ...
, which make up a branch of the
Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family native to the languages of Europe, overwhelming majority of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and the northern Indian subcontinent. Some European languages of this family, English language, Englis ...
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 belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...

Latin
, the adjectival form of , itself deriving from
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
(), a Hellenized form of
Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and is the ancestor of Middle Persian (the language of Sasanian Empire). Like other Old Iranian languages, it was known to its native ...
(), which means "
Persia Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
" (a region in southwestern Iran, corresponding to modern-day Fars). According to the ''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the first and foundational historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a com ...
'', the term ''Persian'' as a language name is first attested in English in the mid-16th century. ', 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, ''Farhangestân-e Zabân-o Adab-e Fârsi'') is the List of language regulators, regulatory body for the Persian language, headquartered i ...
has maintained that the
endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, ''native'' name for a geographical place, group of people, individual person, language or dialect, meaning that it is used inside that particular place, grou ...
' 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 Profe ...

Ehsan Yarshater
, founder of the ''
Encyclopædia Iranica ''Encyclopædia Iranica'' is a project whose goal is to create a comprehensive and authoritative English language encyclopedia about the history, culture, and civilization of Iranian peoples from prehistory to modern times. Scope The ''Encycl ...
'' and
Columbia University Columbia University (also known as Columbia, and officially as Columbia University in the City of New York) is a Private university, private research university in New York City. Established in 1754 as King's College on the grounds of Trinity ...

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 research and study of the civilization, history, literature, art and culture of Iranian peoples. It ...
, rejecting the use of ' 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 () in its later form, is a Western Iranian languages#Middle Iranian, Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empire. For some time after ...
), 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 ) is a Semitic languages, Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C ...

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 (,; , ) is an Eastern Iranian languages, Eastern Iranian language in the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family. It is known in historical Persian literature as Afghani (). Spoken as a native language mostly by ethni ...
. 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 northeastern Greater Iran. It was conquered and subjugated by the empire of the Medes ...

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 List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
. 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 series of international standards for language codes. Part 1 covers the registration of two-letter codes. There are ...
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 codes in the ISO 639 series. It defines three-letter codes for i ...
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 is intertwined with the history of a larger region known as Greater Iran, comprising the area from Anatolia in the west to the borders of Ancient India and the Syr Darya in the east, and from the Caucasus and the Eurasian Step ...

Iranian history
; Old era being sometime around the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...

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 (, ) and also referred to by historians as the Neo-Persian Empire, was the History of Iran, last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests of the 7th-8th cen ...

Sasanian Empire
, and New era being the period afterward 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." 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." 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 by means of a writing system. Written language is an invention in that it must be taught to children, who will pick up spoken language or sign language by exposure even i ...
, Old Persian is attested in royal
Achaemenid The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...

Achaemenid
inscriptions. The oldest known text written in Old Persian is from the , dating to the time of King
Darius I Darius I ( peo, wiktionary:𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁, 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁 ; grc-gre, Δαρεῖος ; – 486 BCE), commonly known as Darius the Great, was a List of monarchs of Persia, Persian ruler who served as the third King o ...
(reigned 522–486 BC). Examples of Old Persian have been found in what is now
Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...

Iran
, Romania ( Gherla),
Armenia Armenia (), , group=pron officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country in the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.The UNbr>classification of world regions places Armenia in Western Asia; the CIA World Factbook , , and '' ...

Armenia
,
Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ; ar, البحرين, al-Bahrayn, locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, ' is an island country in Western Asia. It is situated on the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Persian Gulf, and comprises a small archipelago made u ...

Bahrain
,
Iraq Iraq,; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq officially the Republic of Iraq, '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Turkey to Iraq–Turkey border, the north, Iran to Iran–Iraq ...

Iraq
, Turkey, and
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مصر , ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast corner of Africa and Western Asia, southwest corner of Asia via a land bridg ...

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 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 Lake Urmia; az, اۇرمۇ گؤلۆ, script=Arab, italic=no, Urmu gölü; ku, گۆلائوو رمیەیێ, Gola Ûrmiyeyê; hy, Ուրմիա լիճ, Urmia lich; arc, ܝܡܬܐ ܕܐܘܪܡܝܐ is an endorheic lake, endorheic salt lake in Ira ...
in the records of
Shalmaneser III Shalmaneser III (''Šulmānu-ašarēdu'', "the god Shulmanu is pre-eminent") was king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from the death of his father Ashurnasirpal II in 859 BC to his own death in 824 BC. His long reign was a constant series of campaign ...

Shalmaneser III
. The exact identity of the Parsuwash is not known for certain, but from a linguistic viewpoint the word matches Old Persian itself coming directly from the older word . Also, as Old Persian contains many words from another extinct Iranian language,
Median In statistics and probability theory, the median is the value separating the higher half from the lower half of a Sample (statistics), data sample, a statistical population, population, or a probability distribution. For a data set, it may be th ...
, according to P. O. Skjærvø it is probable that Old Persian had already been spoken before the formation of the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...

Achaemenid Empire
and was spoken during most of the first half of the first millennium BCE.
Xenophon Xenophon of Athens (; grc, wikt:Ξενοφῶν, Ξενοφῶν ; – probably 355 or 354 BC) was a Greek military leader, philosopher, and historian, born in Athens. At the age of 30, Xenophon was elected commander of one of the biggest Anci ...

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 Armenians ( hy, հայեր, ''Romanization of Armenian, hayer'' ) are an ethnic group native to the Armenian highlands of Western Asia. Armenians constitute the main population of Armenia and the ''de facto'' independent Republic of Artsakh ...
spoke a
language Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Languages are the primary means by which humans communicate, and may be conveyed through a variety of met ...
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 Avestan (), or historically Zend, or by the speakers as Upastavakaena ( pas.taˈvakˈaeːna is an umbrella term for two Old Iranian languages: Old Avestan (spoken in the 2nd millennium BCE) and Younger Avestan (spoken in the 1st millennium B ...

Avestan
, the language of the
Zoroastrian Zoroastrianism is an Iranian religions, Iranian religion and one of the world's History of religion, oldest organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian peoples, Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster. It has a Dualism in cosmology, du ...
liturgical texts.


Middle Persian

The complex
grammatical conjugation In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and ...
and
declension In linguistics, declension (verb: ''to decline'') is the changing of the form of a word, generally to express its syntactic function in the sentence, by way of some inflection. Declensions may apply to nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and ar ...
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 ''e/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 Zoroastrianism is an Iranian religions, Iranian religion and one of the world's History of religion, oldest organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian peoples, Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster. It has a Dualism in cosmology, du ...
. Middle Persian is considered to be a later form of the same dialect as Old Persian. The endonym and exonym, 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
Arabic script The Arabic script is the writing system used for Arabic and several other languages of Asia and Africa. It is the second-most widely used List of writing systems by adoption, writing system in the world by number of countries using it or a scri ...

Arabic script
. 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.


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
Arabic script The Arabic script is the writing system used for Arabic and several other languages of Asia and Africa. It is the second-most widely used List of writing systems by adoption, writing system in the world by number of countries using it or a scri ...

Arabic script
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 ''Kalīla wa-Dimna, 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 Turkic, Dobhashi, Dobhashi Bengali, 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 ( tr, Osmanlı Türkleri), were the Turkic founding and sociopolitically the most dominant ethnic group of the Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire, * ; is an archaic version. The definite article forms and were synony ...

Ottomans
, 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 toward 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, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the c ...

Central Asia
, and
South Asia South Asia is the southern subregion of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the continental land ...

South Asia
. Following the Turko-Persian Mahmud of Ghazni, Ghaznavid conquest of
South Asia South Asia is the southern subregion of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the continental land ...

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 among 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 Indian subcontinent, 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 ) is a Semitic languages, Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C ...

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 ) is a Semitic languages, Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C ...

Arabic
, Russian language, Russian, French language, French, and
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
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: *''
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 Ira ...
'' (''Persian'', ''Western Persian'', or ''Farsi'') is spoken in
Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...

Iran
, and by minorities in
Iraq Iraq,; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq officially the Republic of Iraq, '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Turkey to Iraq–Turkey border, the north, Iran to Iran–Iraq ...

Iraq
and the Persian Gulf states. *''Dari, Eastern Persian'' (''Dari Persian'', ''Afghan Persian'', or ''Dari'') is spoken in
Afghanistan Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,; prs, امارت اسلامی افغانستان is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. Referred to as the Heart of Asia, it is bordere ...

Afghanistan
. *''Tajik language, Tajiki'' (''Tajik Persian'') is spoken in
Tajikistan Tajikistan (, ; tg, Тоҷикистон, Tojikiston; russian: Таджикистан, Tadzhikistan), officially the Republic of Tajikistan ( tg, Ҷумҳурии Тоҷикистон, Jumhurii Tojikiston), is a landlocked country in Centra ...

Tajikistan
and
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan (, ; uz, Ozbekiston, italic=yes / , ; russian: Узбекистан), officially the Republic of Uzbekistan ( uz, Ozbekiston Respublikasi, italic=yes / ; russian: Республика Узбекистан), is a Doubly landlocked, do ...

Uzbekistan
. It is written in the
Cyrillic script The Cyrillic script ( ), Slavonic script or the Slavic script, is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia. It is the designated national script in various Slavic languages, Slavic, Turkic languages, Turkic, Mongolic languages, ...
. 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 encyclopedia about the history, culture, and civilization of Iranian peoples from prehistory to modern times. Scope The ''Encycl ...
'' 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 languages, 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

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'' "strength" 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
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 Ira ...
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 () in its later form, is a Western Iranian languages#Middle Iranian, Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empire. For some time after ...
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 ) is a Semitic languages, Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C ...

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 20 percent of an everyday vocabulary of 20,000 words in current Persian, and around 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 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 native to the languages of Europe, overwhelming majority of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and the northern Indian subcontinent. Some European languages of this family, English language, Englis ...
such as Armenian, Urdu, Bengali, and Hindi; the latter three through conquests of Persianized Central Asian Turkic and Afghan invaders; Turkic languages such as Ottoman Turkish language, Ottoman Turkish, Chagatai language, Chagatai, Tatar language, Tatar, Turkish language, Turkish, Turkmen language, Turkmen, Azerbaijani language, Azeri, Uzbek language, Uzbek, and Karachay-Balkar language, Karachay-Balkar; Languages of the Caucasus, Caucasian languages such as Georgian, 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
Arabic script The Arabic script is the writing system used for Arabic and several other languages of Asia and Africa. It is the second-most widely used List of writing systems by adoption, writing system in the world by number of countries using it or a scri ...

Arabic script
. Tajiki, which is considered by some linguists to be a Persian dialect influenced by Russian language, Russian and the Turkic languages of
Central Asia Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the c ...

Central Asia
, is written with the
Cyrillic script The Cyrillic script ( ), Slavonic script or the Slavic script, is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia. It is the designated national script in various Slavic languages, Slavic, Turkic languages, Turkic, Mongolic languages, ...
in
Tajikistan Tajikistan (, ; tg, Тоҷикистон, Tojikiston; russian: Таджикистан, Tadzhikistan), officially the Republic of Tajikistan ( tg, Ҷумҳурии Тоҷикистон, Jumhurii Tojikiston), is a landlocked country in Centra ...

Tajikistan
(see
Tajik alphabet The Tajik language has been written in three alphabets over the course of its history: an adaptation of the Persian alphabet, Perso-Arabic script, an adaptation of the Latin script and an adaptation of the Cyrillic script. Any script used spec ...
). 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, Alefbâye Fârsi) is a writing system that is a version of the Arabic script used for the Persian language spoken in Iran (Iranian Persian, Western Persian) and Afghanistan (Dari, Dari Persi ...

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 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 Avestan (), or historically Zend, or by the speakers as Upastavakaena ( pas.taˈvakˈaeːna is an umbrella term for two Old Iranian languages: Old Avestan (spoken in the 2nd millennium BCE) and Younger Avestan (spoken in the 1st millennium B ...

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, Alefbâye Fârsi) is a writing system that is a version of the Arabic script used for the Persian language spoken in Iran (Iranian Persian, Western Persian) and Afghanistan (Dari, Dari Persi ...

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 -sound changed to , e.g. archaic > '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 Tajikistan (, ; tg, Тоҷикистон, Tojikiston; russian: Таджикистан, Tadzhikistan), officially the Republic of Tajikistan ( tg, Ҷумҳурии Тоҷикистон, Jumhurii Tojikiston), is a landlocked country in Centra ...

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

*
Academy of Persian Language and Literature The Academy of Persian Language and Literature (APLL) ( fa, فرهنگستان زبان و ادب فارسی, ''Farhangestân-e Zabân-o Adab-e Fârsi'') is the List of language regulators, regulatory body for the Persian language, headquartered i ...
* Indo-European copula *
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 Ira ...
, Western Persian * List of countries and territories where Persian is an official language * List of English words of Persian origin * List of French loanwords in Persian * Pahlavi (disambiguation) * Persian Braille * Persian metres * Persian name * Romanization of Persian


Citations


Works cited

* * * * * * * *


General references

* * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


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, Iranian culture Languages attested from the 6th century BC Languages of Afghanistan Languages of Azerbaijan Languages of Bahrain Languages of Iran Languages of Iraq Languages of Kuwait Languages of Russia Languages of Tajikistan Languages of the Caucasus Languages of Uzbekistan Southwestern Iranian languages Stress-timed languages Subject–object–verb languages Articles containing video clips