Network Languages | Persian and Farsi

Network Languages | Persian and Farsi

Persian is one of the oldest languages in the world. It has been a standard and well recognised language since the 6th Century BC. Old Persian was the language of the great Persian Empire which at its peak extended from the Mediterranean to the Indus River in India.


The language was written in the ancient script called Cuneiform. The term “cuneiform” is quite deceptive as people think it’s some type of writing system. Cuneiform denotes not one, but several kinds of writing systems including logosyllabic, syllabic, and alphabetic scripts. In fact, “cuneiform” originated from the Latin cuneus, which means “wedge”. Therefore, any script can be called cuneiform as long as individual signs are composed of wedges.


Example of Cuneiform

In the 2nd century BC the Persians created their own alphabet which was known as Pahlavi and this remained in use until the Islamic conquest in the 7th century. Since that time Persian has been written in the Arabic script with a number of extra characters to include a number of special sounds.

In Iran there are mainly 9 ethnic groups: Persian 61%, Azeri 16%, Kurd 10%, Lur 6%, Baloch 2%, Arab 2%, Turkmen and Turkic tribes 2%, others 1%.

The main language spoken in Iran is Persian which is the official language spoken by around 53% of the population; Azeri, Turkic and Turkic dialects approx. 18%, of the population; Kurdish 10%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 7%, Luri 6%, Balochi 2%, Arabic 2%, and others around 2%

Modern Persian is spoken by more than 40 million people inIranand the language is generally referred to as Farsi and in the form of Dari it is one of the national languages ofAfghanistanspoken by over 15 million people. There is a variety of Persian called Tadzhik (Tajik) which is spoken inTajikistanbut it is written in the cyrillic alphabet.

Persian has many words that have been loaned to English these include: Baghdad, Bazaar, Biryani, Borax, Bronze, Candy, Caravan, Cash, Cassock, Caviar, Cheque, Chess, China, Cummerbund, Divan, Hindu, Hindustan, Jackal, Jasmine, Kaftan, Khaki, Lemon, Pagoda Pajamas, Paradise, Pashmina, Pistachio, Rook (as in chess), Saffron, Salamander, Samosa, Scarlet (colour), Shah, Shahmina, Shawl, Tiara, Tulip and Turban.

For more information about our Persian and Farsi translation services to ensure you are communicating the right message about your business please call +44 (0)020 3422 0330 or get in touch with us by emailing Network Languages >


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