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Persian

(4,463 words)

Author(s): John R. Perry
1. History and evolution With the Arab conquest of Iran in the 7th century and the conversion of a majority of the population to Islam, Arabic came to exert a profound influence on the Persian language. The form of Persian affected was not literary Middle Persian ( pårsīk, commonly called Pahlavi), which was identified with Zoroastrian religious literature and written in a form of the Aramaic script, but rather the related vernacular of the court milieu of Seleucia-Ctesiphon ( Madāʾin) and other parts of the Persian Empire, called Dari by Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ (see Lazard 1990). By the mid…

Tajik

(1,118 words)

Author(s): John R. Perry
Until the early 20th century, there was little difference in the style and vocabulary of Persian as written in Iran, Central Asia, or India. After the Bolshevik revolution in Bukhara (1920) and the creation of the Tajik SSR, a literary language called Tajik, based on vernacular Persian of Central Asia and written in a Latin alphabet (from 1928), then a Cyrillic alphabet (from 1939), was fostered as the language of the Soviet nationality of the Tajiks. (The term Tåjik, derived from the Middle Persian Tāzīk ‘Arab’, was an ethnonym distinguishing Persian speakers from Turks – spec…