How many people speak Persian?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Syzygys, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, but in history, not folklore, it was known as the "Muslim Conquest of Persia."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_conquest_of_Persia
     
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  3. Cellar_Door Whose Worth's unknown Registered Senior Member

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    My older sister speaks good Persian.

    However, she doesn't really use it on the internet, and she is a professional [Pashto] linguist who takes in an interest in learning languages. Probably not the best example to use.
     
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  5. DiamondHearts Registered Senior Member

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    The Arabs invaded the Persian Empire from the the Southwest. I am referring to the initial settlement of Iran by Aryans from Central Asia. If you don't know anything about the topic, please do some research. Just because you can say something, doesn't mean you should.
     
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  7. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    That was a conquest, too. They were called "Aryans" because they were fair skinned tribes conquering dark skinned tribes around 4 thousand years ago.
     
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    They were called Aryans because they were from the Eastern Indo-European tribes that called themselves "Aryan." "Iran" is generally thought to be derived from the same name, after all the subsequent phonetic shifts. Some linguists speculate that "Erin" may even be the same word, suggesting that the name was in use before the Indo-Europeans split into the Eastern and Western tribes.

    The Indo-Iranian group is a subset of the Indo-European language family; Farsi, Pashto, Tajik and the other Persian languages are very closely related to Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, etc. And more distantly related to the Balto-Slavic languages, the other major Eastern Indo-European group.

    The tribes whom the Aryans displaced in Persia were probably Semites, and their range of skin tones is roughly the same as that of the Indic peoples. Skin color is one of the most ephemeral of human traits and can change completely in response to the angle of the sun in a matter of centuries. The people of Bangladesh and the people of Latvia are only separated by about 4,000 years of migration.

    It's a shame that our attitudes about each other are fixated on something so utterly transitory.
     
  9. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    "It is also significant that these tribes all called themselves Aryans (in Sanskrit: arya; in ancient Iranian: airya, in contrast with the native populations who are considered "barbarians" (that is, incapable of speaking correctly) and more or less "demoniacs" (because they worshiped false gods). The word refers to an ethnic reality, in which men with fair skin conquered darker native peoples, and to a socio-religious community, in which people practiced similar rites and organized their social life in analogous ways. Even today, the country is called "the domain of the the Aryas" (in Persian, iran shahr, a transposition of the ancient formula airyanam vaejo, which has the same meaning."

    "The Aryans" Asian Mythologies ~~ Yves Bonnefoy
     
  10. DiamondHearts Registered Senior Member

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    Another major fallacy is the use of the word Aryan for Nordic, as done by the Nazis. This has caused tremendous convolution of the original meaning of the word 'Aryan.'

    I'm not quite sure about the designation of Eastern European people as Aryan, as their language though related from a long time ago, does not bear the self-appellation of Aryan. Whereas the people of Southwestern Asia, from Azeribaijan, Iran to Afghanistan and Pkaistan have for the vast majority of history borne the designation of Aryan tribes. Most people from Afghanistan and Pakistan can actually trace their lineage to the first settlers from Central Asia.

    Also the Bengali and Hindi cultures, though heavily influenced by Aryan religion and language, are basically Dravidian in nature. The settlement of the Ganges river valley and the settlement of the Indus river valley represent two completely different prehistoric civilizations. It is hypothesized by many archeologists in the region, especially in Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, that the Indus people were infact an Aryan people. There seems to be very little evidence of actual change in skeletal structure which would support a massive Aryan invasion as proposed by the Hindu scriptures. Whereas, such an invasion from Western South Asia upon the civilizations of the Ganges and of the Dravidian culture in the East may have occurred at a later date.
     
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The word "Aryan" was co-opted by the Nazis and we're stuck with its baggage. As a result it's fallen into disuse among the victors of WWII. Hitler placed the Balto-Slavic peoples very far down on his scale of "racial" perfection and would never have honored them with the name "Aryan," even though for wartime political expedience he named the Japanese "honorary Aryans."

    I'm not sure when the family tree of the Indo-European languages reached its current level of detail, but I'm fairly sure that Hitler did not know that the Balto-Slavic languages are in the Eastern Indo-European branch and are therefore more closely related to the Indo-Iranian languages than the Western Indo-European languages are--including German. The Bohemians (we call them Czechs now because it's easier to spell), whom he hated almost as much as the Jews, are closer kin to the original "Aryan" tribes than were the Germanic tribes from whom he was descended.
     
  12. mriazi Registered Member

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    I recently read the thread and i think can give you useful information. first there isn't an ethnic called persian. persian used to be Lingua franca among all iranian peoples for thousands of years. for that reason they called it 'Dari' means 'belongs to the court' . it wasn't the mother tongue of many people, the local languages inside iran had influence on it and vice versa. iran(greater iran) is a great engine that mixes and enriches all the languages inside iran to make a lingua franca for all iranian people. but during that time many iranians gradually speak persian as their first language.so persian speaking people are not belong to any ethnic, they are just iranian with different sub-cultural behaviors.you can think of it as english speaking people of US with much more different customs and behaviors and more tide connections. as i understand based on 2006 census there are more than 52 million people (out of 70) speak persian as their first language. there isn't any trustful statistics but i think that number is a good Estimate. the persian language is originally called 'farsi e dari' : 'dari persian'. the language in the afghanistan called 'dari' is persian. in iran each city has its own dialect, this is also the case in afghanistan, each city has a dialect, and their dialects is closer to the main dialect than many cities in iran. the difference of name is for political matters. inside afghanistan the persian speaking people called it 'farsi'. the 'pashtu' in other hand is a different language. it is an iranian language but not comprehensible to all persian speaking people. many sources suggest that the 50% of afghanistani people speak persian but i also see the 60% .the tajiki is also a dialect of persian and quite comprehensible to all persian speaking people. 70% of Tajikistan and 40% to 50% of Uzbekistan population are tajiks.so the number of people that speaks persian as their first language (in 4 countries) is 84 to 90 million and the people speak as the second language is about 120 million.
     
  13. mriazi Registered Member

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    i mean there is about 120 million people that speak persian either as their first or their second language.
     
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Wikipedia counts 144 million, but that's close enough. 72 million as the first language, roughly the same number as a second language. And those figures probably include the Southwestern Iranian languages like Luri and Tati as dialects of Farsi rather than distinct languages.

    However, the lists usually only count the people who speak a language as their first language. If we count second-language speakers, English would jump ahead of Spanish as the #2 language with more than 500 million, and Hindi/Urdu would tie with Spanish as #3/4 with about 500 million. Both English and Hindi are taught in all Indian schools.

    Farsi would jump ahead of Japanese, German, Wu Chinese, French, Punjabi, Telugu and many other languages, and rise from #21 to #9.
     
  15. mriazi Registered Member

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    Luri is a persian dialect and comprehensible to persian speakers but Tati is not completely comprehensible, so i include Luri speakers and exclude Tati speakers from number of people speak persian as their first language in Iran.my estimate with that regard is 52 million. so that number for the four countries can't be below 80 million.I'm surprised when i see the numbers provided by Ethnologue and the others.
    120 million is an estimate for total speakers in the four countries(it is quite possible that the real number is a few millions above ).since the population of the four countries can reach that number(144 million) and about half of uzbekistan cant speak persian (due to my knowledge), the number is not correct for the four countries. of course i don't have any information about the number of speakers outside these countries so the number for whole world could reach the 144 million.
     
  16. princelove Registered Senior Member

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    I know can speak completely in Dari and Pashto.
     
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    But do you call those separate languages, or merely dialects of Persian?
     
  18. Tamanna Registered Member

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    ...

    Nah ... I'm 14 and I'm Iranian ... My language is the original Farsi (Persian) ...
    Let me explain to you ...
    The original type of Farsi is "Dari" ... I speak that ...
    In Iran people speak Farsi "Dari" ... But in Iran you can find other language such as : Turkish,Kurdish and other ... But the OFFICIAL LANGUAGE of Iran is Farsi "Dari" ...
    In Afghanistan and Tajikistan People speak Farsi "Dari & Pashtu" ... We can understand that but the phrases are different with Dari ... It's the reason that make that hard to understand for Iran people ...
    OH NO ! FARSI IS NOT THE SAME WITH ARABIC !
    The only alphabet of these two languages are the same (Have difference in few words) ...
    Arabic and Farsi are like for example : English and French !!
    Hey English people !! Can you speak French ??!!
    ARABIC IS VERYYYYYYYYYYYY DIFFERENT WITH FARSI !
    And I can't speak that ... But I can speak Farsi !
    Well , I hope It was helpfully for you

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  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I know many Iranian people in the USA. They all insist that the name of the national language of Iran is Farsi. They insist that Dari is a dialect of Farsi that they can understand rather easily, but it is not the same as Standard Iranian Farsi. The Iranians I know don't call their language "Persian" anymore, even when speaking English. They all say that it should be called "Farsi."

    Dari is the standard language of government in Afghanistan. It is the most commonly used language there and is the native language of about half the people. There are also large communities of Dari-speaking people in Iran and Tajikistan. However, most speakers of Dari refer to their language as Farsi, which merely serves to confuse the issue.

    In linguistics, two speech variants are considered dialects if the differences are more than just phonetic (different vocabulary and/or grammar) and if the speakers can understand each other, perhaps with just a few days of familiarization. This makes Flemish a dialect of Dutch, and Slovak a dialect of Czech. However, outside of the linguistics academy, political issues intervene. The Flemish people insist that Flemish is a separate language, as do the Slovaks.

    However, I never heard of anyone insisting that Farsi and Dari are not dialects of a single language. There seems to be no controversy over that. The controversy seems to be over which one is entitled to the name "Farsi."

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    In the Roman alphabet we usually spell it Pashto, not "Pashtu." The difference between Pashto and Farsi is said to be much greater than the difference between Dari and Farsi, so linguists usually categorize it as a separate language, not a dialect of Farsi.

    Nonetheless, if two languages have a lot of similarities and the people live near each other, it's not unusual for them to eventually learn to understand each other. During the Communist era in the USSR, the Estonians were not allowed to have radio and TV stations that broadcast in their own language; they had to listen to programs in Russian, which they did not understand. So they tuned their radios and TVs to Helsinki. Finnish and Estonian are related, and after a while they learned to understand Finnish. The Finns had no exposure to Estonian, so they cannot understand it.

    If the only difference between two speech variants is almost entirely in pronunciation, they are called accents, rather than dialects. The French of Paris and the French of Montreal are accents, not dialects. So are the English of London and the English of Los Angeles.

    No, the difference is actually much greater! English and French are both Western Indo-European languages. They have a common ancestor about 3,500 years ago. Their grammar is similar and they share a lot of the same words, for example three/trois and sun/soleil.

    Farsi is also an Indo-European language, although it is in the Eastern Branch, which means that its common ancestor with English and French probably goes back 4,500 years. It is more closely related to Russian, Lithuanian and Hindi, than it is to English, French, Spanish and Greek.

    But Arabic is in a completely different language family: the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages. Arabic is closely related to Aramaic, Hebrew, Amharic, Ge-ez and Phoenician; more distantly related to Berber, Hausa, Cushitic and Ancient Egyptian. This family has no known relationship with the Indo-European languages.

    However, it's possible that all languages are descended from a common ancestor more than 60,000 years ago. They change too much over the millennia for us to be able to see the relationships. We'll probably never know for sure, but some linguists, using computer algorithms, claim to have found a relationship among several families.

    I'm waiting for their research to be reviewed. Something similar was discovered about 30 years ago, but a statistical analysis of the results showed that they could easily be the result of coincidence.

    Actually many people in England do speak French, but very few Americans do. We're more likely to learn Spanish. The French ruled England for several centuries after the Norman Invasion in 1066, so English has many French words, including such fundamental everyday words as color, face, question, second, use and very.
     

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