Persian phrasebook

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Persian is an ancient language of Indo-European family. You can find many grammatical similarities between Persian and the other languages of this family. However, Persian is similar more to its coeval languages like Latin than to relatively newer languages. For instance, both Latin and Persian have a subject-object-verb (SOV) basic word order (though both also use other orders sometimes), which is uncommon among modern European languages (even the descendants of Latin).
Today, Persian is mainly spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Bahrain. It has official status in the first three countries but was once the official, court, or literary language of many more places ranging from Turkey through India. At this time, many Persian poets emerged from the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and the regions under the control of the Ottoman Empire. It is still appreciated as a literary and prestigious language among the educated elite. Many people in Iran and neighboring countries know Persian fluently even though it's not their mother tongue. It's because Iran (formerly "Persia" until 1935) was historically much bigger before losing many territories, especially to its neighbor Russia. After the 1979 revolution, many Iranians migrated to the West and as a result, there are numerous Persian-speaking communities throughout the world, particularly in the USA. Persian is the second language of Islam so in many Islamic countries you can find someone knowing Persian.
The local name of the language is Farsi (officially, Fârsiyè Dari (Dari Persian), which means "Official/Court Persian"). The word Farsi has also entered English mainly because West-migrated Iranians didn't know about the native English name of their language (i.e. Persian) and began to use Farsi, which still prevails although somewhat decreased. Persian has three main dialects: Iranian Persian (Farsi), Afghan Persian (Dari) and Tajik Persian (Tajik). They are all mutually intelligible. The written form is the same for Farsi and Dari, both using the Arabic alphabet; Tajik is generally written with the Cyrillc alphabet.
Note - The contents of this page are written in literary Persian so that you can use them not only in Iran but also in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and other countries. See Dari phrasebook for Afghan Persian and Tajik phrasebook for that dialect.

Pronunciation guide

Basic grammar

Phrase list

Learning more