"Farsi" written in Persian (Nasta'liq script)
|Ethnicity||Persian people (incl. Tajik and Hazara)|
|45 million (2007) – 60 million (2009)
(110 million total speakers)
Official language in
Afghanistan (as Dari)
Tajikistan (as Tajik)
pes – Iranian Persian
prs – Dari language (Afghan Persian)
tgk – Tajik
aiq – Aimaq
bhh – Bukharic
haz – Hazaragi
jpr – Dzhidi
phv – Pahlavani
deh – Dehwari
jdt – Juhuri
ttt – Caucasian Tat
Areas with significant numbers of Persian speakers (including dialects).
Countries where Persian is an official language.
Persian (// or //), also known by its endonym Farsi (English: //; Persian: فارسی fārsi [fɒːɾˈsiː] ( listen)), is the predominant modern descendant of Old Persian, a southwestern Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan (officially known as Dari since 1958 for political reasons), and Tajikistan (officially known as Tajiki since the Soviet era for political reasons), 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. Persian is a pluricentric language and its grammar is similar to that of many contemporary European languages. Persian is so-called due to its origin from the capital of the Achaemenid empire, Persis (Fars or Pars) hence the name Persian (Farsi or Parsi). A Persian-speaking person may be referred to as Persophone.
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.
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, Georgian, and Indo-Aryan languages, especially Urdu. It also exerted some influence on Arabic, particularly Bahrani Arabic, while borrowing much vocabulary from it after the Muslim conquest of Persia.
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. Some of the famous works of Persian literature are the Shahnameh ('Book of Kings') of Ferdowsi, works of Rumi, Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Divan ('miscellany') of Hafiz and the two miscellanea of prose and verse by Sa'di of Shiraz, the Golestān (lit., 'flower garden') and the Būstān (also meaning "garden;" lit., 'a place of fragrance').
- 1 Classification
- 2 Etymology
- 3 History
- 4 Varieties
- 5 Phonology
- 6 Grammar
- 7 Vocabulary
- 8 Orthography
- 9 Examples
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
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.
Persian language name in Persian
In Persian, the language is known by several names:
- Farsi (فارسی fārsi), or Parsi (پارسی) has been the name for Persian used by all native speakers until the 20th century. Since the latter decades of the 20th century, for political reasons, in English, Farsi has become the name of the Persian language as it is spoken in Iran.
- Dari (دری darī) was a synonym for fārsi in Persian, but again for political reasons, since the latter decades of the 20th century, has become the name for the Persian language as it is spoken in Afghanistan, where it is one of the two official languages; it is sometimes called Afghan Persian in English.
- Tajiki (тоҷикӣ / تاجیکی tojikī) is a dialect of Persian spoken in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and is sometimes termed Tajiki Persian.
Persian, the historically more widely used name of the language in English, is an anglicized form derived from Latin *Persianus < Latin Persia < Greek Περσίς Persís "Persia", 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. Native Iranian Persian speakers call it Fārsi. Farsi is the Arabicized form of Pārsi, subsequent to Muslim conquest of Persia, due to a lack of the phoneme /p/ in Standard Arabic (i.e., the /p/ was replaced with an /f/). The origin of the name Farsi and the place of origin of the language which is Fars Province is the Arabicized form of Pārs. In English, this language has historically been known as "Persian", though "Farsi" has also gained some currency. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term Farsi was first used in English in 1926, while Parsi dates to 1790. "Farsi" is encountered in some linguistic literature as a name for the language, used both by Iranian and by foreign authors.
The Academy of Persian Language and Literature has declared that the name "Persian" is more appropriate, 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. 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.
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.
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.
|History of the
|Proto-Iranian (ca. 1500 BC)
|Old Persian (c. 525 BC - 300 BC)
|Middle Persian (c.300 BC-800 AD)
|Modern Persian (from 800 AD)|
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.
According to available documents, the Persian language is "the only Iranian language" for which close philological relationships between all of its three stages are established and so that Old, Middle, and New Persian represent one and the same language of Persian, that is New Persian is a direct descendant of Middle and Old Persian.
The known history of the Persian language can be divided into the following three distinct periods:
As a written language, Old Persian is attested in royal Achaemenid inscriptions. It is an Iranian language and as such, like its modern-day variant, a branch of the Indo-European language family. The oldest known text written in Old Persian is from the Behistun Inscriptions. Examples of Old Persian have been found in what is now present-day Iran, Turkey, Bahrain, Iraq, and Egypt. Old Persian is one of the oldest Indo-European languages which is attested in original texts.
Xenophon, a Greek general serving in some of the Persian expeditions, describes many aspects of Armenian village life and hospitality in around 401 BC, which is at a time when Old Persian was the only form of Persian used. He relates that the Armenian people spoke a language that to his ear sounded like this language, the language of the Persians.
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 onward, 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-Farisiah) (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 but also states that none of the known Middle Persian dialects is the direct predecessor of the [New] Persian  Professor. Ludwig Paul states: "The language of the Shahnameh should be seen as one instance of continuous historical development from Middle to New Persian."
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 greater part of a millennium.
Early New Persian
New Persian developed from the 8th century on as an independent literary language. 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.
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.
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.
The first poems of the Persian language, a language historically called Dari, have emerged in Afghanistan. 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.
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. 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.
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, Shirvanshah, 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. 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 Asia Minor
Despite that Asia Minor (or Anatolia) had been ruled 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 Sassanian Empire. Centuries later however, the practise and usage in the region would be strongly revived. A branch of the Seljuks, the Sultanate of Rum, took Persian language, art and letters to Anatolia. They adopted Persian language as the official language of the empire. 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. The educated and noble class of the Ottoman Empire all spoke Persian, such as sultan Selim I, despite being Safavid Iran's archrival and a staunch opposer of Shia Islam. It was a major literary language in the empire. Some of the noted earlier Persian works during the Ottoman rule are Idris Bidlisi's Hasht Bihisht, which begun in 1502 and covered the reign of the first eight Ottoman rulers, and the Salim-Namah, a glorification of Selim I. After a period of several centuries, Ottoman Turkish (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. However, the number of Persian and Arabic loanwords contained in those works increased at times up to 88%.
Use in South Asia
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. The basis in general for the introduction of Persian language into the subcontinent was set, from its earliest days, by various Persianized Central Asian Turkic and Afghan dynasties. For five centuries prior to the British 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. 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 around 16th-18th century to escape religious execution from the Qajar Empire when execution of non-Muslims was on its high and speak a Dari-dialect.
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.
There are three modern varieties of standard Persian:
- Western Persian (Persian, Iranian Persian, or Farsi) is spoken in Iran, and by minorities in Iraq and the Persian Gulf states.
- Eastern Persian (Dari Persian, Afghan Persian, or Dari) is spoken in Afghanistan.
- Tajiki (Tajik Persian) is spoken in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It is written in the Cyrillic script.
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.
The following are some languages closely related to Persian, or in some cases are considered dialects:
- Luri (or Lori), spoken mainly in the southwestern Iranian provinces of Lorestan, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province, some western parts of Fars Province and some parts of Khuzestan.
- Tat, spoken in parts of Azerbaijan, Russia, etc. It includes Judæo-Tat & Christian-Tat. It is classified as a variety of Persian and a Persian dialect.
- Judæo-Tat. Part of the Tat Persian continuum, and spoken in Azerbaijan, Russia, as well as notably by immigrant communities in Israel and New York.
- Lari (in southern Iran)
Iranian Persian has six vowels and twenty-three consonants.
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 descendants 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/. 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).
|Plosive||p b||t d||k ɡ||(ɢ)|
|Fricative||f v||s z||ʃ ʒ||x ɣ||h|
- Suffixes predominate Persian morphology, though there is a small number of prefixes. Verbs can express tense and aspect, and they agree with the subject in person and number. There is no grammatical gender in Persian, nor are pronouns marked for natural gender.
Normal declarative sentences are structured as "(S) (PP) (O) V". This means sentences can comprise optional subjects, prepositional phrases, and objects, followed by a required verb. If the object is specific, then the object is followed by the word rā and precedes prepositional phrases: "(S) (O + rā) (PP) V".
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.
While having a lesser influence on Arabic and other languages of Mesopotamia and its core vocabulary being of Middle Persian origin, New Persian contains a considerable amount of Arabic lexical items, which were Persianized 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, not from Arabic itself.
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. Among the Arabic loan words, relatively few (14 percent) are from the semantic domain of material culture, while a larger number are from domains of intellectual and spiritual life. Most of the Arabic words used in Persian are either synonyms of native terms or could be glossed in Persian.
The inclusion of Mongolian and Turkic elements in the Persian language should also be mentioned, not only because of the political role a succession of Turkic dynasties played in Iranian history, but also because of the immense prestige Persian language and literature enjoyed in the wider (non-Arab) Islamic world, which was often ruled by sultans and emirs with a Turkic background. The Turkish and Mongolian vocabulary in Persian is minor in comparison to that of Arabic and these words were mainly confined to military, pastoral terms and political sector (titles, administration, etc.). New military and political titles were coined based partially on Middle Persian (e.g. arteš for "army", instead of the Uzbek qoʻshin; sarlaškar; daryābān; etc.) in the 20th century. Persian has likewise influenced the vocabularies of other languages, especially other Indo-European languages such as Armenian, Urdu, and (to a lesser extent) Hindi; the latter two through conquests of Persianized Central Asian and Afghan invaders; Turkic languages such as Ottoman Turkish, Chagatai, Tatar, Turkish, Turkmen, Azeri, Uzbek, and Karachay-Balkar; Caucasian languages such as Georgian, and to a lesser extent, Avar and Lezgin; Afro-Asiatic languages like Assyrian and Arabic; 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 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 merci (stressed however on the first syllable), the hybrid Persian-Arabic phrase motešakker am (motešakker being "merciful" in Arabic, commonly pronounced motčakker in Persian, and the verb am meaning "I am" in Persian), or by the pure Persian phrase sepās-gozār am.
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, is written with the Cyrillic script in Tajikistan (see Tajik alphabet).
Modern Iranian Persian and Afghan Persian are written using a modified variant of the Arabic 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 also exist several romanization systems for Persian. 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, Dīndapirak 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 ('ā, ī, ū) 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 (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, 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 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). Nevertheless, there are four letters that don't exist in Arabic پ چ ژ گ .
The Persian alphabet adds four letters to the Arabic alphabet:
|/ʒ/||ژ||že (zhe or jhe)|
The že is pronounced with the same sound as the s in "measure" and "fusion", or the z in "azure". For Arabic speakers, it is similar to the way Lebanese or Syrians pronounce the Arabic letter jīm (ج). For French speakers, it is the sound of the letter j or g when it's followed by an e or i.
The letters pe, če and gaf are similar to the English p, ch and "hard" g.
The Persian alphabet also modifies some letters from the Arabic alphabet. For example, alef with hamza below ( إ ) changes to alef ( ا ); words using various hamzas get spelled with yet another kind of hamza (so that مسؤول becomes مسئول) 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 letter||Persian Style letter||name|
The International Organization for Standardization has published a standard for simplified transliteration of Persian into Latin, ISO 233-3, titled "Information and documentation – Transliteration of Arabic characters into Latin characters – Part 3: Persian language – Simplified transliteration" but the transliteration scheme is not in widespread use.
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).
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.
The following text is from Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
|Iranian Persian (Farsi)||IPA||Tajik Persian (Tajiki)||English Gloss|
|همهٔ افراد بشر آزاد به دنیا میآیند و حیثیت و حقوق شان با هم برابر است، همه اندیشه و وجدان دارند و باید در برابر یکدیگر با روح برادری رفتار کنند.||[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.|
- The existential "be" and copula in Persian
- Academy of Persian Language and Literature
- List of English words of Persian origin
- List of French loanwords in Persian
- Persian alphabet
- Persian braille
- Persian grammar
- Persian name
- Persian phonology
- Persian Romanization schemes
- Southwestern Iranian dialects
- 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.
- "IRAQ". Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- H. Pilkington,"Islam in Post-Soviet Russia",Psychology Press, Nov 27, 2002. p. 27: "Among other indigenous peoples of Iranian origin were the Tats, the Talishes and the Kurds"
- T. M. Masti︠u︡gina, Lev Perepelkin, Vitaliĭ Vi͡a︡cheslavovich Naumkin, "An Ethnic History of Russia: Pre-Revolutionary Times to the Present",Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996 . p. 80:""The Iranian Peoples (Ossetians, Tajiks, Tats, Mountain Judaists)"
- Windfuhr, Gernot: The Iranian Languages, Routledge 2009, p. 418.
- Mikael Parkvall, "Världens 100 största språk 2007" (The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007), in Nationalencyklopedin
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Farsic – Caucasian Tat". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- 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 Afghan version of Persian came into common use, being officially adopted in 1958"
- 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", 
- 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."
- 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."
- 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."
- 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.
- Encyclopædia Britannica: Persian literature, retrieved September 2011.
- Dialect, Culture, and Society in Eastern Arabia: Glossary. Clive Holes. 2001. Page XXX. ISBN 90-04-10763-0
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- Nushin Namazi (24 November 2008). "Persian Loan Words in Arabic". Retrieved 1 June 2009.
- 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.
- Ann K. S. Lambton, Persian grammar, Cambridge University Press 1953. "The Arabic words incorporated into the Persian language have become Persianized".
- Windfuhr, Gernot (1987). Berard Comrie, ed. The World's Major Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 523–546. ISBN 978-0-19-506511-4.
- Or زبان فارسی zabān-e fārsi
- Or فارسی دری \ فارسئ دری fārsi-ye dari
- See Dari – Geographical distribution
- Or забони тоҷикӣ / فارسی تاجیکی zabon-i tojiki
- See Tajik language – Geographical distribution
- Περσίς. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
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- Oxford English Dictionary online, s.v. "Persian", draft revision June 2007.
- OED online, s.v. "Pārsi".
- Spooner, Brian (1994). "Dari, Farsi, and Tojiki". In Marashi, Mehdi. Persian Studies in North America: Studies in Honor of Mohammad Ali Jazayery. Leiden: Brill. pp. 177–178.
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- Campbell, George L.; King, Gareth, eds. (2013). "Persian". Compendium of the World's Languages (3rd ed.). Routledge. p. 1339.
- For example: A. Gharib, M. Bahar, B. Fooroozanfar, J. Homaii, and R. Yasami. Farsi Grammar. Jahane Danesh, 2nd edition, 2001.
- "Pronouncement of the Academy of Persian Language and Literature". Heritage.chn.ir. 19 November 2005. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
- "Persian or Farsi?". Iranian.com. 16 November 1997. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- "Fársi: "recently appeared language!"". PersianDirect.com. 15 February 2005. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- "Documentation for ISO 639 identifier: fas". Sil.org. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
- "Kamran Talattof Persian or Farsi? The debate continues". Iranian.com. 16 December 1997. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
- (Skjaervo 2006) vi(2). Documentation.
- 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.
- 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..
- (Schmitt 2008, pp. 80–1)
- Roland G. Kent, Old Persian, 1953
- (Skjærvø 2006, vi(2). Documentation. Old Persian.)
- Xenophon. Anabasis. pp. IV.v.2–9.
- Comrie, Bernard (1990) The major languages of South Asia, the Middle East and Africa, Taylor & Francis,p. 82. Excerpt: " 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".
- Comrie, Bernard (1990) The major languages of South Asia, the Middle East and Africa, Taylor & Francis,p. 82
- Barbara M. Horvath, Paul Vaughan, Community languages, 1991, 276 p.
- L. Paul (2005), "The Language of the Shahnameh in historical and dialectical 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. 
- Jeremias, Eva M. (2004). "Iran, iii. (f). New Persian". Encyclopaedia of Islam 12 (New Edition, Supplement ed.). p. 432. ISBN 90-04-13974-5.
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- 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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- Sigfried J. de Laet. History of Humanity: From the seventh to the sixteenth century UNESCO, 1994. ISBN 9231028138 p 734
- Ga ́bor A ́goston,Bruce Alan Masters. Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire Infobase Publishing, 1 jan. 2009 ISBN 1438110251 p 322
- Doris Wastl-Walter. The Ashgate Research Companion to Border Studies Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2011 ISBN 0754674061 p 409
- Bertold Spuler. Persian Historiography & Geography Pustaka Nasional Pte Ltd ISBN 9971774887 p 68
- Franklin D. Lewis. Rumi - Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teachings, and Poetry of Jal l al-Din Rumi Oneworld Publications, 18 okt. 2014 ISBN 1780747373
- Bertold Spuler. Persian Historiography & Geography Pustaka Nasional Pte Ltd ISBN 9971774887 p 69
- "South Asian Sufis: Devotion, Deviation, and Destiny". Retrieved 2 January 2015.
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- Gernot Windfuhr, "Persian Grammar: history and state of its study", Walter de Gruyter, 1979. pg 4:""Tat- Persian spoken in the East Caucasus""
- 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.
- 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. Excerpt: Like most Persian dialects, Tati is not very regular in its characteristic features"
- 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..." 
- Borjian, Habib, "Tabari Language Materials from Il'ya Berezin's Recherches sur les dialectes persans", Iran and the Caucasus, Volume 10, Number 2, 2006 , pp. 243–258(16). Excerpt:"It embraces Gilani, Ta- lysh, Tabari, Kurdish, Gabri, and the Tati Persian of the Caucasus, all but the last belonging to the north-western group of Iranian language."
- Perry, J. R. (2005) A Tajik Persian Reference Grammar (Boston : Brill) ISBN 90-04-14323-8
- Megerdoomian, Karine (2000). "Persian computational morphology: A unification-based approach" (PDF). Memoranda in Computer and Cognitive Science: MCCS-00-320. p. 1.
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- 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"
- 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
- Perry 2005, p.99.
- Perry 2005, p. 99.
- 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.
- 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 1,500 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."
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