What is Persian?

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Persian is a language spoken in parts of the Middle East and Central Asia. It is also known by many people as Farsi, and less commonly as Dari or Tajik. Persian has over 60 million native speakers, with an additional 50 million speaking it in addition to their first language.

Persian is the official language of the nations of Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, and is spoken in parts of Iraq, Armenia, and Russia. While various dialects of Persian are in use throughout the world, they are all mutually intelligible, unlike some widespread languages such as Arabic and Mandarin. Differences in speech are not drastic between dialects such as Tajik and Dari, for example, though the alphabets used are entirely different.


The original alphabets of Persian -- one a derivative of the Aramaic alphabet, the other an Iranian script -- were phased out sometime in the 9th century in favor of the Arabic script. This came as a direct result of the region then known as Persia being converted to the religion of Islam, and the subsequent widespread use of Arabic in all religious, and many secular, writings. The Arabic alphabet used in Iran and other Persian-speaking parts of the Middle East is slightly altered from the standard Arabic alphabet, however, most notably with the addition of four new letters to add sounds not found in Arabic. Indeed, without one of these -- peh -- Persian would be unable to write the word Persian, instead having to rely on the Arabic spelling and pronunciation Farsi.

The Persian dialect of Tajik, the official language of the nation of Tajikistan, uses the Cyrillic alphabet, rather than the Arabic alphabet. This makes sense, given Tajikistan's close relationship with Russia -- indeed, many believe Tajik is a Russian-Persian dialect. In the parts of Afghanistan where Tajik is spoken, however, the Arabic alphabet is still used.

Persian is an ancient language, used in its modern form for more than 1100 years, and in ancient forms for far longer than that. In its past, it was spoken through a much greater swath of the world, and was even one of the major languages of India up until the time of the British conquest. The Hindi language was heavily influenced by Persian, and traces show up in a number of regional languages and dialects as well.

Persian has also contributed many words to English over the course of its history. These words include: bronze, caravan, caviar, chess, guitar, India, jasmine, khaki, lemon, lilac, magic, mummy, orange, pagoda, pajamas, paradise, peach, pistachio, rose, saffron, scimitar, sherry, sugar, tambourine, tapestry, and tiger. As the Greeks had substantial contact with Persia in early times, many English words come to us through the Latin, from the Greek, and originally from Persian.


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Post 5

The Persians are otherwise know as the Parsi(s) or Farsi(s) a Mixture of nearby cultures and ethnicities known as "Iranian/Persians".

Since the Persian Empire was such a wide land in encompases many peoples.

In 1935, Reza Shah Pahlavi, in an effort to modernize Persia, gave it a new name. It was an effort to signal the emergence into the 20th century with Progressive new name Iran. Therefore, they changed the name from Persia to Iran.

Post 4

Iranians are a thriving minority in the US, and comprise one of the highest income social groups here. Their dedication and hard work echoes a self-respect and ancient heritage which deserves recognition. Unfortunately, many immigrants such as Iranians often find it necessary to remain settled near large cities not merely because of their high-status jobs, but because it would be difficult for them to live with the tendencies toward racism in the American "heartland."

Post 3

Persians once exercised a considerable cultural influence well beyond what they presently have. If any nation has a right to feel like a disgraced empire, it would not be the French, English, or even Romans, but the Persians, who long ago and for a considerable time wielded a benevolent but solid power over their region of the world. Since that time, they have become a very ancient and developed people who have seen conflict and bloodshed from various parts of the world, including Mongols, Europeans, Arabs, Turks, and Huns. The Persians have experience much growth and change and are still in a continuing state of opportunity and hardship.

Post 2

Persian has a very ancient history and was used by writers such as Zarathustra to document some early beginnings of religions which had a very significant impact on many other modern religions. These writings tended to emphasize a cosmic struggle, theodicy, and the apocalypse. Persians tend to view the world not in terms of borders, but in terms of a larger ethnic/religious clash of worldviews and an ultimate upheaval.

Post 1

Hindi and Persian are sister languages which are included in the Satem grouping of the Indo-European language family. These languages are clearly related to dialects such as Slavic languages and more distantly to other European languages. These all share various well-documented cognates and grammatical patterns which link them in arguably the most solid language tree on earth.

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