Persian language

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Persian
فارسی (fārsi), форсӣ (forsī)
Farsi.svg
Fārsi written in Persian calligraphy (Nastaʿlīq)
Pronunciation [fɒːɾˈsiː] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )
Native to
Native speakers
70 million [6]
(110 million total speakers) [5]
Early forms
Standard forms
Dialects
Official status
Official language in
Regulated by
Language codes
ISO 639-1 fa
ISO 639-2 per  (B)
fas  (T)
ISO 639-3 fas inclusive code
Individual codes:
pes    Iranian Persian
prs    Dari
tgk    Tajik
aiq    Aimaq dialect
bhh    Bukhori dialect
haz    Hazaragi dialect
jpr    Judeo-Persian
phv    Pahlavani
deh    Dehwari
jdt    Judeo-Tat
ttt    Caucasian Tat
Glottolog fars1254 [8]
Linguasphere
58-AAC (Wider Persian)
> 58-AAC-c (Central Persian)
Persian Language Location Map1.png
Areas with significant numbers of Persian speakers (including dialects)
Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.svg
  Countries where Persian is an official language
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Persian ( /ˈpɜːrʒən, -ʃən/ ), also known by its endonym Farsi (فارسی, fārsi, [fɒːɾˈsiː] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )), is a Western Iranian language belonging to the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian subdivision of the Indo-European languages. It is a pluricentric language predominantly spoken and used officially within Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan in three mutually intelligible standard varieties, namely Iranian Persian, Dari Persian (officially named Dari since 1958) [9] and Tajiki Persian (officially named Tajik since the Soviet era). [10] It is also spoken natively in the Tajik variety by a significant population within Uzbekistan, [11] [12] [13] as well as within other regions with a Persianate history in the cultural sphere of Greater Iran. It is written officially within Iran and Afghanistan in the Persian alphabet, a derivation of the Arabic script, and within Tajikistan in the Tajik alphabet, a derivation of Cyrillic.

An exonym or xenonym is an external name for a geographical place, a group of people, an individual person, or a language or dialect. It is a common name used only outside the place, group, or linguistic community in question. An endonym or autonym is an internal name for a geographical place, a group of people, or a language or dialect. It is a common name used only inside the place, group, or linguistic community in question; it is their name for themselves, their homeland, or their language.

The Western Iranian languages are a branch of the Iranian languages, attested from the time of Old Persian and Median.

Iranian languages language family

The Iranian 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.

Contents

The Persian language is a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of the Sasanian Empire, itself a continuation of Old Persian, which was used in the Achaemenid Empire. [14] [15] It originated in the region of Fars (Persia) in southwestern Iran. [16] Its grammar is similar to that of many European languages. [17]

Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known as by its endonym Parsig or Parsik, is the Middle Iranian language or ethnolect of southwestern Iran that during the Sasanian Empire (224–654) became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions of the empire as well. Middle Persian is classified as a Western Iranian language. It descended from Old Persian, the language of Achaemenid Empire and it is the linguistic ancestor of Modern Persian.

Sasanian Empire last Persian empire before the rise of Islam

The Sasanian Empire, or the Neo-Persian Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians, was the last kingdom of the Persian Empire before the rise of Islam. Named after the House of Sasan, it ruled from 224 to 651 AD. The Sasanian Empire succeeded the Parthian Empire and was recognised as one of the leading world powers alongside its neighbouring arch-rival, the Roman-Byzantine Empire for a period of more than 400 years.

Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages. Like other Old Iranian languages, this language was known to its native speakers as Iranian language. Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets and seals of the Achaemenid era. Examples of Old Persian have been found in what is now Iran, Romania (Gherla), Armenia, Bahrain, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt, with the most important attestation by far being the contents of the Behistun Inscription. Recent research (2007) into the vast Persepolis Fortification Archive at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago have unearthed Old Persian tablets, which suggest Old Persian was a written language in use for practical recording and not only for royal display.

Throughout history, Persian has been a prestigious cultural language used by various empires in Western Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia. [18] Old Persian written works are attested in Old Persian cuneiform on several inscriptions from between the 6th and the 4th centuries BC, and Middle Persian literature is attested in Aramaic-derived scripts (Pahlavi and Manichaean) on inscriptions from the time of the Parthian Empire and in books centered in Zoroastrian and Manichaean scriptures from between the 3rd to the 10th century AD. New Persian literature began to flourish after the Arab conquest of Iran with its earliest records from the 9th century, since then adopting the Arabic script, while the use of Arabic had strikingly spread over the region. [19] Persian was the first language to break through the monopoly of Arabic on writing in the Muslim world, with the writing of Persian poetry developed as a court tradition in many eastern courts. [18] Some of the famous works of medieval Persian literature are the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, the works of Rumi, the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the Panj Ganj of Nizami Ganjavi, the Divān of Hafez, The Conference of the Birds by Attar of Nishapur, and the miscellanea of Gulistan and Bustan by Saadi Shirazi.

Western Asia Westernmost portion of Asia

Western Asia, West Asia, Southwestern Asia or Southwest Asia is the westernmost subregion of Asia. The concept is in limited use, as it significantly overlaps with the Middle East, the main difference usually being the exclusion of the majority of Egypt, which would be counted as part of North Africa, and of European Turkey and the inclusion of the Caucasus. The term is sometimes used for the purposes of grouping countries in statistics, in which case Egypt might be excluded and Turkey included entirely. The total population of Western Asia is an estimated 300 million as of 2015. Although the term "Western Asia" is mostly used as a convenient division of contemporary sovereign states into a manageable number of world regions for statistical purposes, it is sometimes used instead of the more geopolitical term "Middle East".

Central Asia Region of the Asian continent

Central Asia stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. The region consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It is also colloquially referred to as "the stans" as the countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of".

South Asia Southern region of Asia

South Asia, or Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan SAARC countries and, for some authorities, adjoining countries to the west and east. Topographically, it is dominated by the Indian Plate, which rises above sea level as Nepal and northern parts of India situated south of the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush. South Asia is bounded on the south by the Indian Ocean and on land by West Asia, Central Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.

Persian has left a considerable influence on its neighboring languages, including other Iranian languages, the Turkic languages, Armenian, Georgian and the Indo-Aryan languages (especially Urdu). It also exerted some influence on Arabic, particularly Bahrani Arabic, [20] while borrowing much vocabulary from it under medieval Arab rule. [14] [17] [21] [22] [23] [24]

Turkic languages Language family

The Turkic languages are a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages, spoken by the Turkic peoples of Eurasia from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and West Asia all the way to North Asia and East Asia. The Turkic languages originated in a region of East Asia spanning Western China to Mongolia, where Proto-Turkic is thought to have been spoken, according to one estimate, around 2,500 years ago, from where they expanded to Central Asia and farther west during the first millennium.

Armenian language Indo-European language

The Armenian language is an Indo-European language that is the only language in the Armenian branch. It is the official language of Armenia as well as the de facto Republic of Artsakh. Historically being spoken throughout the Armenian Highlands, today, Armenian is widely spoken throughout the Armenian diaspora. Armenian is written in its own writing system, the Armenian alphabet, introduced in 405 AD by Mesrop Mashtots.

Georgian language Official language of Georgia

Georgian is a Kartvelian language spoken by Georgians. It is the official language of Georgia. Georgian is written in its own writing system, the Georgian script. Georgian is the literary language for all regional subgroups of Georgians, including those who speak other Kartvelian languages: Svans, Mingrelians and the Laz.

There are approximately 110 million Persian speakers worldwide, including Persians, Tajiks, Hazaras, Caucasian Tats and Aimaqs. The term Persophone might also be used to refer to a speaker of Persian. [25] [26]

The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group that make up over half the population of Iran. They share a common cultural system and are native speakers of the Persian language, as well as languages closely related to Persian.

Tajiks ethnic group

Tajiks are a Persian-speaking Iranian ethnic group native to Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Tajiks are the largest ethnicity in Tajikistan, and the second largest in Afghanistan which constitutes over half of the global Tajik population. They speak varieties of Persian, a Western Iranian language. In Tajikistan, since the 1939 Soviet census, its small Pamiri and Yaghnobi ethnic groups are included as Tajiks. In China, the term is used to refer to its Pamiri ethnic groups, the Tajiks of Xinjiang, who speak the Eastern Iranian Pamiri languages. In Afghanistan, the Pamiris are counted as a separate ethnic group.

Hazaras Persian-speaking people who mainly live in central Afghanistan and Pakistan

The Hazaras are an ethnic group native to the mountainous region of Hazarajat in central Afghanistan. They speak the Hazaragi variant of Dari, one of the two official languages of Afghanistan.

Classification

Persian is a member of the Western Iranian group of the Iranian languages, which make up a branch of the Indo-European languages in their Indo-Iranian subdivision. 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 is the most widely spoken. [27]

Indo-European languages language family

The Indo-European languages are a language family of several hundred related languages and dialects.

Indo-Iranian languages language family

The Indo-Iranian languages, or Aryan languages constitute the largest and southeasternmost extant branch of the Indo-European language family. It has more than 1.5 billion speakers, stretching from Europe (Romani), Turkey and the Caucasus (Ossetian) eastward to Xinjiang (Sarikoli) and Assam (Assamese), and south to Sri Lanka (Sinhala) and the Maldives (Maldivian). Furthermore, there are large communities of Indo-Iranian speakers in northwestern Europe, North America, and Australia.

Kurdish languages Northwestern Iranian macro-language

The Kurdish languages constitute a dialect continuum spoken by Kurds in Kurdistan and the diaspora. The three Kurdish languages are Kurmanji, Sorani, and Southern Kurdish. A separate group of non-Kurdish Northwestern Iranian languages, the Zaza–Gorani languages, are also spoken by several million ethnic Kurds. Studies as of 2009 estimate between 8 and 20 million native Kurdish speakers in Turkey. The majority of the Kurds speak Kurmanji.

Name

The term Persian is an English derivation of Latin Persiānus, the adjectival form of Persia, itself deriving from Greek Persís (Περσίς), [28] a Hellenized form of Old Persian Pārsa (𐎱𐎠𐎼𐎿), [29] which means "Persia" (a region in southwestern Iran, corresponding to modern-day Fars). According to the Oxford English Dictionary , the term Persian as a language name is first attested in English in the mid-16th century. [30]

Farsi, which is the Persian word for the Persian language, has also been used widely in English in recent decades, more commonly to refer to the standard Persian of Iran. However, the name Persian is still more widely used. The Academy of Persian Language and Literature has called for avoiding the use of the endonym Farsi in foreign languages and has maintained 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. [31] Eminent Iranian historian and linguist Ehsan Yarshater, founder of Encyclopædia Iranica and the Center for Iranian Studies at Columbia University, mentions the same concern in an academic journal on Iranology, rejecting the use of Farsi in foreign languages. [32]

Etymologically, the Persian term Fārsi derives from its earlier form Pārsi (Pārsik in Middle Persian), which in turn comes from the same root as the English term Persian. [33] [34] The phonemic shift from /p/ to /f/ is a result of the medieval Arabic influences that followed the Arab conquest of Iran, and is due to the lack of the phoneme /p/ in Standard Arabic. [35]

Standard varieties' names

Iran's standard Persian has been called, apart from Persian and Farsi, by names such as Iranian Persian and Western Persian, exclusively. [36] [37] Officially, the official language of Iran is designated simply as Persian (فارسی, fārsi). [7]

Dari Persian (فارسی دری, fārsi-ye dari), that is the standard Persian of Afghanistan, has been officially named Dari (دری, dari) since 1958. [9] Also referred to as Afghan Persian in English, it is one of Afghanistan's two official languages together with Pashto. 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, which was spread to the northeast of the empire and gradually replaced the former Iranian dialects of Parthia (Parthian). [38] [39]

Tajik Persian (форси́и тоҷикӣ́, forsi-i tojikī), that is the standard Persian of Tajikistan, has been officially designated as Tajik (тоҷикӣ, tojikī) since the time of the Soviet Union. [10] It is the name given to the varieties of Persian spoken in Central Asia, in general. [40]

ISO codes

The international language-encoding standard ISO 639-1 uses the code fa, as its coding system is mostly based on the native-language designations. The more detailed standard ISO 639-3 uses the name "Persian" (code fas) for the dialect continuum spoken across Iran and Afghanistan. This consists of the individual languages Dari (Afghan Persian) and Iranian Persian. [41]

History

History of the
Persian language
Proto-Indo-European (c. 3000 BCE)

Indo-Iranian languages


Proto-Indo-Iranian (c. 2000 BCE)

Iranian languages


Proto-Iranian (c. 1500 BCE)

Western Iranian languages


Old Persian (c. 525 – 300 BCE)

Old Persian cuneiform


Middle Persian (c. 300 BCE – 800 CE)

Pahlavi scripts Manichaean alphabet Avestan alphabet


Modern Persian (from 800)

Persian alphabet Tajiki Cyrillic alphabet

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; Old era being sometime around the Achaemenid Empire (i.e., 400–300 BC), Middle era being the next period most officially around the Sasanian Empire, and New era being the period afterwards down to present day. [42]

According to available documents, the Persian language is "the only Iranian language" [14] for which close philological relationships between all of its three stages are established and so that Old, Middle, and New Persian represent [14] [43] one and the same language of Persian; that is, New Persian is a direct descendant of Middle and Old Persian. [43]

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

Old Persian

An Old Persian inscription written in Old Persian cuneiform in Persepolis, Iran. Persepolis. Inscription.jpg
An Old Persian inscription written in Old Persian cuneiform in Persepolis, Iran.

As a written language, Old Persian is attested in royal Achaemenid inscriptions. The oldest known text written in Old Persian is from the Behistun Inscription, dating to the time of king Darius I (reigned 522-486 BC). [44] Examples of Old Persian have been found in what is now Iran, Romania (Gherla), [45] [46] [47] Armenia, Bahrain, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt. [48] [49] Old Persian is one of the oldest Indo-European languages which is attested in original texts. [50]

Related to Old Persian, but from a different branch of the Iranian language family, was Avestan, the language of the Zoroastrian liturgical texts.

Middle Persian

Middle Persian text written in Inscriptional Pahlavi on the Paikuli inscription from between 293 and 297. Slemani Museum, Iraqi Kurdistan. Stone block with Paikuli inscription.JPG
Middle Persian text written in Inscriptional Pahlavi on the Paikuli inscription from between 293 and 297. Slemani Museum, Iraqi Kurdistan.

The complex grammatical conjugation and declension of Old Persian yielded to the structure of Middle Persian in which the dual number disappeared, leaving only singular and plural, as did gender. Middle Persian developed the ezāfe construction, expressed through ī (modern ye), to indicate some of the relations between words that have been lost with the simplification of the earlier grammatical system.

Although the "middle period" of the Iranian languages formally begins with the fall of the Achaemenid Empire, the transition from Old to Middle Persian had probably already begun before the 4th century BC. However, Middle Persian is not actually attested until 600 years later when it appears in the Sassanid era (224–651) inscriptions, so any form of the language before this date cannot be described with any degree of certainty. Moreover, as a literary language, Middle Persian is not attested until much later, in the 6th or 7th century. From the 8th century onward, Middle Persian gradually began yielding to New Persian, with the middle-period form only continuing in the texts of Zoroastrianism.

Middle Persian is considered to be a later form of the same dialect as Old Persian. [51] The native name of Middle Persian was Parsig or Parsik, after the name of the ethnic group of the southwest, that is, "of Pars", Old Persian Parsa, New Persian Fars . This is the origin of the name Farsi as it is today used to signify New Persian. Following the collapse of the Sassanid state, Parsik came to be applied exclusively to (either Middle or New) Persian that was written in the 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 Pahlavi , which was actually but one of the writing systems used to render both Middle Persian as well as various other Middle Iranian languages. That writing system had previously been adopted by the Sassanids (who were Persians, i.e. from the southwest) from the preceding Arsacids (who were Parthians, i.e. from the northeast). While Ibn al-Muqaffa' (eighth century) still distinguished between Pahlavi (i.e. Parthian) and Persian (in Arabic text: al-Farisiyah) (i.e. Middle Persian), this distinction is not evident in Arab commentaries written after that date.

Gernot Windfuhr considers new Persian as an evolution of the Old Persian language and the Middle Persian language [52] but also states that none of the known Middle Persian dialects is the direct predecessor of Modern Persian. [53] [54] Ludwig Paul states: "The language of the Shahnameh should be seen as one instance of continuous historical development from Middle to New Persian." [55]

New Persian

Ferdowsi's Shahnameh Rudaba.JPG
Ferdowsi's Shahnameh

"New Persian" (Modern) 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. [56]

Early New Persian

"New Persian" is taken to replace Middle Persian in the course of the 8th to 9th centuries, under Abbasid rule. [57] With the decline of the Abbasids began the re-establishment of Persian national life and Persians laid the foundations for a renaissance in the realm of letters. New Persian as an independent literary language first emerges in Bactria through the adaptation of the spoken form of Sassanian Middle Persian court language called Pārsi-ye Dari. The cradle of the Persian literary renaissance lay in the east of Greater Iran in Greater Khorasan and Transoxiana close to the Amu Darya (modern day Afghanistan, Tajikstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan). [58] The vocabulary of the New Persian language was thus heavily influenced by other Eastern Iranian languages, particularly Sogdian. [59]

The mastery of the newer speech having now been transformed from Middle into 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), and could develop only in range and power of expression. [58]

Abbas of Merv is mentioned as being the earliest minstrel to chant verse in the newer Persian tongue and after him the poems of Hanzala Badghisi were among the most famous between the Persian-speakers of the time. [60]

The first poems of the Persian language, a language historically called Dari, emerged in Afghanistan. [61] 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 is versified fables collected in the Kalila wa Dimna . [18]

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 for which it was particularly suitable due to its relatively simple morphological structure and this situation persisted until at least 19th century. [57] In the late Middle Ages, new Islamic literary languages were created on the Persian model: Ottoman Turkish, Chagatai and Urdu, which are regarded as "structural daughter languages" of Persian. [57]

Classical Persian

Kalilah va Dimna, an influential work in Persian literature Kalila wa Dimna 001.jpg
Kalilah va Dimna, an influential work in Persian literature

"Classical Persian" loosely refers to the standardized language of medieval Persia used in literature and 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. [62]

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, Buyids, Tahirids, Ziyarids, the Mughal Empire, Timurids, Ghaznavids, Karakhanids, Seljuqs, Khwarazmians, the Sultanate of Rum, Delhi Sultanate, the Shirvanshahs, Safavids, Afsharids, Zands, 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. [63]

Use in Asia Minor

Persian on an Ottoman miniature. Ottoman miniature painters.jpg
Persian on an Ottoman miniature.

Despite Anatolia having been ruled at various times prior to the Middle Ages by various Persian-speaking dynasties originating in Iran, the language lost its traditional foothold there with the demise of the Sasanian Empire. Centuries later however, the practise and usage of Persian in the region would be strongly revived. A branch of the Seljuks, the Sultanate of Rum, took Persian language, art and letters to Anatolia. [64] They adopted Persian language as the official language of the empire. [65] The Ottomans, which 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. [66] 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. [67] It was a major literary language in the empire. [68] Some of the noted earlier Persian works during the Ottoman rule are 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. [67] After a period of several centuries, Ottoman Turkish (which was highly Persianised itself) had developed towards a fully accepted language of literature, which was even able to satisfy the demands of a scientific presentation. [69] However, the number of Persian and Arabic loanwords contained in those works increased at times up to 88%. [69]

Use in South Asia

Persian poem, Agra Fort, India, 18th century Agra India persian poem.jpg
Persian poem, Agra Fort, India, 18th century
Persian poem, Takht-e Shah Jahan, Agra Fort, India Agra castle India persian poem.jpg
Persian poem, Takht-e Shah Jahan, Agra Fort, India

The Persian language influenced the formation of many modern languages in West Asia, Europe, Central Asia, and South Asia. Following the Turko-Persian Ghaznavid conquest of South Asia, Persian was firstly introduced in the region by Turkic Central Asians. [70] 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. [64] For five centuries prior to the British colonization, Persian was widely used as a second language in the Indian subcontinent, due to the admiration the Mughals (who were of Turco-Mongol origin) had for the foreign language. 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 emperors. Beginning in 1843, though, English and Hindustani gradually replaced Persian in importance on the subcontinent. [71] 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 Urdu, also historically known as Hindustani. There is also a small population of Zoroastrian Iranis in India, who migrated in the 19th century to escape religious execution in Qajar Iran and speak a Dari dialect.

Contemporary Persian

A variant of the Iranian standard ISIRI 9147 keyboard layout for Persian Persian keyboard layout, unshifted.gif
A variant of the Iranian standard ISIRI 9147 keyboard layout for 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, 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 orthography, were under the reign of Naser ed Din Shah of the Qajar dynasty in 1871.[ citation needed ] After Naser ed Din Shah, Mozaffar ed Din Shah ordered the establishment of the first Persian association in 1903. [31] This association officially declared that it used Persian and 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 (راه‌آهن) for "railway", were printed in Soltani Newspaper; but the association was eventually closed due to inattention.[ citation needed ]

A scientific association was founded in 1911, resulting in a dictionary called Words of Scientific Association (لغت انجمن علمی), which was completed in the future and renamed Katouzian Dictionary (فرهنگ کاتوزیان). [72]

Pahlavi dynasty

The first academy for the Persian language was founded in May 20, 1935, under the name Academy of Iran. It was established by the initiative of Reza Shah Pahlavi, and mainly by 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, Russian, French, and Greek loanwords whose immense 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 modern varieties of standard Persian:

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), 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. [73]

The following are some languages closely related to Persian, or in some cases are considered dialects:

For other more distantly related branches of the Iranian language family, such as Kurdish and Balochi, see Iranian languages.

Phonology

Iranian Persian has six vowels and twenty-three consonants.

Spoken Persian

Vowels

The vowel phonemes of modern Tehran Persian Farsi vowel chart.svg
The vowel phonemes of modern Tehran Persian

Historically, Persian distinguished length. Early New Persian had a series of five long vowels (//, //, /ɒː/, // and //) along with three short vowels /æ/, /i/ and /u/. At some point prior to the 16th century in the general area now modern Iran, /eː/ and /iː/ merged into /iː/, and /oː/ and /uː/ merged into /uː/. Thus, older contrasts such as شیرshēr "lion" vs. شیرshīr "milk", and زودzūd "quick" vs زورzōr "strong" were lost. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and in some words, ē and ō are merged into the diphthongs [eɪ] and [oʊ] (which are descendants of the diphthongs [æɪ] and [æʊ] in Early New Persian), instead of merging into /iː/ and /uː/. Examples of the exception can be found in words such as روشن[roʊʃæn] (bright). Numerous other instances exist.

However, in Dari, the archaic distinction of /eː/ and /iː/ (respectively known as یای مجهولYā-ye majhūl and یای معروفYā-ye ma'rūf) is still preserved as well as the distinction of /oː/ and /uː/ (known as واو مجهولWāw-e majhūl and واو معروفWāw-e ma'rūf). On the other hand, in standard Tajik, the length distinction has disappeared, and /iː/ merged with /i/ and /uː/ with /u/. [79] 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 (/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) that consider vowel length to be the active feature of the system, with /ɒ/, /i/, and /u/ phonologically long or bimoraic and /æ/, /e/, and /o/ 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

Labial Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive p b t d k ɡ ( q ) ɢ
Affricate
Fricative f v s z ʃ ʒ x ɣ h
Flap or Tap ɾ
Approximant l j

Notes:

Grammar

Morphology

Suffixes predominate Persian morphology, though there are a small number of prefixes. [83] Verbs can express tense and aspect, and they agree with the subject in person and number. [84] There is no grammatical gender in Persian, and pronouns are not marked for natural gender.

Syntax

Normal declarative sentences are structured as (S) (PP) (O) V: sentences have optional subjects, prepositional phrases, and objects followed by a compulsory verb. If the object is specific, the object is followed by the word and precedes prepositional phrases: (S) (O + ) (PP) V. [84]

Vocabulary

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.

Influences

While having a lesser influence on Arabic [22] and other languages of Mesopotamia and its core vocabulary being of Middle Persian origin, [17] New Persian contains a considerable amount of Arabic lexical items, [14] [21] [23] which were Persianized [24] and often took a different meaning and usage than the 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. [85]

John R. Perry, in his article Lexical Areas and Semantic Fields of Arabic, estimates that about 24 percent of an everyday vocabulary of 20,000 words in current Persian, and more than 25 percent of the vocabulary of classical and modern Persian literature, are of Arabic origin. The text frequency of these loan words is generally lower and varies by style and topic area. It may approach 25 percent of a text in literature. [86] According to another source, about 40% of everyday Persian literary vocabulary is of Arabic origin. [87] 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. [88] Most of the Arabic words used in Persian are either synonyms of native terms or could be glossed in Persian. [89]

The inclusion of Mongolic and Turkic elements in the Persian language should also be mentioned, [90] 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.). [91] New military and political titles were coined based partially on Middle Persian (e.g. ارتشarteš for "army", instead of the Uzbek قؤشینqoʻshin; سرلشکرsarlaškar; دریابانdaryābān; etc.) in the 20th century. Persian has likewise influenced the vocabularies of other languages, especially other Indo-European languages such as Armenian, [92] Urdu, Bengali and (to a lesser extent) Hindi; the latter three through conquests of Persianized Central Asian Turkic and Afghan invaders; [93] Turkic languages such as Ottoman Turkish, Chagatai, Tatar, Turkish, [94] Turkmen, Azeri, [95] Uzbek, and Karachay-Balkar; [96] Caucasian languages such as Georgian, [97] and to a lesser extent, Avar and Lezgin; [98] Afro-Asiatic languages like Assyrian (List of loanwords in Assyrian Neo-Aramaic) and Arabic; [99] and even Dravidian languages indirectly especially Telugu and Brahui; as well as Austronesian languages such as Indonesian and Malay. Persian has also had a significant lexical influence, via Turkish, on Albanian, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, 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 مرسیmerci (stressed, however, on the first syllable), the hybrid Persian-Arabic phrase متشکّر امmotešakker am (متشکّرmotešakker being "thankful" in Arabic, commonly pronounced motčakker in Persian, and the verb امam meaning "I am" in Persian), or by the pure Persian phrase سپاس‌گزارمsepās-gozār am.

Orthography

Example showing Nasta'liq's (Persian) proportion rules. Nastaliq-proportions.jpg
Example showing Nastaʿlīq's (Persian) proportion rules.
Ali-Akbar Dehkhoda's personal handwriting, a typical cursive Persian script. Dehkhoda note.jpg
Ali-Akbar Dehkhoda's personal handwriting, a typical cursive Persian script.
The word Persian in the Book Pahlavi script The word Persian in Pahlavi script.png
The word Persian in the Book Pahlavi script

The vast majority of modern Iranian Persian and Dari text is written with the Arabic script. Tajiki, which is considered by some linguists to be a Persian dialect influenced by Russian and the Turkic languages of Central Asia, [100] [101] is written with the Cyrillic script in Tajikistan (see Tajik alphabet). There also exist several romanization systems for Persian.

Persian alphabet

Modern Iranian Persian and Afghan Persian are written using the 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, it took approximately 200 years which is referred to as Two Centuries of Silence in Iran, before Persians adopted the Arabic script in place of the older alphabet. Previously, two different scripts were used, Pahlavi, used for Middle Persian, and the Avestan alphabet (in Persian, Dīndapirak or Din Dabire—literally: religion script), used for religious purposes, primarily for the Avestan but sometimes for Middle Persian.

In the modern Persian script, 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 kerm "worm", karam "generosity", kerem "cream", and krom "chrome" are all spelled krm (کرم) 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 [ʊ~u], 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.

Persian typewriter keyboard layout Persian typewriter keyboard layout.svg
Persian typewriter keyboard layout

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 /z/ (ز ذ ض ظ), three letters for /s/ (س ص ث), two letters for /t/ (ط ت), two letters for /h/ (ح ه). On the other hand, there are four letters that don't exist in Arabic پ چ ژ گ.

Additions

The Persian alphabet adds four letters to the Arabic alphabet:

SoundIsolated formName
/p/پpe
/tʃ/چče (che)
/ʒ/ژže (zhe or jhe)
/ɡ/گge (gāf)

Historically, there was also a special letter for the sound /β/. This letter is no longer used, as the /β/-sound changed to /b/, e.g. archaic زڤان /zaβān/ > زبان /zæbɒn/ 'language' [102]

SoundIsolated formName
/β/ڤβe

Variations

The Persian alphabet also modifies some letters of 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) even though the latter is also correct in Arabic; and teh marbuta ( ة ) changes to heh ( ه ) or teh ( ت ).

The letters different in shape are:

Arabic Style letterPersian Style lettername
كکke (kāf)
يیye

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

Another Latin alphabet, based on the Common Turkic Alphabet, was used in Tajikistan in the 1920s and 1930s. The alphabet was phased out in favor of Cyrillic in the late 1930s. [100]

Fingilish is Persian using ISO 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).

Tajik alphabet

Tajiki advertisement for an academy Akademijai ilmxhoi jumxhurii tojikiston.jpg
Tajiki advertisement for an academy

The Cyrillic script 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 October Revolution and the Persian script that had been used earlier. After 1939, materials published in Persian in the Persian script were banned from the country. [100] [104]

Examples

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

Iranian Persianهمه‌ی افراد بشر آزاد به دنیا می‌آیند و حیثیت و حقوق‌شان با هم برابر است، همه اندیشه و وجدان دارند و باید در برابر یکدیگر با روح برادری رفتار کنند.
Iranian Persian
transliteration
Hamaye afrâd bašâr âzâd be donyâ miâyand o heysiyat o hoğuğe šân bâ ham barâbar ast hame šân andiše o vejdân dârand o bâjad dar barâbare yekdigar bâ ruhe barâdari raftâr konand.
Iranian Persian IPA [hæmeje æfrɒde bæʃær ɒzɒd be donjɒ miɒjænd o hejsijæt o hoɢuɢe ʃɒn bɒ hæm bærɒbær æst hæme ʃɒn ændiʃe o vedʒdɒn dɒrænd o bɒjæd dær bærɒbære jekdiɡær bɒ ruhe bærɒdæri ræftɒr konænd]
TajikiҲамаи афроди башар озод ба дунё меоянд ва ҳайсияту ҳуқуқашон бо ҳам баробар аст, ҳамаашон андешаву виҷдон доранд ва бояд дар баробари якдигар бо рӯҳи бародарӣ рафтор кунанд.
English translationAll 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

Related Research Articles

Urdu National language and lingua franca of Pakistan; one of the official languages of India; standardized register of Hindustani

Urdu —or, more precisely, Modern Standard Urdu—is a Persianised standard register of the Hindustani language. It is the official national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. In India, it is one of the 22 official languages recognized in the Constitution of India, having official status in the six states of Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, as well as the national capital territory of Delhi.

Darī or Dari Persian or Eastern Persian, synonymously Farsi is a variety of the Persian language spoken in Afghanistan. Dari is the term officially recognized and promoted since 1964 by the Afghan government for the Persian language, hence, it is also known as Afghan Persian in many Western sources. This has resulted in a naming dispute. Many Persian speakers in Afghanistan prefer and use the name "Farsi" and say the term Dari has been forced on them by the dominant Pashtun ethnic group as an attempt to distance Afghans from their cultural, linguistic, and historical ties to the Persian-speaking nations, which includes Iran and Tajikistan.

Hindustani language Indo-Aryan language

Hindustani, also known as Hindi-Urdu and historically also known as Hindavi, Dehlavi and Rekhta, is the lingua franca of Northern India and Pakistan. It is an Indo-Aryan language, deriving its base primarily from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi. The language incorporates a large amount of vocabulary from Prakrit, Sanskrit, as well as Persian and Arabic. It is a pluricentric language, with two official forms, Modern Standard Hindi and Modern Standard Urdu, which are its standardised registers. According to Ethnologue's 2019 estimates, if Hindi and Urdu are taken together as Hindustani, the language is the 3rd-most spoken language in the world, with approximately 409.8 million native speakers and a total of 785.6 million speakers.

Uzbek language Turkic language

Uzbek is a Turkic language that is the first official and only declared national language of Uzbekistan. The language of Uzbeks, it is spoken by some 33 million native speakers in Uzbekistan and elsewhere in Central Asia, making it the second-most widely spoken Turkic language after Turkish.

Pashto Indo-Iranian language spoken in Afghanistan

Pashto, sometimes spelled Pukhto, is an Eastern Iranian language in the Indo-European family. It is known in Persian literature as Afghāni (افغانی) and in Hindustani literature as Paṭhānī. Speakers of the language are called Pashtuns/Pakhtuns/Pathans and sometimes Afghans. Pashto and Dari are the official languages of Afghanistan. Pashto is also the second-largest regional language of Pakistan, mainly spoken in the west and northwest of the country. In Pakistan, it is the main language of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the northern districts of Balochistan. Pashto is the primary language of the Pashtun diaspora around the world. The total number of Pashto-speakers is estimated to be 45–60 million people worldwide.

Azerbaijani language Turkic language

Azerbaijani or Azeri, sometimes also Azeri Turkic or Azeri Turkish, is a term referring to two Turkic lects that are spoken primarily by the Azerbaijanis, who live mainly in the Republic of Azerbaijan and Iran. Caucasian Azerbaijani and Iranian Azerbaijani have significant differences in phonology, lexicon, morphology, syntax, and sources of loanwords. ISO 639-3 groups the two lects as a "macrolanguage".

Tajik language language spoken in Tajikistan

Tajik or Tajiki, also called Tajiki Persian, is the variety of Persian spoken in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and it is closely related to Dari Persian. Since the beginning of the twentieth century and independence of Tajikistan from Soviet Union, Tajik has been considered by a number of writers and researchers to be a variety of Persian. 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 language, Sadriddin Ayni, who was a prominent intellectual and educator, made 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.

Ottoman Turkish, or the Ottoman language, is the variety of the Turkish language that was used in the Ottoman Empire. It borrows extensively, in all aspects, from Arabic and Persian, and it was written in the Ottoman Turkish alphabet. During the peak of Ottoman power, words of foreign origin heavily outnumbered native Turkish words, with Arabic and Persian vocabulary accounting for up to 88% of the Ottoman vocabulary.

The Persian alphabet, also known as the Perso-Arabic alphabet, is a writing system used for the Persian language spoken in Iran and Afghanistan. The Persian language spoken in Tajikistan is written in the Tajik alphabet, a modified version of Cyrillic alphabet since the Soviet era.

Karakalpak language Turkic language spoken in Uzbekistan

Karakalpak is a Turkic language spoken by Karakalpaks in Karakalpakstan. It is divided into two dialects, Northeastern Karakalpak and Southeastern Karakalpak. It developed alongside neighboring Kazakh and Uzbek languages, being markedly influenced by both. Typologically, Karakalpak belongs to the Kipchak branch of the Turkic languages, thus being closely related to and partially mutually intelligible to Kazakh.

Farsiwan Name of Persian speakers, esp. in Afghanistan

Fārsīwān is a designation for Persian-speakers in Afghanistan, with diaspora in Iran and elsewhere abroad. More specifically, it is used to refer to a distinct group of farmers in Afghanistan and urban dwellers who are a subgroup of the Tajiks of Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The term excludes the Hazāra and Aymāq tribes who also speak dialects of Persian, but are generally believed to be distinct from the Tajiks. In Afghanistan, the Farsiwan are found predominantly in Herat and Farah provinces. They are roughly the same as the Persians of Eastern Iran. Although the term was originally coined with Persian language's lexical root (Pārsībān), the suffix has been transformed into a Pashto form (-wān), and is usually utilized by the Pashtuns to designate the Persian-speakers.

The Persian language historically influenced many of the modern languages and dialects of the Middle East, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and South Asia including the standard register Urdu, the national language of Pakistan and an official language in seven states/territories of India.

Domari is an endangered Indo-Aryan language, spoken by older Dom people scattered across the Middle East and North Africa. The language is reported to be spoken as far north as Azerbaijan and as far south as central Sudan, in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Syria and Lebanon. Based on the systematicity of sound changes, we know with a fair degree of certainty that the names Domari and Romani derive from the Indo-Aryan word ḍom. The language itself actually derives from an Indo-Aryan language. The Arabs referred to them as nawar as they were a nomadic people that originally immigrated to the Middle East from India.

Tajik alphabet

The Tajik language has been written in three alphabets over the course of its history: an adaptation of the Perso-Arabic script, an adaptation of the Latin script, and an adaptation of the Cyrillic script. Any script used specifically for Tajik may be referred to as the Tajik alphabet, which is written as алифбои тоҷикӣ in Cyrillic characters, الفبای تاجیکی‎ with Perso-Arabic script, and alifboji toçikī in Latin script.

Ishkashimi language one of the Pamir languages of the Southeastern Iranian language group

Ishkashimi is an Iranian language spoken predominantly in the Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan and in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region in Tajikistan.

Arabic script Writing system used for writing several languages of Asia and Africa

The Arabic script is the writing system used for writing Arabic and several other languages of Asia and Africa, such as Persian, Kurdish, Azerbaijani, Sindhi, Pashto, Lurish, Urdu, Mandinka, and others. Until the 16th century, it was also used to write some texts in Spanish. Additionally, prior to the language reform in 1928, it was the writing system of Turkish. It is the second-most widely used writing system in the world by the number of countries using it and the third by the number of users, after Latin and Chinese characters.

Romanization of Persian or Latinization of Persian is the representation of the Persian language with the Latin script. Several different romanization schemes exist, each with its own set of rules driven by its own set of ideological goals.

Western Persian, Parsi or Farsi is the most widely spoken dialect of Persian language. It is commonly referred to as Iranian Persian. It is officially spoken in Iran and also by various minorities in Iraq and the Persian Gulf states. It is one of three major dialects of Persian. The other two are Dari Persian and Tajiki Persian.

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  33. Spooner, Brian; Hanaway, William L. (2012). Literacy in the Persianate World: Writing and the Social Order. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 6, 81. ISBN   1934536563.
  34. Spooner, Brian (2012). "Dari, Farsi, and Tojiki". In Schiffman, Harold (ed.). Language Policy and Language Conflict in Afghanistan and Its Neighbors: The Changing Politics of Language Choice. Leiden: Brill. p. 94. ISBN   9004201459.
  35. Campbell, George L.; King, Gareth, eds. (2013). "Persian". Compendium of the World's Languages (3rd ed.). Routledge. p. 1339.
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  38. Lazard, Gilbert (17 November 2011). "Darī". Encyclopædia Iranica. VII. pp. 34–35. It is derived from the word for dar (court, lit., "gate"). Darī was thus the language of the court and of the capital, Ctesiphon. On the other hand, it is equally clear from this passage that darī was also in use in the eastern part of the empire, in Khorasan, where it is known that in the course of the Sasanian period Persian gradually supplanted Parthian and where no dialect that was not Persian survived. The passage thus suggests that darī was actually a form of Persian, the common language of Persia. (...) Both were called pārsī (Persian), but it is very likely that the language of the north, that is, the Persian used on former Parthian territory and also in the Sasanian capital, was distinguished from its congener by a new name, darī ([language] of the court).
  39. Paul, Ludwig (19 November 2013). "Persian Language: i: Early New Persian". Encyclopædia Iranica. Northeast. Khorasan, the homeland of the Parthians (called abaršahr "the upper lands" in MP), had been partly Persianized already in late Sasanian times. Following Ebn al-Moqaffaʿ, the variant of Persian spoken there was called Darī and was based upon the one used in the Sasanian capital Seleucia-Ctesiphon (Ar. al-Madāʾen). (...) Under the specific historical conditions that have been sketched above, the Dari (Middle) Persian of the 7th century was developed, within two centuries, to the Dari (New) Persian that is attested in the earliest specimens of NP poetry in the late 9th century.
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  52. Comrie, Bernard (2003). The Major Languages of South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Routledge. ISBN   978-1-134-93257-3., p. 82. "The evolution of Persian as the culturally dominant language of major parts of the Near East, from Anatolia and Iran, to Central Asia, to northwest India until recent centuries, began with the political domination of these areas by dynasties originating in southwestern province of Iran, Pars, later Arabicised to Fars: first the Achaemenids (599–331 BC) whose official language was Old Persian; then the Sassanids (c. AD 225–651) whose official language was Middle Persian. Hence, the entire country used to be called Perse by the ancient Greeks, a practice continued to this day. The more general designation 'Iran(-shahr)" derives from Old Iranian aryanam (Khshathra)' (the realm) of Aryans'. The dominance of these two dynasties resulted in Old and Middle-Persian colonies throughout the empire, most importantly for the course of the development of Persian, in the north-east i.e., what is now Khorasan, northern Afghanistan and Central Asia, as documented by the Middle Persian texts of the Manichean found in the oasis city of Turfan in Chinese Turkistan (Sinkiang). This led to certain degree of regionalisation".
  53. Comrie, Bernard (1990) The major languages of South Asia, the Middle East and Africa, Taylor & Francis, p. 82
  54. Barbara M. Horvath, Paul Vaughan, Community languages, 1991, p. 276
  55. L. Paul (2005), "The Language of the Shahnameh in historical and dialectical perspective", p. 150: "The language of the Shahnameh should be seen as one instance of continuous historical development from Middle to New Persian.", inWeber, Dieter; MacKenzie, D. N. (2005). Languages of Iran: Past and Present: Iranian Studies in Memoriam David Neil MacKenzie. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN   978-3-447-05299-3.
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  58. 1 2 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. (in Public Domain)
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  62. according to iranchamber.com "the language (ninth to thirteenth centuries), preserved in the literature of the Empire, is known as Classical Persian, due to the eminence and distinction of poets such as Roudaki, Ferdowsi, and Khayyam. During this period, Persian was adopted as the lingua franca of the eastern Islamic nations. Extensive contact with Arabic led to a large influx of Arab vocabulary. In fact, a writer of Classical Persian had at one's disposal the entire Arabic lexicon and could use Arab terms freely either for literary effect or to display erudition. Classical Persian remained essentially unchanged until the nineteenth century, when the dialect of Teheran rose in prominence, having been chosen as the capital of Persia by the Qajar Dynasty in 1787. This Modern Persian dialect became the basis of what is now called Contemporary Standard Persian. Although it still contains a large number of Arab terms, most borrowings have been nativized, with a much lower percentage of Arabic words in colloquial forms of the language."
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  74. Gernot Windfuhr, "Persian Grammar: history and state of its study", Walter de Gruyter, 1979. pg 4:""Tat- Persian spoken in the East Caucasus""
  75. V. Minorsky, "Tat" in M. Th. Houtsma et al., eds., The Encyclopædia of Islam: A Dictionary of the Geography, Ethnography and Biography of the Muhammadan Peoples, 4 vols. and Suppl., Leiden: Late E.J. Brill and London: Luzac, 1913–38.
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  77. C Kerslake, Journal of Islamic Studies (2010) 21 (1): 147–151. excerpt: "It is a comparison of the verbal systems of three varieties of Persian—standard Persian, Tat, and Tajik—in terms of the 'innovations' that the latter two have developed for expressing finer differentiations of tense, aspect and modality..."
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  79. Perry, J. R. (2005) A Tajik Persian Reference Grammar (Boston : Brill) ISBN   90-04-14323-8
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Sources

Further reading