What writing system(s) does this language use? edit

Random Persian letters written in Nasta'liq style, a form of Persian calligraphy

Persian uses a modified form of the Arabic alphabet. Several letters used in Persian are not used in Arabic, while several letters used in Arabic are not used in Persian. Persian uses 32 letters and is written from right to left.

How many people speak this language? edit

There are about 71 million native speakers of Persian, making it the 14th most spoken language in the world.

Where is this language spoken? edit

Geographic distribution of the Persian language
Countries where Persian is an official language.

Persian is mainly spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikstan, and Uzbekistan. There are large communities of Persian speakers in the Persian Gulf as well as the United States.

Persian has several local names. In Iran Persian is called Farsi or Parsi. In Afghanistan the language is called Dari. In Tajikstan and Uzbekitstan Persian is called Tajik and is written with the Cyrillic alphabet.

What is the history of this language? edit

There were several languages in the areas when Persian is spoken today that developed into modern Persian. One of the oldest was Old Persian, which was the language of the ancient Persians. There were other related languages at the time, namely Avestan and Median. After Old Persian was Middle Persian, the language of the Sassanian Empire, which declined during the 9th century CE. Finally, from the 9th century CE to today there is Modern Persian. Persian was also brought into India particularly from the 12th century CE and beyond and significantly influenced the development of Urdu and Hindi.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language? edit

A page from Divan of Hafez
  • Ferdowsi (940–1020) was an early Persian poet. His book, Shahnameh, is the world's longest epic poem written by a single poet.
  • Nizami (1141-1209) was a romantic epic poet.
  • Saadi (1184-1283) was a major Persian poet and literary man of the medieval period. He is recognized for the quality of his writings and for the depth of his social and moral thoughts. He is widely recognized as one of the greatest poets of the classical literary tradition.
  • Rumi, or Mowlana (1207 - 1273), was a mystic poet. Themes of his poems are love and the truth. Translations of his poems are very popular.
  • Hafez (1310-1337) was a poet. Themes of his poems are the beloved, faith, and exposing hypocrisy.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn? edit

Persian writing system Persian in Latin letters English
به نام خدا be name khoda In the name of God
سلام salam Hi!
خداحافظ khodahafez Goodbye!
پدر pedar father
مادر madar mother
پسر pesar son, boy
دختر dokhtar daughter, girl
برادر baradar brother
ناز naz nice
بوس boos kiss
لب Lab lip
نام Nam name
موش mush mouse
گرفتن gereftan grab
گرم garm warm
در dar door
جنگل Jangal Jungle
پا Pa foot
بند band Band, Schnur
کتاب ketab Book
زبان zaban Language

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language? edit

Saadi is well known for his aphorisms, the most famous of which, Bani Adam, in a delicate way shows the essence of Ubuntu and calls for breaking all barriers between the human beings:[1][2]

بنى آدم اعضای یک پیکرند
که در آفرینش ز یک گوهرند
چو عضوى به درد آورد روزگار
دگر عضوها را نماند قرار
تو کز محنت دیگران بی غمی
نشاید که نامت نهند آدمی

The poem is pronounced this way:

bani Adam aazaye yek peikarand,
ke dar afarinesh ze yek gowharand,
cho ozvi be dard avarad ruzgar,
degar ozvhara namanad gharar,
to kaz mehnate digran bighami,
nashayad ke namat nahand adami,

The poem is translated by H. Vahid Dastjerdi as:[3]

Adam's sons are body limbs, to say;
For they're created of the same clay.
Should one organ be troubled by pain,
Others would suffer severe strain.
Thou, careless of people's suffering,
Deserve not the name, "human being".

Word by word translation:

بنى(sons of) آدم(Adam) اعضا(limbs)ی(of) یک(one) پیکر(body)ند(are), که(Thus) در(in) آفرینش(creation) ز(from) یک(one) گوهر(gem/essence)ند(are), چو(If/when) عضو(limb)ی(a) به(to) درد(pain) آورد(takes) روزگار(the circumstances of era), دگر(Other) عضوها را (limbs) ن(do not)ماند(remain) قرار(at rest), تو(you) کز(that from) محنت(distress of) دیگران(others) بی(less)غم(sorrow)ی(are), ن(do not)شاید(deserve) که(that) نام(name)ت(your) نهند((they) set) آدمی(Human).

References edit

  1. From Gulistan Saadi. chapter 1, story 10
  2. "گلستان سعدی، باب اول، تصحیح محمدعلی فروغی". Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  3. [Vahid Dastjerdi, H. 2006, East of Sophia (Mashriq-e-Ma'rifat). Qom: Ansariyan.]