Do I Want to Learn Persian?
With over 100 million speakers worldwide (13th in the world), Persian is an official language
in Iran (where it is locally known as Farsi), Afghanistan (where it is locally known as Dari) and
Tajikistan (where it is locally known as Tajiki and is written using the Cyrillic alphabet).
Persian is also spoken by minorities in Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Bahrain. In this website, we take the
version of Persian used in the Iranian capital Tehran as our standard.
Persian is an Indo-European language, therefore structurally similar to languages like English,
French, Russian, and Hindi. The two languages Arabic and Turkish, although historically in close contact with Persian,
are not its relatives. The Islamic conquest has affected Persian considerably;
it is written using the Perso-Arabic alphabet and is loaded with Arabic
loan words and even word formation patterns. By learning Persian, you become one step closer to learning Arabic, Kurdish, Urdu (Hindi),
Pashtu, and even Turkish.
Apart from the alphabet which is a bit difficult in the beginning, learning Persian is
quite easy for someone who knows English, for many reasons:
- The structure of Persian grammar and vocabulary is similar to that of English (as opposed to
Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, East Asian languages, African languages, etc.).
- Persian has a very simple grammar with less than three hundred conjugated verbs, only two irregular verbs, a loose word order, no
gender distinction, and no definite articles.
- Persian has fewer sounds and considerably fewer vowels compared to English, French, German, Arabic, Turkish,
Many people love the Persian language because of its poetry. The valuable and extensive body of Persian literature that is available today is mostly the legacy of the
Islamic Golden Age when Persian was one of the greatest languages of the world. Today, it is the sole official
language of the world's 17th largest nation and 23rd largest economy. Considerable amounts of books, newspapers and blogs
are written in Persian and as of November 2012, the Persian Wikipedia was the 11th largest Wikipedia*, following Japanese
and Arabic and above Turkish, Hebrew, Dutch, Swedish and Korean. Learning Persian will provide you with the ability to communicate in one of the major contemporary languages of the world and also gives you access to the rich and magnificent history of Persian literature.
*To estimate the real size of a Wikipedia, the total number of Wikipedia articles was multiplied by the depth of the Wikipedia in that language. See Wikipedia's definition for 'depth'.