Tajik or Tajiki (Tajik: забо́ни тоҷикӣ́, زبان
تاجیکی zaboni tojikī, [zaˈbɔni tɔd͡ʒiˈki]), also
called Tajiki Persian (Tajik: форси́и тоҷикӣ́, forsii
tojikī, [fɔrˈsiji tɔd͡ʒiˈki]), is the variety of Persian spoken
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It is closely related to Dari Persian.
Since the beginning of the twentieth century and collapse of the
Soviet Union, Tajik has been considered by a number of writers and
researchers to be a variety of Persian (Halimov 1974: 30–31,
Oafforov 1979: 33).[clarification needed] The popularity of this
conception of Tajik as a variety of Persian was such that, during the
period in which Tajik intellectuals were trying to establish Tajik as
a language separate from Persian, Sadriddin Ayni, who was a prominent
intellectual and educator, had to make a statement that Tajik was not
a bastardized dialect of Persian. The issue of whether Tajik and
Persian are to be considered two dialects of a single language or two
discrete languages has political sides to it (see Perry 1996).
Today Tajik is recognized as a dialect of the Persian language.
Tajik is the official language of Tajikistan. In
Tajik people make up a large part of the population), this language is
less influenced by Turkic languages, is called Dari, and has
co-official language status. Tajik has diverged from Persian as spoken
Iran due to political borders, geographical
isolation, the standardization process, and the influence of Russian
and neighboring Turkic languages. The standard language is based on
the northwestern dialects of Tajik (region of old major city of
Samarqand), which have been somewhat influenced by the neighboring
Uzbek language as a result of geographical proximity. Tajik also
retains numerous archaic elements in its vocabulary, pronunciation,
and grammar that have been lost elsewhere in the Persophone world, in
part due to its relative isolation in the mountains of Central Asia.
1 Geographical distribution
2.3 Word stress
5 Writing system
7 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
The most important cities of Central Asia—
Bukhara—are in present-day Uzbekistan, where ethnic
a majority. Today, virtually all Tajik speakers in
bilingual in Tajik and Uzbek. This Tajik–Uzbek
bilingualism has had a strong influence on the phonology, morphology,
and syntax of Bukharan Tajik.
Tajiks are also found in large
numbers in the
Surxondaryo Region in the south and along Uzbekistan's
eastern border with Tajikistan. Tajik is still widely spoken in
Buxoro today, as
Tajiks account for perhaps 70% of the
total population of
Samarqand and have been estimated to make up as
much as 90% of Buxoro.
Official statistics in
Uzbekistan state that the Tajik community
comprises 5% of the nation's total population. However, these
numbers do not include ethnic
Tajiks who, for a variety of reasons,
choose to identify themselves as
Uzbeks in population census
forms. During the
Soviet "Uzbekisation" supervised by Sharof
Rashidov, the head of the Uzbek
Tajiks had to choose
either to stay in
Uzbekistan and get registered as Uzbek in their
passports or leave the republic for the less-developed agricultural
and mountainous Tajikistan. The "Uzbekization" movement ended in
Tajiks living in the nation of
reportedly estimated that
Tajiks make up 25–30% of the nation's
Tajiks constitute 80% of Tajikistan's population, and the language
dominates in most parts of the country. Some
southeastern Tajikistan, where the
Pamir languages are the native
languages of most residents, are bilingual.
Tajiks are the dominant
ethnic group in Northern
Afghanistan as well, and are also the
majority group in scattered pockets elsewhere in the country,
particularly urban areas such as Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kunduz, Ghazni
Tajiks constitute between 25% and 30% of the total
population of the country. In Afghanistan, the dialects spoken by
Tajiks are written using the
Persian alphabet and referred to
as the Dari, along with the dialects of other groups in Afghanistan
such as the Hazaragi and Aimaq dialects. Approximately 15-30% of
Afghan citizens are native speakers of Dari. A large
Tajik-speaking diaspora exists due to the instability that has plagued
Central Asia in recent years, with significant numbers of
in Russia, Kazakhstan, and beyond. This Tajik diaspora is also the
result of the poor state of the economy of Tajikistan, and each year
approximately one million men leave
Tajikistan in order to gain
employment in Russia.
Tajik dialects can be approximately split into the following groups:
Northern dialects (Northern Tajikistan, Bukhara, Samarkand,
Kyrgyzstan, and the
Varzob valley region of Dushanbe).
Central dialects (dialects of the upper
Southern dialects (South and East of Dushanbe, Kulob, and the Rasht
region of Tajikistan)
Southeastern dialects (dialects of the Darvoz region and the Amu Darya
The dialect used by the
Bukharan Jews of
Central Asia are known as the
Bukhori dialect and belong to the northern dialect grouping. They are
chiefly distinguished by the inclusion of Hebrew terms, principally
religious vocabulary, and a historical use of the Hebrew alphabet.
Despite these differences,
Bukhori is readily intelligible to other
Tajik-speakers, particularly speakers of northern dialects.
A very important moment in the development of the contemporary Tajik,
especially of the spoken language, is the tendency in changing its
dialectal orientation. The dialects of Northern
Tajikistan were the
foundation of the prevalent standard Tajik, while the Southern
dialects did not enjoy either popularity or prestige. Now all
politicians and public officials make their speeches in the Kulob
dialect, which is also used in broadcasting.
The table below lists the six vowel phonemes in standard, literary
Tajik. Letters from the Tajik Cyrillic alphabet are given first,
followed by IPA transcription. Local dialects frequently have more
than the six seen below.
Tajik vowels 
In central and southern dialects, /ɵ/ merges with /u/.
The open back vowel has varyingly been described as mid-back,
[ɒ], [ɔ], and [ɔː]. It is analogous to standard Persian
â (long a).
Tajik language contains 24 consonants,16 of which form contrastive
pairs by voicing: [б/п] [в/ф] [д/т] [з/с] [ж/ш] [ҷ/ч]
[г/к] [ғ/х]. The table below lists the consonant phonemes in
standard, literary Tajik. Letters from the Tajik Cyrillic alphabet are
given first, followed by IPA transcription.
Word stress generally falls on the first syllable in finite verb forms
and on the last syllable in nouns and noun-like words. Examples of
where stress does not fall on the last syllable are adverbs like:
бале (bale, meaning "yes") and зеро (zero, meaning "because").
Stress also does not fall on enclitics, nor on the marker of the
Main article: Tajik grammar
The word order of Tajiki Persian is subject–object–verb. Tajik
Persian grammar is almost identical to the classical Persian grammar
(and the grammar of modern varieties such as Iranian Persian),
although there are notable differences. The most notable
difference between classical
Persian grammar and Tajik Persian grammar
is the construction of the present progressive tense in each language.
In Tajik, the present progressive form consists of a present
progressive participle, from the verb истодан istodan 'to
stand', and a cliticized form of the verb -acт -ast 'to be'.
'I am writing a letter.'
In Classical Persian, the present progressive form consists of the
verb دار dār 'to have' followed by a conjugated verb in either the
simple present tense, the habitual past tense, or the habitual past
'I am working.'
Nouns are not marked for grammatical gender, although they are marked
Two forms of number exist in Tajik, singular and plural. The plural is
marked by either the suffix -ҳо -ho or -он -on (with contextual
variants -ён -yon and -гон -gon), although
Arabic loan words may
Arabic forms. There is no definite article, but the indefinite
article exists in the form of the number "one" як yak, and -е -e,
the first positioned before the noun and the second joining the noun
as a suffix. When a noun is used as a direct object, it is marked by
the suffix -ро -ro, e.g. Рустамро задам (Rustam-ro
zadam), "I hit Rustam". This direct object suffix is added to the word
after any plural suffixes. The form -ро can be literary or formal.
In older forms of the Persian language, -ро could indicate both
direct and indirect objects and some phrases used in modern Persian
and Tajik have maintained this suffix on indirect objects, as seen in
the following example: (Худоро шукр Xudo-ro šukr - "Thank
Modern Persian does not use the direct object marker as a
suffix on the noun, but rather, as a stand-alone morpheme.
from, through, across
on, upon, onto
up to, as far as, until
Tajik is conservative in its vocabulary, retaining numerous terms that
have long since fallen into disuse in
Iran and Afghanistan, such as
арзиз (arziz), meaning "tin", and фарбеҳ (farbeh), meaning
"fat". Most modern loan words in Tajik come from Russian as a result
of the position of
Tajikistan within the
Soviet Union. The vast
majority of these Russian loanwords which have entered the Tajik
language through the fields of socioeconomics, technology, and
government, where most of the concepts and vocabulary of these fields
have been borrowed from the Russian language. The introduction of
Russian loanwords into the
Tajik language was largely justified under
Soviet policy of modernization and the necessary subordination of
all languages to Russian for the achievement of a
Vocabulary also comes from the geographically close Uzbek language
and, as is usual in Islamic countries, from Arabic. Since the late
1980s, an effort has been made to replace loanwords with native
equivalents, using either old terms that had fallen out of use, or
coined terminology. Many of the coined terms for modern items such as
гармкунак (garmkunak), meaning 'heater' and
чангкашак (čangkašak), meaning 'vacuum cleaner' differ from
their Afghan and Iranian equivalents, adding to the difficulty in
intelligibility between Tajik and other forms of Persian.
In the table below, Persian refers to the standard language of Iran,
which differs somewhat from the Dari Persian of Afghanistan. Another
Iranian language, Pashto, has also been included for comparative
Other Iranian languages
Other Indo-European languages
Tajik Republic's 1929 coat of arms with
Tajik language in Perso-Arabic
script جمهوريه اجتماعی شوروى مختار
Main article: Tajik alphabet
Tajikistan and other countries of the former
Soviet Union, Tajik
Persian is currently written in Cyrillic script, although it was
written in the
Latin script beginning in 1928, and the
prior to 1928. In the Tajik
Soviet Socialist Republic, the use of the
Latin script was later replaced in 1939 by the Cyrillic script.
Tajik alphabet added six additional letters to the Cyrillic script
inventory and these additional letters are distinguished in the Tajik
orthography by the use of diacritics. In an interview to Iranian
news media in 2008, Tajikistan's deputy culture minister said
Tajikistan would study the issue of switching its
Tajik alphabet from
Cyrillic to Perso-
Arabic script used in
Afghanistan when the
government feels that "the Tajik people become familiar with the
According to many scholars, the New
Persian language (which
subsequently evolved into the Persian forms spoken in Iran,
Afghanistan and Tajikistan) developed in
Transoxiana and Khorasan, in
what are today parts of Afghanistan, Iran,
Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
While the New
Persian language was descended primarily from Middle
Persian, it also incorporated substantial elements of other Iranian
languages of ancient Central Asia, such as Sogdian.
Arab conquest of
Iran and most of
Central Asia in the
8th century AD,
Arabic for a time became the court language, and
Persian and other
Iranian languages were relegated to the private
sphere. In the 9th century AD, following the rise of the Samanids,
whose state was centered around the cities of
Samarqand and Herat, and covered much of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan,
Afghanistan and northeastern Iran, New Persian emerged as the court
language and swiftly displaced Arabic.
Arabic influence continued to
show itself in the form of the Perso-
Arabic script used to write the
language (replaced in Tajik by Latin and then Cyrillic in the 20th
century) and a large number of
New Persian became the lingua franca of
Central Asia for centuries,
although it eventually lost ground to the
Chaghatai language in much
of its former domains as a growing number of Turkic tribes moved into
the region from the east. Since the 16th century AD, Tajik has come
under increasing pressure from neighboring Turkic languages. Once
spoken in areas of Turkmenistan, such as Merv, Tajik is today
virtually non-existent in that country. Uzbek has also largely
replaced Tajik in most areas of modern Uzbekistan. Nevertheless, Tajik
persisted in pockets, notably in Samarqand,
Bukhoro and Surxondaryo
Province, as well as in much of what is today Tajikistan.
Russian Empire in
Russian Turkestan implemented
the Ferghana and Sarmakand
Tajiks replacing the
Tajik language with
Uzbek resulting in an Uzbek dominant speaking
decades before Tajik was the dominant language in Samarkand.
The creation of the Tajik
Soviet Socialist Republic within the Soviet
Union in 1929 helped to safeguard the future of Tajik, as it became an
official language of the republic alongside Russian. Still,
substantial numbers of Tajik-speakers remained outside the borders of
the republic, mostly in the neighboring Uzbek
Republic, which created a source of tension between
Tajiks and Uzbeks.
Bukhoro was included in the nascent Tajik
S.S.R., despite their immense historical importance in Tajik history.
After the creation of the Tajik S.S.R., a large number of ethnic
Tajiks from the Uzbek S.S.R. migrated there, particularly to the
region of the capital, Dushanbe, exercising a substantial influence in
the republic's political, cultural and economic life. The influence of
this influx of ethnic Tajik immigrants from the Uzbek S.S.R. is most
prominently manifested in the fact that literary Tajik is based on
their northwestern dialects of the language, rather than the central
dialects that are spoken by the natives in the
Dushanbe region and
After the fall of the
Soviet Union and Tajikistan's independence in
1991, the government of
Tajikistan has made substantial efforts to
promote the use of Tajik in all spheres of public and private life.
Tajik is gaining ground among the once-
Russified upper classes, and
continues its role as the vernacular of the majority of the country's
population. There has been a rise in the number of Tajik publications.
Increasing contact with media from
Iran and Afghanistan, after decades
of isolation under the Soviets, is also having an effect on the
development of the language.
Academy of Persian Language and Literature
List of Persian poets and authors
List of Tajik singers
^ Tajik at
Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds.
Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute
for the Science of Human History.
^ Lazard, G. 1989
^ a b c d Shinji ldo. Tajik. Published by UN COM GmbH 2005 (LINCOM
^ Studies pertaining to the association between Tajik and Persian
include Amanova (1991), Kozlov (1949), Lazard (1970), Rozenfel'd
(1961), and Wei-Mintz (1962). The following papers/presentations focus
on specific aspects of Tajik and their historical modern Persian
counterparts: Cejpek (1956), Jilraev (1962), Lorenz (1961, 1964),
Murav'eva (1956), Murav'eva and Rubinl!ik (1959), Ostrovskij (1973),
and Sadeghi ( 1991 ).
^ Review of Tajik. By Shinji Ido. (Language of the world/materials
442.) Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2005. Pp. 98. ISBN 3895863165.
Reviewed by Andreea S. Calude, The
University of Auckland
University of Auckland // eLanguage
October 29th, 2008
^ B. Rezvani: "Ethno-territorial conflict and coexistence in the
Central Asia and Fereydan. Appendix 4: Tajik population in
Uzbekistan" (). Dissertation. Faculty of Social and Behavioural
Sciences, University of Amsterdam. 2013
^ Paul Bergne: The Birth of Tajikistan. National Identity and the
Origins of the Republic. International Library of Central Asia
Studies. I.B. Tauris. 2007. Pg. 106
^ Shinji Ido. Bukharan Tajik. Muenchen: LINCOM EUROPA 2007
^ a b Richard Foltz, "The
Tajiks of Uzbekistan", Central Asian Survey,
15(2), 213-216 (1996).
^ Uzbekistan. The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency
(December 13, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-12-26.
^ See for example the Country report on Uzbekistan, released by the
United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor here.
^ Rahim Masov, The History of the Clumsy Delimitation, Irfon Publ.
House, Dushanbe, 1991 (in Russian). English translation: The History
of a National Catastrophe, transl. Iraj Bashiri, 1996.
^ Cite error: The named reference CIA was invoked but never defined
(see the help page).
Afghanistan v. Languages". Ch. M. Kieffer. Encyclopædia Iranica,
online ed. Retrieved 10 December 2010. Persian (2) is the language
most spoken in Afghanistan. The native tongue of twenty five percent
of the population ...
^ Cite error: The named reference UCLA was invoked but never defined
(see the help page).
^ a b c d Windfuhr, Gernot. "Persian and Tajik." The Iranian
Languages. New York, NY: Routledge, 2009. 421
^ E.K. Sobirov (Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of
Sciences). On learning the vocabulary of the
Tajik language in modern
times, p. 115.
^ a b c d Khojayori, Nasrullo, and Mikael Thompson. Tajiki Reference
Grammar for Beginners. Washington, DC: Georgetown UP, 2009.
^ A Beginners' Guide to Tajiki by Azim Baizoyev and John Hayward,
Routledge, London and New York, 2003, p. 3
^ Lazard, G. 1956
^ Perry, J. R. (2005)
^ Nakanishi, Akira, Writing Systems of the World
^ Korotkow, M. (2004)
^ Perry, J. R. 2005
^ Windfuhr, Gernot. Persian Grammar: History and State of Its Study.
De Gruyter, 1979. Trends in Linguistics. State-Of-The-Art Reports.
^ Marashi, Mehdi, and Mohammad Ali Jazayery. Persian Studies in North
America: Studies in Honor of Mohammad Ali Jazayery. Bethesda, MD:
^ Windfuhr, Gernot. "Persian and Tajik." The Iranian Languages. New
York, NY: Routledge, 2009. 420.
^ Windfuhr, Gernot. "Persian and Tajik." The Iranian Languages. New
York, NY: Routledge, 2009. 423.
Tajikistan may consider using Persian script when the conditions
are met", interview of Tajikistan's Deputy Culture Minister with
Iranian News Agency, 2 May 2008.
^ Kirill Nourzhanov; Christian Bleuer (8 October 2013). Tajikistan: A
Political and Social History. ANU E Press. pp. 22–.
Azim Baizoyev, John Hayward: A beginner's guide to Tajiki. - 1. publ.
- London [u. a.]: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004. (includes a Tajiki-English
Ido, S. (2005) Tajik ISBN 3-89586-316-5
Korotow, M. (2004) Tadschikisch Wort für Wort. Kauderwelsch
Lazard, G. (1956) "Caractères distinctifs de la langue tadjik".
Bulletin de la Société Linguistique de Paris. 52. pp. 117–186
Lazard, G. "Le Persan". Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum. Wiesbaden.
Windfuhr, G. (1987) in Comrie, B. (ed.) "Persian". The World's Major
Languages. pp. 523–546
Perry, J. R. (2005) A Tajik Persian Reference Grammar (Boston :
Brill) ISBN 90-04-14323-8
Rastorgueva, V. (1963) A Short Sketch of Tajik Grammar
(Netherlands : Mouton) ISBN 0-933070-28-4
Назарзода, С. – Сангинов, А. – Каримов,
С. – Султон, М. Ҳ. (2008) Фарҳанги тафсирии
забони тоҷикӣ (иборат аз ду ҷилд).
Ҷилди I. А – Н.[permanent dead link] Ҷилди II. О –
Я.[permanent dead link] (Душанбе).
Khojayori, Nasrullo, and Mikael Thompson. Tajiki Reference Grammar for
Beginners. Washington, DC: Georgetown UP, 2009.
Windfuhr, Gernot. "Persian and Tajik." The Iranian Languages. New
York, NY: Routledge, 2009. ISBN 978-0-7007-1131-4
Windfuhr, Gernot. Persian Grammar: History and State of Its Study. De
Gruyter, 1979. Trends in Linguistics. State-Of-The-Art Reports.
Marashi, Mehdi, and Mohammad Ali Jazayery. Persian Studies in North
America: Studies in Honor of Mohammad Ali Jazayery. Bethesda, MD:
Iran, 1994. ISBN 978-0936347356
Ido, Shinji (2014), "Bukharan Tajik", Journal of the International
Phonetic Association, 44 (1): 87–102,
John Perry. TAJIK ii. TAJIK PERSIAN (Encyclopedia Iranica)
Bahriddin Aliev and Aya Okawa. TAJIK iii. COLLOQUIAL TAJIKI IN
COMPARISON WITH PERSIAN OF IRAN (Encyclopedia Iranica)
Tajik edition of, the free encyclopedia
Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Tajik
Wikivoyage has a phrasebook for Tajik.
Wiktionary has a category on Tajik language
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tajik language.
Tajiki Cyrillic to
Persian alphabet converter
A Worldwide Community for Tajiks
Tajik Swadesh list of basic vocabulary words (from Wiktionary's
BBC news in Tajik
Free Online Tajik Dictionary
Welcome to Tajikistan
Численность населения Республики
Таджикистан на 1 января 2015 года.
Сообщение Агентства по статистике при
Президенте Республики Таджикистан
Languages of Tajikistan
Old Persian cuneiform
Romanized Persian alphabet
Middle Persian literature
List of English words of Persian origin
Persian language in South Asia
Italics indicate extinct languages.