Persian language

Persian (/ˈpɜrʒən/ or /ˈpɜrʃən/), also known by its endonym Farsi (English: /ˈfɑrs/; Persian: فارسی fārsi [fɒːɾˈsiː]), 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').

    Classification

    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.

    Etymology

    Persian language name in Persian

    In Persian, the language is known by several names:

    • Farsi (فارسیfārsi), 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 and French, Farsi has become the name of the Persian language as it is spoken in Iran.
    • Dari (دریdarī) 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 / تاجیکیtojikī) is a dialect of Persian spoken in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and is sometimes termed Tajiki Persian.

    English name

    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.

    In South Asia the word "Farsi" refers to the language while "Parsi" describes the people of Persian origin, particularly Zoroastrians.

    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 , The Centre for Promotion of Persian Language and Literature, and many of the leading scholars of Persian language.

    History

    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.

    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:

    Old Persian

    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.

    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 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."

    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.

    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.

    Classical Persian

    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, 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

    Persian on an Ottoman miniature.

    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

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

    Contemporary Persian

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

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

    Varieties

    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.

    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)

    Phonology

    Iranian Persian has six vowels and twenty-three consonants.

    Vowels

    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 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).

    Consonants

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

    Morphology

    • Persian is an agglutinative language.
    • 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.

    Syntax

    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".

    Vocabulary

    Native word formation

    Persian makes extensive use of word building and combining affixes, stems, nouns and adjectives. Persian frequently uses derivational agglutination to form new words from nouns, adjectives, and verbal stems. New words are extensively formed by compounding – two existing words combining into a new one, as is common in German.

    Influences

    While having a lesser influence on Arabic 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.

    Orthography

    Example showing Nastaʿlīq's (Persian) proportion rules.
    Dehkhoda's personal handwriting; a typical cursive Persian script.
    The word Persian in Pahlavi scripts

    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).

    Persian 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 .

    Additions

    The Persian alphabet adds four letters to the Arabic alphabet:

    Sound Isolated form Name
    /p/ پ pe
    /tʃ/ چ če (che)
    /ʒ/ ژ že (zhe or jhe)
    /ɡ/ گ ge (gāf)

    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.

    Variations

    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:

    Arabic Style letter Persian Style letter name
    ك ک ke (kāf)
    ي ی ye

    Latin alphabet

    The International Organization for Standardization has published a standard for simplified transliteration of Persian into Latin, ISO 233-3, titled "Information and documentation – Transliteration of Arabic characters into Latin characters – Part 3: Persian language – Simplified transliteration" 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 favor of Cyrillic in the late 1930s.

    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).

    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 travelers. 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.

    The International Persian Alphabet (Pársik) is another Latin-based alphabet developed in recent years mainly by A. Moslehi, a comparative linguist. Desphilic is also a romanization which uses ordinary Latin character set for romanization of Persian.

    Tajik alphabet

    Tajik advertisement for an academy.

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

    Examples

    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.

    See also

    References

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