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 ?
The school saw excellent achievements last year when two of its students, Melina Latofangi and Sana Badali, took GCSE exams in Persian language.
Shabnam Rezaei, the creator of the show said, "I am really hopeful that parents and educators will find these games and materials useful to teach basic Persian language skills.
Based on the five-year contract the two sides will exchange university professors, students, and research delegations to conduct joint projects and studies on how to expand teaching Persian language at BUFS.
Eleven centuries is not a few for the life of a great and unrivaled poet, and Shahnama in many respects is still unique and peerless not only in the arena of Persian language but also in many of other languages without any doubt and indecision.
PESHAWAR -- The University of Peshawar and Consulate of Iran Peshawar, Thursday, vowed to work jointly for the preservation of Persian language.
The Persian Language Centre will be opened within two weeks from now in Muscat.
The agreement is on mutual cooperation between the Academy of Persian language and Literature (Farhangistan-i-Zuban-O Adab-i-Farsi) of Islamic Republic of Iran and National Language promotion Department (Idara Farough-e-Qaumi Zaban ), Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage.
BAGHDAD/ Aswat al-Iraq: Higher Islamic Council- Teheran Branch reported on its Persian language electronic site that "a coup d'etat was made against Iraqi Premier Nouri al-Maliki.
The idea that Mr Netanyahu, a bitter opponent of Iran, was logging on to "the first library of Persian language hot sex books" caused great amusement among Israelis and Iranians.
In four chapters O'Kane dutifully charts the epigraphic history of the New Persian language in the medieval and early modern periods by collecting inscriptions on objects and buildings from Anatolia to Central and South Asia.
The Persian language is a very old language, and introducing it to the university offers an entry into a very rich culture," Kfoury said, emphasizing that the problem lay in the rapid and uncertain process at which the departments were created.
Some of the 14 papers in this collection are from a workshop convened in Rome in 2006 at the end of a two-year research project on the history of the Persian language and its non-standard varieties.