Persian language

Spoken in


The Persian language ( زبان فارسی ) is a pluricentric language in Central and Southwest Asia. It belongs to the Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family and is the official language in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The language code is fa or fas or by ( ISO 639).

Persian is the most important Indo-European language in Western and Central Asia and is spoken by 60-70 million people as a native language and a further 50 million as a second language. Approximately 41 million native speakers live in Iran, further 15 million in Afghanistan and 15 million in Central Asia (especially in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) and on the Indian subcontinent. In addition, there are significant Persian -speaking communities in Iraq and the Gulf States ( esp. in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait). Other small linguistic islands there are, among others, in Georgia, Azerbaijan and in the Pamir Mountains. Due to the high number of Iranian and Afghan emigrants and refugees Persian-language communities have been particularly in the last few decades in Europe and the United States developed.

Traditionally, this language is referred to in the European countries as Persian - named after the ancient Persian core Province Fārs ( Pārs ) in the south of Iran. The proper name of the language was in the Sassanid era Pārsīk or Pārsīg and since the Arab-Islamic conquest of Persia Farsi ( فارسی, as the Arabic language the p -sound does not know or ursemitische p -sound was in Arabic to f). Furthermore, came for the New Persian literary language, the term Farsi e Dari ( فارسی درى ) - " the language of the royal court " - on, of which the commonly used today in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India shorthand Dari ( درى ) is derived. The New Persian dialects of Central Asia have been identified since the Soviet era as " Tajik language". In Iran, has ( in contrast to the official correspondence and other Persian dialects ) enforced by the time the Tehran dialect as the standard language spoken throughout the country. In Afghanistan, the more conservative the Kabul dialect is essential, which, in contrast to Tehran's counterpart in the debate more oriented to the literary written language.

The New Persian developed in the Middle Ages to the most eminent scholars and literary language of the eastern Islamic world and had such a great influence on the neighboring Turkic languages ​​( esp. on the Ottoman and Tschagataische language ), Pashto, Brahui, and the languages ​​of North India, especially in Urdu. Many Persian words have also been adopted into European languages ​​. In German, you know, among other things, the words " Bazaar " ( bazaar ), "check", "Caravan ", " pistachio " Paradise (now Arabized form Ferdous for paradise; see also Ferdows or Firdausi ), " chess ", " scarf " and "magician".

Persian literature is one of the most famous and influential in the world, and has gained with poets such as Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Hafiz, Saadi, Nezami, Ferdowsi mosque or who among other things also influenced European poets such as Goethe, world fame.

  • 2.1 written language - standard spoken language - Dialects
  • 2.2 Farsi - Dari
  • 4.1 articles, pronouns, plural
  • 4.2 verbs
  • 6.1 loanwords in modern Persian
  • 6.2 Persian loanwords in other languages

Older language levels

The development of Persian and Iranian languages ​​in general is divided into three periods:

  • Altiranisch ( to 100 BC)
  • Mitteliranisch (100 BC to about 900 BC)
  • Neuiranisch (from 900 AD ).

Old Persian

From the Old Iranian dialects only Avestan Old Persian and the other languages ​​of this group are well documented, only indirectly. The term " Avestan " the northeastern language of ancient Persia comes from the Avesta, the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism. Apart from its religious use but it died out centuries before the advent of Islam; probably the language disbanded in related Bactrian. The Old Persian is handed down from the southwest of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 560-330 BC) cuneiform texts. Talked it was there longer, but rather served as the administrative language Aramaic. Old Persian and Avestan and Sanskrit so that the primordial Indo-European are very close; they belong, as well as Greek and Latin to the inflectional languages ​​, and became the ancestors of today's Modern Persian.

In contrast to the younger stages, the Old Persian language had a more complex grammar with up to seven case and three generations. Also, the dual is next to singular and plural still preserved.

The cuneiform used for Old Persian was specially invented and is a Clockwise mixed phonetic and syllabic writing (such as the Indian scriptures ), which is complemented by eight word mark and special number sign. Narrated are especially monumental inscriptions on rocks or buildings. Most stands next to the Old Persian version is still an Elamite and a Babylonian.

Middle Persian

Middle Iranian languages ​​were not only Middle Persian and Parthian related to him, but also some other languages ​​of Central Asia. So in Bactria (now northern Afghanistan ) spoke as Bactrian, in Choresmien Choresmisch, in Sogdiana (see Samarkand and Bukhara ) Sogdian and among some Scythian ( Saka ) in Chinese Turkistan Saka. In Sogdian language was beside secular both Christian and Buddhist literature. Bactrian is obtained in some inscriptions that were recently discovered in Afghanistan and other parts of Central Asia; Khwarazmian texts also emerged even after the Islamization of the region.

Parthian was spoken ( about 250 prior to 226 AD) in Arsakidenreich. It is well documented by inscriptions of the first Sassanid kings, although it then became extinct already slow. It influenced the Middle Persian, the language of Sassanidenreichs ( 226-641 ). Middle Persian is grammatically simpler than Old Persian and was mostly recorded in Aramaic writing - that is, with letters that represent multiple sounds to some extent. It lost after the conquest of Persia by the Arabs (7th century ) in importance, but his literature was widely translated into Arabic. Unfortunately, later went most fonts lost.

The New Persian

Modern Persian became up to the 9th century as an international standard language of Central and Southwest Asia. The written in Hebrew Persian - Jewish is considered the earliest witness of the New Persian language of particular importance. It has next to Parthian and Middle Persian shares ( see above), even those from other Iranian languages ​​. In its generality New Persian is a mixture of the major languages ​​of ancient Iran. Even if the language is now known as Persian, its origins are not exclusively attributable to a native of the province of Fars Old or Middle Persian. As the language developed in Central Asia, it is likely that the eastern Iranian languages ​​( Bactrian, Sogdian ) have greatly influenced the language. The number of Parthian and Sogdian loanwords in modern Modern Persian ( the Parthian, however, were already penetrated into Middle Persian period, and is a Parthian northwestern Iranian language ) is considerable, but in the core area, the original Persian ( Iranian south-west ) base is still recognizable. Modern Persian has a more regular and therefore simpler grammar than Middle Persian, and a simple sound system and a great many Arabic loan words. Many ancient Persian inflections were lost ( for example, the case inflection ), as well as grammatical gender. Such language simplifications (in particular with inflections ) occur in many modern European languages ​​- for example, in English or in French. The standard work of the New Persian language is Dehkhodas lexicon.

Modern Persian has long been the lingua franca of the East and is also used as such today in many parts of Central and South Asia. In addition, it is considered the language of Sufism, the mystical Islam. Some of the greatest works of Sufism, including the works of the poet Rumi ( Rumi ), Hafez ( Hafez ), Saadi ( Sa'di ), Omar Khayyam ( Omar -e Hayyam ) Onsori ( ' Onṣorī ) and Ansari ( Ḫwāǧa ' Abdullāh Ansari ), were written in Persian. As a model plant, the Shahnameh is considered ( Book of Kings ) by the poet Abū al - Qasem Ferdowsi -e. 35 years worked the poet in this work, which is one of the earliest of the New Persian and contains a comparatively very low inventory of Arabic loan words. To date, Ferdousīs Shahnameh is the basis of the Persian national consciousness in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

Written language - standard spoken language - Dialects

The Persian language has a variety of sometimes quite different dialects. After a child naturally first such local dialect (eg the or of Kerman, Esfahan ) has internalized, learned it in school the high linguistic, official Persian ( فارسی رسمی, Farsi -ye Rasmi ). Since this is ( فارسی کتابی, Farsi -ye Ketabi ) is here but the always text -bound literary language, must ( in Iran ) also have the so-called standard spoken language to be learned, which as normal and, in contrast to the dialects, national colloquial ( زبان محاوره, Zaban -e moḥāvere ) in discussions of everyday life, in speeches, in television and radio, etc. is used. Originally, this standard spoken language only in Tehran as a local dialect ( لهجۀ تهرانی, lahǧe -ye Tehrani ) was spoken. During the 20th century, the dialect of the capital, however, spread over the whole country and is understood everywhere today.

The difference between the Tehran dialect / the spoken standard language and the official written language is primarily in pronunciation, whereby for example ān usually becomes un and two consecutive vowels are often bridged with a very soft consonants that it shall not enter into the written language there. Are pronounced differently in addition to single words, especially some enclitic pronouns and personal endings, as well as their connection to another word. Of these, of course, the conjugation of verbs is concerned, where it also may lead to shortening of the present tense stem. Furthermore, sometimes deviates from the word order of the written language.

Farsi - Dari

The term Farsi is now quite generally for the Persian language. Dari other hand, refers specifically to the old New Persian literary language and is the official name of the New Persian in Afghanistan. It is the literary abbreviation of the Persian words Parsi / Farsi -e Darbari; Literally translated, the Persian word Dar, Gate ',' door ',' threshold ', while the word bar, audience ', ' hearing means'. So Darbari literally means Gateway to the audience ' and in a broad sense, royal court '; Parsi -e Darbari means Persian of the royal court ' and developed in the 9th century AD as a written language in the cultural centers of the time of the Samanids. From there they spread throughout Persia. The first author of the literature of the Dari is Rudaki. Born in the Azerbaijani city of Ganja Nezami developed his Panj Ganj / panǧ ganǧ ( five treasures ') a large contribution to the development of Dari literature. Dari is thus virtually the skeleton of modern Modern Persian; it knows no dialects and is not itself a dialect.

Farsi, Dari and Tajik are so basically names the same language, but partly regionally colored as Afghanistan and Tajikistan try to give a nation-state expression of the last two terms.

Even great poets and scholars of the Persian language, including Firdausi, Nezami and Nasir -i Chusrau have used Dari and Parsi or Farsi as synonyms. The unappreciated by Goethe poet Hafiz, whose whole sofa was translated into German, wrote in his translated by Joseph von Hammer- Purgstall poem " Not everyone who lipstick his face, Wherefore of beauty white " for example:

ز شعر دلکش حافظ کسی بود آگاه که لطف طبع و سخن گفتن دری داند

[ ... ] Hafisens song knows everyone, Who has lovely nature, And if a word of Deri2 Vorzusagen yet know.

Here, von Hammer- Purgstall Dari ( درى ), Deri transcribed by him, left untranslated. In a footnote he explains:

In another poem titled " Caress me annihilation camps, ' By this means the market of witchcraft" was translated by Hammer Purgstall but Dari Persian as (in " with Persian songs " ):

چو عندلیب فصاحت فروشد ای حافظ تو قدر او به سخن گفتن دری بشکن

[ ... ] Sold, Hafiz! the nightingale Eloquence in songs, Destroy their wares Price With Persian songs.

Scripture and sound inventory of New Persian

The Persian alphabet is a modified form of the Arabic alphabet.

Grammar of New Persian

Articles, pronouns, plural

The Persian knows no article. The determination of a direct Akkusativobjekts however, can be given if reproduced rā using the post position, while uncertainty is shown especially by appending the suffix -i ​​unstressed. A grammatical gender also does not exist.

Instead of possessives either the personal pronoun or a personal ending to the noun or preposition is attached. This is done using the ezāfa ( " addition "), which is also used in the genitive connection of two nouns. These two constructions are not Indo-European; they are originally the Semitic languages ​​own. This fact shows especially the influence that the neighboring Semitic languages ​​have exerted on the Persian.

The plural is usually formed regularly by appending a suffix: While limited, the use of - ān on people ( Agayan, Men ') and animated imaginary creatures ( asbān, horses '), is - hā actually at inanimate objects ( Darha, doors ' ) used, can in today's vernacular but be attached to almost anything ( irāniīhā, Iranians ') and even irregular Lehnplurale from Arabic replace ( ketābhā instead Kotob, books '). In some cases, the two forms exist on - and - ān hā next to each other and each have a special meaning ( Saran, leaders ' and sarha ' heads ' to sar, head ').


The Persian verbs have a present and a Präteritalstamm. These strains are the basis for all tenses.

Present and past tense are formed by appending a suffix to the appropriate personnel verb stem. In the present, the prefix will be Mi- hung before the verb stem, except for the verbs Budan ( 'his' ) and Dastan ( have ').

Perfect and pluperfect are formed similarly as in English, by using the past participle; for the Future, a construction with the verb stem ḫwâh ( want ') will be used.

As an important form of durative time (corresponding to the English past continuous tense ) should be mentioned that expresses a continuing or repeated activity ( form only in the past tense recognizable). The subjunctive is used in a similar manner as in Romance languages ​​and more frequently than in English. Two main types are used: first, the same shape as durative in the past for " not satisfiable " conditions (agar ' ū MI- Amad - If he had come ') and satisfiable on the other by the simple past tense to show a " more "Condition ( agar ' ū rā Didi - If you should see him '). There is also the jussive, the be - instead of being formed MI as a prefix by the present tense with and represents a non - konjektive condition as in the sentence " When the sun shines " ( Agar ḫoršīd be - tābad ) as opposed to agar sab ḫoršīd MI tabId (, When the sun would shine at night '). This form is also used in conjunction with modal verbs: MI- ḫwāham be - ḫwābam (, I want to sleep '). However, does not correspond to the subjunctive I of indirect speech in German: "Tell him to please sit down " ( Be ' ū Begu loṭfan be - nešīnīd ), literally, tell him, Please send back '.

Since the verb stem is not changed within a time form (as opposed, for example, some verbs in German Present tense: "you give ", "we give " ), the Persian verb conjugation is very regular.

Belonging to the Indo-European language family

In addition to the cultural similarities of the Indo-European peoples still exist similarities in the vocabulary of these languages. This is the common Indo-European vocabulary ( when comparing older language stages there is more in common ). In addition, there are linguistic similarities by loanwords ( selection of Persian loanwords in German ) or onomatopoeia.

On the Indo-European family of many Persian terms is to close by the comparative method, as well as the laws of sound change. Examples:

Since characters to represent Old and Middle Persian missing, only Modern Persian and Greek in the original script can be specified.

Morphologic comparison:

Be ( present tense):

Bring ( present tense):

These are just a few examples. Who knows the numbers 1-10 in Persian, it can also be understood in Polish. The similarities between the older language stages ( Old Persian, Avestan ) and Sanskrit are not only based on the vocabulary most clearly.

Other examples: murders - Latin mors, mortis, death ', setare, Star ', zamin - poln ziemia 'earth', to 'you', do - French deux 'two', Panj - ancient Greek. penta, five ' Shesh - poln sześć, six ', pa - Latin pes, foot ' tarik - engl. dark, dark ', Bordan - impose ', ' bear ', sepas - Russian spasibo / lat. pesco, thank you ', gereftan, grab ', na, no, ' yugh, yoke ', dschawan - Latin iuvencus, Eng. ( from Latin ) juvenile, young ', Shekar - Greek saccharon, sugar ', garm, warm ', musch mouse', ALTP. nav - Latin navis, ship ', ALTP. Upari - - Greek hyper, Latin super, above ' and v. a

A special feature in the Persian that initial consonant clusters of the Indo-European root were disrupted by a vowel in initial position, see, eg, b [ a] Radar, brother ', g [e ] reftan, grab ', s [e ] Tare 'Stern'. This development should be done under the influence of Arabic, as it is found only in New Persian, which arose during and after the Arab rule.


Loanwords in modern Persian

Since the Islamization of Persia more than 50 % of today's Persian vocabulary is borrowed from Arabic. Statistically, the number of Arabic loanwords is about 8,000 less than 20,000 daily use literary vocabulary or, in other words, about 40 % of the everyday vocabulary (if you do not count additional derivations and collocations ).

In Persian literature, the proportion of Arabic loan words, depending on the style, theme or discourse varies, the use has steadily increased over the course of history. Therefore, an abstract from the Shahnameh by the poet Firdausi contains only about 9% of Arabic loanwords at an application rate of approximately 2.4 %, while it is in the eulogies of the poet Onsuri already about 32% loan-words at a frequency of 17%.

Recently, there has also been a significant number of borrowings from the Turkic languages ​​and neologisms from languages ​​like English, French and Russian. The share of Turkish and Mongolian words is estimated to be 2-3 % of the total vocabulary.

In Arabic loan words, keep to the debate despite adjusted exactly to the original Arabic orthography, at least in the stem; the plural form may differ. For many of these words, there are Persian counterparts, but which are attributable in part to another level of style or simply used less frequently. Particularly clearly the influence of Arabic at the compound verbs, often ( " make " for example or "give" ) from an Arabic noun and a Persian verb with relatively non-specific meaning is made ​​.

Persian loanwords in other languages

Conversely, the Arabic words has taken over from the Persian that were taken mainly during the first four centuries of Islam - both directly and indirectly. Most of these words are from the Middle Persian, the official language of the Sassanian Empire, which was used to a certain degree as the administrative language in the early centuries of the Islamic era.

Also Turkic languages ​​, especially the Ottoman and the Tschagataische language, many Persian loanwords. Due to the dominance persischsprachiger dynasties in India, especially the Mughals, also the Indian languages ​​, but most borrowed from Urdu, Persian numerous words.

In many European languages ​​, there are numerous Persian loanwords ( in German, for example, the already mentioned bazaar, chess, pistachio ); next to it, in part, the Persian spelling or pronunciation of words of different origin has become the norm, such as French musulman of pers مسلمان ( moselman ) instead, as in German, from Arabic. مسلم ( in Islam).

In general dictionaries of the German 194 words of Persian origin ( Iranismen ) could be detected. For 68 of these borrowings can be specified when they were taken into German. The course of their growth from the 8th to the 20th century corresponds to the Piotrowski law.

Persian literature

The most famous work of Persian literature in the West is the story collection The Arabian Nights, a retelling of many Iranian folk tales and fairy tales.

Was shaped today's Persian primarily by the Persian poetry. Two well-known poet of Persia, Saadi and Hafiz were. Even Goethe was inspired in the West - Eastern Divan of Hafez. Other well-known poets are Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Rudaki, Ferdowsi, or mosque. Also many works of Persian scientists - such as the mathematician al - Khwarizmi, or physician Ibn Sina ( Avicenna ) - are to be mentioned here.