Persian language

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"Farsi" redirects here. For the village in Iran, see Farsi, Iran.
Persian
Parsi/Farsi
پارسی
Farsi.svg
Fārsi in written Persian (Nasta'liq script)
Pronunciation [fɒːɾˈsiː]
Native to

Iran[1]
Afghanistan[1](as Dari)
Tajikistan[1](as Tajik)
Uzbekistan
Iraq
Kuwait[2]
Bahrain
Russia

Azerbaijan[3]
Native speakers
60 million  (2009)[3]
(110 million total speakers)[3]
Indo-European
Early forms
Dialects
Arabic (Persian alphabet)
Cyrillic (Tajik alphabet)
Hebrew script
Persian Braille
Official status
Official language in
 Iran
 Afghanistan
 Tajikistan
Regulated by

Academy of Persian Language and Literature (Iran)

Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan[citation needed]
Language codes
ISO 639-1 fa
ISO 639-2 per (B)
fas (T)
ISO 639-3 fasinclusive code
Individual codes:
pes – Western Persian
prs – Eastern Persian
tgk – Tajiki
aiq – Aimaq
bhh – Bukharic
haz – Hazaragi
jpr – Dzhidi
phv – Pahlavani
deh – Dehwari
jdt – Juhuri
ttt – Caucasian Tat
Glottolog fars1254[4]
Linguasphere 58-AAC (Wider Persian) > 58-AAC-c (Central Persian)
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Approximate extent of the Persian language area. Map includes all three dialects of Persian.
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  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.

Persian (/ˈpɜrʒən/ or /ˈpɜrʃən/; فارسی fārsi [fɒːɾˈsiː] ( )) is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages and the only South-Western Iranian language. It is primarily spoken in Iran (Persia), and as a different dialect in Afghanistan (officially known as Dari since 1958 for political reasons),[5] and Tajikistan (officially known as Tajiki Persian since the Soviet era for political reasons),[6] and some other regions which historically came under Persian influence. The Persian language is classified as a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of Sassanid Persia, itself a continuation of Old Persian, the language of the Achaemenid Persian Empire.[7][8][9] Persian is a pluricentric language and its grammar is similar to that of many contemporary European languages.[10] Persian is also so called due to its origin from the capital of the Achaemenid empire, Persis (Fars or Pars) hence the name Persian (Farsi or Parsi).

There are approximately 110 million Persian speakers worldwide, with the language holding official status in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. For centuries Persian has also been a prestigious cultural language in other regions of Western Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia by the various empires based in the regions.[11]

Persian has had a considerable (mainly lexical) influence on neighboring languages, particularly the Turkic languages in Central Asia, Caucasus, and Anatolia, neighboring Iranian languages, as well as Armenian, and Indo-Aryan languages, especially Urdu. It also exerted some influence on Arabic, particularly Bahraini Arabic,[12] while borrowing much vocabulary from it after the Muslim conquest of Persia.[7][10][13][14][15][16]

With a long history of literature in the form of Middle Persian before Islam, Persian was the first language in Muslim civilization to break through Arabic’s monopoly on writing, and the writing of poetry in Persian was established as a court tradition in many eastern courts.[11] Some of the famous works of Persian literature are the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, works of Rumi, Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Divan of Hafiz and poems of Saadi.

Classification[edit]

Persian belongs to the Western branch of the Iranian family of Indo-European languages, which also includes Kurdish, Gilaki, Mazandarani, Talyshi, and Baluchi. The language is in the Southwestern Iranian group, along with the Larestani, Kumzari and Luri languages.[17]

Etymology[edit]

Persian language name in Persian[edit]

Persian is known by other names by native speakers:

  • Farsi (فارسیfārsi),[18] or Parsi (پارسی‎) has been the native name of Persian by all its speakers until 20th century. Since the latter decades of 20th century, for political reasons, in English and French, Farsi has become the name of the Persian language as it is spoken in Iran.
  • Dari (دریdarī)[19] was a synonym for fārsi in Persian, but again for political reason, since the latter decades of 20th century, has become the name of Persian language as it is spoken in Afghanistan as one of its two official languages: it is sometimes called Afghan Persian in English;[20]

English name[edit]

Persian, the more widely used name of the language in English historically, 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 as a language name is first attested in English in the mid-16th century.[23] Native Iranian Persian speakers call it Fārsi.[24] Farsi is the Arabicized form of Pārsi, due to a lack of the 'p' phoneme in Standard Arabic (i.e., the 'p' was replaced with an 'f').[25][26] The origin of the name Farsi and the place of origin of the language which is Fars is, of course, the Arabicized form of Pârs. In English, this language has historically been known as "Persian", though "Farsi" has also gained some currency. According to the OED, the term Farsi was first used in English in 1926, while Parsi dates to 1790.[24] "Farsi" is encountered in some linguistic literature as a name for the language, used both by Iranian and by foreign authors.[27]

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.[28] Some Persian language scholars such as Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, and University of Arizona professor Kamran Talattof, have also rejected the usage of "Farsi" in their articles.[29][30]

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 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.[31][32][33]

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.[34]

History[edit]

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

Southwestern Iranian languages


Old Persian (c. 525 BC - 300 BC)

Old Persian cuneiform script


Middle Persian (c.300 BC-800 AD)

Pahlavi scriptManichaean scriptAvestan script


Modern Persian (from 800 AD)

Perso-Arabic script

Persian is an Iranian language 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.[35]

According to available documents, the Persian language is "the only Iranian language"[7][36] for which close philological relationships between all of its three stages are established and so that Old, Middle, and New Persian represent[7][37] one and the same language of Persian, that is New Persian is a direct descendent of Middle and Old Persian.[37]

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

Old Persian[edit]

Main articles: Old Persian and Persian verbs

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).[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

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[edit]

Main article: Middle Persian

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 developed the ezāfe construction, expressed through ī, 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. 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 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 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 Persian (in Arabic text: al-Farsiah) (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[3] but also states that none of the known Middle Persian dialects is the direct predecessor of the [New] Persian [38][39] Professor. Ludwig Paul states: "The language of the Shahnameh should be seen as one instance of continuous historical development from Middle to New Persian"[40]

New Persian[edit]

The history of New Persian itself spans more than 1,000–1,200 years. The development of the language in its last period is often divided into three stages dubbed early, classical, and contemporary. Native speakers of the language can in fact understand early texts in Persian with minimal adjustment, because the morphology and, to a lesser extent, the lexicon of the language have remained relatively stable for the most part of a millennium.[41]

Early New Persian[edit]

New Persian developed from the 8th century on as an independent literary language.[42] Upon the decline of the Caliphate at Baghdad in the 9th century began the re-establishment of Persian national life and Persians laid the foundations for a renaissance in the realm of letters. New Persian was born in Bactria through the adaptation of the spoken form of Sassanian Middle Persian court language called Dari. The cradle of the Persian literary renaissance lay in the east of Greater Iran, in the Greater Khorasan and Transoxiana regions close to the river Amu Darya.[43]

The mastery of the newer speech having now been transformed from Middle- into New Persian was already complete during three princely dynasties of Iranian origin Tahirid (820–872), Saffarid (860–903) and Samanid (874–999), and could develop only in range and power of expression.[43]

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.[44]

The first poems of the Persian Language, a language historically called Dari, have emerged in Khorasan.[45][dubious ] The first significant Persian poet was Rudaki. He flourished in the 10th century, when the Sāmānids 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 Kalilah va Dimnah.[11]

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 transregional 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.[42] In the late Middle Ages, new Islamic literary languages were created on the Persian model: Ottoman, Chaghatay and Urdu, which are regarded as "structural daughter languages" of Persian.[42]

Classic Persian[edit]

Kalilah va Dimna, an influential work in Persian literature.

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 major parts of the Islamic world and South Asia. It was also the official and cultural language of many Islamic dynasties, including Samanids, Buyids, Tahirids, Ziyarids, the Mughal Empire, Timurids, Ghaznavid, Seljuq, Khwarezmids, Sultanate of Rum, 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.[46] 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 Turko-Mongol languages under the Mongol Empire and Turco-Persian society.

Use in South Asia[edit]

Persian poem, Agra castle, India, 18th century
Persian poem, Takht-e Shah Jahan, Agra castle, India

The Persian language influenced the formation of many modern languages of all of West Asia, Europe, Central Asia, and South Asian regions. Following the Turko-Persian Ghaznavid conquest of South Asia, Persian was firstly introduced in the region. 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 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.[47] 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.

Contemporary Persian[edit]

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[edit]

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. Hazaragi (in Central Afghanistan and Pakistan), Herati (in Western Afghanistan), Darwazi (in Afghanistan and Tajikistan), Tehrani (in Iran, the basis of standard Iranian Persian) and Dehwari (in Pakistan) 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,[48] give or take minor differences in vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar – much in the same relationship as shared between British and American English.

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.[49]

The following are some languages closely related to Persian:

Phonology[edit]

Main article: Persian phonology

Iranian Persian has six vowels and twenty-two consonants.

Vowels[edit]

The vowel phonemes of modern Tehran 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 such as shēr "lion" vs. shīr "milk", and rūd "river" vs rōd "bow-string" were lost. However, 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/.[50] Therefore, contemporary Afghan Dari 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.

The length distinction is nevertheless strictly observed by careful reciters of classic-style poetry, for all varieties (including the Tajik).

Consonants[edit]

Labial Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n (ŋ)
Plosive p b t d k ɡ (q ɢ)
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 parentheses.)

Grammar[edit]

Main article: Persian grammar

Morphology[edit]

Syntax[edit]

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 and precedes prepositional phrases: "(S) (O + ) (PP) V".[57]

Vocabulary[edit]

Main article: Persian vocabulary

Native word formation[edit]

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.[58]

Influences[edit]

While having a lesser influence on Arabic[14] and other languages of Mesopotamia and its core vocabulary being of Middle Persian origin,[10] New Persian contains a considerable amount of Arabic lexical items,[7][13][15] which were Persianized[16] 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 are generally understood to have been copied from New Persian.[59]

John R. Perry in his article "Lexical Areas and Semantic Fields of Arabic" estimates that about 40 percent of an everyday vocabulary of 20,000 words in current Persian, and more than 50 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.[60] 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.[61] Most of the Arabic words used in Persian are either synonyms of native terms or could be glossed in Persian.[62]

The inclusion of Mongolian and Turkic elements in the Persian language should also be mentioned,[63] 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.).[64] New military and political titles were coined based partially on Middle Persian (e.g. Artesh for army instead of Qoshun, Sarlashkar, DaryaBaan, etc.) in the 20th century. 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,[65] Turkmen, Azeri[66] and Uzbek, Afro-Asiatic languages like Assyrian and Arabic,[67] and even Dravidian languages 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 Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian/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 (but not in Afghanistan or Tajikistan), the phrase "thank you" may be expressed using the French word merci (stressed however on the first syllable), the hybrid Persian-Arabic word motešakkeram (motešakker being merciful in Arabic and -am meaning I am in Persian), or by the pure Persian word sepāsgozāram.

Orthography[edit]

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 with the Arabic script. Tajik, which is considered by some linguists to be a Persian dialect influenced by Russian and the Turkic languages of Central Asia,[68][69] is written with the Cyrillic script in Tajikistan (see Tajik alphabet).

Persian alphabet[edit]

Main article: Persian alphabet

Modern Iranian Persian and Afghan Persian are written using a modified variant of the Arabic alphabet (see Persian alphabet), which uses different pronunciation and additional letters not found in Arabic. Tajik Persian, as used in Tajikistan, is typically written in a modified version of the Cyrillic alphabet. There are also Persian Romanizations like Desphilic, Unipers and Fingilish/Pinglish for writing Persian using the Latin alphabet. After the conversion of Persia to Islam (see Islamic conquest of Iran), it took approximately 150 years before Persians adopted the Arabic script in place of the older alphabet. Previously, two different scripts were used, Pahlavi, used for Middle Persian, and the Avestan alphabet (in Persian, 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 (â, i, u) are represented in the text, so words distinguished from each other only by short vowels are ambiguous in writing: 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~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.

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 (ز ذ ض ظ), three 's' letters (س ص ث), two 't' letters (ط ت), etc.

Additions[edit]

The Persian alphabet adds four letters to the Arabic alphabet:

Sound Isolated form Name
/p/ پ pe
/tʃ/ چ če
/ʒ/ ژ že
/ɡ/ گ gāf

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

Variations[edit]

The Persian alphabet also modifies some letters from the Arabic alphabet. For example, alef with hamza belowإ ) changes to alefا ); 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 marbutaة ) changes to hehه ) or tehت ).

The letters different in shape are:

Sound original Arabic letter modified Persian letter name
/k/ ك ک kāf

Writing the letter in its original Arabic form is not typically considered to be incorrect,[citation needed] but is not normally done.

Latin alphabet[edit]

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"[70] 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.[68]

Fingilish is the name given to texts written in 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).

UniPers, short for the Universal Persian Alphabet (Fârsiye Jahâni) is a Latin-based alphabet popularized by Mohamed Keyvan, who used it in a number of Persian textbooks for foreigners and travellers.[71] The current official Iranian romanization system is virtually identical to UniPers, the only notable differences being that UniPers â and c are Iranian ā and č, respectively.[72]

The International Persian Alphabet (Pársik) is another Latin-based alphabet developed in recent years mainly by A. Moslehi, a comparative linguist.[73]

Persá is yet another Latin-based alphabet that has been recently[when?] developed using new characters to represent sounds unique to the Persian language.

Desphilic is also a romanization which uses ordinary Latin character set for romanization of Persian.

Tajik alphabet[edit]

Tajik advertisement for an academy.
Main article: Tajik alphabet

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 Persian script that had been used earlier. After 1939, materials published in Persian in the Persian script were banned from the country.[68][74]

Examples[edit]

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

Iranian Persian (Farsi) UniPers Ironik IPA Tajik Persian (Tajiki) English Gloss
همه ی 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. Hameye afrâde bašar âzâd be donyâ miâyando heysiyato hoquqešan bâ ham barâbar ast, hame andiševo vejdân dârando va bâyad dar barâbare yekdigar bâ ruhe barâdari raftâr konand. hama-ye afrod-e bacar ozod be dunyo mi-oyand u haysiyat u huqwq-econ bo ham barobar ast, Hama-yecon andica u vejdon dorand u boyad dar barobar-e yakdigar bo rwh-e barodari raftor kunand [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] Ҳамаи 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. 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[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Samadi, Habibeh; Nick Perkins (2012). Martin Ball, David Crystal, Paul Fletcher, ed. Assessing Grammar: The Languages of Lars. Multilingual Matters. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-84769-637-3. 
  2. ^ "SociolinguistEssex XII - 2007". Essex University. 2007. p. 5. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Windfuhr, Gernot. The Iranian Languages. Routledge. 2009. p. 418.
  4. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Persian". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  5. ^ Asta Olesen, "Islam and Politics in Afghanistan, Volume 3", Psychology Press, 1995. pg 205: "There began a general promotion of the Pashto language at the expense of Farsi – previously dominant at the educational and administrative level – and the term 'Dari' for the Afghanistani version of Persian came into common use, being officially adopted in 1958"
  6. ^ Mona Baker, Kirsten Malmkjr, "Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies", pg 518: "among them the realignment of Central Asian Persian, renamed Tajiki by the Soviet Union", [1]
  7. ^ a b c d e 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. "The language known as New Persian, which usually is called at this period (early Islamic times) by the name of Dari or Farsi-Dari, can be classified linguistically as a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of Sassanian Iran, itself a continuation of Old Persian, the language of the Achaemenids. Unlike the other languages and dialects, ancient and modern, of the Iranian group such as Avestan, Parthian, Soghdian, Kurdish, Balochi, Pashto, etc., Old Persian, Middle and New Persian represent one and the same language at three states of its history. It had its origin in Fars (the true Persian country from the historical point of view) and is differentiated by dialectical features, still easily recognizable from the dialect prevailing in north-western and eastern Iran."
  8. ^ Ulrich Ammon, Norbert Dittmar, Klaus J. Mattheier, Peter Trudgill, "Sociolinguistics Hsk 3/3 Series Volume 3 of Sociolinguistics: An International Handbook of the Science of Language and Society", Walter de Gruyter, 2006. 2nd edition. pg 1912. Excerpt: "Middle Persian, also called Pahlavi is a direct continuation of old Persian, and was used as the written official language of the country." "However, after the Moslem conquest and the collapse of the Sassanids, the Pahlavi language was gradually replaced by Dari, a variety of Middle Persian, with considerable loan elements from Arabic and Parthian."
  9. ^ Skjærvø, Prods Oktor (2006). Encyclopedia Iranica, "Iran, vi. Iranian languages and scripts, "new Persian, is "the descendant of Middle Persian" and has been "official language of Iranian states for centuries", whereas for other non-Persian Iranian languages "close genetic relationships are difficult to establish" between their different (Middle and Modern) stages. Modern Yaḡnōbi belongs to the same dialect group as Sogdian, but is not a direct descendant; Bactrian may be closely related to modern Yidḡa and Munji (Munjāni); and Wakhi (Wāḵi) belongs with Khotanese."
  10. ^ a b c Richard Davis, "Persian" in Josef W. Meri, Jere L. Bacharach, "Medieval Islamic Civilization", Taylor & Francis, 2006. pp. 602–603. "The grammar of New Persian is similar to many contemporary European languages."Similarly, the core vocabulary of Persian continued to be derived from Pahlavi.
  11. ^ a b c Encyclopædia Britannica: Persian literature, retrieved September 2011.
  12. ^ Dialect, Culture, and Society in Eastern Arabia: Glossary. Clive Holes. 2001. Page XXX. ISBN 90-04-10763-0
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ a b Nushin Namazi (24 November 2008). "Persian Loan Words in Arabic". Retrieved 1 June 2009. 
  15. ^ a b Classe, Olive (2000). Encyclopedia of literary translation into English. Taylor & Francis. p. 1057. ISBN 1-884964-36-2. "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." 
  16. ^ a b Ann K. S. Lambton, Persian grammar, Cambridge University Press 1953. "The Arabic words incorporated into the Persian language have become Persianized".
  17. ^ Windfuhr, Gernot (1987). Berard Comrie, ed. The World's Major Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 523–546. ISBN 978-0-19-506511-4. 
  18. ^ Or زبان فارسیzabān-e fārsi
  19. ^ Or فارسی دری \ فارسئ دریfārsi-ye dari
  20. ^ See Dari – Geographical distribution
  21. ^ Or забони тоҷикӣ‎ / فارسی تاجیکیzabon-i tojiki
  22. ^ See Tajik language – Geographical distribution
  23. ^ Oxford English Dictionary online, s.v. "Persian", draft revision June 2007.
  24. ^ a b Oxford English Dictionary online, s.v. "Pārsi".
  25. ^ 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
  26. ^ 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
  27. ^ For example: A. Gharib, M. Bahar, B. Fooroozanfar, J. Homaii, and R. Yasami. Farsi Grammar. Jahane Danesh, 2nd edition, 2001.
  28. ^ "Pronouncement of the Academy of Persian Language and Literature". Heritage.chn.ir. 19 November 2005. Retrieved 13 July 2010. 
  29. ^ "Persian or Farsi?". Iranian.com. 16 November 1997. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  30. ^ "Fársi: "recently appeared language!"". PersianDirect.com. 15 February 2005. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  31. ^ "Documentation for ISO 639 identifier: fas". Sil.org. Retrieved 13 July 2010. 
  32. ^ "Code PRS". Ethnologue. Retrieved 13 July 2010. 
  33. ^ "Code PES". Ethnologue. Retrieved 13 July 2010. 
  34. ^ "Kamran Talattof Persian or Farsi? The debate continues". Iranian.com. 16 December 1997. Retrieved 13 July 2010. 
  35. ^ (Skjaervo 2006) vi(2). Documentation.
  36. ^ 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.
  37. ^ 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..
  38. ^ Comrie, Bernard (1990) The major languages of South Asia, the Middle East and Africa, Taylor & Francis,p. 82
  39. ^ Barbara M. Horvath, Paul Vaughan, Community languages, 1991, 276 p.
  40. ^ L. Paul (2005), "The Language of the Shahnameh in historical and dialetical perspective" pg 150:"The language of the Shahnameh should be seen as one instance of continuous historical development from Middle to New Persian" in Dieter Weber, D. N. MacKenzie, Languages of Iran: past and present: Iranian studies in memoriam David Neil MacKenzie, Volume 8 of Iranica Series, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. [2]
  41. ^ Jeremias, Eva M. (2004). "Iran, iii. (f). New Persian". Encyclopaedia of Islam 12 (New Edition, Supplement ed.). p. 432. ISBN 90-04-13974-5. 
  42. ^ a b c Johanson, Lars, and Christiane Bulut. 2006. Turkic-Iranian contact areas: historical and linguistic aspects. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
  43. ^ a b 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)
  44. ^ Jackson, A. V. Williams.pp.17–19.
  45. ^ Adamec, Ludwig W. (2011). Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan (4th Revised ed.). Scarecrow. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-8108-7815-0. 
  46. ^ 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.
  47. ^ Clawson, Patrick (2004). Eternal Iran. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 6. ISBN 1-4039-6276-6. 
  48. ^ Beeman, William. "Persian, Dari and Tajik" (PDF). Brown University. Archived from the original on 30 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  49. ^ "Language Family Trees – Persian". Ethnologue. Retrieved 13 July 2010. 
  50. ^ Perry, J. R. (2005) A Tajik Persian Reference Grammar (Boston : Brill) ISBN 90-04-14323-8
  51. ^ http://195.178.225.22/CSmsl/msl/Kshanovski.pdf
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  53. ^ Haspelmath, Martin; KШnig, Ekkehard; Oesterreicher, Wulf; Raible, Wolfgang ... – Martin Haspelmath – Google Livres. Books.google.fr. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  54. ^ "Language Profile: Farsi « A.C.E. – Associates in Cultural Exchange Blog". Acebook.wordpress.com. 16 June 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  55. ^ "Transcription of the Persian Language in Electronic Format". Docstoc.com. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  56. ^ Megerdoomian, Karine (2000). "Persian computational morphology: A unification-based approach". Memoranda in Computer and Cognitive Science: MCCS-00-320. p. 1. 
  57. ^ a b Mahootian, Shahrzad (1997). Persian. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-02311-4. 
  58. ^ Fareiran.com / فرايران at the Wayback Machine (archived October 11, 2007)
  59. ^ 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, contiguous Iranian, Turkic and Indic languages was originally borrowed into literary Persian between the ninth and thirteenth centuries"
  60. ^ John R. Perry, "Lexical Areas and Semantic Fields of Arabic" in Éva Ágnes Csató, Eva Agnes Csato, Bo Isaksson, Carina Jahani, Linguistic convergence and areal diffusion: case studies from Iranian, Semitic and Turkic,Routledge, 2005. p.97
  61. ^ Perry 2005, p.99.
  62. ^ Perry 2005, p. 99.
  63. ^ 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.
  64. ^ 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."
  65. ^ Andreas Tietze, Persian loanwords in Anatolian Turkish, Oriens, 20 (1967) pp- 125–168. Archived September 11, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
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  69. ^ Lazard, Gilbert (1956). "Charactères distinctifs de la langue Tadjik". Bulletin de la Société Linguistique de Paris 52: 117–186. 
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  73. ^ Pársik tutor, persiandirect.com
  74. ^ Smallwars.quantico.usmc.mil

Further reading[edit]

English

  1. Thackston, W. M. (1 May 1993). An Introduction to Persian (3rd Rev ed.). Ibex Publishers. ISBN 0936347295. 
  2. Mace, John (March 1993). Modern Persian (Teach Yourself). Teach Yourself. ISBN 0844238155. 
  3. Mace, John (18 October 2002). 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. (15 January 2009). "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. 
  7. Asatrian, Garnik (Expected November 2010). Etymological Dictionary of Persian. Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series, 12. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-90-04-15496-4. 

Other Languages

  1. Lazard, Gilbert (January 2006). Grammaire du persan contemporain. Institut Français de Recherche en Iran. ISBN 978-2909961378. 
  2. Dahlén, Ashk (October 2010. 2nd edition April 2014). Modern persisk grammatik. Ferdosi International Publication. ISBN 9789197988674. 

External links[edit]