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June 24, 2014

Origin and Diffusion of Persian Language

Culture of any society based on its language. According to the scholars our unconscious language habits shape our perception of the world. In other words, depending on a language’s rules and structures, some thoughts or statements become more manageable or natural than others.
Indo-Iranian group of languages were spoken in all over South East Asia from 550 BCE. Farsi or Persian is also one of the languages of Indo-Iranian group, which was spoken by the Parsa people who were the rulers of Iran from 550-330 BCE. Persian language can be divided into following groups with respect to the changes occurred in it:
  • “Old Persian
  • Middle Persian
  • Modern Persian” (Rahnamoon)

Old Persian

It was the original language spoken by Parsa people in 550 BC. Old Persian was written in cuneiform script during these days (Rahnamoon).

Middle Persian

Middle Persian was the language spoken in the era of people of Sasanian tribe, who ruled Persia “after the fall of Alexandrian Empire” (Persian Language). They had made many changes in the Old Persian language and script. They used very advanced form of script, which consisted of 48 alphabets with “14 vowels and 34 consonants” (Rahnamoon). Samples of the writings of this era are vastly available in the form of religious writings of the religious scholars of that time.

Modern Persian

After the fall of Sasanian in 652 A.D. and invasion of Arabs, a new form of Persian was emerged, which is now called the Modern Persian or Dari Persian. When Safarid came into power in Iran, in the year 875 A.D., they made Dari Persian their official language (New Persian Language and Script). “Since then”, Persian is the official language of Iran. 
After the invasion of Arabs, a new script for writing Persian, i.e. “Perso-Arabic” emerged with the interaction of Arabic and Persian, which ultimately replaced the original Din Dabereh script of Persian.  Some scholars claimed that Arabs had imposed their inferior script to Iranian people. 
Modern Persian language absorbs words from different languages like English, French, and German but mostly from Arabic. European words were mostly taken to describe any situation or product, which was foreign to Iranian society and Persian language. For example, instead of coining a new word for foreign cars they used the word “Automobile” for foreign cars but after some time they invented the word “Khodrow” for foreign cars and replaced the foreign word.

Diffusion of Persian language

Persian is spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, nowadays, but in the 16th and 17th centuries it was spoken in most of the countries of South East Asia and Middle East, like Iraq, Oman, Bahrain, UAE, Republic of Yemen, India etc (Persian Language). Persian is spoken with a variety of dialects. It has been said that the Persian of Afghanistan and Tajikistan still maintained its original form. In Tajikistan it is called Parsi-e-Tajik while in Afghanistan it is known as Parsi-e-Dari.
Persian was vastly spoken in India during the medieval times, and it was India’s official language until the advent of British.  Apart from Urdu, Persian’s influence can also be seen in some other regional languages, like Balochi, Pushto and Pamir language.  Balochi is spoken from Dera Ghazi khan to Ragistan and in Makran and Sarhind. Pushto is spoken in the province of N.W.F.P of Pakistan. In Pamir region, influence of Iranian can be seen in different languages with variety of dialects (Origin).


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