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This particular resource links to the Wikipedia entry on the Persian language. This entry contains loads of information for the curious reader as well as for the serious Persian language learner, including historical and linguistic data.
Use this resource to become familiar with the Persian/Farsi language and its context in today's world, to discover facts and linguistic data about Persian and its many varieties, access further information about and resources for learning Persian, and much more.
Persian (local names: فارسی [fɒːɾˈsiː] or پارسی [pɒːɾˈsiː]; see Nomenclature) is an Indo-European language spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and by minorities in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and countries like Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait and elsewhere. It is derived from the language of the ancient Persian people. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family.
Persian and its varieties have official-language status in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. According to CIA World Factbook, based on old data, there are approximately 62 million native speakers of Persian in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and about the same number of people in other parts of the world speak Persian. UNESCO was asked to select Persian as one of its languages in 2006.
Persian has been a medium for literary and scientific contributions to the Islamic world as well as the Western. It has had an influence on certain neighboring languages, particularly the Turkic languages of Central Asia, Caucasus, and Anatolia. It has had a lesser influence on Arabic and other languages of Mesopotamia.
For five centuries prior to the British colonization, Persian was widely used as a second language in the Indian subcontinent; it took prominence as the language of culture and education in several Muslim courts in India and became the "official language" under the Mughal emperors. Only in 1843 did the subcontinent begin conducting business in English. Evidence of Persian's historical influence in the region can be seen in the extent of its influence on the languages of Hindustani (resulting in Urdu), Marathi, Punjabi, Sindhi, and Gujarati, as well as the popularity that Persian literature still enjoys in the region. Additionally, a small population of Persian speakers (mostly of the Dari and Tajik dialects) can be found in the urban and western highlands of Pakistan.