Persian language

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Persian language,

member of the Iranian group of the Indo-Iranian subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Indo-IranianIndo-Iranian,
subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages, spoken by more than a billion people, chiefly in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka (see The Indo-European Family of Languages, table).
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 languages). The official language of Iran, it has about 38 million speakers in Iran and another 8 million in Afghanistan. Historically the Persian language falls into three periods: Old, Middle, and Modern. Old Persian is known chiefly from cuneiform inscriptions dating from the time of the Achaemenid kings of ancient Persia (6th–4th cent. B.C.). Old Persian was highly inflected, as was Avestan, which is regarded by some as a form of Old Persian and by others as a separate tongue. Avestan was the language of the sacred texts of ZoroastrianismZoroastrianism
, religion founded by Zoroaster, but with many later accretions. Scriptures

Zoroastrianism's scriptures are the Avesta or the Zend Avesta [Pahlavi avesta=law, zend=commentary].
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 that are known as the Avesta (probably composed c.7th–5th cent. B.C.). Middle Persian derives directly from Old Persian. Also called Pahlavi, Middle Persian prevailed under the Sassanid, or Sassanian, rulers of Persia (3d–7th cent. A.D.). Grammatically, much simplification of inflection took place in Middle Persian, which was recorded both in an Aramaic alphabet and in a script called Pahlavi. Middle Persian also had a noteworthy literature of Manichaean and Zoroastrian texts. The modern form of Persian evolved directly from Middle Persian and may be said to have begun in the 9th or 10th cent. A.D. It has not changed much since that date. The grammar of Modern Persian is comparatively simple. The inflection of nouns and verbs has been greatly reduced since the ancient stage of the language. A number of Arabic words were added to the vocabulary as the result of the conquest of the Persians by the Muslim Arabs in the 7th cent. A.D. Modern Persian is the medium of an old and great literature and is written in a modification of the Arabic alphabet. Modern Persian is also known as Fārsī.


See R. G. Kent, Old Persian (1950); A. K. S. Lambton, Persian Grammar (1971).

References in periodicals archive ?
Course Credits Persian Literature 101 3 Persian Literature 102 3 Persian Composition 109 3 Persian Composition 110 3 Persian Conversation 114 3 Persian Conversation 115 3 Aspects of Persian Grammar 112 3 Aspects of Persian Grammar 113 3 Topics in Science 209 3 Topics in Chemistry 212 3 Topics in Physics 213 3 Topics in mathematics 214 3 Study of the Koran 201 3 History of Islam 202 3 History of the Middle East 220 3 History of the Middle East 221 3 Modern Persian History 225 3
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One of the key concepts in modern Persian studies is Gharbzadegi, (or "Westoxication"), associated with some of Iran's most influential intellectual figures from the 1960s on.
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The author believes that while Modern Persian, Dad, and Tajiki form a continuum of dialects, it is difficult to draw dividing lines based on linguistic criteria among the three groups.
Modern Persian literature in Afghanistan; anomalous visions of history and form.