Persian language: Wikis


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فارسی, پارسی, دری
Fārsi (one of the local names for Persian) in Perso-Arabic script (Nasta`liq style) Farsi.svg
Pronunciation [fɒːɾˈsi]
Spoken in Iran,

Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Iranian diaspora,

Region Middle East, Central Asia
Total speakers ca. 60-70 million, as their mother tongue (2006 estimates)[1]
Language family Indo-European
Writing system Perso-Arabic script, Cyrillic
Official status
Official language in  Iran
Regulated by Academy of Persian Language and Literature, Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan
Language codes
ISO 639-1 fa
ISO 639-2 per (B)  fas (T)
ISO 639-3 variously:
fas – Persian
prs – Eastern Persian
pes – Western Persian
tgk – Tajik
aiq – Aimaq
bhh – Bukharic
drw – Darwazi
haz – Hazaragi
jpr – Dzhidi
phv – Pahlavani
This article contains Persian text, written from right to left with some letters joined. Without proper rendering support, you may see unjoined Perso-Arabic letters written left-to-right, instead of right-to-left or other symbols instead of Perso-Arabic script.

Persian (local names: فارسی, Farsi IPA: [fɒːɾˈsi]; or پارسی, Parsi IPA: [pɒːɾˈsi], see Nomenclature) is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is widely spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and to some extent in Iraq, Bahrain, and Oman. New Persian, which usually is called also by the names of Farsi, Parsi, Dari or Parsi-ye-Dari (Dari Persian), 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.[2] Persian is a pluricentric language and its grammar is similar to that of many contemporary European languages.[3] The Persian language has been a medium for literary and scientific contributions to the eastern half of the Muslim world.

Persian has had a considerable influence on neighboring languages, particularly the Turkic languages in Central Asia, Caucasus, and Anatolia, neighboring Iranian languages, as well as Armenian and other languages. It has also exerted a strong influence on South Asian languages, especially Urdu, as well as Hindi, Punjabi, Sindhi, and Saraiki.[2][3][4][5][6][7]



Persian belongs to the Western group of the Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family, and is of the subject object verb type. The Western Iranian group contains other related languages such as Kurdish, Mazandarani, Gilaki, Talyshi and Baluchi. The language is in the Southwestern Iranian group, along with and very similar to the Tat language of Caucasus[citation needed] Larestani and Luri languages.[8]



Contemporary local nomenclature

English nomenclature

Persian, the more widely used name of the language in English, is an Anglicized form derived from Latin *Persianus < Latin Persia < Greek Πέρσις Pérsis, a Hellenized form of Old Persian Parsa. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term Persian seems to have been first used in English in the mid-16th century.[11] Native Persian speakers call it "Pārsi" (local name) or Fārsi.[12] Fārsi is the arabicized form of Parsi, due to a lack of the 'p' phoneme in Standard Arabic.[13][14] In English, this language is historically known as "Persian", though some Persian-speakers migrating to the West continued to use "Farsi" to identify their language in English and the word gained some currency in English-speaking countries.[15] "Farsi" is encountered in some linguistic literature as a name for the language, used both by Iranian and by foreign authors.[16] According to the OED, the term Farsi was first used in English in the mid-20th century.[12] The Academy of Persian Language and Literature has declared that the name "Persian" is more appropriate, as it has the longer tradition in the western languages and better expresses the role of the language as a mark of cultural and national continuity.[17] Some Persian language scholars have also rejected the usage of "Farsi" in their articles.

International nomenclature

The international language encoding standard ISO 639-1 uses the code "fa", as its coding system is mostly based on the local names. The more detailed draft ISO 639-3 uses the name "Persian" (code "fas") for the larger unit ("macrolanguage") spoken across Iran and Afghanistan, but "Eastern Farsi" and "Western Farsi" for two of its subdivisions (roughly coinciding with the varieties in Afghanistan and those in Iran, respectively).[18] Ethnologue, in turn, includes "Farsi, Eastern" and "Farsi, Western" as two separate entries and lists "Persian" and "Parsi" as alternative names for each, besides "Irani" for the western and "Dari" for the eastern form.[19][20]

A similar terminology, but with even more subdivisions, is also adopted by the LINGUIST List, where "Persian" appears as a sub-grouping under "Southwest Western Iranian".[21] Currently, VOA, BBC, DW, and RFE/RL use "Persian Service" for their broadcasts in the language. RFE/RL also includes a Tajik service, and an Afghan (Dari) service. This is also the case for the American Association of Teachers of Persian, The Centre for Promotion of Persian Language and Literature, and many of the leading scholars of Persian language.[22]


History of the
Persian language
Proto-Iranian (ca. 1500 BCE)

Southwestern Iranian languages

Old Persian (c. 525 BCE - 300 BCE)

Old Persian cuneiform script

Middle Persian (c.300 BCE-800 CE)

Pahlavi scriptManichaean scriptAvestan script

Modern Persian (from 800)

Perso-Arabic script

Persian is an Iranian tongue belonging to the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family of languages. In general, Iranian languages are known from three periods, usually referred to as Old, Middle, and New (Modern) periods. These correspond to three eras in Iranian history; Old era being the period from sometime before Achaemenids, the Achaemenid era and sometime after Achaemenids (that is to 400-300 BC), Middle era being the next period most officially Sassanid era and sometime in post-Sassanid era, and the New era being the period afterwards down to present day.[23]

According to available documents, the Persian language is "the only Iranian language"[2][24] for which close genetic relationships between all of its three stages are established and so that Old, Middle, and New Persian represent[25][2] one and the same language of Persian, that is New Persian is a direct descendent of Middle and Old Persian.[25]

The oldest records in Old Persian date back to the Persian Empire of the 6th century BC.[26]

The known history of the Persian language can be divided into the following three distinct periods:

Old Persian

Old Persian evolved from Proto-Iranian as it evolved in the Iranian plateau's southwest. The earliest dateable example of the language is the Behistun Inscription of the Achaemenid Darius I (r. 522 BC – ca. 486 BC). Although purportedly older texts also exist (such as the inscription on the tomb of Cyrus II at Pasargadae), these are actually younger examples of the language. Old Persian was written in Old Persian cuneiform, a script unique to that language and is generally assumed to be an invention of Darius I's reign.

After Aramaic, or rather the Achaemenid form of it known as Imperial Aramaic, Old Persian is the most commonly attested language of the Achaemenid age. While examples of Old Persian have been found wherever the Achaemenids held territories, the language is attested primarily in the inscriptions of Western Iran, in particular in Parsa "Persia" in the southwest, the homeland of the tribes that the Achaemenids (and later the Sassanids) came from.

In contrast to later Persian, written Old Persian had an extensively inflected grammar, with eight cases, each declension subject to both gender (masculine, feminine, neuter) and number (singular, dual, plural).

Middle Persian

In contrast to Old Persian, whose spoken and written forms must have been dramatically different from one another, written Middle Persian reflected oral use. The complex conjugation and declension of Old Persian yielded to the structure of Middle Persian in which the dual number disappeared, leaving only singular and plural, as did gender. Middle Persian used postpositions to indicate the different roles of words, for example an -i suffix to denote a possessive "from/of" rather than the multiple (subject to gender and number) genitive caseforms of a word.

Although the "middle period" of 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. However, Middle Persian is not actually attested until 600 years later when it appears in Sassanid era (224–651) 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, to the 6th or 7th century. And from the 8th century onwards, Middle Persian gradually began yielding to New Persian, with the middle-period form only continuing in the texts of Zoroastrian tradition.

The native name of Middle Persian was Parsik or Parsig, 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 Arabic script. From about the 9th century onwards, as Middle Persian was on the threshold of becoming New Persian, the older form of the language came to be erroneously called 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 Rouzbeh (Abdullah Ibn al-Muqaffa, 8th century) still distinguished between Pahlavi (i.e. Parthian) and Farsi (i.e. Middle Persian), this distinction is not evident in Arab commentaries written after that date.

New Persian

The history of New Persian itself spans more than 1000–1200 years. The development of the language in its last period is often considered in three stages of early, classical, and contemporary periods. The fact that almost all current native speakers of the language do understand ancient texts of the Persian language and the grammatical differences of the ancient language are acquainted by today's speakers simply by reading and memorising those ancient texts gives a special status to the Persian language as a whole.[27]

Early New Persian

Classic Persian

The Islamic conquest of Persia marks the beginning of the new history of Persian language and literature. This period produced world class Persian language poets and the language served, for a long span of time, as the lingua franca of the eastern parts of Islamic world and of the Indian subcontinent. It was also the official and cultural language of many Islamic dynasties, including Samanids, Buyids, Tahirids, Ziyarids, the Mughal Empire, Timurids, Ghaznavid, Seljuq, Khwarezmids, Safavid, Afsharids, Zand, Qajar, Ottomans and also many Mughal successor states such as the Nizams etc. For example, Persian was the only oriental language known and used by Marco Polo at the Court of Kublai Khan and in his journeys through China.[28] The heavy influence of Persian on other languages can still be witnessed across the Islamic world, especially, and it is still appreciated as a literary and prestigious language among the educated elite, especially in fields of music (for example Qawwali) and art (Persian literature). After the Arab invasion of Persia, Persian began to adopt many words from Arabic and as time went by, a few words were even taken from Altaic languages under the Mongol Empire and Turco-Persian society.

Use in the Indian subcontinent

For five centuries prior to the 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 in South Asia and became the sole "official language" under the Mughal emperors. Coinciding with the Safavid rule over Iran, when (royal) patronage of Persian poets was curtailed, the centre of Persian culture and literature moved to the Mughal Empire, which had huge financial resources[29] to employ a veritable army of Persian courtly poets, lexicographers and other litterati. Beginning in 1843, though, English gradually replaced Persian in importance on the subcontinent.[30] Evidence of Persian's historical influence there can be seen in the extent of its influence on the languages of the Indian subcontinent, as well as the popularity that Persian literature still enjoys in that region.

Contemporary Persian

A variant of the Iranian standard ISIRI 9147 keyboard layout for Persian.

Since the nineteenth century, Russian, French and English and many other languages have contributed to the technical vocabulary of Persian. The Iranian National Academy of Persian Language and Literature is responsible for evaluating these new words in order to initiate and advise their Persian equivalents. The language itself has greatly developed during the centuries.

Varieties and dialects

Persian language

Regional and social varieties:


Language features:

Writing systems:

There are three modern varieties of standard Persian:[31]

The three mentioned varieties are based on the classic Persian literature. There are also several local dialects from Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan which slightly differ from the standard Persian. Hazaragi (in Afghanistan), Darwazi (In Afghanistan and Tajikistan) and Dehwari in Pakistan are examples of these dialects.

ISO 639-3 lists ten dialects of Persian, the three main literary dialects listed above and seven regional dialects: Hazaragi, Aimaq, Bukharic, Dzhidi, Dehwari, Darwazi, Pahlavani.[36]

The following are some closely related languages to Persian:


Iranian Persian has six vowels and twenty-three consonants, including two affricates /tʃ/ (ch) and /dʒ/ (j).


The vowel phonemes of modern Iranian Persian

Historically, Persian has distinguished length: Early New Persian possessed a series of five long vowels (/iː/, /uː/, /ɒː/, /oː/ and /eː/) along with three short vowels /æ/, /i/ and /u/. At some point prior to the sixteenth century within the general area that is today encompassed by modern Iran, /eː/ and /iː/ merged into /iː/, and /oː/ and /uː/ merged into /uː/. Thus, the older contrasts between words like shēr "lion" and shīr "milk," were lost. There are exceptions to this rule and in some words, "ē" and "ō" are preserved or merged into the diphthongs [eɪ] and [oʊ] (which are descendents of the diphthongs [æɪ] and [æʊ] in Early New Persian), instead of merging into /iː/ and /uː/. Examples of this exception can be found in words such as [roʊʃæn] (bright).

However, in the eastern varieties, the archaic distinction of /eː/ and /iː/ (respectively known as Yā-ye majhūl and Yā-ye ma'rūf) is still preserved, as well as the distinction of /oː/ and /uː/ (known as Wāw-e majhūl and Wāw-e ma'rūf). On the other hand, in standard Tajik, the length distinction has disappeared and /iː/ merged with /i/, and /uː/ with /u/.[37] Therefore, contemporary Afghan dialects are the closest one can get 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 which are traditionally considered long (/i/, /u/, /ɒ/) are currently distinguished from their short counterparts (/e/, /o/, /æ/) by position of articulation, rather than by length. However, there are studies (e.g. Hayes 1979, Windfuhr 1979) which consider vowel-length to be the active feature of this system, i.e. /ɒ/, /i/, and /u/ are phonologically long or bimoraic whereas /æ/, /e/, and /o/ are phonologically short or monomoraic.

There are also some studies which consider quality and quantity to be both active in the Iranian system (e.g. Toosarvandani 2004). This view offers a synthetic analysis which includes both quality and quantity, often suggesting that modern Persian vowels are in a transition state between the quantitative system of classical Persian and a hypothetical future Persian which will eliminate all traces of quantity, and retain quality as the only active feature.

Suffice it to say that the length-distinction is strictly observed by careful reciters of classic-style poetry, for all varieties (including the Tajik).


Labial Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n [ŋ]
Plosive p b t d k ɡ [ɢ] [ʔ]
Affricate tʃ dʒ
Fricative f v s z ʃ ʒ x ɣ h
Tap ɾ
Trill [r]
Approximant l j

(Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a voiced consonant. Allophones are in phonetic brackets.)



Suffixes predominate Persian morphology, though there is a small number of prefixes.[38] Verbs can express tense and aspect, and they agree with the subject in person and number.[39] There is no grammatical gender in Persian, nor are pronouns marked for natural gender.


Normal declarative sentences are structured as "(S) (PP) (O) V". This means sentences can comprise optional subjects, prepositional phrases, and objects, followed by a required verb. If the object is specific, then the object is followed by the word rɑ: and precedes prepositional phrases: "(S) (O + "rɑ:") (PP) V".[39]


Native word formation

Persian makes extensive use of word building and combining affixes, stems, nouns and adjectives. Persian frequently uses derivational agglutination to form new words from nouns, adjectives, and verbal stems. New words are extensively formed by compounding – two existing words combining into a new one, as is common in German. Professor Mahmoud Hessaby demonstrated that Persian can derive 226 million words.[40]


While having a lesser influence on Arabic[5] and other languages of Mesopotamia and its core vocabulary being of Middle Persian origin[3], New Persian contains a considerable amount of Arabic lexical items[2][4][6], which were Persianized[7] and often took a different meaning and usage than the Arabic original. The Arabic vocabulary in other Iranic, Turkic and Indic languages are generally understood to be have been copied from New Persian.[41]

John R. Perry in his article "Areas and Semantic Fields of Arabic" indicates his belief that the overall range of Arabic synonyms vocabulary used along or interchangeable with their equivalents Persian words varies from 2.4% frequency in the Shaahnaameh,[42] 14% in material culture[43], 24% in intellectual life[43] to 40% of everyday literary activity.[43] Most of the Arabic words used in Persian are either synonyms of native terms[43] or could be (and often have been) glossed in Persian.[43] The Arabic vocabulary in Persian is thus suppletive[43], rather than basic and has enriched New Persian.

The inclusion of Mongolian and Turkic elements in the Persian language should also be mentioned,[44] 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 and these words were mainly confined to military, pastoral terms and political sector (titles, administration, etc.) until new military and political titles were coined based partially on Middle Persian (e.g. Artesh for army instead of Qoshun) in the 20th century.[45]

There are also adaptations from French (mainly in the late 19th century and early 20th century) and Russian (mainly in the late 19th century and early 20th century). Like most languages of the world, there is an increasing amount of English vocabulary entering the Persian language. The Persian academy (Farhangestan) has coined Persian equivalents for some of these terms.[citation needed] There are more words adopted from French than from English because Persian speakers more easily pronounce French words.[46]

Persian has likewise influenced the vocabularies of other languages, especially other Indo-Iranian languages like Urdu and to a lesser extent Hindi, etc, as well as Turkic languages like Ottoman Turkish, Chagatai language, Tatar language, Turkish[47] Turkmen, Azeri[48] and Uzbek, Afro-Asiatic languages like Assyrian and Arabic,[49] and even Dravidian languages especially Telugu and Brahui. Several languages of southwest Asia have also been influenced, including Armenian and Georgian. Persian has even influenced the Malay spoken in Malaysia and Swahili in Africa. Many Persian words have also found their way into other Indo-European languages including the English language.[citation needed]

The Persian language has had an influence on certain neighboring languages, particularly the Turkic languages of Central Asia, Caucasus, Pashto, Kurdish and Anatolia, the development of the Urdu language, as well as a smaller influence on Hindi, Punjabi, Saraiki and other South Asian languages.[citation needed]

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, the phrase "thank you" can be expressed using the French word merci (stressed however on the first syllable), by the hybrid Persian-Arabic word moteshaker-am, or by the pure Persian word sepasgozar-am. The extent of Persian words used in Urdu has made that language often intelligible to Persian-speakers, especially in written form.[citation needed]


Example showing Nastaʿlīq's (Persian) proportion rules.[ 1 ]
Dehkhoda's personal handwriting; a typical cursive Persian script.

The vast majority of modern Iranian Persian and Dari text is written in a form of the Arabic alphabet. Tajik, which is considered by some linguists to be a Persian dialect influenced by Russian and the Turkic languages of Central Asia,[50][51] is written with the Cyrillic alphabet in Tajikistan (see Tajik alphabet).

Persian alphabet

Modern Iranian Persian and Dari are normally written using a modified variant of the Arabic alphabet (see Perso-Arabic script) with different pronunciation and more letters, whereas the Tajik variety is typically written in a modified version of the Cyrillic alphabet.

After the conversion of Persia to Islam (see Islamic conquest of Iran), it took approximately 150 years before Persians adopted the Arabic alphabet in place of the older alphabet. Previously, two different alphabets were used, Pahlavi, used for Middle Persian, and the Avestan alphabet (in Persian, Dîndapirak or Din Dabire—literally: religion script), used for religious purposes, primarily for the Avestan language but sometimes for Middle Persian.

In modern Persian script, vowels that are referred to as short vowels (a, e, o) are usually not written; only the long vowels (i, u, â) are represented in the text. This, of course, creates certain ambiguities. Consider the following: kerm "worm", karam "generosity", kerem "cream", and krom "chrome" are all spelled "krm" 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, an Arabic damma is pronounced [ʊ], while in Iranian Persian it is pronounced [o]. This system is not used in mainstream Persian literature; it is primarily used for teaching and in some (but not all) dictionaries.

It is also worth noting that 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 'z' letters, three 's' letters, two 't' letters, etc.


The Persian alphabet adds four letters to the Arabic alphabet:

Sound Isolated form Name
[p] پ pe
[tʃ] (ch) چ če
[ʒ] (zh) ژ že
[g] گ gāf

(The že is pronounced with the same sound as the "s" in "measure" and "fusion", or the "z" in "azure".)


The Persian alphabet also modifies some letters from the Arabic alphabet. For example, alef with hamza below ( إ ) changes to alef ( ا ); words using various hamzas get spelled with yet another kind of hamza (so that مسؤول becomes مسئول); and teh marbuta ( ة ) changes to heh ( ه ) or teh ( ت ).

The letters different in shape are:

Sound original Arabic letter modified Persian letter name
[k] ك ک kāf
vowel [i] consonant [j] ي ى ye

Writing the letters in their original Arabic form is not typically considered to be incorrect, but is not normally done.

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"[52] but the transliteration scheme is not in widespread use.

Another Latin alphabet, based on the Uniform Turkic alphabet, was used in Tajikistan in the 1920s and 1930s. The alphabet was phased out in favour of Cyrillic in the late 1930s.[50]

Fingilish, or Penglish, is the name given to texts written in Persian using the Basic Latin alphabet. It is most commonly used in chat, emails and SMS applications. The orthography is not standardized, and varies among writers and even media (for example, typing 'aa' for the [ɒ] phoneme is easier on computer keyboards than on cellphone keyboards, resulting in smaller usage of the combination on cellphones).

UniPers, short for the Universal Persian Alphabet (Pârsiye Jahâni) is a Latin-based alphabet popularized by Mohamed Keyvan, who used it in a number of Persian textbooks for foreigners and travellers.[53]

The International Persian Alphabet (Pársik) is another Latin-based alphabet developed in recent years mainly by A. Moslehi, a comparative linguist.[54]

Tajik alphabet

Tajik advertisement for an academy.

The Cyrillic alphabet was introduced for writing the Tajik language under the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic in the late 1930s, replacing the Latin alphabet that had been used since the Bolshevik revolution and the Perso-Arabic script that had been used earlier. After 1939, materials published in Persian in the Perso-Arabic script were banned from the country.[50] [55]


Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Persian IPA English Gloss
همهٔ افراد بشر آزاد به دنیا می‌آیند و از دید حیثیت و حقوق با هم برابرند، همه دارای اندیشه و وجدان هستند و باید در برابر یکدیگر با روح برادری رفتار کنند. hæmeje æfrɒd bæʃær ɒzɒd be donjɒ miɒjænd o æz dide hejsijæt o hoɢuɢ bɒ hæm bærɒbærænd ǁ hæme dɒrɒje ændiʃe o vedʒdɒn mibɒʃænd o bɒjæd dær bærɒbære jekdigær bɒ ruhe bærɒdæri ræftɒr konænd All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

See also


  1. ^ Iran, 36 M (51%) - 46 M (65%), Afghanistan, 16.369 M (50%), Tajikistan, 5.770 M (80%), Uzbekistan, 1.2 M (4.4%)
  2. ^ a b c d e Professor. Gilbert Lazard, : The language known as New Persian, which usually is called at this period (early Islamic times) by the name of Dari or Parsi-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 Middle and New Persian represent one and the same language at three states of its history. It had its origin in Fars (the true Persian country from the historical point of view) and is differentiated by dialectical features, still easily recognizable from the dialect prevailing in north-western and eastern Iran in (Lazard, Gilbert 1975, “The Rise of the New Persian Language” in Frye, R. N., The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 4, pp. 595–632, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ a b c Richard Davis, “Persian” in Josef W. Meri, Jere L. Bacharach, “Medieval Islamic Civilization”, Taylor & Francis, 2006. Ppg 602-603. “The grammar of New Persian is similar to many contemporary European languages.” “Persian has in general confined its borrowing from Arabic to lexical items, and its morphology is relatively unaffected by the influence of Arabic, being confined to a few conventions such as (usually original) use of Arabic plurals for Arabic-derived words (as in English speaker may use Latin plurals for Latin loan words, in English). Similarly, the core vocabulary of Persian continued to be derived from Pahlavi, but Arabic lexical items predominate for more abstract or abstruse subjects and often replaced their Persian equivalents in polite discourse.
  4. ^ a b Lazard, Gilbert, "Pahlavi, Pârsi, dari: Les langues d'Iran d'apès Ibn al-Muqaffa" in R.N. Frye, "Iran and Islam. In Memory of the late Vladimir Minorsky", Edinburgh University Press, 1971.
  5. ^ a b Nushin Namazi (2008-11-24). "Persian Loan Words in Arabic". Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  6. ^ a b Classe, Olive (2000). Encyclopedia of literary translation into English. Taylor & Francis. p. 1057. ISBN 1884964362, ISBN 9781884964367. "Since the Arab conquest of the country in 7th century AD, many loan words have entered the language (which from this time has been written with a slightly modified version of the Arabic script) and the literature has been heavily influenced by the conventions of Arabic literature." 
  7. ^ a b Ann K. S. Lambton, "Persian grammar", Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press 1953. Excerpt: "The Arabic words incorporated into the Persian language have become Persianized".
  8. ^ Windfuhr, Gernot (1987). Berard Comrie. ed. The World's Major Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 523–546. ISBN 978-0195065114. 
  9. ^ Willem Vogelsang, "The Afghans", Blackwell Publishing, 2002
  10. ^, "Declassified". Dr. Zaher (Pashtun) said that there would be, as there is now, two official languages, Pashtu and Farsi, but the latter henceforth would be Dari.
  11. ^ Oxford English Dictionary online, s.v. "Persian", draft revision June 2007.
  12. ^ a b Oxford English Dictionary online, s.v. "Fārsi".
  13. ^ Cannon, Garland Hampton and Kaye, Alan S. (1994) The Arabic contributions to the English language: an historical dictionary Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, Germany, page 106, ISBN 3-447-03491-2
  14. ^ Odisho, Edward Y. (2005) Techniques of teaching comparative pronunciation in Arabic and English Gorgias Press, Piscataway, New Jersey, page 23 ISBN 1-59333-272-6
  15. ^ Pejman Akbarzadeh (2005). "“Farsi” or “Persian”?". Retrieved 2007-02-20. 
  16. ^ For example: A. Gharib, M. Bahar, B. Fooroozanfar, J. Homaii, and R. Yasami. Farsi Grammar. Jahane Danesh, 2nd edition, 2001.
  17. ^ Pronouncement of the Academy of Persian Language and Literature
  18. ^ Documentation for ISO 639 identifier: fas
  19. ^ Ethnologue: Code PRS
  20. ^ Ethnologue: Code PES
  21. ^ Linguist List: Tree for Southwest Western Iranian
  22. ^ Kamran Talattof Persian or Farsi? The debate continues...
  23. ^ (Skjaervo 2006) vi(2). Documentation.
  24. ^ cf. (Skjaervo 2006) vi(2). Documentation. Excerpt: Modern Yaḡnōbi belongs to the same dialect group as Sogdian, but is not a direct descendant; Bac-trian may be closely related to modern Yidḡa and Munji (Munjāni); and Wakhi (Wāḵi) belongs with Khotanese.
  25. ^ a b cf. (Skjaervo 2006) 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; Bac-trian 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..
  26. ^ Katzner, Kenneth (2002). The Languages of the World. Routledge. pp. 163. ISBN 0415250048. 
  27. ^ Jeremias, Eva M. (2004). "Iran, iii. (f). New Persian". Encyclopaedia of Islam. 12 (New Edition, Supplement ed.). pp. 432. ISBN 9004139745. 
  28. ^ John Andrew Boyle, Some thoughts on the sources for the Il-Khanid period of Persian history, in Iran: Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies, British Institute of Persian Studies, vol. 12 (1974), p. 175.
  29. ^ The Mughal economy was responsible for around 20-25 % of the world economy, whereas the West-Asian productivity was less than 5%, see the List of regions by past GDP (PPP).
  30. ^ Clawson, Patrick (2004). Eternal Iran. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 6. ISBN 1403962766. 
  31. ^ Persian or Farsi ? Simin Karimi, Department of Linguistics, University of Arizona
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^ Henderson, M. M. T. (1994) "Modern Persian Verb Stems Revisited" in Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 114, No. 4. (October–December 1994), pp. 639–641.
  35. ^ Keshavarz, M. H. (1988) "Forms of Address in Post-Revolutionary Iranian Persian: A Sociolinguistic Analysis" in Language in Society, Vol. 17 No. 4 p565-75 December 1988
  36. ^ Ethnologue - Language Family Trees - Persian
  37. ^ Perry, J. R. (2005) A Tajik Persian Reference Grammar (Boston : Brill) ISBN 90-04-14323-8
  38. ^ Megerdoomian, Karine (2000). "Persian computational morphology: A unification-based approach". Memoranda in Computer and Cognitive Science: MCCS-00-320. pp. 1. 
  39. ^ a b Mahootian, Shahrzad (1997). Persian. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-02311-4.,M1. 
  40. ^ / فرايران
  41. ^ 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. pg 97: "It is generally understood that the bulk of the Arabic vocabulary in the central, contingous Iranic, Turkic and Indic languages was originally borrowed into literary Persian between the ninth and thirteenth century"
  42. ^ John Perry, Encyclopedia Iranica, "Arabic Words in ŠĀH-NĀMA "
  43. ^ a b c d e f 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. excerpt:"A dictionary based sample yields an inventory of approximately 8000 Arabic loanwords in current standard Persian or about forty percent of an everyday literary vocabulary of 20,000 words, not counting compounds and deravitives." excerpt: "In a random experiment, the Arabic Vocabulary of material culture was 14% while that of intellectual life was 24% percent in Persian." excerpt:"Most of the Arabic loans in Persian are either synonyms of attested native terms (as Arabic Mariz; Persian Bimar 'sick') or could be (and often have been) glossed in Persian native morphs (as Arabic ta'lim va tarbiyat 'education' was later replaced by Amuzesh o Parvaresh). Arabic vocabulary in Persian is thus suppletive, rather than basic."
  44. ^ e.g. The role of Azeri-Turkish in Iranian Persian, on which see John Perry, "The Historical Role of Turkish in Relation to Persian of Iran", Iran & the Caucasus, Vol. 5 (2001), pp. 193-200.
  45. ^ Xavier Planhol, "Land of Iran", Encyclopedia Iranica. "The Turks, on the other hand, posed a formidable threat: their penetration into Iranian lands was considerable, to such an extent that vast regions adapted their language. This process was all the more remarkable since, in spite of their almost uninterrupted political domination for nearly 1,000 years, the cultural influence of these rough nomads on Iran’s refined civilization remained extremely tenuous. This is demonstrated by the mediocre linguistic contribution, for which exhaustive statistical studies have been made (Doerfer). The number of Turkish or Mongol words that entered Persian, though not negligible, remained limited to 2,135, i.e., 3 percent of the vocabulary at the most. These new words are confined on the one hand to the military and political sector (titles, administration, etc.) and, on the other hand, to technical pastoral terms. The contrast with Arab influence is striking. While cultural pressure of the Arabs on Iran had been intense, they in no way infringed upon the entire Iranian territory, whereas with the Turks, whose contributions to Iranian civilization were modest, vast regions of Iranian lands were assimilated, notwithstanding the fact that resistance by the latter was ultimately victorious. Several reasons may be offered.”
  46. ^ Majd, Hooman. "Persian Cats", The Ayatollah Begs to Differ. 2008. Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-52334-9. 33.
  47. ^ Andreas Tietze, Persian loanwords in Anatolian Turkish, Oriens, 20 (1967) pp- 125-168.
  48. ^ L. Johanson, "Azerbaijan: Iranian Elements in Azeri Turkish" in Encyclopedia Iranica
  49. ^
  50. ^ a b c Perry, John R. (2005). A Tajik Persian Reference Grammar. Boston: Brill. ISBN 90-04-14323-8. 
  51. ^ Lazard, Gilbert (1956). "Charactères distinctifs de la langue Tadjik". Bulletin de la Société Linguistique de Paris 52: 117–186. 
  52. ^ ISO 233-3:1999
  53. ^
  54. ^ IPA2,
  55. ^

Further reading

  1. Thackston, W. M. (1993-05-01). An Introduction to Persian (3rd Rev ed.). Ibex Publishers. ISBN 0936347295. 
  2. Mace, John (1993-03). Modern Persian (Teach Yourself). Teach Yourself. ISBN 0844238155. 
  3. Mace, John (2002-10-18). Persian Grammar: For Reference and Revision (illustrated ed.). RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 0700716955. 
  4. Schmitt, Rüdiger (1989). Compendium linguarum Iranicarum. L. Reichert. ISBN 3882264136. 
  5. Windfuhr, Gernot L. (2009-01-15). "Persian". in Bernard Comrie (ed.). The World's Major Languages (2 ed.). Routledge. ISBN 0415353394. 
  6. Skjærvø, Prods Oktor (2006). "Iran, vi. Iranian languages and scripts". Encyclopaedia Iranica. 13. 

External links

Persian language edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Introduction to Persian article)

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Introduction to Persian

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Persian , Persian is an Indo-Iranian language.

The official language of Iran and Tajikistan is Persian. Persian is also one of the official languages of Afghanistan. Persian is an Indo-European language, thus related to a.o. English.

The native name of the Persian language is فارسی (transcribed as Fārsī) (compare with German/Deutsch).


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Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to Persian article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikibooks has more about this subject:


Wikipedia has an article on:


See also persian




From Middle English percynne, from Middle French persien, from Italian persiano, from Mediaeval Latin Persiānus, blend of Latin Persia and Asiānus, from Ancient Greek Περσίς (Persís), from Old Persian 𐎱𐎠𐎼𐎿 (Pārsa), Persia) (cf. modern Persian پارس (Pārs)).


Proper noun




  1. A group of very similar languages spoken primarily in Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.

Usage notes

  • Persian is the name applied to the official language of Iran. This language is also spoken in Tajikistan and some parts of Afghanistan.
  • The name "Farsi" (the local name for Persian) has developed currency in English to refer to the dialect spoken in Iran. Afghans usually call it Dari, and the version spoken in Tajikistan is called Tajiki Persian or simply Tajiki.

See also





Persian (plural Persians)

  1. A member of the main ethnic group of Iran.
  2. A domestic cat breed.
  3. A pastry local to the Thunder Bay region in Canada often compared to either a cinnamon bun or a donut topped with pink icing.


  • (member of the people): Iranian (note that not all Iranians are ethnically Persians)

Derived terms

See also


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


Persian (comparative more Persian, superlative most Persian)


more Persian

most Persian

  1. Of, from, or pertaining to Persia.
  2. Of or pertaining to the Persian people.
  3. Of or pertaining to the Persian language.



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

External links




  1. Genitive singular form of Persia.


Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Persian article)

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

Persian/Print version
Welcome to the فارسی Look up فارسی in Wiktionary (‹fârsi›, “Persian”) Wikibook!

Continue to the Main Contents Page

Simple English

[[File:|right|thumb|220px|Map of areas where Persian is spoken as a mother tongue]] Persian is the official language of Iran (Persia), Afghanistan and Tajikistan. It is also spoken by many people in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Southern Russia, and in other neighbouring countries. Persian was also taught as a second language in schools in Pakistan until 2006. In the past, all of these countries were parts of the Persian Empire.

The Persian alphabet is very similar to the Arabic one, but the language is in a different family than Arabic, so their vocabulary and grammar are very different.

It has taken on many French words. Persian has many dialects. The Persian language is locally called Farsi, Parsi and Dari.

rue:Перьскый язык


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