Language Centre Resources - Persian (Farsi)


An Indo-European language and a member of the Iranian group of languages, spoken by approximately 57 million speakers mainly in Iran, where it is the official language, as well as in Afghanistan and Pakistan and some Gulf countries (Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates) and through sizeable émigré communities in many other countries of the world, primarily in the USA. The closest linguistic affiliation is with Tajik.

The language was first attested from the Old Persian cuneiform inscriptions dating from 6th century BC, originated in a province in southwest Iran that was once the centre of the Persian Empire -- Parsa or Fars, hence the contemporary Persian name of the language: Farsi. Middle Persian, also known as Pahlavi, is known chiefly through its use in Persian's pre-Islamic Zoroastrian religious writings. The Early Modern period of the language (9th-13th centuries), also known as Classical Persian, is preserved in the literary tradition represented by poets such as Rudaki, Firdowsi, and Khayyam. During this period, Persian was adopted as the lingua franca of the eastern Islamic nations.

Today the language is spoken in two main mutually intelligible varieties: Western Persian, or Farsi, mainly spoken in Iran, and Eastern Persian, or Dari, spoken in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The formal standard language is based on the dialect of Teheran. It is written in a form of the Arabic script called Perso-Arabic.

CLASSIFICATION = Indo-European      SCRIPT = Perso-Arabic