Persian is the predominant modern descendant of Old Persian, asouthwestern Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan (officially known as Dari Persian since 1958 for political reasons), and Tajikistan (officially known as Tajiki Persian since the Soviet era for political reasons), and some other regions which historically came under Persian influence. The Persian language is classified as a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of Sassanid Persia, itself a continuation of Old Persian, the language of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Persian is a pluricentric language and its grammar is similar to that of many contemporary European languages. Persian is also so called due to its origin from the capital of the Achaemenid Empire, Persis hence the name Persian.
There are approximately 110 million Persian speakers worldwide, with the language holding official status in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. For centuries Persian has also been a prestigious cultural language in other regions of Western Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia by the various empires based in the regions.
Persian has had a considerable (mainly lexical) influence on neighboring languages, particularly the Turkic languages in Central Asia, Caucasus, and Anatolia, neighboring Iranian languages, as well as Armenian, and Indo-Aryan languages, especially Urdu. It also exerted some influence on Arabic, particularly Bahraini Arabic, while borrowing much vocabulary from it after the Muslim conquest of Persia.
With a long history of literature in the form of Middle Persian before Islam, Persian was the first language in Muslim civilization to break through Arabic’s monopoly on writing, and the writing of poetry in Persian was established as a court tradition in many eastern courts. Some of the famous works of Persian literature are the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, works of Rumi,Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Divan of Hafiz and poems of Saadi.
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