A Brief History Of The Farsi Language

architecture in Farsi-speaking country

Interested in Farsi and it’s incredibly complex language roots? Here’s a brief history overview to get you started.

Farsi is spoken by about 50% of the population of Iran, as well as many people in Afghanistan and across Middle Eastern countries. Whilst typical Farsi that might be used by a business or local government expresses the language in words, behind those words is an incredibly rich history.

To give you more of an insight into where Farsi comes from and how it influences various languages and populations, here’s a brief history of the Farsi Language:

architecture in Farsi-speaking country

Where Farsi Comes From Geographically

Farsi (Persian) is distantly related to a wide range of languages including; English, Slavic, Teutonic, Romance, Greek and Latin.

Farsi forms part of a group of West Iranian languages which is grouped with West and East Iranian languages, part of a larger group called Indo-Iranian languages, which are part of an even bigger group of Indo-European languages.

Indo-Iranian languages can be heard all the way towards West India, East Iraq and East Turkey. You can also hear the language spoken in Europe, Canada, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and even Australia. Two varieties of Persian known as Dari and Tajik are also the official languages of modern day Iran, areas of Afghanistan and the central Asian republic of Tajikistan.

Persian – The Second Language Of Islam

Persian used to be understood in a much wider area than it is today, and it was really important in spreading Islam when the Moguls reigned in the Indian subcontinent. It was considered highly important until the Moguls’ rule ended in the 1830’s. During that time period it was included in much of the literature and poetry created at the time, which is why so much of the language is seen in the historical literature of that area today.

Persian Language Groups

Over the years Persian has transformed hugely and can currently be categorised into four groups:

  1. Modern Persian – Farsi as spoken today which includes Iranian words, as well as many non-Iranian words.
  2. Old Persian – Spoken in the Hakahmaneshinan era (550-333 BCE) by the Parsa Tribe.
  3. Classical Persian – Strongly rooted in the Old Persian, Avestan and Pahlavi languages, it is preserved in literature, carvings and historical notations across Arabic countries, as well as countries conquered by Arabs.
  4. Middle Persian – Spoken in the Sasanian Era and mainly preserved in writings from that time.

A Complex Language Group

Across various Arab countries Iranian languages differ greatly and forms of Farsi spoken in certain areas is not understood by Farsi speaking people in other areas. Some Arab languages don’t even have any written form or history apart from spoken word. Urdu, Kurdi, Baluchi, Pashtu and other Arabic languages also exist in various areas, and many Persian language speakers can speak multiple languages that are influenced by their specific culture and location.

To summarise, Farsi exists as part of a complex group of languages, and whilst Farsi is a language label recognised by many, if you are planning to use Farsi in business it is imperative you speak to a professional company. A professional voiceover company will be able to ensure that the exact form of the language you use is localised to your target market as much as possible avoiding an unsuccessful marketing or educational campaign.

Farsi – The Next Language You Learn?

The above brief history of Farsi is a drop in the ocean compared to the incredibly interesting, complex and detailed roots of the language. If you’re interested in learning more, try a basic Persian language channel like this one on Youtube to see how you take to it. If you like it, it is worth speaking to a language tutor who specialises in Farsi to discuss the best next step for you.